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6th of October City, Cairo, Egypt.
L’Occitane En Provence: Natural Skin Care Products From French Brand at Mall of Arabia
The Cairo shopping scene is nothing short of a kaleidoscope of good, bad and strange, but when it comes to beauty products, both traditional local products and international brands share a comfortable coexistence.
One such example of the latter sits across from Gate 3 in 6th of October City's Mall of Arabia. Founded in 1976, French retailer, L'Occitane En Provence enjoys a lofty reputations for providing natural skincare products and essential oils with organic scents
Fitted with dark brown wooden racks, neatly organised with each product collection, mud coloured tiles and wicker baskets displayed on the floor with spring yellow flowers, the store gives off a composed and peaceful ambience. Located in the centre of the store is a metallic sink with a small mirror for customers to test the products.
At the entrance is a wide range of natural feminine 75ml perfumes, including scents such as sweet vanilla, amber, floral, jasmine and green tea, ranging between 390LE and 549LE. Each product includes a 30ml tube of scented hand cream (85LE) as well as 175ml shower gel bottle ranging up to 200LE.
During our visit, an enthusiastic staff member had us test a few of their products. First, we washed our hands over the miniature fancy sink with Shea butter liquid soap (170LE) - which was also available with sweet almond - then applied lotion to our hands with Shea butter cream (420LE).
L'Occitane is certainly rather expensive, but after our little trial and the way our skin felt and smelled afterwards, we were sure we weren't leaving the store without buying something.
There were a few racks dedicated to a limited variety of fun products including lavender, cherry blossom and floral scented candles (240LE). Also on offer is organic face soap (100LE) and hand soap (85LE) wrapped in colourful recycled paper, as well as a few old fashioned bottles of home fragrances offered in candied fruits, spicy cinnamon, amber, rose and winter forest, ranging between 230LE and 390LE.
A whole section is devoted to men's skincare products, including Lavender pillow mist (261LE), winter forest deodorant (240LE), shaving balm with a variety of organic ingredients (274LE) and natural scented colognes ranging from between 339LE and 500LE.
For shopaholics and beauty care fanatics, shopping at L'Occitane is dangerous business; the aromas whirling around the shop are enough to get you hooked – hooked to a very expensive hobby.
Although shopping has the magical ability to elevate the spirit, there’s something special about shopping for cosmetics and beauty products; the thrill of a simple lipstick or foundation transforming your look outweighs that of a new outfit which, unlike cosmetics, won’t be worn every day.
As glorious as it is to shop for cosmetics, spending a fortune is inevitable; when quality is indispensable, it’s better to endanger a bank account than putting health at stake. However, some brands manage to balance the equation by offering good quality products with decent prices, and Yves Rocher happens to be one of them.
Located next to US Polo in Mall of Arabia, the small shop boasts a collection of nature-inspired beauty products; from scented creams and anti-aging products, to makeup and fragrances. Starting with the makeup stand, Yves Rocher has all the items needed to make a decent makeup kit. Available in different tones, we tried the Zero Defaut creamy foundation (271LE), whose smooth texture gives full coverage without the dreaded cakey effect.
Of the same smooth texture, Yves Rocher has two lines of lipsticks, which share almost the same nude tones but differ in finishes. The first is reasonably priced (130LE), however, it has a slightly outdated shimmer that makes it almost impossible to wear these days, while the considerably more wearable second line, which boasts an almost-matte finish, costs a dear 190LE.
Since winter time demands well-moisturised skin, we shuffled through the stand where scented creams are on display along other complementary products like shower gels (400ml – 113LE). Yves Rocher has the usual fruity scents, like berries and coconut (50ml – 44LE), but those who are not into sugary scents will find Hydra Vegetal (119LE); a good option with an equally fresh scent – especially as it can be used as a facial cream.
But not everything at Yves Rocher follows the same good value-for-money; we noticed that the brand’s perfumes are a little overpriced. A 50ml-bottle of perfume, for example, starts from 375LE, and goes up to a hefty 575LE.
Apart from the expensive perfumes, though, Yves Rocher’s prices across their makeup, hand creams and moisturisers are actually quite reasonable if compared to other brands of the same calibre – making it one of those places where you enter looking for a certain item, but walk out of with a handful of products.