Yves Rocher introduced botanical cosmetics to the world in 1959. Named after their French founder, they have a long history of providing 'naturally natural' plant-based products that are grown on their very own 44 hectares of land in Brittany. From the humble origins of ointment made from celandine flower, their range of products have grown to include over 400 products including cosmetics, hair-care products, fragrances, deodorants, face-masks, men's skin care and one weight loss product (only available in Europe). They also offer a small range of accessories.
All Yves Rocher products are botanical, and differ slightly from organic cosmetics in that they contain mainly natural ingredients with no animal based ingredients. They are not tested on animals.
Their skin care products include firming creams (to help combat sagging skin), anti-ageing products (to hide tell-tale crow's feet and fine lines), and face masks – containing their own blend of pro-vitamin A, vitamin E, as well as other moisturising components.
The Yves Rocher Serum Vegetal Age Solution Day Cream is one of their typical products. Extracted from apples, it has a twin role in moisturising the skin and giving a brighter, plumper appearance. This is achieved using an exfoliating agent that removes dry skin by way of peeling, and adding mica (a light-reflecting ingredient) to make the face radiate. Results are expected to be seen after a month.
The cream is slightly scented with glycerine and vegetable oil ingredients, making it a potential problem for women with oily or combination skin.
One of the major differences between Yves Rocher natural products and ordinary cosmetic products is the exclusion of sun protection factor (SPF) from its creams. Since Yves Rocher products do not contain SPF, it is important to bear this in mind in the fight against skin cancer and sun damage.
The heart of the Yves Rocher message is to make products that work in harmony with the life force of the main plant ingredients to rejuvenate and care for skin. Offering a preventative range of skin products from age 25 to help combat the first signs of wrinkles, they also give advice on skin care to help pinpoint the right product for your face at your time of life.
Yves Rocher takes a 'holistic' approach to their business. They manage and oversee every aspect of the product life and shipping from their HQ in France. From the processes they have developed in supplying raw material ingredients, manufacturing and packaging, right up to ongoing research into formulae and plant ingredients, Yves Rocher have shown strong commitment to the local environment and plant biodiversity. They are one of the main employers in their area and jealously protect their brand.
Proud of their contribution to botanical beauty, Yves Rocher are actively involved in the development and protection of the plant world that forms the basis of their business. In 2007, the Yves Rocher Foundation added its support to the United Nations Environment Programme by pledging to plant 50 million trees in the fight against deforestation and continues to actively support women with environmental projects.
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Yves Rocher's main rival in the botanical cosmetics market is Arbonne (founded 1975) and Bio-Botanica (founded 1972).
Arbonne is a Swiss company that uses botanical ingredients with 'innovative science'. Their products are vegan-certified and do not contain animal ingredients or by-products. Unlike Yves Rocher, they offer much more detailed information and advice about the contents of their products, so that the user is able to see at a glance whether particular allergens or substances have been included. They also offer downloadable pdf guides for information relating to their ingredient policy and a gluten-free products list.
Arbonne offer a larger, younger selection of cosmetics than Yves Rocher and have also developed their own range of nutritional supplements.
Their top selling product is the RE9 Advanced Anti-aging system, available from distributors and their website. Containing 9 elements and botanicals to help combat aging, they say it is clinically proven to start work within 24 hours. It also contains SPF 20. Vitamin C is one of the main components which targets collagen and helps restore the skin.
Their website trademark colour is the same as Yves Rocher (imitation being the highest form of flattery?), but win hands down over Yves Rocher for product information and a much easier to navigate website.
Bio-Botanica base their headquarters in New York and have 30 years of experience in the botanical cosmetics and food industry. Producing over 400 products , strict procedures and operating practices feature heavily in their organisation. They offer practical guidelines to help match the product ingredient with the problem, so the customer can see at a glance which ingredients have been used. This is particularly important for people with allergies, and not something that features in Yves Rocher product information. It does unfortunately make their website appear stuffy, and not like a cosmetic brand.
Their website does not have an online store, so there is no product comparison available. Customers can buy through stores and party-plan distributors, which is a problem for customers living outside these areas and who would like to order online.
The pricing on Yves Rocher varies depending on the product and the type of specials featured. New products are often introduced at prices starting at $4.95 each. Shipping on orders over $40 is free and there are all kinds of samples and free promotional products given with every order. Many of their products can be pricier than their competitors but that is mainly because of the botanical products involved in the manufacture of many of the items.
The Yves Rocher Serum Vegetal Age Solution Day Cream normally costs $34 but is available for $17 online and comes in a no thrills 50 ml cream pot.
The Arbonne RE9 Advanced Anti-aging restorative day cream costs $60 online and the customer will need to shop around to find discounts or special offers. The 30 ml creme comes in a tube with push button applicator.
There is no product information on Bio-Botanica to make a comparison, which is extremely off-putting as a customer. Product ingredients, size and cost is essential information in making a purchase decision if you are a new customer
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Yves Rocher enjoy a very loyal following and appeals mainly to older women. Younger women with mothers using the products are amused at the old-fashioned bulky catalogues and 'raffle ticket' system, where you can apply to see if you have won a free gift (they always do!).
Some women love and swear by the products whilst others loathe them and say they made them look 20 years older.
Arbonne appeals to a wide range of customer, but particularly to the 'Baby Boomer' generation heavily into fighting wrinkles! Some complaints are based on the chemicals used in their cosmetics and one particularly disgruntled customer went on a rant about "organ damage, skin irritation and whole host of other problems for our health".
Other customers are unhappy at the cost of the products and complain that the very people who need the products (baby-boomers) are priced out of the market.
I did not come across any male product reviews except one disgruntled male customer review complaining about and expensive, ineffective hair restorer.
I could not find any reviews or independent analysis of Bio-Botanica products anywhere, which I found very strange. All the available information is based around the company and corporate image and brand. This is not in the best interest of potential customers who may wish to research specific products before parting with their hard-earned cash.
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