I discovered Melvita this past August when my youngest sister Sapir and I did a West Coast road trip; starting from Seattle we visited Portland, OR, watched a show in the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR, visited Crater Lake, spent the weekend in San Francisco, continued to Lake Tahoe, and managed to visit Virginia City, NV before heading back to Seattle. We had a great time together. I left Israel 13 years ago, when Sapir was 12, and since then we haven’t had much time to spend together. This trip allowed us to catch up with each other.
When we visited Portland, OR, Sapir fell in love with the city and the people, and decided that this is where she would want to live had she moved to the US. I told her to wait with her decision until she sees San Francisco, thinking the city might be more exciting for her than Portland. Unfortunately the San Francisco visit was not the most pleasant one. The place was freezing and packed with tourists. After a long and cold day of slow traffic, maneuvering our way among the crowds and standing in long lines for coffee, fitting rooms and cashiers, we were ready to call the day off. We wanted to go to our hotel room, lift our feet from the ground, order room service and go to sleep.
Walking exhausted on Market Street, on our way to the hotel, I remembered that I forgot to buy a body lotion. That morning I used the last drop of the body lotion I brought with me. We were in no mood to walk back to the pharmacy we just passed by and stand in the long cash registries lines, so we kept on going looking for an opportunity to buy a body lotion without stress. The opportunity arrived as we passed by Westfield shopping center and stared at the colorful Melvita shop. The sights were very pleasing and tempting, so we had to go in. As we entered the fragrant store our fatigue vanished. We both get excited by skin care products.
Melvita was established In France in 1983 by the biologist and beekeeper Bernard Chevilliat. Melvita means in Latin Honey (mel) and Life (vita). Besides honey and honey-based skin care products the company has a wide variety of botanical products, all made naturally from organically grown plants. We spent a festive hour at the store, learning about the different products, trying them on and enjoying the fresh enlivened smells. I ended up getting my body lotion and more.
The body milk absorbs in the skin very easily and quickly, leaving the skin soft and velvety. The natural perfume is very subtle and pleasant; I have the citrus and rose body milks end I enjoy them both to this day. I also bought the Cleansing Foam, which I like very much. To start with, the packaging is great; the pump works consistently with no problems. The cap stays in place, so no spilling when traveling. What I appreciate about this facial soap is the fact that it leaves the skin feeling clean but without any dryness. My sister Sapir loves shea butter, so we tried, liked, and bought the Karité Soft, shea butter mixed with argan oil with a light orange scent. This butter can be used all over the body, including face and hair. I love the softness of the butter and how easy it is to melt it on the skin. Another product I would like to mention here is the Rose Floral Water. I have used many different rose water but this one is my favorite. The rose scent has some interesting green grassy quality, which makes it very refreshing, and I find this formula to be very hydrating for the skin.
Our visit in Melvita store was the best part of our visit to San Francisco. Unfortunately the store closed shortly after our visit. But there are still ways to get their products. Melvita UK ships to the US, however the shipping cost is high ( £20 per order). In the US the Skin Store carries a limited list of products. The best and most economical way, I have found to get these products, is by ordering from Feel Unique in the UK that offers free shipping to the US on purchases over $20. It will take about two weeks to receive the parcel.
It’s a pity Melvita store didn’t succeed in the US. The local store lacked the proper PR and marketing system to let the local consumer know about their existence. For some unexplained reason the US store was not mentioned in the company website. I heard many times from people in business that the American skin care market, unlike the European and Asian, is not an easy one to get into. Advertising is expensive here and also American women have no skin care awareness. American women might be working hard at the gym, count their points/calories, make sure that their nails are perfectly done, but they forget the basic pleasure of self care – hydrating creams. Personally, I don’t understand what is the point in looking good when your skin feels like the cracked soil of the Mojave Dessert’s.
I hope Melvita’s products will be available in the US again; they are a wonderful treat for the skin. Until then, I’m glad the Internet and global shipping allow me to enjoy these products on this side of the planet.
Tip for visiting San Francisco:
Summer is not the best time to visit San Francisco. Mark Twain’s famous quote "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" might be an exaggeration, but it has some truth in it. October and November are warmer months and much less crowded with tourists.