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The Vitoria Regia Night Flower Soap is beautifully shaped to look like a flower in bloom.
The Vitoria Regia flower, here seen on the first day of its bloom, is a native of the Amazon basin.

A skincare company founded in France spreads its wings to South America. Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup finds out more

BRAZIL conjures up images of beautiful people lounging in white, sandy beaches under the sun, the vast jungles of the Amazon, and the exotic plants and animals, beautiful and sometimes deadly.

The country has the greatest biological diversity on the planet. It also has the largest number of endemic species, meaning many of its plants and animals are not found anywhere else.

To celebrate this amazing biodiversity, L’Occitane en Provence is releasing a line of body and beauty products called L’Occitane Au Bresil. Each item in the range uses a unique Brazilian ingredient, sourced sustainably from local producers.

L’Occitane says it has been collecting plants and active ingredients since the brand was born. In Brazil, it was simply spoilt for choice. For L’Occitane Au Bresil, two native ingredients are used: The Vitoria Regia flower and the Jenipapo fruit tree.

BORN IN BRAZIL

Vitoria Regia is a water lily, the largest of its kind in the world. A native of the Amazon river basin, its circular leaves can grow up to three metres in diameter.

The flower is equally large, spanning up to 30cm. Its lifespan is short though, blooming and dying over two days.

It blooms white on the first day, releasing a scent that is fresh, with a blend of orange and lemon citrus notes and a whiff of green apple. The Vitoria Regia Day Flower fragrance includes notes of this flower with gardenia and lily of the valley.

The flower closes during the night, slowly turning pink. It opens again the next evening, releasing a sophisticated floral scent before closing for the last time. Notes of lime and water hyacinth appear at the heart of the Vitoria Regia Night Flower fragrance, enhanced by a hint of peony.

The Jenipapo fruit tree grows in the Cerrado savannah region. This fast growing tree has fragrant golden yellow flowers. Locals use the fruit to make drinks, jelly and ice-cream as well as tea, a traditional remedy for bronchitis.

Liquid from the young fruit is also used as a natural body paint. A chemical reaction occurs when the liquid comes in contact with the skin, staining the upper layers of the skin into a dark blue that disappears in a fortnight.

L’Occitane created the Jenipapo range with extracts from the flower. The scent is green with floral and fruity notes as well as hints of citrus, water melon and pina colada.

WELL SCENT

I tried the alcohol-free Jenipapo Perfumed Oil Roll-On and enjoyed its wonderful fresh fragrance. It has a sweet scent, which is quite feminine. The scent is not obtrusive and works well in our hot climate.

It comes in a long 10ml bottle, making it easy to carry around in my bag — perfect for touch-ups throughout the day.

The Jenipapo line includes a sun protection range, lip gloss, body lotion, shower oil and vegetal soap. The roll-on perfume retails at RM105.

I also tried Vitoria Regia Night Flower Soap (RM40). The pale pink soap looks like the Vitoria Regia flower in bloom. It doesn’t create a lot of bubbles and leaves that typical tight feeling that comes after using soap. But I love its floral, powdery scent. After use, even my bathroom is left with the wonderful whiff of the giant water lily.

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