Allergens
According to the 7th Amendment of the European Directive, adopted on February 27, 2003, 26 substances have been identified that may cause allergic reactions in certain subjects.
Consequently, the names of these substances must appear in the list of ingredients in cosmetic products when their concentration exceeds 10 ppm (10 mg/liter) in non-rinsed products, such as face creams, body lotions, etc. and 100 ppm (100 mg/liter) in rinse-off products, such as shower gels, shampoos, or soaps.

 

List of the 26 Substances Concerned:
• Coumarin
• Eugenol
• Evernia prunastri
• Evernia furfuracea
• Farnesol
• Geraniol
• Hexyl cinnamal
• Hydroxycitronellal
• Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde
• Isoeugenol
• Limonene
• Linalool
• Methyl 2-octynoate
• Alpha-isomethyl ionone
• Amyl cinnamal
• Amyl cinnamyl alcohol
• Anise alcohol
• Benzyl alcohol
• Benzyl benzoate
• Benzyl cinnamate
• Benzyl salicylate
• Butylphenyl methylpropional
• Cinnamal
• Cinnamyl alcohol
• Citral
• Citronellol


A.O.C.Brand terminology
The AOC label (controlled-origin label) identifies a product and the authenticity and specific nature of its geographic origin. The label guarantees its quality and characteristics, the condition of the land from which it comes and the expertise of the producer.
In 1981, the AOC label was given to the Haute-Provence Lavender Essential Oil. It refers to a very high-quality production and concerns only the essential oil of fine lavender - lavandula angustifolia.

The fields must be located within a specific territory at a minimum altitude of 800 meters. This geographic area covers 284 communities in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Drôme and Vaucluse regions.

To obtain the AOC label, the essential oil undergoes an olfactory test, and physical and chemical analysis, to determine whether its composition meets the quality standards defined by the decree that established the AOC label.

The olive oil that we use in our formulas also carries the AOC label: the Baux de Provence AOC for our Olive range, and the Organic Haute-Provence AOC for our organic Olive face care products.

Animal Testing
We do not conduct any animal tests on our ingredients, formulations, or finished products. All tests are carried out on human beings as part of a series of clinical tests- a patch test in the case of human skin or tests using egg membrane as an alternative.


Our products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients, with the exception of honey and other ingredients obtained from bees.


In January 2008 L'OCCITANE was the latest company to be added to PETA's list of more than 600 cruelty-free companies.


Aromatherapy
From the Latin word "aroma" and the Greek word "therapeia": healing through the use of essential oils or essences. Essential oils are obtained by the steam distillation of plants (stems, flowers, roots, barks, etc.). During the distillation process, steam passes through the plant material and, when it cools, releases the essential oil. Essences are obtained by cold pressing the peel of citrus fruits. Rich in active ingredients, they offer us the very best of Nature and are active in the tiniest doses.

 

Phytotherapy
Derived from the Greek words "phyton", for plant, and "therapeuein", to cure, phytotherapy is the art of healing through plants. Man has long used plants in his daily life, in the form of concoctions, infusions or poultices.

For over 30 years, our active ingredients have been taken from plants and are based on time-tested knowledge: essential oils (aromatherapy), floral waters, plant butters and oils, extracts, powders, kernels, barks… with a total of over 200 in all.


Burkina Faso Co-Developmentshea tree
In the 1980s, Olivier Baussan visited Burkina Faso and discovered the "magic tree" - the shea tree. He also observed the traditions associated with this tree, from picking the shea nuts to the finished product sold in the markets - shea butter. The women of Burkina Faso best know the secrets and most common uses of this butter. He initiated a partnership with these women and a soap made with shea butter went into production… This was the beginning of the Shea Butter Adventure for L'OCCITANE, before people started talking about concepts such as fair trade or ethical trade. A few years later, a complete skincare range came into being.

 

Core principles

 

1. Establish a respectful working arrangement


• Valuing the women's work by purchasing butter made on the spot directly from three cooperatives, numbering over 11,000 women, and not simply buying the shea nuts at a low price then processing them in Europe.
• Paying these women a fair price to cover their production costs, including environmental and social costs, and leaving a margin for investment (L'OCCITANE bears the cost of the containers and shipping).
• Offering better working conditions: in 2007, L'OCCITANE financed new, 400 m² production premises in Ouagadougou. The "L’Espace Karité" (Shea Center) has a manufacturing unit, a storage unit and an analysis laboratory.

 

2. Support the development of local producers in order to increase their autonomy: burkina faso

• Prefinancing the production (by making a 50% down payment with the order).
• Helping the groups with production, export and finding new outlets.
• Setting up a more lucrative organic network for the groups, with L'OCCITANE taking charge of the Ecocert organic certification.
• Partnership with support structures of Burkina Faso in the field of shea butter, especially the NGO DYFAB (Dynamisation des filières agricoles et  biologiques - Motivating agricultural and organic networks). This structure helps to secure the logistics and administrative formalities in collaboration with L'OCCITANE's purchasing department and the three women's unions.


3. Industrial partnership
• 2004: Training at the L'OCCITANE factory for Mr. Konate (a technician from a small-scale soap factory) in soap production and formulation, then helping him to set up his own soap factory.
• 2006: L'OCCITANE is rewarded for this action by an industrial partnership award in June, 2006.
• 2007 and 2008: L'OCCITANE orders more than 170,000 soaps from Mr. Konate as part of the annual charitable operation for the benefit of ORBIS - an NGO devoted to the fight against blindness in poor countries. L'OCCITANE provides support throughout the production of these "Made in Burkina Faso" products.

 

How do the women benefit?
Shea butter produced in Burkina Faso ensures more money for all the women involved in the production process (those who collect the nuts and those who process them). It is no more expensive than a product processed and marketed in Europe by wholesalers. The only difference is the breakdown of costs and benefits. Any greater payment to the producers is balanced by a lower payment to middlemen.


 Guaranteed and displayed prices
The purchase price of the nuts and the butter is announced at the annual general meeting to all the women, when down payments are also made.
• A welfare fund
The allocation of funds for education and health projects is subject to a collegial decision taken by each group.
• Quality specifications
The objective is to improve transparency and traceability.


Certified Organic Ingredients
An organic ingredient is derived from organic agriculture and, under European legislation that came into effect in 1991, must comply with certain basic rules, including:


• Respect for the ecosystem by using cultivation and breeding methods that strive to maintain natural balances.
• Using no chemical fertilizers and pesticides or synthetic herbicides.
• Using no genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
• Mandatory inspection by organic certification bodies, applying to both the producers and processors of organic products.
• Traceability back to the source area of the plant, whatever the country of production.


In parallel, on an international scale, NOP (National Organic Program) regulations were introduced in the United States in 2002, while JAS (Japan Agricultural Standard) was introduced in Japan in 2000.


Certified Organic Beauty Product
An organic beauty product must comply with strict regulations defined by European and American certification agencies, including Ecocert, BDIH, USDA, the Soil Association, Nature et Progrès, etc.


These regulations set more stringent standards than the conventional ones on cosmetic products. They guarantee respect for the environment throughout the production chain, respect for the consumer, and a positive emphasis on natural substances of superior ecological quality.


L'OCCITANE's organic products comply with Ecocert regulations, adhering to a list of authorized ingredients and mandates on:


• a minimum of 95% natural ingredients or ingredients of natural origin
• a minimum of 95% of total plant ingredients certified organic
• a minimum of 10% of total ingredients certified organic.


Synthetic fragrances or colorants, silicones and mineral oils are not permitted. Only certain essential synthetic ingredients are authorized when no natural alternative is available.

 

Why aren't all of our products certified organic?
We take a realistic approach to organic beauty products. We would like to develop this offering but also have to take into account important constraints: the availability of resources from organic agriculture, the ability to maintain a product's cosmetic and sensory qualities, and obtaining the most effective and most gentle formula.

The fact that many synthetic preservatives are not permitted by organic-certification agencies can mean that there is a real risk of bacteriological contamination of products.

Non-permitted preservatives are sometimes replaced by a high concentration of alcohol, which can dry out the skin.
Organic formulas contain potential allergens due to their high concentration of essential oils and floral waters, and may not be suitable for certain skin types.

Although our new Shea & Organic Cotton range for sensitive skin does not contain parabens, fragrance or colorants, we decided not to seek organic certification for these products. To obtain this certification, we would be obliged to use a high concentration of plant ingredients that contain allergen substances and are therefore unsuitable for sensitive skin. Such a decision is made with the health and well-being of our customers in mind, even if it may mean going against current trends.

Suffice it to say, our entire product catalog will always live up to the highest standards in terms of quality and naturalness.


Chemical Colorants
Synthetic chemical colorants are highly regulated due to their irritant, allergic and even toxic potential. For this reason, L'OCCITANE does not use chemical colorants in its skincare products. In our body care products, we use natural plant-based or mineral-based colorants.

 

Chemical Sun Filters
The results of a Swiss study conducted by the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Zurich indicated that certain chemical UV filters used in suncare and cosmetic products have an estrogenic activity (estrogens being female sex hormones) and can accelerate the growth of cancer cells. More in-depth research is needed to evaluate the real risks.


Given our precautionary approach, we have always used chemical filters in low doses, combining them with natural mineral filters to provide effective sun protection. For two years, we have been working on a project to replace all chemical filters in our suncare products and protective face care products.


As a company that always errs on the side of caution, we replace parabens whenever possible with other preservatives whose toxicological risks have been fully investigated. Since 2005, the majority of our new products have been formulated without parabens. Today, approximately 80% of our products are paraben-free.


Cosmebio
A Professional association for the ecological and organic beauty products sector. Cosmebio’s mission is to offer consumers effective, non-toxic cosmetic products, made primarily of natural and organic certified components, in respect environment, and with awareness regarding transparency for the ingredients and manufacturing processes used.


Dermatologist-Tested
Tests on volunteers conducted by an independent laboratory approved by the French Ministry of Health, with a protocol and conclusions validated by a dermatologist.


Ecocertecocert logo
The European certification and inspection body for organic beauty products. By means of the ECOLOGICAL AND ORGANIC COSMETICS standards, Ecocert defines a requirement level that is superior to the conventional regulation governing cosmetics, thereby guaranteeing the genuine practice of environmental respect throughout the production line, respect for the consumer and the promotion of natural substances of a superior ecological quality.


Evocative Fragrances
Our fragrances are composed around a heart of natural essences and comply with restrictions on synthetic components (notably phthalates and synthetic musks) and allergens.


Ideal Concentrations
In phytotherapy, the addition or removal of a single drop can make all the difference. With this in mind, we test our active ingredients at different doses to ensure that they are used at an ideal concentration in our formulas, for optimum effectiveness and skin tolerance. We validate the results of our research through in vivo and in vitro clinical tests and patent these results. Finally, we verify the effectiveness of the formulas in our finished products through in vitro tests or tests on volunteers, as well as consumer tests for face care formulas.


ImmortelleImmortelle
Immortelle is also known as “everlasting” because the flowers retain their form and color when dried. L'OCCITANE found a specific wild variety of Immortelle on Corsica, the “Island of Beauty”.
The picking of wild Immortelle became increasingly common putting at risk the beauty of Corsican landscape. So in 2003, L'OCCITANE decided to start the first immortelle cultivated field in Upper Corsica. Stephan Francisi planted the first five hectares, between Bastia and Porto-Vecchio. He became an Immortelle farmer through the L'OCCITANE development program and chose to use organic farming methods: no chemical treatments or fertilizers.
In 2008 an extension of this program is planned, with the plantation of 50 more hectares of immortelle.

 

L'OCCITANE Foundation
On 12th October 2006, which was World Sight Day, the Foundation was launched and has already been enriched by the donations and actions of L'OCCITANE. The values of authenticity, respect and sensoriality - instilled into L'OCCITANE by its founder, Olivier Baussan, in 1976 - lie at the very heart of the Foundation, which has three missions:


• projects for sense-impaired individuals, in particular the blind and partially sighted
• sustainable economic development headed by women in poor countries
• the preservation of "nature's knowledge" in Provence.


The goal of the Foundation is to have the programs and the people initiating them move from a position of recipients of aid necessary for their development to a position of self-sufficiency. L'OCCITANE has earmarked a three-million-euro, five-year budget to fund the start-up of several projects each year.

 

Limited use of Packaging
At our factory in Manosque, we limit the use of unnecessary packing material, which means refocusing on the key roles of packaging, which are:


• To Protect the products against any kind of damage (mechanical, climatic, physicochemical, bacterial, etc.)
• To ensure the safety of the product and our customers during the different stages in the life of a product, up to its eventual use (production, storage, handling, shipment, putting the product on sale and displaying it in stores).
• To Inform and Advise and provide legally required information and information related to product use; to present a veritable "ID card".
• To Serve the User: packaging should protect the product throughout its lifetime, be practical and functional, and allow for frequent use of the product.


Any packaging elements that do not come under this list of functions can be banished.

 

Mineral Oils
We prefer to use plant oils in our formulas rather than mineral oils. These plant oils are produced from seeds or fruits and are the result of a biological process. Mineral oils are made up of hydrocarbon chains and derived from petroleum, and particularly paraffin, which cannot be absorbed by the skin and form an occlusive film on its surface. Plant oils, on the other hand, have a perfect affinity with the skin and are active substances, notably due to their rich fatty acid content.

 

Natural Ingredients
Any plant, animal or mineral product that has not been chemically processed but may be physically processed by distillation, expression, cold pressing, hot pressing, freeze drying, etc. E.g. essential oils, plant oils, floral waters, clay, kernel powder, etc.


Ingredients of Natural Origin
Any natural ingredient that has been chemically processed using processes such as saponification, hydrogenation, fermentation, etc. (E.g. emulsifiers, gelling agents, foaming agents, etc.)

 

Parabens
Parabens are preservatives, i.e. molecules that prevent microbiological contamination of cosmetic formulas. All formulas need preservatives so that they can be used in normal conditions (kept in the bathroom, everyday contact with the user's hands, etc.).


We always proceed with caution and use preservatives in doses lower than those authorized by legislation in all countries. Parabens are currently under scrutiny since a British study by Dr. Darbre† in 2004, which is still being debated, revealed a potential link between parabens and cancer. This is based on the fact that parabens can bind to estrogen receptors - estrogens being female sex hormones. These preservatives have however been approved for use by regulators, are considered safe, and are permitted at certain levels of concentration by the various cosmetic regulatory authorities worldwide. They are also used in medicines and food products.

At L'OCCITANE, we have always used parabens in very low doses (between 0.3% and 0.5%) in conjunction with active essential oils, to prevent the proliferation of bacteria. International legislation allows a maximum of 0.8%.

As a company that always errs on the side of caution, we replace parabens whenever possible with other preservatives whose toxicological risks have been fully investigated. Since 2005, the majority of our new products have been formulated without parabens. Today, approximately 80% of our products are paraben-free.

† A study published in 2004 (Darbre, in the Journal of Applied Toxicology) detected parabens in breast tumors. The study also discussed this information in the context of the weak estrogen-like properties of parabens and the influence of estrogen on breast cancer. However, the study left several questions unanswered. For example, the study did not show that parabens cause cancer, or that they are harmful in any way, and the study did not look at possible paraben levels in normal tissue.

 

Phtalates
Phthalates are used as fixatives or carriers in cosmetic products. The most dangerous phthalates have been shown to be toxic to reproduction. Some phthalates are considered to have a very low risk, such as DEP (diethylphtalate), which is commonly used to denature alcohol contained in fragrances. Since 2005, L'OCCITANE has removed phthalates from its fragrances and now uses pure alcohol derived from plants.


Registered Patentspatent pending
We invest in research and measure the effectiveness of active ingredients through in vitro and in vivo (on volunteers) clinical tests carried out by independent laboratories. The results of this research are patented. We have registered patents for:


• Immortelle essential oil and its anti-aging properties (2 patents)
• Cade essential oil and its fortifying and purifying properties;
• Olive oil and water and their balancing and anti-free radical properties
• Almond proteins, silicon and essential oils and their firming and contouring properties
• Almond and Apple extracts and their action on firmness, elasticity and skin texture.

 

Recycled and Recyclable
Our concern for the environment has led to the use of environmentally friendly packaging. For our products, gift wrapping and communication materials we strive to use paper or cardboard based on an ecological approach.


This concern has also led to the development of a “clean factory”.


Recyclable: a material or product that, after use, collection and reprocessing, can be used as a new raw material to produce new products.


Recycled: material produced by recycling. There are two sources of recycled materials:
• materials from products at the end of their life cycle.
• waste generated during another manufacturing process.

 

Silicones
In our skincare formulas, we limit the concentration of silicones to a maximum of 5% while other companies use them regularly at around 40% and up to 90% in some of their formulas. These synthetic substances, derived from silicon, are not readily biodegradable. However, they do make our products glide on more easily and improve their feel on the skin.

 

SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
SLES is a foaming agent. The controversy over SLES is not due to its danger to health but the fact that it is obtained from extremely reactive gases, requiring harsh chemical processes.


These dangers are well-known and various purification processes are used today to obtain a PEG without free ethylene oxide. Moreover, Laureth Sulfate (PEG) has the advantage of being more gentle than a lauryl sulfate (which is not a PEG).

Today, over 40% of our foaming products are formulated without SLES and we tend to use a combination of lauryl sulfate and gentle surfactants derived from sugar.

Many different materials can be recycled: glass, paper, wood, plastic, aluminum…

 

Sustainable Development
For 30 years, we have supported local traditional production methods and sourced our supplies directly from local producers: cooperatives in Haute-Provence for AOC lavender essential oil; cooperatives and the oil mill in Gard for almond oil; the Château d’Estoublon in the Baux de Provence valley for AOC olive oil; the Terroirs de Haute-Provence mill for AOC organic olive oil and organic olive leaf extract; beekeepers from the Valensole plateau for honey; orchards in the Hautes-Alpes region for organic apples; rice fields in Camargue for organic red rice; forests of Haut Var for cade essential oil; orchards in Luberon for cherry extract; distiller-producers in Corsica for organic immortelle essential oil and organic verbena; and women's groups in Burkina Faso for shea butter (co-development).
These active ingredients undergo rigorous selection and inspection with regard to their origin. Their quality and traceability must be guaranteed from the moment they are harvested, throughout every step of processing, right up to the finished product. This policy is an important part of our sustainable trade approach.

 

Sustainably managed forestsWe use paper, cardboard and wood from sustainably managed forests and forests that have received the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label. The principles of the FSC are based on complying with international treaties and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples, forest workers and local communities. Maintaining the biological diversity of ecosystems and the environment in general, and notably the restoration and conservation of natural forests, are also at the heart of its concerns. For example, to apply the principles of sustainable development, it is recommended that trees be replanted in a responsible manner to replace trees that have been cut down.
To obtain the FSC label, there must be regular monitoring to assess the condition of the forest, yields of forest products, chain of custody, management activities and their social and environmental impacts. This label was created by the FSC NGO and is endorsed by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), among others.

 

Synthetic Musks
Synthetic musks are used to add fragrance in cosmetic products. The production of some of these musks, such as nitro musks, has been in decline since their noxiousness to the environment and health was recognized. Polycyclic musks are more controversial with regard to their effects and are strongly advised against by OSPAR‡ experts. This is why L'OCCITANE has chosen not to use them in its fragrances.
‡ convention for the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic (Oslo - Paris, 1992)