Friday, March 21, 2008

A mental tour to Haute Provence- Le Couvent Des Minimes Hand Cream

Can a product that comes from a place that look like the one in the pictures above be anything but awesome?

That's the village of Mane in the Alpes de Haute Provence, France. It's the home of Le Couvent Des Minimes, makers of a bath and body line which they claim to be based on old recipes dating from centuries ago, and more important, eco-friendly, not tested on animals, nature-based, containing no animal products other than honey, and only minimal use of petrochemical derivatives (that's mineral oil to you and me, an ingredient that might not be harmful, but makes my poor skin suffocate and dry under its "protective" layer). So it's all good, unless you have a problem with parabens, which was used in the cream I tested.

The line has a L'Occitanish vibe, both in the range of products (sugar scrub, body balm, hand and foot creams, lip balm, soaps, shower gel, and body lotion) and the packaging. The ingredients also look familiar: lavender, honey, shea butter and verbena. I got to try the honey and shea Nourishing Hand Cream, which, indeed, reminds me of a similar L'Occitane product. It goes on thick and has about a minute of very sticky feeling before it's absorbed.

The hand cream has she butter listed at the top of the ingredient list, right after water. So it's not surprising to see how rich nourishing it feels. Oddly enough, my cuticles still prefer my beloved Chanel cream and remain dry without it, but every other part of my hands is happy. Furthermore, I had a patch of itchy, red skin on both arms (always happens when the weather changes). On a whim, I decided to put on some of this cream and practically saw the redness disappear right there in front of my eyes. I'm not sure which one of the ingredients is responsible (there are several oils and extracts listed that may have a skin calming effect), but I'm thankful.

I also smell good, because the honey scent is lovely and lasts longer than I'd expect. The honey scent here is reminiscent of Ginestet Botrytis more than of other (in)famous honey perfumes like Miel de Bois or L'Occitane Honey Harvest. It reminds me of a honey over a well-buttered toast and is definitely on the foody side, so beware and try something else if the mention of these scents sends you running for cover.

I've spent way too much time looking at photos of that area of South France, including drooling over vacation rental homes in Mane and other quaint villages in the area. I had to remind myself that: a) I don't like mountains all that much and b) I get claustrophobic from too much nature exposure. City, please!
It still looks gorgeous, though, and all those lavender fields make me want to roll in them.

The hand cream was a PR freebie and is available for $22.50 at Belk, Dillard’s, Bon Ton and Olive & Company stores nationwide, as well as from Dillard's web site.

Images: Vaucluse and Provence 360° virtual tour


  1. Oh, good, this is not gone forever! They stopped carrying it at B&BW, and I thought it was their exclusive line. My runaway favorite was the Orange Blossom range, and I really hope it comes back some day. The perfumed body cream is simply to die for.

  2. You have to try the verbena (Lemon/Citrus scent) bar soap!!
    Finally a bar of soap that is good for your skin in dry winter that LASTS and LASTS without dissolving to suds in a week.


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