Boots No. 7 is a UK beauty brand that goes widely unnoticed in the US. It's available in Target and online. It is reasonably priced, although the price has naturally gone up over the years, particularly as a result of its popularity. Online maybe the the best way to get it, as my local Target is often sold out.
I first started using the Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum in 2008 when I won it in a contest from Beauty Snob (now Snob Essentials). I was hugely impressed and began to incorporate it into my beauty routine. For various reasons I stopped using the product a few years ago, but I recently picked up a bottle of the new formulation, Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum , and decided to give it a try.
First, let me say, trying to write this review has been a hot mess. Boots No 7 has reformulated and re-branded its products so many times, it's near impossible to tell what what the hell is going on. So far as I can tell, here is where we stand today:
The Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum is a totally different formulation than the original Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum.
The Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum is really just the now non-existant Refine and Rewind Serum with a name change.
A scientific study has supposedly demonstrated that the INTENSE Serum had proven anti-aging, anti-wrinkle properties. However, the study was paid for by Boots. This doesn't mean that the study isn't accurate, it just means that the company had a very vested interest in the outcome of the study, and that should be taken into consideration. The study was conducted in 2009 and can be found here. Here is a summarized conclusion:
An over-the-counter cosmetic 'anti-ageing' product demonstrated clear benefit over vehicle in fibrillin-1 deposition over a 6-month trial period. There was a corresponding but non-significant trend towards clinical improvement in facial wrinkles. Clinical improvements in the treated group were increased after a further 6-months of use. This study demonstrates that a cosmetic may improve the appearance of wrinkles and further supports the use of fibrillin-1 as a robust biomarker for repair of photoaged dermis.
The important thing to take away here is that 1. It took 6 months for clinical improvement of facial lines, and 2. There is some improvement but it's not particularly significant. But hey, some improvement is better than nothing.
Now, here's my take on things
I felt there was a noticible difference in my skin with the Original serum. I find the Intense serum to be more silicone feeling than the Original. I haven't yet found there to be an improvement in my skin or complexion, but I have hope, particularly as the weather changes and my skin gets drier.
I find a bottle of this product lasts me 2-3 months with regular application at least once a day. A little goes a long way and it leaves a very smooth finish on the skin (thanks to the silicone). My skin is generally okay with the silicone, but a lot of people have reported that they break out using this product.
There is generally $10 difference between the Original and the new Intense serum. If you're on a budget, this may be a consideration.
There are 5 different parabens in this product. We've discussed parabens in LUSH, and I have concluded that for me personally, I find the risks to be minimal at this time, but it is definitely something that you should investigate and evaluate for yourself.
The effective ingredient in this product is fibrillin-1, which is supposedly a less expensive version of tretinoin, the active ingredient in Retin-A and Renova. The Paula's Choice Cosmetic Cop team as determined that this product contains minimal amounts of the other active anti-aging ingredients and that these amounts are so insignificant they likely do not make any difference.
So, what am I going to do?
For me, the major advantage of the Protect and Perfect Serums is the smoothing silicone base, since the other ingredients are relatively minimal and I can get them in larger amounts in other products that are at similar price points (example - Good Housekeeping found the Boots serum and Mary Kay Vitamin C serum to be totally comparable in lab studies). I'm going to use the rest of this bottle. If I decide to repurchase, it will be with the Original Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum while continuing to use the Mary Kay Timewise Repaid Volu-Firm Night Cream, which contains Retinal in a over-the-counter dosage and will give me the anti-aging benefits I really want.