Boots No7's Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi-Action Serum has the requisite lightweight, silky texture all skin types will enjoy, not to mention it definitely smooths fine lines and wrinkles (albeit temporarily). Unfortunately, it can't make good on its most enticing claims and the fragranced formula lingers on skin, posing an ongoing risk of irritation, so we can't strongly recommend it.
In terms of anti-aging ingredients, this serum contains a type of vitamin C known as 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid. It isn't necessarily better than other forms of vitamin C but has been shown to be more stable and easier to formulate with than pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Props to Boots for packaging this serum in an opaque squeeze tube so this air- and light-sensitive ingredient remains stable. Unfortunately, although vitamin C in any form is a great ingredient for skin, that's where this serum's anti-aging power peaks.
Sadly, the rest of the formula is built around fragrance (it's quite potent). So, while other anti-aging ingredients like peptides and ceramides are also included, their prominence is downplayed in favor of creating a wafting scent.
Boots claims this serum can make skin look lifted but whether we're talking facial or neck skin, it simply can't do that. You might see or feel increased firmness, but visible signs of sagging will remain—that type of lifting is beyond what even the best skincare products can do.
Last, this serum doesn't contain anything special for the neck. Any well-formulated serum should be applied to your face, neck, and chest. You'll find such options on our list of best serums & boosters.
- Lightweight, supremely silky texture.
- Smooths skin texture and softens the look of wrinkles.
- Contains an intriguing mix of vitamin C, peptides, and ceramides.
- Doesn't contain anything special for the neck.
- Cannot lift sagging skin.
- Contains more fragrance than state of the art anti-aging ingredients (except vitamin C).
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Discover No7's first multi-action serum delivering clinically proven results for the face and neck. After the first application, face and neck feel smoother; after 1 week, face and neck look more radiant and feel firmer; after 2 weeks, face and neck look younger, revitalized and lifted.
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 shouldnt 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
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