Boots No. 7 Restore & Renew Day & Night Serum is an average skincare product that's something of an enigma in terms of its marketing claims. According to the brand, this duo of serums targets the needs of "mature skin." As they describe, one serum is designed for the daytime and the other for night. What the differences are is a mystery that we'll delve into shortly, but what's not a mystery is this subpar serum doesn't surpass its competition at the drugstore due to its lack of anti-aging ingredients and overly fragranced formula.
Packaged in a small squeeze tube, both serums have a lightweight gel texture and dries quickly without residue. Texture is certainly its strong suit, but this is where the good news ends.
We'll start with the aforementioned fragrance: It's potent and reminded us of an attempt at creating an artificial clean scent. ("Smells like 1999 Paul Mitchell hairspray!" proclaimed one staffer.) Having it on your face is somewhat of a brutal experience, as the scent doesn't go away—you simply go "nose blind" to it after an hour or so. See More Info for the details on high amounts of fragrance in skincare products.
Its marketing harkens back to the days where products claimed to be categorized by age range. (A practice that is much less common in today's cosmetics world, thankfully.) If "mature skin" is (inelegantly) in reference to those beyond a certain age range, the ingredient lists are none the wiser and fundamentally indistinguishable from other skincare products that aren't making the same age-related claims.
The truth is that skin needs the same types of beneficial substances to stay healthy, no matter the age of the person wearing it—think antioxidants, cell-communicating agents and reparative ingredients. Unfortunately, Boots Restore & Renew contains a minimal amount of such anti-agers. There is certainly nothing here supporting its marketing claims of addressing signs of aging wrinkles, lack of firmness, or sun damage.
The No. 7 Restore & Renew serums, both Day & Night, are virtually identical. Each is mostly comprised of thickeners, silicones, and a bit of vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside). Nearly all of their beneficial ingredients are listed after the preservative phenoxyethanol. Given their similarities, we have to wonder why Boots bothered with the ruse of either serum being specially developed for daytime or nighttime use. (We would have been happier had they developed just one serum that we could recommend for your skin.) Skin cannot tell time, and it needs great ingredients around the clock.
Boots No. 7 Restore & Renew Day & Night Serum is a formula best left on the shelf. It simply lacks the ingredients needed to make good on its anti-aging claims, and the amount of fragrance is just annoying to have on your face. Rather than spend the $26+ for this disappointing duo, we strongly recommend checking out the alternatives in our list of Best Serums instead.
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).
No7 Restore and Renew Day Serum: Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Isostearyl Isostearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Water, Phenoxyethanol, Rosa Moschata Seed Oil, Polyacrylamide, Dimethiconol, Polysorbate 20, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Parfum (Fragrance), Alcohol, Potassium Hydroxide, Retinyl Palmitate, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Diospyros Kaki Calyx Extract, Cholesterol, Laureth-7, Tetrasodium EDTA, Lupinus Albus Seed Extract, Carbomer, T-Butyl Alcohol, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Ceramide 3, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Phytosphingosine, Ceramide 6 II, Ascorbic Acid, Morus Alba Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Triethyl Citrate, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ceramide 1. No7 Restore and Renew Night Serum: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Gluconolactone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Potassium Hydroxide, Polyacrylamide, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Water, Phenoxyethanol, Rosa Moschata Seed Oil, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethiconol, Polysorbate 20, Parfum (Fragrance), Alcohol, Retinyl Palmitate, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Laureth-7, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Diospyros Kaki Calyx Extract, Cholesterol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Lupinus Albus Seed Extract, Carbomer, T-Butyl Alcohol, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Ceramide 3, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Phytosphingosine, Ceramide 6 II, Ascorbic Acid, Morus Alba Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Triethyl Citrate, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ceramide 1.
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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!