Category Archives: Face

BOOTS: New Skin Treats From An Old-School Brand

THE GIST:144978072

1. Do yourself (and your face) a favor and get to your nearest Walgreen’s or Duane Read for the incredibly affordable, high quality Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil!

2. Boots has put out a few good quality products at a great price point that are definitely worth checking out. I’ve listed them in order of my personal enjoyment of each:

  • Botanics Organic Facial Oil—amazing moisture, high-quality, clean and simple organic ingredients, great price. Perfect replacement for Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil. As always, make sure you are not reactive to any of the natural oils before use, since even natural and essential oils can be irritants to certain skin sensitivities. Ingredients-wise: much better than what you would expect from a mainstream, drugstore product.
  • No.7 Fanomenal Lashes—quick and easy application, gives my lashes instant, full, furry, wow-factor at a drugstore price. I love the brown/black for a more natural look. Very impressive. I actually use this every day. Ingredients-wise: well…it’s make-up!
  • Botanics Tinted Lip Balm—very comfortable, moisturizing balm with great tint. I have “pomegranate” which is a very natural, reddish-berry, flushed lip color. “Botanics” is a stretch here though. It is not organic and has some good ingredients mixed with some of the not-so-great stuff. Ingredients-wise: what you would expect from a mainstream, drugstore cosmetic.
  • Botanics Organic Body Moisturizing Lotion—while I’m not totally amazed with the feel of this lotion (a little greasy/sticky), it’s ingredients are safe and organic, which is a big plus. If you’re concerned about the toxicity of main-stream products but can’t afford really posh brands like Dr. Hauschka or Jurlique, this is a great alternative and it’s more affordable. Ingredients-wise: much better than what you would expect from a mainstream, drugstore product.
  • Botanics Organic Body Butter—this one also has a slightly less than perfect feel, but I’m more comfortable using this over another body butter like The Body Shop’s simply because of it’s non-toxic ingredients. It’s also more affordable! Ingredients-wise: much better than than what you would expect from a mainstream, drugstore product.


I’m obsessed with deeply moisturizing skin-care products. Dry skin is so uncomfortable, plus it can look cracked, deflated and flaky. But I don’t like things that just sit on top of my skin or feel greasy (there’s a difference between oil and grease in my book). I also don’t like products with too many ingredients- especially chemical and synthetic ones. The products that fit this bill are few and far between and often carry a hefty price tag. Historically, the unparalleled products I have sworn by for deep, healthy moisturizing that my skin gladly drinks up are:

  1. Dr. Hauschka’s Normalizing Day Oil—a luxurious, organic, sophisticated and exquisitely, naturally scented oil.
  2. BoomSilk*—a thick and rich, all natural, organic, hand-made moisturizer.

While BoomSilk continues to be a mainstay product that it would be hard to live without, Dr. Hauschka’s products, with their exorbitant price point, have become a rare treat that I indulge in only when I’m feeling flush.

Well…over the course of the last few years, the Walgreen’s and Duane Read stores of New York City have been getting a major make-over, filling their shelves with some thoughtfully curated beauty products to help customers with their own make-overs. One day I happened into one of these fancy new Walgreen’s and came across a make-up line with very attractive (and effective!) packaging that drew me in for a closer look. At first glance it appeared to be a brand call BOTANICS. Skeptical, I investigated further, reading ingredient listings and sampling available testers. It looked promising and I was intrigued but, being in a rush, I had to make note of it for a later revisit.

Then, while perusing my local Duane Read, I noticed similar packaging in the skin-care aisle, but these bottles and boxes said BOTANICS ORGANIC. I honed in on a little bottle called ORGANIC FACIAL OIL. I was at once excited, hopeful and skeptical. But I read the ingredients and, not only were they few in number, they were high in quality. To top it off, it was eight dollars! (Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil is a whopping $40 for 1 oz.) Upon first use, I was madly in love and totally devoted. I keep a bottle in my bathroom cabinet, one next to my bed, one at my boyfriend’s house and one in my kit. LOVE!!!

ABOUT BOOTS: Shortly after discovering the facial oil, I did some research and found that the brand is a subsidiary of Boots. I went to a job and raved about it at which point the British stylist and model said, “Oh, it’s Boot’s?!” You see, Boots is a ubiquitous, English pharmacy chain, founded in 1849. It’s cosmetics don’t exactly have the highest reputation in England, being considered kind of old-hat, but after partnering with Walgreen’s in the US in 2012 it seems they’ve done some revamping, first with their No.7 line and now Botanics and Botanics Organic.

After writing a positive review on the Boots site for the facial oil, I received a lovely note from one of their representatives saying how glad they were that I was enjoying the product. They eventually sent me some other things to try. Overall, the facial oil remains the one that truly blew me away, but the products I’ve listed here are those that I found to be noteworthy and deserving of recommendation.

*Full disclosure: BoomSilk is part of my mother, Cindy Joseph’s, Boom! line. Objectively speaking, however, she has put out an awesome product that we both swear by and use every day. 😉



In general, I’m not a big fan of foundation for daily life. Our skin is our first tumblr_m04tqgRg8p1ql3mo5indicator of our inner state of health. It tells us when our bodies are over taxed. It tells us when we are dehydrated, in need of sleep, stressed, worried, if our pH balance is off, or if we have accumulated too much toxicity in our body (from chemicals or bad foods). It tells us when our bodies need a break.  Additionally, our skin needs to breathe, even more so when it’s irritated. Covering up distressed skin adds insult to injury.

Since our skin tells us when we are engaging in behavior that is hurting our bodies, if we keep it undercover all the time, we run the risk of becoming blind to our bodies’ more subtle red flags. We are then less likely to cease our damaging behaviors and can fall pray to ailments far more severe than pimples or dark circles. For example, smoking tends to give skin a strange kind of oily dryness and a certain quality of wrinkling. When our skin gets this way, it’s an indication that our smoking is having a serious adverse affect on us, that our immune system just can’t keep up with the onslaught of smoke, nicotine and tar. The wrinkles, oil and dryness are an S.O.S.! We can cover our skin with make-up and pretend like it’s not happening, but the damage will continue and the signals will become increasingly severe, like lung cancer.

Interpersonally, covering up our skin also makes it more difficult for our partners and loved ones to “read” us. For example, if I’m really tired and stressed out but cover up my skin, my boyfriend will have a harder time recognizing my stress and exhaustion. In my fragile state, which can skew the way I experience things, I might interpret his otherwise normal behavior as insensitive to my especially weary state. But do you see how I set him up? I find that my boyfriend, given a chance to read all the signs (like my ruddy skin or dark circles) is actually very perceptive and lovingly responsive to what he perceives. Covering my skin, which he uses as an indicator, whether consciously or not, deprives him of the opportunity to be really attune to me and help in the way that makes him feel like a hero (he LOVES being a hero! ;). Really it deprives us of so much. He doesn’t get to show me that he loves me with or without “perfect skin”. I don’t get to feel loved even when I’m a wreck. Essentially, we don’t get to engage in some really loving experiences of support, connection, mirroring, seeing and being seen. We want our partners to be able to “read our minds” right? Well one of the ways they do that is by reading our faces. Let’s give them a chance!

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Having said all that, sometimes we don’t want EVERYONE knowing the depth of our souls. Sometimes we have a show to put on, either literally (on a stage or in front of a camera) or figuratively (at work or just out in the world). In this case, foundation can be seriously awesome!


By “real life” I mean the kind of make up one would do for the naked eye and in this case, LESS IS MORE! The following list is in order from the heaviest to the lightest. What I use on camera can also be used for daily life as they still achieve a very natural, “skin-like” finish. The daily life recommendations are not good for camera, however, because they all have SPF which can interact adversely with flash photography.

Peter-Thomas-Roth-Un-Wrinkle-Foundation-SPF-20-1PETER THOMAS ROTH UN-WRINKLE FOUNDATION– ($45 for 1 oz) This is my absolute favorite and what I use on myself. It evens skin tone, provides SPF protection and allows my freckles to show through. Falling somewhere between a full coverage foundation and a tinted moisturizer in consistency, it is slightly buildable. The real advantage to this foundation is that it’s basically a skin care product with color. Peter Thomas Roth is primarily a skin care line, and a good one, so using this feels less like putting dirt on your face and more like using a good moisturizer with real skin enhancing benefits. The only real sticking point, that actually verges on a moral dilemma for me, is that is only comes in four shades. It’s basically foundation for white people…from pale to tan ones. Why? Why?! It’s 2014! Anyway, though it’s $45 a bottle, you can rest assured that it’s better for your skin and a little does go a long way.

Stila Illuminzing TintedSTILA ILLUMINATING TINTED MOISTURIZER– ($32 for 1.7 oz) When it comes to “illuminizing” I am VERY picky! So many products are just highly visible, glorified glitter. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE glitter, but deliberately wearing glitter and trying to create the effect of luminous skin are two completely different things! I love this Stila product. It’s infused with micro-fine light reflecting, or light diffusing, pigments, which means no big sparkles! Under any light, or under a microscope, you will just look like you have amazing, glowy skin and as if you are not wearing a stitch of make-up! So, if you are trying to dupe your date, rest assured, he or she will be none the wiser. They will only smell the SPF (if they get a kiss) and think you take good care of yourself, even if you don’t (but you should!).

Sense MoisturizerSENSÉ Daytime Protective Emulsion with SPF 15– ($37.95 for 1.3 oz) This is a moisturizer, with no tint whatsoever. So why is it here? Well, it’s a well made moisturizer with safe ingredients that have mild light-reflecting properties. Anything reflective is deflective, obscuring irregularities in your skin and making you look just a little more glowy than usual.


These are foundations that photograph very well while still looking great to the naked eye. So if you have an event or if you’re a make-up artist looking for recommendations…these are my faves!

imagesMAKEUP FOREVER HD FOUNDATION– ($42 for 1 oz) This is number one on my list because of the great combination of price point and performance. It looks very good to the naked eye and the minute my models get in front of the camera the results never cease to amaze me. If I could only have one foundation in my kit, this would be it. At around $40 the price is better for the retail consumer than Armani and even better for pros, since MakeUp Forever has a professional discount program.

Armani luminous silkARMANI LUMINOUS SILK FOUNDATION– ($62 for 1 oz) This stuff is truly remarkable. It is nearly invisible to the naked eye, blends perfectly, maintains a perfect skin-like texture and photographs like a dream. It is full coverage without ever masking the skin and it works just as well on wrinkly skin as it does on smooth skin. What’s also impressive is the color range and the ability of Armani’s make-up consultants to color match for their clients. When friends pull this out, I am always pleased to see that whoever helped them at the counter steered them to their exact right color. At $62 a bottle it is pricey, but a little goes a long way here too. If you are looking to try this in your kit, the colors I’ve used most are 5.5, 6 and 6.5. This is an instance where you really do get what you pay for.

inglot-cream-foundation-profileINGLOT CREAM FOUNDATION– ($22 for 1 oz) I bought this on a whim, just to try it because I was exploring the company’s products and really liked some of their colors, namely 26, 31 and 38. It looks very good to the naked eye and photographs well (though not as magically as the Makeup Forever HD). It is a buildable, full coverage foundation that never looks cakey. I also love the scent and the way it feels on the skin. It’s very pleasant to wear which is why I use it on myself at times when I want a little more coverage, like for a stage performance. At $22 a bottle, it’s a good solid option and Inglot does give a small professional discount. I should mention that I tried to find color matches for 26, 31 and 38 in the MakeUp Forever HD foundation but had no luck. So, these colors will remain in my kit!

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Tip: The best way to apply foundation is to stipple it on, whether with a stippling brush, a sponge, a Beauty Blender or by patting it on with your finger tips. It prevents the product from catching on pores or baby hairs and also guarantees you won’t have any streaking. The added moisture of the Beauty Blender helps to create a more dewy effect, keeping the application from ever looking cakey.