Hello, my darlings! I realize that I have been dreadfully remiss in updating this blog: to quote the immortal classic, Bad Boys 2, in my world, “s**t just got real” and I rather fell behind on my posts. It’s worth mentioning that I am far more diligent about updating Instagram and use it to feature quite a few new products and mini-review. So if you are not following me on there, you might want to give it a shot. Anyway, things are now back to (relatively) normal, so expect lots more in the immediate future. And now, without further ado, the long-promised part 2 of my Bottega Organica review. And tune in tomorrow for an interview with one of its brilliant and delightful creators.
If you read my last post about Bottega Organica, you may have guessed that I am more than a little enamored with the brand: from the science behind it to its ethos, and from the store design to the elegant look of its packaging, it ticks all of the boxes I expect from a high end brand and it quickly became a firm favorite. You can imagine my excitement then, when I learned that Bottega Organica was launching a line of creams! Truly excellent, perfectly-textured and highly active creams are not exactly the unicorns of green beauty, but they are pretty hard to come by nonetheless. Although I have my favorites, the playing field is not exactly crowded with perfect, and perfectly clean, creams, unlike with facial oils, especially since you might notice that out of the three favorites I mentioned, two do contain some slightly iffy ingredients.
All of which is why I am thrilled to report that the Bottega Organica creams absolutely knock it out of the park. All four of them (there is a day and a night cream, as well as an eye cream and a hand cream) have impeccably clean ingredients, feature anti-aging actives and have some of the lushest textures this side of buttercream frosting. I am going to give a quick rundown of each cream, followed by a special treat that I will post tomorrow: an interview with the delightful and brilliant Mary Ahern, the woman behind the jars.
I am starting with the Eye Illuminate eye cream because I am about to make a ridiculously bold claim and want to give you a chance to get your breathing salts ready and recover from the vapors before moving on to the rest of the post: this might very well be the best eye cream I have ever used. I am talking clean, conventional, expensive, even more expensive – this baby has them beat! It has the loveliest texture: super-hydrating and creamy, yet not at all greasy or heavy – great news for someone like me who is prone to milia. It also feels incredibly calming and cooling, just like those chilled cucumber slices from an ad for a spa. Finally, it really does seem to brighten, tone and smooth the under-eye area and I think the effects are both immediate, due to increased hydration, and long-term, thanks to its powerful anti-aging ingredients.
I must admit that I cheated slightly when evaluating the daytime Face Balance Cream, but in doing so I actually got the most ringing endorsement for it possible. It so happened that the package with the creams arrived almost on the same day as my mother. Now, the woman has never looked less than 15 years younger than her actual age (except maybe when she was, like, 20), but after a very stressful few months that included travel between 3 countries and moving into a new house, she was looking slightly less radiant than usual. She was also low on her skincare staples (La Mer for daytime, La Prairie for nighttime/going out) and asked if I had something to tide her over until she had a chance to go shopping. I gave her the Face Balance because I was using another day cream at the time and because I was pretty certain that I would be getting it right back.
My mum is quite particular about her skincare: it has to feel luxurious, not have a particularly strong smell and leave her skin amply dewy (something I did not, frankly, expect from a product billed as balancing and sebum controlling). I never saw the cream again. Or, rather, I saw it in a pride of place on her bathroom counter and heard her ecstatically extolling its virtues, as a jar of La Mer gathered dust right next to it. I can also attest that her skin seemed to regain its usual age-inappropirate glow and elasticity within mere days of use. And if the testimony of a woman of a certain age and exacting standards is not quite enough, I can tell you that the cream is rich, yet light and absorbs quickly and that it has a wonderfully light, slightly herbal scent and a beautiful texture. I can also report that, though we owe them everything, mothers are not to be trusted with precious skincare items.
Thankfully, I didn’t give away my jar of the Overnight Renewal Cream. That’s it, in the heading of this post, pictured with a beautiful bunch of pink lilacs, which are, in fact, nothing like the French lilac used in the cream (it’s a herbaceous plant with anti-aging properties). This is what happens when you Google ingredients in the flower shop on the fly. At least the lilacs are pretty? Anyway, back to the cream. Much like the eye cream, this has quickly become a beloved staple. I know that I keep mentioning texture, but the texture of these products really is exceptional. One of the issues I have with all of the truly clean creams I have tried is that the absence of stabilizers and emulsifiers means that after being used for some time, they can separate slightly. Although this doesn’t seem to affect the quality of the product, it does impact its sensory impact.The texture of the Bottega Organica creams starts perfect and stays that way.
The night cream is rich and feels incredibly luxurious and, despite its richness, it absorbs quite fast, while also leaving a light occlusive barrier to help protect the skin overnight. It also makes my face soft, smooth, hydrated, luminous and fresh when I wake up in the morning. I can really see and feel the difference it makes to my skin and, much like the eye cream, I wouldn’t want to be without it. Speaking of the eye cream, it and the night cream share a grassily-herbal scent that I didn’t immediately love, but which I now find incredibly soothing and comforting. If you are sensitive to smells, there is absolutely no cause for concern: they are incredibly light and unobtrusive.
The final product in the new collection is a hand cream: the Hand Regenerate Cream with Lavender and English Marigold and it’s a perfect example of effective luxury. The cream has a delightful lavender smell and is both rich and incredibly fast-absorbing. I mean, this is the cream you could slap on and go straight back to typing/embroidering fine silks/reading rare manuscripts. While some glycerine-based, fast-absrbing hand creams (like my beloved Osmia, for example) have an almost dry texture, the Hand Regenerate, despite its almost-instant absorption, leaves a silky feeling on the skin.
Not to make this entire post about my mum (though Mother’s Day is coming up soon), but her particular skin emergencies help provide a good benchmark for the effectiveness of the products. In this particular instance, after the move-related busywork her hands were left a calloused, cracked, bone-dry mess. I had her slather the Hand Regenerate on several times a day and they were back to normal within a week. This cream, to my knowledge, also happens to be the only anti-aging hand cream in the green beauty space – something that could be invaluable for those struggling with age-related crepiness, hyper-pigmentation or loss of volume.
Now, you will probably ask if I have any complaints about these products. Actually, I do, but they have nothing to do with ingredients or performance (although I should notice that if you are vegan, the creams do contain beeswax and therefore would probably not work for you). My issue is the price. These are expensive products and their price point does not make them especially widely accessible. That said, they are certainly not the most expensive products even in the green space and most certainly in conventional luxury skincare. If you are a La Mer customer looking to make a switch to a product that is clean, yet just as effective, you would be getting an excellent product for a much lower price. If you can only splurge on one product, you really couldn’t go wrong with any one of them, though if pressed my vote will be for the eye cream.
You might have noticed that I didn’t talk about ingredients quite as much in this post as I usually do. That’s party because I already talked about Bottega Organica’s anti-aging superstar, prawn sage, in my last post, but mainly because there will be plenty of ingredient geekery in tomorrow’s interview with Mary. Stay tuned!