New Boots skin serum has ten ways to make you look younger

When Boots No7 launches a new super serum, the world takes note. It all started back in 2007 when a BBC documentary revealed No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum, £26 here really smoothed out wrinkles – and the UK went wild.

Boots sold five months of stock the very next day and there were queues of shoppers outside stores, desperate to get their hands on it.

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Several No7 super serums have followed, but none has been so eagerly awaited as this month’s arrival. When No7 announced it had created a new serum with no less than TEN anti-ageing effects on skin, more than 100,000 people signed the waiting list without even knowing what it was.

Now it’s finally been revealed as No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate, which you can buy from Thursday 28th June here. It normally costs £34, but it’s launching with an introductory offer of £25 until 30th June.

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As the name reveals, it’s a retinol product and it’s actually the first one No7 has ever created. Retinol has been around forever, so what’s so special about this version?

Let’s start with a quick retinol recap. It’s THE go-to ingredient for anti-ageing because it stimulates collagen, the thing that keeps skin young and smooth. “By boosting skin’s natural collagen you can help skin feel firmer and look more lifted,” says Dr Mike Bell, No7’s Head of Science Research. On the downside, retinol can be aggravating, especially at high concentrations.

Boots says its new serum hits the retinol ‘‘sweet spot”, meaning a concentration that shifts wrinkles with minimal risk of skin irritation. 96% of testers were able to complete the six week trial with No7’s 0.3% retinol formula, and the anti-ageing results were almost as good as the more potent, but more aggravating, 1% formula.

The new No7 serum has boosted its effects by combining retinol with Matrixyl 3000 Plus – the powerhouse behind the mega-selling Protect & Perfect – which boosts fibrillin, the skin’s natural “springs”.

Testers who used this new power duo saw no less than TEN big benefits, with improvements to wrinkles, pores, pigmentation, tone evenness, radiance, firming, texture, clarity and smoothness.

Even if you’re already using anti-ageing products, Boots say you can expect to really ramp up your results by adding this new serum.

In a separate clinical trial, 60 women were given a night cream and SPF30 day cream, which gave some decent anti-ageing effect on their own. However, half the testers were also given the new retinol serum, and those women saw far better improvements to crow’s feet, under eye wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and firmness over the 12 week trial.

Sounds impressive, right? But before you dash out and smother your face in the new serum, it’s important to know exactly how to use it.

Firstly, it’s a night product, and shouldn’t be used at any other time. “Retinol can make skin more vulnerable to UV damage, so you need to be wearing an SPF30+ every day,” says Mike. Do not skip this – sunlight breaks down collagen all year round, so if you don’t wear protection, you’re undoing the good work of the retinol.

If you’re new to retinol, you should build up slowly to allow your skin to acclimatise. “Limit the initial use to twice a week on non-consecutive nights, gradually increasing the frequency,” says Dr Bell. “Then go up to every other night, and move on to nightly, as soon as you can.”

You should also apply a night cream after the serum to protect your skin barrier and improve comfort. Dr Bell advises waiting a couple of minutes for the serum to absorb before applying the night cream as you don’t want to dilute the effects of the retinol.

You should avoid using exfoliating AHA or BHA acids alongside the retinol serum, as this increases the risk of skin irritation, says Dr Bell.

Finally, be patient. Although the trials found some effects on wrinkles after a fortnight, the benefits rose as the weeks went by, with the biggest leap happening between weeks six and 12. Good things really do come to those who wait…

Want even more collagen?

Here’s what else to add to your regime…


If you can’t get along with retinol, or just want a great partner product, try bakuchiol. This ingredient has retinol-like effects on skin, but doesn’t have the downside of irritation. You could use it in the morning, and retinol at night. The INKEY List Bakuchiol, £9.99 here, is a really affordable version.


Research has shown that taking collagen supplements really can increase collagen levels in your skin, but they need to be in the right form. “Look for a supplement that has been hydrolysed into peptide fragments. This will trick your body into thinking it's injured and needs to heal, and also provide your body with the building blocks to do that,” says Illuminate Clinic founder Dr Sophie Shotter, who suggests taking a product combining 10,000mg collagen with vitamin C and MSM. ZENii Skin Fusion, £85 here, is her pick.

Not keen on the taste of drinks and struggle to remember to take tablets? Try Ellactiva Collagen Chews, £20.99 here, which are both clinically proven and helpfully delicious.

Watch your diet

Make sure you eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C, which is critical for the collagen synthesis, says facial aesthetician Dr Krystyna Wilzynski.

“Hyaluronic acid is also an important compound for collagen in the skin. It is found in foods rich in amino acids, such as beans, root vegetables and soy. Adding hyaluronic acid to the diet can easily help to boost collagen levels.” It’s also important to avoid excess sugar, which causes something called glycation, adds Dr Shotter. “This is a process where sugar attaches itself to our collagen fibres, causing them to become brittle, and leading to a lack of elasticity.”

Look to the future

When clinics reopen, there’s a whole menu of collagen boosting treatments to try, including lasers, micro-needling, dermal fillers, Profhilo and Ultherapy. Something to look forward to…

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