Boots Botanics Radiance Concentrate Serum All Bright contains a mix of beneficial plant extracts and skin-repairing ingredients. The bad news? Those are joined by potentially irritating citrus extracts and a potent does of perfume-like fragrance. That means you're left with a questionable formula that is likely to do more harm than good.
That's a shame considering that from an aesthetics perspective this formula appeals to a wide variety of skin types. Its fluid, gel-esque texture glides silkily across skin and dries down to an imperceptible look and feel that's great for normal to oily or combination skin. It also layers wells with a moisturizer or another, richer serum—so even someone with dry skin could use it.
Unfortunately the fact that this serum also contains lemon and orange extracts makes the good stuff less compelling. These citrus extracts have skin-sensitizing potential, and the wafting concentration of fragrance is also cause for concern (see More Info for the full explanation on both issues).
What about the claims that Botanics Radiance Concentrate Serum All Bright has "natural AHA" exfoliating properties from the inclusion of hibiscus? Hibiscus doesn't function as an exfoliant so you can forget about that. Still, hibiscus has potent antioxidant and wound-healing properties, and, when protected from exposure to light and air, this type of hibiscus helps interrupt melanin synthesis, leading to improvements in sun-damaged skin (Pharmaceutical Biology, 2013 & Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2013). Unfortunately, the clear, frosted glass bottle that this serum comes in does indeed allow exposure to light.
In the end, Botanics Radiance Concentrate Serum All Bright amounts to a flawed formula that contains a confusing mix of bad and good ingredients, and we think your skin deserves better. Check out our list of Best Serums and Best Skin-Lightening Products for superior options.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Originating in England, Boots is named after founder John Boot, and it already had a worldwide presence before its 2004 pilot launch in the U.S. retail market through select Target and CVS drugstore. (Note: Boots is no longer available at CVS.) Its success in these stores led to a full-scale launch in spring 2007. Boots has been part of England's cosmetic history since 1839, and now over 1,500 freestanding Boots stores dot the British landscape. Of course, history has its place, but Boots, on the basis of their longevity, believes that it offers consumers the best products full of quality ingredients and also at a value price. Although it's true that Boots' price point is lower than many drugstore lines (at least those whose products make similar claims and have the same target audience), their line consists of some impressive options, but also contains some areas that left us wanting for more.
Boots’ sunscreens tend to be good, but be aware that some have SPF ratings below the benchmark SPF 30+. Although there are dozens of moisturizers available, you’ll find that many are indistinguishable from one another in terms of their formulas. While there are many great options for sensitive skin among the Boots’ line, there are much fewer choices for those seeking impressive anti-aging formulas due to the lack of beneficial ingredients.
Boots does feature antioxidants, peptides, and retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A not to be confused with pure retinol) in many of its products, but they tend to be present at less than impressive, or jar packaging compromises their benefits to skin due to light & air exposure.
You'll find some great options for cleansers, scrubs, sunless tanners, and treatments for dry, chapped lips, all at fair prices, and that's good news. (There are also quite a few impressive makeup products at surprisingly inexpensive prices.) Check our reviews for the products that shouldn’t be missed (as well as the less-than-impressive options).
For more information about Boots, call (866) 752-6687 or visit www.boots.com.
Note: Boots No7 and Botanics brands (only) are sold in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart stores. In the U.S., most of the lines can be found at Target, Walgreens, and Ulta. As of August 2015, Boots has been acquired by Walgreens.
Strengths: Inexpensive; outstanding options for sensitive skin; good sunscreens; some impressive makeup products.
Weaknesses: Occasional use of jar packaging; some formulas with limited amounts of beneficial ingredients.
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