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  • Writer's pictureMcWhat

The C Word

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Not that word – Christmas!

I am a total fiend when it comes to Christmas, I start my shopping in October and admittedly I do go OTT, but I bloody love it.

I managed to snag an invite to the Boots Braehead Christmas launch last night, where counters were offering exclusive deals and the Christmas gifts for this year were revealed.

Firstly I have to say that Boots has seriously upped its game of late. Its transformation into a beauty hall means that it's now a serious rival for other big names like House of Fraser. The brands themselves still aren’t the same high-end ones, but they’re getting there.

Recent additions of Fenty, Too Faced and Urban Decay mean that the brands are now much more accessible.

My absolute favourite section of the store are the trial sizes of a whole range of products grouped together to allow a wee try of items before committing to buying full-sized. It totally makes me think of being in Sephora!

The Christmas launch kicked off with some complimentary prosecco for me and Fanta for my poor mum, the driver!

I want to share my hauls for the evening and let you know my thoughts on some of the products, I’m working on a separate gift-guide from their Christmas Catalogue – otherwise this article will turn into an essay!

Every person at the event was given a Boots goodie bag upon leaving, and the exciting thing is that they were all different, the bag I got was totally different from the one my mum got so there was definitely some thought into it which is really nice.

In my goody bag I got a card for a complimentary Bare Minerals appointment which was nice, it’s not a brand I’ve ever tried – I have super dry skin so their mostly powder foundations always put me off. Speaking of dry skin, my next product was a 5ml sample of Clarins’ SOS Hydra, a hydrating face mask. It isn’t a brand I often buy for myself, though my mum uses loads, so I’ve tried bits and pieces before. As I write this I’m slathered in the face mask and it’s so refreshingly cool.

Next up was a voucher for 150 advantage card points when making any purchase from No7’s Protect & Perfect range, I’m not sure this is one I’d use for myself but I’ll definitely check out whether any of their masks come under this as I’m a fan of those. I received two sachets of Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Foam, this isn’t something I’ve tried before so I’m excited to see whether it leaves my face squeaky clean.

Continuing my Clarins journey – there is a lot of Clarins to come, they’re very generous! I was given a Super Restorative Treatment that seems to be a bit like a primer, but claims to smooth skin so I’m into it. There were also three sample sachets of Skin Illusion, a hydrating foundation with an SPF. These are in the shade Ivory, I’m pretty pale so I’ll see how they match up – it may still involve a bit of bronzing up! There were a couple of fragrance samples too, one was L’interdit by Givenchy and two Le Beau from Jean Paul Gaultier, I gave these to my husband who spritzed them and I’m so in love! They’re something a little bit different – so I know what he’s getting for Christmas!

To round off this goodie bag, I was given a sample of IT Cosmetics' Confidence in a Cream – I’ve wanted to try this for ages, I wear their CC cream most days, so I think they’ll go really well together.

My mum called to share what she’d gotten, and I was pretty jealous. She received a sample of a Becca highlighter, Benefit’s Gimmie Brow and Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra Wear foundation.

Next up, I’ll share what we actually bought. Over the weekend, when spending more than £50 gave you 20 points for each £1 spent – this is a great deal, so between me and my mum we took advantage.

Clinique is a brand that I haven’t gone near in years, and I’m not too sure why. I used their three step system as a teenager but have drifted more recently. They were doing an awesome deal last night, where any purchase made you eligible for a full size Take The Day Off cleansing balm for free. Worth £24 and quite different to anything I’ve used before I was really excited to give it a try, so I purchased a 30ml Moisture Surge moisturiser, I’ve heard rave reviews of this so I’m super keen to see if it combats my flakes!

Next up, we were back to Clarins, surprise! Here, I picked up something from their brand new vegan range MyClarins, targeted towards younger skin. Clear-Out is a targeted spot treatment, so ideal for the pesky breakouts that keep popping up when I really don’t need them. To bring our total up to £67, my mum picked up a moisturising foot mask – having horrific feet seems to run in our family so I’m real excited for that… (no pun intended).

Buying two products at Clarins gave us a free gift, so we split this. I took the One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, I love products with a scrub as it helps make my skin feel smoother and cleaner than micellar waters. I also took the Lip Oil, as i'm intrigued as to whether these would be balmy or sticky, I’ll report back.

The really nice thing about this gift is that for each one Clarins gives away as part of the deal, they donate 10 meals to children in need across the world.

So again, Clarins are always super generous with their gifts and tonight was no exception. Because we both bought a product, Wendy who was working the event – and a total asset to the brand! – added to our personal records and suggested products for us to try.

My personal selection gave me the chance to try a few things from the MyClarins range.

Firstly I was recommended Re-Move, a micellar cleansing milk. It’s a cute little 10ml bottle, so ideal for travelling. Next, was Re-Boost, a hydrating cream – this 5ml sample won’t last quite as long, but will give me a good chance to try it out.

I got two little samples of Re-Fresh, a hydrating beauty mist. I’m a sucker for a hydrating mist, I use the MAC Fix+ on a day to day basis, but have a lovely one from Superdrug’s Vitamin E range and a Mandarin one from The Body Shop. If these are as good as the competition, I could be converted as I love collecting point with my purchase and with Boots I seem to accrue them really quickly. Lastly, I was given another of my new HG product, SOS Hydra.

The last lot of Clarins freebies were given to most attendees at the event, they came in a full size toilet bag which was such a lovely touch – I’m always looking for new bags to store all my products.

In this one I received another sample of Skin Illusion, an SOS Primer – this colour corrects and can be added to foundation for a luminous finish. There was a pretty chunky sachet of Double Serum too, one of their best-selling products. This is targeted more to ageing skin so I might give this one to my mum – no offence Karen!

There was a 10ml One-Step Cleanser and 10ml Instant Eye Make-up Remover, cracking products for lazy gals like myself. The last product gifted was a whopping 15ml SOS Hydra, it was meant to be! I’m so thrilled with all of the free gifts and samples I received, but I’m so excited to try this out properly as it’s been great just on one try.

For my birthday next month I’m headed to Warsaw for the weekend, and I’ve now got a fully stocked bag to take with me – I can’t wait!

A huge thank you to the Estee Lauder counter for hooking me up with the tickets, and I can’t wait until the next event. I got some serious inspiration for Christmas shopping, so keep an eye out for my gift guide!


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