No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum-Activating Pads
Boots’ No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum-Activating Pads are a good – though not perfect – way to exfoliate on the go.
Housed in a jar, this set of 60 cloth pads is saturated in an exfoliating solution, though not so saturated that they’re drippy or messy. The water-like solution is fragrance free, and absorbs quickly into skin, leaving no residual stickiness or tackiness.
The star ingredients included here are the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) glycolic acid, and the polyhydroxy acid (PHA) gluconolactone. Both serve as exfoliants whose ability to help skin shed dead cells can result in a more radiant appearance. Boots claims the amount of glycolic acid here is 10%, which is believable based on its placement in the ingredient list and is enough to yield noticeable results after just a few uses.
At issue is the pH of these pads, which at 4.21, is slightly above what’s considered optimal for maximum exfoliation benefits (the ideal pH range is between 3 and 4). That’s not to say you won’t see any change in your skin, it’s just that it won’t be quite as much as if these were formulated at a lower pH.
Another concern is that this is light on skin-beneficial ingredients outside the exfoliants. There are some skin-soothing ingredients here, but we’d like to see more hydrators (such as hyaluronic acid) or a blend of antioxidant-rich ingredients, given the "serum" in its name. Interestingly though, since there aren’t a lot of these ingredients present, this product’s jar packaging isn’t an issue.
These caveats aside, you’re likely to see changes you want in your skin while using these pads, just perhaps not as many as you would using the selections on our list of best AHA exfoliants.
- Pads aren’t messy or over-soaked in solution.
- Skin care solution is lightweight and absorbs quickly.
- Contains an effective amount of exfoliating glycolic acid and gluconolactone.
- pH is slightly above what is considered optimal for the most exfoliation benefits.
- Formula would be even more impressive with additional beneficial ingredients.
The No7 Protect & Perfect Intense ADVANCED Serum Activating Pads are enriched with a 10% glycolic glow complex, containing both AHAs and PHAS, to exfoliate skin and remove dead skin cells.
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, youll 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.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.