Tough, hardy prickly juniper – orcade– grows in the rocky sun-baked soils of theMediterranean. Its strong, rot-proof wood wasused by generations of Provençal shepherdsto build pens, while itsantiseptic essential oilhelped to heal their animals' wounds.
Impossible to cultivate, cade has to be harvested in thewild. At L'Occitane we work with local foresters who cut cade during normalbush clearingactivity – which keeps paths clear for hikers and reduces the risk of fires. By distilling its essential oil we'revalorisinga product that would otherwise go to waste.
Too waxy to burn for firewood – and no longer used for fence-building – the cade that is cleared from the forests of the Ardèche each year is rescued by L'Occitane. This is because we know the secret, that the essential oil from this wood is truly precious. It is an oil that we have to work for – not only does cade take a long time to grow, but its wood needs to be dried for two years before it can be ground down and distilled.
Harnessing the power of cade
It is said that cade has one thousand and one virtues. This may be a slight exaggeration, but its essential oil is a true all-rounder. Once used by Provençal farmers to treat skin conditions, its antiseptic properties are well-known in Mediterranean France. As well as being anti-septic, it also works as an exfoliator – and can help to reduce dandruff by sloughing away flakes. Its cleansing nature leaves hair and skin squeaky-clean limiting excess sebum. Another benefit of cade is its own distinct, masculine aroma – earthy, woody and warm.
Our cade wood is traditionally harvested in the wild, in a 50-hectare area south of the Ardèche – which is certified 100% organic.
Cade is harvested as part of the bush clearing efforts in the forests of Provence, and our harvester Michaël Comte has committed to our Sustainable Picking Charter.
A Patented formula
Our patented blend of cade and rosemary essential oil is magic. Anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, it helps to soothe skin.
Cade and L'Occitane
L'Occitane heard about theunique benefits of cadethrough the passion of ourpicker, Michaël Comte. Growing up in the rich forested landscape of theSouth Ardèche, he had beenpicking cadesince his childhood.
As an adult, his brush-clearing work with the Forestry Commission brought him back into contact with the wood. Hating to see it go to waste – and remembering the properties of its oil– he brought it to our distiller Philippe Soguel, who introduced us. From there, a partnership was born – along with our patented blend of cade and rosemary essential oils in our men's skincare products.
Our Cade Picker
The man who sources wild Ardèche Cade
"As a child, I used to help my father cut cade to make vine stakes. My grandfather had also used cade to make pens for his ewes. We used to walk through the forest collecting it."
"When I started helping the local Forestry Commission maintain their tracks, I came to cut cade wood. My cousin, who knew the world of cosmetics, reminded me of the antiseptic and soothing properties of cade essential oil and gave me the idea: maybe I could distil it. At the time, there wasn't a market for this essential oil, but I wanted to promote the wood so typical of my region."