Review: Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream

Posted on April 19, 2015 under Reviews

I adore having friends who are into all things beauty, because often they introduce me to new products! I’m pretty adventurous about makeup brands and styles, but when it comes to skincare I’m not exactly far-ranging. Chalk this up to the fact that I don’t find skincare very exciting or chalk it up to the fact that I mainly stick to the brands I’m trained to sell, but either way I don’t often try new things.

However, when I was with Aisling in March, she introduced me to a new night cream, and by “introduced me to” I mean she told me not to bring any of my toiletries because she had things that I could try.

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As luck would have it, she had recently picked up a new night cream from the Boots Botanics line, and I was stuck in a night cream rut since I just had not found one I loved. After using hers twice, I was hooked – and when she mentioned that it was half off an already very good price, I practically ran to Boots to pick one up for myself!

It’s hard to write about skincare in an exciting way, much less moisturizers, so here’s what I will say: it works. It feels nice. It sinks in easily. It smells good (a bit like a pine tree, but with a tiny hint of citrus). I wake up in the morning and my face still feels hydrated and soft, but not at all greasy.

This product is from the Botanics anti-aging line, which is not really a concern of mine right now. However, a quick glance at the ingredients makes this cream very appealing to me – vitamins E and C and hyaluronic acid are great ingredients for any age!

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I will note that the scent may be a deterrent for some people – fragrance sensitivity is a real thing, and I’m a bit surprised that a product that’s marketed as being more “natural” (whatever that’s supposed to mean, if anything outside of being a marketing buzzword) would have such a strong scent. Because, yes: it is fairly strong. Personally, I don’t mind, because I’m not sensitive to such things and I think it smells nice – very calming. But this is something to know if you tend to do better with unscented, or lightly scented, products!

As for the texture, it’s unsurprisingly quite thick. It’s definitely a cream, and definitely on the heavier side of things. I wouldn’t want to use it under makeup! However, as a night cream, it’s perfect: it’s definitely hydrating, but it sinks in reasonably quickly and never feels or looks greasy. I’d say this is probably best suited to people on the normal to dry side of things due to the thicker texture, but I don’t think it would exacerbate oiliness – it just may be overkill.

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Is this picture art or is it art? Don’t answer that.

Another thing I need to mention is the packaging, which I’m not a fan of. Tub packaging is just not desirable when it comes to preserving active ingredients and keeping them at their most effective, plus it’s not the most hygienic. However, tub packaging is the norm for night creams (probably due to the thicker texture), so it’s not like this product is falling behind other night creams in that regard. I still do want to mention it, though, because I’m pretty serious about preferring, well, basically any packaging that’s not a tub.

Overall, I really like this product. I’ve been using it for nearly a month now and it’s one of my favourite skincare products in my current rotation. Despite the less than ideal packaging, I think it works very well, smells good, and is an excellent price (even when it’s not half off). Is it revolutionary or really special at all? No. But is it a solid product that I will happily use up and consider repurchasing? Definitely.

Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream retails for £7.99 ($15 CAD) for 50mL, or £0.15/$0.30 per mL. It can be purchased from Boots locations or online from Boots.com.

Makeup Interview: Heather

Posted on April 16, 2015 under Interview

Today I’m sharing with you the last post in this installment (for now, at least): an interview with my pal Heather! Heather is an 18-year-old student from Canada, and she’s been my friend for about two years now.

1. How would you describe your style of makeup?

I think my style usually flips between bold and classic. I love bold colours and trying new things but sometimes I also just really love classic or “natural” looks.

2. Describe a makeup look that you would consider “classic” you.

I think a classic look for me is a more porcelain look, fairly matte, with dark, smokey eyes and dark red lips.

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Heather says, “This is a pretty old picture but this was one of the first looks I tried and I became very attached to it. Also you’ll notice my eyebrows were very wild during this time.”

3. About how long does your normal makeup routine take? What does it consist of? Do you do anything else while you do your makeup, like drink your morning coffee or watch TV?

My normal makeup routine usually takes about 20 minutes. I usually listen to music while getting ready and lately it’s been a lot of Taylor Swift and Hall and Oates because both are very upbeat and honestly just make getting ready that much better.

4. Where do you get makeup inspiration from? Are there any websites or YouTube channels you visit regularly? Any celebrities whose makeup you might draw inspiration from?

I mostly draw inspiration from musicians. Haim and Lorde are ones I tend to be drawn to the most because I love Haim’s subtle looks and I love the way Lorde switches things up. I like to experiment with makeup a lot to see what colours work on me and I often use looks I find in magazines to do that.

5. Do you feel that your makeup helps to convey your personality, or is a way in which you can visually and aesthetically construct a sense of self? What are you trying to convey through your makeup, if anything?

I think the way I do my makeup is kind of the complete opposite of who I am as a person, if that makes any sense. To me it’s a way to step outside my own boundaries and express myself in a way I can’t necessarily do in other parts of my life.

6. Why do you wear makeup?

For me, I think makeup just makes me feel kind of like a whole different person and I like that. I love the way I can put it on and by the time I’m finished I’m like “Woah! Look at you!” That might sound kind of negative but I just really love the way makeup can transform you.

7. When did you first start wearing makeup regularly? When did it become an interest for you, i.e. something you actively wanted to talk about, read about, etc? How did that interest develop?

I first started wearing makeup in my second year of high school. It started off super simple with just foundation and some black eyeliner and gradually progressed to me taking more time and effort into my looks. I think it was sometime in late 2013 that I really started to become interested in makeup and all the different things I could do with it. I now find myself looking for new products when I’m out [lipstick has become my weakness] and searching for new things to try.

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“I did a lot of digging to find this gem. This is the look I wore everyday to school for like, an entire year. It was very simple and boring and my eyebrows were..shameful..but I’ve grown a lot since then!”

8. You like to wear a lot of dark lip colours, which is something that I know a lot of people I’ve talked to feel like they can’t “pull off”. What is it about dark lipstick that you like so much, or that makes you feel comfortable? And what are some of your favourite dark lipsticks?

When I first started wearing makeup I never in a million years thought I would be cool with wearing half the stuff I do now. For me, I love the contrast of darker lip colours with my [very] pale skin. I feel like it brings something more out of what ever look I’m trying to achieve. The first dark lipstick I ever bought was Rimmel’s Bordeaux and it remains to be my favourite dark colour to wear and once I was introduced to it, Revlon’s Matte Balm in Shameless became a very close second.

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“I love Shameless so much!”

9. When I think of you one of the first things I think of is how you are super, super interested in music. Would you say that any of the artists you like have influenced your self-presentation, or the aesthetic side of yourself that you’d like to convey to the world?

Absolutely! I definitely get most of my inspiration from my favourite artists. Emily Haines has always been a big inspiration to me in a lot of different ways and actually the first “look” I ever experimented on with makeup was one inspired by her. I absolutely think my favourite artists shape my life more than almost anything else mostly due to the fact that I feel very connected to them through their music. I think that I’ve learned so much through that medium that it would be very hard for me to deny its involvement in me being the person I am.

A big thank you to the lovely Heather for sharing!

I’m placing this series on hiatus for now, but I’m fairly certain it will come back at some point. I love looking into people’s brains and collections, so this will probably not be the last of it.

For anyone who originally expressed interest in being interviewed, feel free to send your answers to me still – I will post them! I’m just not currently actively seeking new people to interview.

My travel makeup bag

Posted on April 12, 2015 under Lists

One of the primary reasons I chose to do my year abroad in the UK was its proximity to other places. I’ve travelled to quite a few European cities, and even wandered off the continent to Northern Africa! And right now I’m in Iceland (see Instagram for proof), although tomorrow evening I will be reunited with Toronto.

It used to be that when I travelled I’d bring at least two makeup bags stuffed with products, never sure what I might want to use. (That goes for my suitcase, too.) Now, I’m down to one makeup bag and one backpack every time I travel, because I know what’s practical for travel and what I consider to be the barebones necessities for doing my makeup while abroad.

There’s no better way to illustrate this then to show you what I brought with me to my trip to London and Brighton last month!

Face Products

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Powder or powder foundation: Due to liquid restrictions and mess factor, I don’t do my entire cleansing routine when I’m travelling. I never feel like wipes adequately get liquid foundation off. Add that to the facts that liquid foundation takes longer to apply, is messy, and doesn’t always hold up super well throughout long days of sightseeing, and you can see why I tend to banish it for the purpose of travel! Depending on how my skin is doing, I’ll bring either a powder just to mattify, or an actual powder foundation.

Concealer: I use a heavier concealer for any blemishes and then a light, illuminating one for under the eyes. I love my L’Oréal La Touche Magique Highlighting Concealer enough to let it take up precious space in my liquids baggie!

Neutral blush: Without fail, I always bring my Lancôme Blush Subtil in Sheer Amourôse with me when I’m travelling. It’s the perfect slightly warm rosy pink that goes with anything, and it’s so slim and compact. There’s no way I’d want to take something like a Benefit boxed blush with me when travelling!

Bronzer: A good bronzer is such a multi-tasker! Besides the obvious, it can work as a contour or an eyeshadow. I often use a neutral cream eyeshadow as a base and then pop some bronzer into the crease – it’s so easy, but very put-together. I find The Body Shop’s Honey Bronzer perfect for this purpose since it’s not so warm that it can’t be used as a contour or crease colour in a pinch. I also find that since I’m doing my makeup quickly and not focusing too much on a flawless base, a quick sweep of bronzer over the high points of my face helps me look healthy and alive! I love tricking people into thinking I don’t retreat into my lair when the sun comes out… (Just kidding. I’m primarily of German and Irish heritage. I’m pasty. It’s in my genes.)

Eyes

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Brow product: Duh. My brows are my first thing I do every day and I could not live without them! I use the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe for this job. Sometimes I bring a product that doesn’t require a separate brush for application, such as Benefit’s Gimme Brow or the Soap and Glory Archery pencil, but this past trip I felt like having my ride or die on hand.

Eyelash curler: Just because I’m travelling doesn’t mean I am not VERY, VERY interested in having perfectly curled lashes! Some things cannot be sacrificed.

Mascara: Normally I’d actually bring a sample size just to save room, but this time I was feeling my Illegal Length.

Eyeliner: Sometimes I’ll go without packing eyeliner, but lately I have been feeling in an eyeliner-ific mood so I bring it with me to complete all my looks. Plus, I feel like I can get away with slightly heavier eyeliner on travel days since my eyeshadow is so quick and simple. I love Stila’s Stay All Day always and forever, especially on long travel days when I have neither the time nor inclination for touch-ups.

Eye primer: When I was in Warsaw I forgot my primer and my eyeshadow creased horribly after only a few hours. I was sort of glad, in a sick way, because it reinforced that, yes, the $30 I spend on my fancy NARS primer is TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Neutral eyeshadow palette: I alternate between bringing a single cream shadow (which I use with bronzer in the crease, as I said above) and a small, multi-tasking neutral palette. Lately I’ve been loving my Naked Basics palette for travel. It has every colour you could possibly need to create a simple, unassuming eye look – and the darkest shade can even be used as eyeliner, saving space in that horrendously tiny liquids bag. (I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but in Canada I always get away with bringing a gallon-sized baggie through security, whereas in the UK they are super strict about using their provided quart-sized bags.)

Lips

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Lip liner: I always bring Rimmel’s Eastend Snob with me, because it’s my favourite lip liner. It’s so versatile! It’s fairly similar in tone to my natural lips, so it works under any lipstick without changing the colour, and it’s so creamy and comfortable on the lips that it’s beautiful on its own as well.

Neutral lip colour: I tend to bring an easy, don’t-even-have-to-think-about-it neutral lip colour with me when I travel and just use that every day. I recently wore down my trusty Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie, my go-to travel lip colour, so lately I’ve been using the L’Oréal Extraordinaire by Colour Riche in Molto Mauve, which is a pinky mauve that’s so easy to just slap on! It also looks great over Eastend Snob.

Bold lip colour: Depending on who I’m hanging out with and what I’m planning on doing, I might bring a more in-your-face lip colour for any special outings or occasions. A favourite of mine is Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution lipstick in Red Carpet Red, because the formula is so amazing and comfortable and the colour is just a classic that will work for pretty much any situation, especially with the more neutral eye and cheek products I bring with me when I travel.

And there you have it: my easy, no-fuss-no-muss travel makeup bag!

(Also, you may notice that these pictures were taken with a nice camera. I used Aisling’s camera to take pictures for a few posts when I was down in Brighton, so you may be seeing some nicer pictures here and there. It has reinforced that an entry-level DSLR needs to become a priority for me when I have some disposable income! After using her camera, my iPhone 5 seems pitiful in comparison.)