Budget Skincare Review: Boots Botanics (Organic and Not)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ever since I first started seeing Boots Botanics kiosks in my Duane Reade, I've been itching to do this review. A UK import, organic ingredients, and inexpensive price points meant I was all over the line. This post has been a couple of months in the making, partially due to how thoroughly I test skincare items, and partially due to how extensive this whole range is. There are lines devoted to brightening, oily skin, sensitive skin, dry skin, redness, and so on. I tried to pick something from each different line and category of skincare product, so hopefully I'll be able to give you a good idea of how this whole range functions. Some are from the Boots Botanics Organics collection for those into that type of thing, and some are just Boots Botanics. As per usual, I bought these items myself, and if you want to check out my other Budget Skincare Review posts, here are earlier ones on Alba Botanica (here and here), and Hada Labo Tokyo (here). I'm listing the prices that I paid here, but they'll vary based on location. Be on the lookout for sale deals as well--a lot of what I bought here was on for buy 1, get 1 50% off!

Let's go in order of a skincare routine!

The Cleansers/Makeup Removers

1. Boots Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm ($9): This one's for you, dry skin types! Thick, rich and way too greasy for oily skin like mine, this must be what dry skin gals dream of. You need a hilariously small amount to break down all your face makeup, and it even works as a great base for a little facial massage. It comes with two muslin cloths, but you need the scrubbiness of a washcloth to remove this stuff. I can use this now and not need to moisturize after, and am particularly pleased that it doesn't contain mineral oil (rare for a product with this kind of price!). 

2. Boots Ultra Calm Gentle Cleansing Cream ($8): This is a case of "it's not you, it's me." Makeup removing creams like these are slathered onto dry skin, massaged in and then wiped off (you really can't rinse something like this away). This one works as well as the rest of them and smells nice and fresh, but I've just never particularly liked this kind of makeup removing agent. It does a thorough job on all face paint, and even though it quickly breaks down waterproof eyeliner and mascara, it stings and isn't meant for eye makeup (basically don't be an idiot like I am). 

3. Boots Shine Away Mattifying Cleansing Mousse ($8): Despite Caroline Hirons's best efforts, I still use foaming cleansers and am quite happy with this one. I actually don't have any other cleansers that are for oily skin but don't treat acne, so this has its own place in my sink/shower. This stuff is less of a mousse and more of a lightweight foam, and despite being pretty sudsy, it never strips my skin. I use it day and night these days and it's been getting a lot of love in this disgustingly humid weather. 

The Toner/Spritz of Fancy Water

4. Boots Botanics Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz ($9): I'm happy to see facial sprays (more of a niche product) in drugstores, and really like how refreshing this is. But alcohol is the second ingredient listed, which makes this a big no for me. If you're looking for a similar product, Mario Badescu's Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater is $7, ultra soothing and refreshing, and doesn't contain alcohol at all. 

The Serum

5. Boots Botanics Ultra Calm Skin Relief Serum ($16): Absolutely the best drugstore serum I've ever tried. I don't have particularly irritated/sensitive skin so I can't speak to that, but this is a dream to apply. Light, silky, and soothing, I've been very happy to reach for this stuff even though my skin doesn't really need it. It's an all-around great product that would be good for anyone, but especially skincare newbies looking to incorporate a serum. It sets smooth and soft to the touch, it sits well beneath any moisturizer I've tried on top, and the smell is fresh and spa-like. I'm already eyeing up their other serums!

The Eye Cream

6. Boots Botanics Organic Hydrating Eye Cream ($16): This is the product that took me the longest to test because it's so strange. Sure, it gets the job done, but the consistency is weirdly thin and liquidish and the texture is stickier than I would like. It doesn't set nicely, and tends to remain tacky-feeling--not a comfortable skincare product overall. I can use it in a pinch, but typically prefer not to deal with the funky texture. 

The Moisturizers (in less-than-ideal tub packaging):

(we're going top to bottom!)

7. Boots Shine Away Mattifying Day Cream SPF 15 ($14): I gave this a shout-out in my May Favorites post, so you already know I love it. It's a bit more hydrating than you might expect, and doesn't have an ultra powdery finish, but that's actually what I like about it. Most day creams for oily skin are so mattifying that I feel like I need a moisturizer on underneath, and this is a terrific compromise. I usually top it with a smidge of shine control primer (Neutrogena is my favorite) these days, but I could go without it for the rest of the year. Definitely one to try if you have normal/oily skin! 

8. Boots Organics Hydrating Day Cream ($13): I'm docking points for a day cream not having SPF, but this is too heavy for me for daytime, so I wound up using it mostly at night anyway. It's another good, middle of the road, fuss-free moisturizer that anyone with normal to normal/dry skin could use (provided you top it with SPF). I actually like it as a night cream, as it's deeply hydrating, but it still feels slightly sticky on skin as oily as mine. 

9. Boots All Bright Night Cream ($14): This tub is an excellent pick for normal skin types as it sits pretty much between the two creams above where hydration is concerned. Thoroughly moisturizing like the hydrating cream, but sets to a comfortable finish like the mattifying option, this cream has my preferred consistency down pat. As for the brightening claims, I feel like I do see a bit of that effect, but it goes away when I wash my face, so this definitely isn't a long-term solution. 

The Lip Balm

10. Boots Botanics Organic Lip Balm ($6): You already know I'm fussy about everything lip balm, and sadly this is another one that makes your lips feel drier. It's incredibly thin, absorbs too quickly and leaves your lips feeling waxy and shriveled within half an hour of applying. Give this a miss and pick up the stellar Jack Black Lip Therapy lip balm for just $1.50 more.

Bottom line: Boots Botanics offers a lot more specialty and niche skincare items than what we usually see on drugstore shelves, and I really appreciate the efforts of their organic range. Most of their offerings are good, middle-of-the-road skincare products, with a few terrific exceptions (the serum, the mattifying day moisturizer) and a few duds (the lip balm, and alcohol rosewater spritz). Still, this line is a step in the right direction for drugstore skincare, and the collection is definitely worth checking out!

Hope you're well!

Most Valuable Products: July 2014 will be up Thursday!

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