Here it is – the beauty secret that I have been waiting to share with you… FOR THE LONGEST TIME!
The Story: I have been using Botanicals Organic Skincare range for about 7 years now. I was first inspired to use it because I was searching for an organic skincare range that was made in England and didn’t include any of the ‘nasties’ that were found in mass-produced, commercial ‘skincare’ products. Most of the names on the back of supermarket-bought products I couldn’t even pronounce let alone tell you what was in them, and the thought of putting them on my skin really alarmed me. Not only that, but none of these products were actually helping. Back in 2010, I’d recently come out of a car accident with scarring to the left side of my face, three broken teeth, and acute Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that meant my stress levels, emotions and related skin problems were running at an all-time high. Reeling from the physical and mental effects of this (I was 19 at the time and didn’t really have any coping systems in place), I was desperate for something that wasn’t packed full of chemicals that was going to help cure my skin and, if possible, lessen my scars. This was the foundation on which I came to get to know Botanicals.
It was when I began to read more about the company’s ethos and products that I realised that I had discovered much more than a company that was proudly organic and made in England. After 7 years, I can honestly say that I have also found a skincare company that I trust implicitly. I believe in their work, and I have lessened to the point of almost invisibility the appearance of the scars on my face.
Below are just a few of the many aspects that I love about Botanicals:
- No artificial colours, fragrances or harmful preservatives – particularly pertinent here is the fact that they are free from hormone-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, which are often found in synthetic scents.
- All products are cruelty-free and vegan
- All products are biodegradable
- Packaging is either made from recycled products or is recyclable
- They are inspired by the countryside surrounding the small Leicestershire village in which they are made
The creation of Botanicals products has included inspiration from Reiki (energy healing), aromatherapy, and herbalism. This holistic approach to their creation is because the Botanicals team believe that ‘beauty comes not only from the care and nourishment of the skin, but also from the emotional and spiritual benefits of plant essences’. Botanicals products therefore often include several different natural ingredients, such as plant extracts and essential oils, all chosen for their holistic benefits to human well-being.
Now, on to the products. I have decided to give a step-by-step account of exactly why I love the particular balms, moisturisers, body scrubs, exfoliators, and cleansers that I use every day, reviewing them for their range and the many uses I put them to, several of which are slightly unconventional! It’s always good to explore how organic products can be used in more versatile ways than previously assumed, and hopefully it will provide some inspiration of how you can use them as well.
First up, we have the Cleanse & Polish for Normal, Dry & Mature Skin in Rose and Camellia. £25 for a 60g pot. This is an exfoliating cleanser that I use daily in the bath. You can use this cleanser even on broken skin, and it takes the heat out of spots. I recommend being in the bath and putting it on with your fingertips on a damp face. Rub gently in circular motions all over your face and leave it on for as long as you like. When you’re ready, gently wipe it away with a warm damp cloth.
The Botanicals organic cotton cloths are great to use with their products, but I use a flannel and it works just as well. You can use this exfoliator on top of make-up – i.e. to take it off – but I prefer to use the Nourish Cleanse Melt beforehand for this purpose, which is what we are moving on to next.
The Nourish Cleanse Melt in Rose & Camellia, £26 for a 60g pot, would probably be my ‘starter’ recommendation for someone who hasn’t used Botanicals before. I’ve got 4 points to explain why.
1. It’s a natural alternative to most make-up removers out there – you can put it straight on to make-up to remove it, you can use it to remove eye make-up, and it won’t sting. Just take a fingertip amount and rub it over your face and gently over your eyes, leave on for a couple of minutes and wipe off with a damp warm cloth. No water needed when applying – it’s better on a totally dry face. Even if you just go straight to bed without having a shower or anything, just taking your make-up off, you can take the Nourish Cleanse Melt to bed with you because…
2. You can use it as a moisturiser as well. So this isn’t explicitly what its original use was for – it’s called a cleanser on Botanicals – a ‘natural daily cleansing balm which dissolves make up, lifts impurities and leaves the skin feeling nourished, soft and hydrated’ – but I use it to great effect as a moisturiser as well. I put it on at night (every night, to be exact….), leave it on when I sleep, and wake up with the softest skin.
3. And it is actually a brilliant cleanser as well… again – dry face and hands when first applying is better as it is more effective and ‘sticks’ to your face. This is a smoother product than the Nourish Face Polish – more of a balm than an exfoliant cleanser – so if you are looking for something without any ‘graininess’ at all then this is for you.
4. I have also used it to lessen the appearance of scars and heal broken skin. This is probably the best /most surprising thing that I have found (I am not guaranteeing that this will work for everyone, although I hope it does) about this product – I’ve found that it actually speeds up the healing process better than any other product I’ve used, even better than BioOil, which is what was recommended to me by the doctors. It’s this that has made the most difference to my skin. I also had scarring on my back (not from the car accident, thankfully) and have used it there and on my shoulders to great effect, just leaving it on overnight and putting it on before bed works wonders. And, whenever I have a bad skin day, I put it on in the morning or under my make-up as a moisturiser and it takes the heat and redness out of spots. I can’t recommend it enough.
Next up we have another favoured bath product of mine, and I wish I could show you what this looks like inside, but…
Alas, it’s all gone! Good thing this is on my Ethical Girl Christmas Wishlist 2017 so I can show you again another time… Hint, hint to all my loved ones!
You can kind of see what it looks like here. The texture is a grainy, light, slightly oily balm and it smells DI.VINE – the Lemongrass & Ginger Revitalising Body Polish, £25 for a 175g pot. This is body scrubbing at its best – I use this all over my body except from my face. This one is best applied when wet, which is why I love to use it in the bath and rub it in in circular motions with my scrubber. The organic cane sugar used in its composition is great at removing dead skin and leaving you feel really shiny and CLEAN. Plus, this is the only body scrub I’ve ever used that doesn’t dehydrate the skin and leave it feeling dry once you’ve washed it off – you can still feel the sunflower seed oil and shea butter on your skin after you get out of the bath or shower… Mm.
And after that, I always use one of the first products I ever bought from Botanicals – the Lemongrass & Mandarin Revitalising Body Lotion, £22 for a 200 ml bottle. I almost feel as though I need to apologise for the state of this bottle – as you can see, it has been used A LOT. Although, I hasten to add, this is thankfully not the same bottle that I bought first 7 years ago – that was a different scent with a different label / packaging to what Botanicals do now! That really would be stretching it.. The moisturiser that never ends!
Having said that, I have had this very same bottle since April 2017 (it is now November of the same year), so it has lasted quite well. I used to keep it in my desk drawer at work and use it as a hand lotion – it’s perfect for raw, chapped skin – not a heavy moisturiser, but it moisturises deeply. NOW, I have another beauty secret to share with you and a different use this moisturiser can be put to. I know this sounds like an odd thing to do, but hear me out – have you ever had really dry legs after shaving them with well-known shaving foam, like the one by Venus for example, or any other ladies shaving foam company? Have you ever had ingrown hairs, or red, visible tiny follicles where the hair has been shaved? So this is what I had all the time, and it was so annoying, it’s so off-putting when you shave your legs and I quite like having smooth legs. So instead of using shaving foam when wet etc. etc., I covered my legs in a layer of this moisturiser when they were dry, let it sit for about a minute and then shaved directly off that. I keep a piece of tissue beside me to wipe some of the excess moisturiser away from the razor, and then, once I’m happy everything is silky smooth, I apply another layer of this moisturiser and – ta-da! Done. I’ve never experienced the red follicle dots, rashes or ingrown hairs I used to get, and I can A) pronounce and B) trust every ingredient that’s in my new ‘shaving foam’. Happy.
Another one for the bath, or just to layer on and sit at your computer watching a film after a long day. The Revitalising Renewal Mask in Rose Clay & Rosehip, £20 for a 35g pot. This really is Botanicals luxury. I put this on dry, make-up free skin and leave it for as long as I like, usually about 10 minutes, but you can leave it on for longer. Unlike most face masks, this DOES NOT DRY AND GO FLAKEY AS THOUGH YOU’VE PUT A HEAP OF MUD ON YOUR FACE AND LEFT IT THERE. HOORAY. No one likes a ‘mud face’. I mean, some might, but let’s not go there now.
This is recommended to be used once a week, but I use it two or three times sometimes, depending on what kind of week I’ve had…. it’s a luxury, but sometimes it a necessary one, and it really makes your skin glow.
Both of them have a gorgeous silken smooth texture – it kind of feels like crushed up rose petals and lots of shea butter would be like together, not that I’ve ever felt that. But that’s what I imagine it would be like, if I had. Hence, obligatory rose picture above. The Foot Balm I have used successfully to treat SERIOUSLY dry skin on my feet (like horrible cracked heels) and corns on my big toes (sorry everyone for being really graphic here..). I put it on at night after my bath and really rub it in before I go to bed, as though I’m giving myself a little foot massage, which is actually really nice, P.S., in case you don’t do this already or are lucky enough to have a partner who does it for you! Sometimes it’s nice to do these little things for yourself. ALSO – another little secret – when you run out of the Foot Balm (I always end up running out of the Foot Balm before the Hand Balm because… well, my feet are bigger than my hands), you can use the Hand Balm on your feet and it will have exactly the same effect. They are both perfect for treating really hard to beat cracked, dry skin on both hands and feet. So if you run out of one you can use the other, and vice versa!
Whoops… sorry, I know I said that was the last one.. but here’s another one for good measure. BONUS REVIEW: the Nourish Face Balm, now called the Nourish Night Balm in Rose & Camellia, £24.50 for a 30g pot. This is another luxury – I CANNOT describe to you how pampering this feels. Richer than the Nourish Cleanse Melt (which, as we all know, is my favourite), but not heavier, this is like laying on the ultimate deluxe (cannot believe I just used that word, but didn’t want to use luxurious again) moisturiser for your face.
It’s very balm-like in texture – soft and creamy and silken. You only need a small, fingertip-sized amount for your whole face because, when you heat it up between your fingers first, it goes a long, long way, hence why I haven’t needed to use very much. I use this after a session of the Revitalising Mask sometimes when I need a little extra skincare boost, or the night before a party when I would like my skin to look extra glowy. I’ve heard a lot of people tell me about their ‘can’t-live-without’ moisturisers – the ones that cost £90, and above. The ‘Oh I can’t live without ‘La Mer’, it’s the only thing I’ll ever use’ beauty reviewers of this world. Well, this is my ‘La Mer’. It costs less, you can pronounce and trace everything on the ingredients list, it’s 89% organic, it’s made in England by people who love and respect the countryside and the environment, and it smells better. So there, ‘La Mer’.
Botanicals Organic Skincare is certified organic by the Soil Association. There are very few companies who similarly specialise in organic body-care products who hold this telling certification, guaranteeing that Botanicals are true to their ethos.