Happy Wednesday, today I want to talk about a skincare product I’ve been using for just shy of a month now, which I’ve used almost every day depending on my skin’s situation. I’ll elaborate on that later, so bear with me. Botanics as a brand is a Boots own-brand so you can expect to find them exclusively with Boots. The product itself retails for £5.49 at full price, although I do see this brand participate in sales or offers regularly, so that’s worth looking out for.
To the best of my knowledge, Botanics is a cruelty-free brand, although it doesn’t have any of the common cruelty-free logos on their packaging. This blog post by Vegan Virgo claims to quote a response from Boots regarding the brand’s vegan and cruelty-free status, although the post is a few years old. Other sites like Ethical Bunny also seem to agree with this for now, so I don’t see a reason to doubt their cruelty-free status since these are individuals with much more knowledge than me.
First of all I want to address the packaging, the bottle is quite tall and relatively slim, holding 250ml of product. While I’ve definitely bought slimmer products before, this bottle is slim enough that I couldn’t photograph the claims on the other side of the bottle, so I will be quoting those later. The packaging also uses a twist cap which has enough resistance to it that it won’t pop off or twist off easily if you drop it on the floor (which I’ve done…) or during travel in a suitcase. But it’s also not so resistant that it’s a nuisance to use either, so for me it’s a comfortable medium.
When you first buy the product, the bottle has a decent weight to it, while also not being too heavy. So if you’re thinking about traveling with a product like this, it’s bulky enough that it’s not flimsy and could keep other products in their place during travel, but not so heavy that it feels like a burden. This will adjust as you work through the bottle, but so far I’m not quite 1/4 of the way through my bottle, which for me bodes well, since it’s a shame to work through products really quickly. If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you’re probably aware that one of my favourite mantras for makeup and skincare is “a little goes a long way”. So far that feels to be the case but I’ll discuss that in more depth when this product eventually features in an empties post.
As far as the claims go, I’ll quote them for you now:
A vital skincare step in the journey to glowing skin. Formulated with natural AHAs from the hibiscus plant, one sweep of this energizing toner leaves skin feeling revitalised and prepared to receive your favourite moisturiser.”
One of the things that I was particularly attracted to when it came to this product was the presence of AHAs, as I’m a fan of the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner: a product that is a bit tricky to get hold of in the UK. When I used up my bottle of the toner I was curious to try other Western products that aimed to achieve similar or the same effects. This product doesn’t have the BHA ingredient factor, but it does claim to have AHAs in the form of hibiscus (the namesake of the line) so it intrigued me nonetheless. My skin is oily and sensitive and the product claims to be for all skin types on the front of the bottle’s label, so I was curious to see if my skin would run into issues.
Most, if not all, skincare products have a warning on their label, but I want to put some emphasis on this products warnings as it’s worth bearing in mind if you intend to use skincare with AHAs in them:
“Warnings: Avoid direct contact with eyes. If product gets into the eyes rinse well with water immediately. Do not apply to irritated or broken skin. Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) may increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Apply sunscreen and limit sun exposure during product use and for 1 week after use.”
It’s the latter half that I want to draw your attention to, where AHAs can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. While I didn’t personally experience any increased sensitivity (surprisingly), I think this is largely because I do not go outside often – since I work from home – so my sun exposure is limited which the warnings also detail. I want to draw your attention to it nonetheless, as it’s likely you have a more conventional lifestyle where you commute to work, school, college, etc and so sun exposure is something you may need to think about.
As far as the product itself goes, I use this for very specific circumstances: I use this is my cleanser-toner in one step, and this is when I wash my face first thing in the morning to clean away any excess oil my skin produced overnight. I have a separate skincare product for after I remove makeup which I’ll review in the future, so these two products co-exist to work around my skin’s specific needs. One of the things I can’t do is use these two products in the same routine, as I find the two products have active ingredients that over-stimulate and irritate my skin.
One of the things that annoys me about this product’s ingredients list is the presence of “alcohol denat” which is a type of alcohol that consistently makes my skin unhappy. It’s the second ingredient on the list for this product as well, which from my understanding means there’s a large ratio of it compared to the rest of the ingredients. If you’re curious to check out the full ingredient list, here’s the link to the Boots page for this product.
My skin’s reaction to this product has been varied: when my skin’s not over-stimulated or irritated, my skin handles the formula relatively well, although I do feel the drying effect of the alcohol in the formula. The alcohol does influence the scent of the product, but it’s something I have to actively sniff the bottle to really notice, it isn’t particularly noticeable when I pour the product onto a cotton round or swipe that cotton round onto my face. During sensitive skin days however, this is slightly too much for my skin, so if you have sensitive or dehydrated skin like myself, this is worth bearing in mind as your skin may find this to be a bad match. The majority of the time though my skin is fine with the formula except for the drying feeling from the alcohol – so this product will probably be less of an issue for me during the summer which is when I find my skin’s easier to manage as far as hydration goes.
Ideally, I shouldn’t have to worry about skincare drying out my skin too much, so although I plan to use this product up as I find it works well enough, I intend to look at new Western products or just go back to COSRX and import their products instead. I think if your skin isn’t sensitive or you’re not bothered by alcohol, give this a product a look at, but if you’re like me and prefer to avoid certain types of alcohol like alcohol denat, then give it a miss.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post, it means a lot to me to receive your support. I plan to have another post up this Friday, so I hope you’ll consider reading that post as well. In the meantime, I hope you are happy and healthy, and I’ll speak to you again soon.