boots botanics

Birchbox- January 2014

Welcome back lovely readers to another monthly edition of Birchbox show-and-tell. Birchbox was very good to me in January, so let’s cut straight to the chase and talk some deluxe samples…


Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Let me start off by saying that I’ve been dying to try this product since first hearing British beauty bloggers rave about its skin transforming capabilities. Then when I heard last fall that Birchbox would be offering exclusive Liz Earle sample kits I was over the moon, until month after month my box would arrive sans the cute little Liz Earle blue box. This month that all changed though and I finally got the chance to try what many claim is the holy grail of hot cloth cleansers, and (are you ready for it?) I was left disappointed. Perhaps it just couldn’t live up to its cult status and hype, but there’s no way I’d choose Liz Earle over my current favorite Boots Botanics balm (see love for that stuff here). The bottom line: it’s a good hot cloth cleanser with adorable packaging that doesn’t irritate the skin or sting the eyes, but if you’re looking for something to impart heavy duty moisture or break down serious makeup, I’d still reach for the Boots Botanics.

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy (Midnight Monarch scent) –  I’m loving the hand creams from Birchbox lately, and this version from Camille Beckman is no exception. It goes on rich and creamy and absorbs quickly so you aren’t left sitting around with greasy hands for an hour. The scent is a bit perfumey for my taste, but isn’t overly offensive and doesn’t stick around for too long.  A little goes a long way too, so this tiny pot should last me for at least a week or two.

Nelson j Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7 Moisture Healing Mask – I suppose I should preface by stating that my hair is dreadfully over-processed and dehydrated, so it’s basically a miracle if I notice any sort of difference after just one use of a conditioning treatment. I definitely have no complaints about this argan oil, rosemary, and mint infused mask, it did the job and left my hair feeling moisturized yet non-greasy, I just didn’t work any magic so I probably won’t run out to buy the full size anytime soon.

Ruby Wing nail polish (Kitten Heels) – I wanted to love this little polish, after all my cat’s name is Ruby, and I love a good hot pink mani. I was even more excited to discover that while this polish goes on pink it morphs to a cherry red shade when exposed to sunlight– awesome! The polish went on smooth and fairly opaque (I didn’t use a base coat and it was fine, but I probably will next time just to help the neon pop a bit more) and hasn’t begun to chip although I’ve had it on for a few days. The only downfall is its color-changing claims, which I haven’t gotten to work! Granted, there isn’t much opportunity for sunbathing in New York City in January, but even on a sunny day while walking outside for 15-20 minutes I noticed  no change at all to the color. It’s a good polish though, so I’ll keep it in my stash and give it another go once summer rolls around.

Under Armour Braided Mini Headband – Thank you, Birchbox, this is just what I needed! I’m in the process of growing out an asymmetrical bob that’s pretty unruly, especially when I try to pull it back. This headband fits snugly and stays in place thanks to a rubber lining on the back of the fabric, and its bright colors and braided design pop against my newly darkened hair. When you compare this with lifestyle extras from past months (hello Chapstick and crushed pretzels?) it’s a HUGE win!

Overall I’d say this was a great month for Birchbox, with an excellent combination of products, all of which performed pretty well. I’m excited for what February has in store! Leave a comment and let me know what you got in this month’s Birchbox and how you’re liking your samples. Until next time…

-LMC ♥

Skincare Staples: Boots Botanics Organic Hot Cloth Cleaning Balm

A few months ago I began a quest to update my skincare regime. As I’ve moved past the blemish-prone years of my teens and early twenties I thought it was time to find some products more suited to my current skin type and needs (fairly dry, sensitive, with occasional hormonal breakouts). I also decided it was high time to resist buying products based on the latest fads, or just because they smelled like pink grapefruit or came with a rubberized face squeegee.  Over the next few weeks I’d like to share some of the Skincare Staples I’ve uncovered in this quest to upgrade and streamline my skincare routine.

The first place I went to educate myself on skincare basics was Caroline Hirons, a facialist and skincare expert who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is on her website The first piece of advice I took from Caroline was the magic power of cleansing balms, something I’d never heard of, let alone tried. Made popular through brands like Liz Earle and Emma Hardie, cleansing balms have a thick consistency reminiscent of a lip balm that you rub onto your dry face and then remove with a warm, damp washcloth.

While there are a number of cleansing balms on the market they’re mostly produced by luxury brands, and I wasn’t keen on spending upwards of $30-$100 on a type of product I’d never tried before. Then I stumbled upon Boots Botanics Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm while perusing Target during a trip home a few months ago. Around $8 for 2.1 oz jar (including a muslin cloth) seemed much more reasonable, so I promptly scooped it up to give it a shot.



I’ve incorporated Boots Botanics Organic Cleansing Balm into my evening skincare routine, spreading a generous amount onto my face (after removing makeup with a wipe) and massaging it into my skin. This may be a bit of an overshare, but after working it in for a few minutes I can literally see and feel the clogged pores on my nose and cheeks becoming, well, unclogged. Once I’ve properly massaged the product in for a bit (it won’t absorb, rather you’ll be left looking like you rubbed a stick of butter on your face) I dampen a muslin cloth or wash cloth with warm water and wipe the product off my face. This helps to break down and remove any access make that may have been left behind and leaves my skin feeling clean and purged without that awful tight feeling that some cleansers leave behind.

While I’m always hesitant to tout a skincare item as a miracle worker, I can definitely say this has improved the texture of my skin and left it much more hydrated in the months I’ve been using it. Even better, a little goes a long way, as you can see I’m only one quarter through the tub after a few months of daily use. I’m toying with the idea of upgrading to a high-end cleansing balm when this one runs out– currently I have my eye the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm and the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. We’ll see though, the experience I’ve had with the Boots Botanics Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm has been great, and with its availability at Target and low price point, I may decide that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I’ll be back with more Skincare Staples I’ve been loving in the coming weeks. In the meantime, what’s your favorite item in your current skincare regime? Even though I’m currently using some great products, I always love new recommendations!

-LMC ♥