No7 has been a firm favourite in the beauty world since 1935 and has gained itself a loyal brigade of fans because of its affordability. It’s no secret that savvy skincare can get seriously expensive, but No7’s Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum retails at a reasonable £23.95 for 30ml. With an average Boots reviewer rating of 4.5 stars, the Beauty Geeks are intrigued to see if the ingredients really can deliver some impressive results!

The Claims

Over the years the Protect and Perfect line has had some serious media coverage and reading the claims it’s no wonder! Claiming to be UK’s “first serum clinically proven to deliver anti-wrinkle results that get even better over time” and boosting of a “unique complex of anti-ageing technologies” the product is said to help repair, enhance and protect the skin. It’s even supposedly got a clinical study behind it to back all of this up. Interested? We are!

Matrixyl 3000 Plus

Matrixyl 3000 Plus is a peptide blend of an oligopeptide and a tetrapeptide. No7 claims this peptide blend is a powerful anti-ageing ingredient that can repair damage in aged skin and restore key proteins, which are broken down during the ageing process. Palmitoyl oligopeptide is a signal peptide and can act on growth factors to stimulate a process call fibrillogenesis, which is the development of the fibres in collagen and connective tissue, helping skin appear plump and youthful However, there is very little research showing that these peptides are able to live up to these claims when applied topically to the skin. Unfortunately (even after much digging), we couldn’t find any scientific evidence to support the use of the tetrapeptide in the matrixyl 3000 plus and both the oligopeptide and the tetrapeptide feature as the last ingredient on the list, suggesting they are found in low concentrations in this serum, making the Geeks question their effectiveness.

Anti-oxidant Complex

If you’re looking to prevent premature skin ageing, anti-oxidants are a must and No7 have added vitamin C into their blend to combat those early signs of lines and wrinkles. If you’re a BBTG regular, you’ll know we love vitamin C for two reasons. Being an antioxidant, it is first and foremost an excellent scavenger of reactive free radicals: the little devils that contribute to premature ageing by causing damage to proteins and DNA. Secondly, some research has shown vitamin C can increase collagen levels in the skin. Vitamin C is a welcome addition in any skincare product!

No7 have included vitamin E and Retinyl Palmitate (a form of vitamin A) to give vitamin C a helping hand when it comes to mopping up damaging free radicals. Vitamin A and E are also potent antioxidants so will be able to help fight off early signs of ageing, to keep us looking younger for longer.

Hydrating Ingredients

Not forgetting moisturising ingredients, No7 have added glycerin, propylene glycol and sodium hyaluronate in the mix. Glycerin and propylene glycol are humectants so can draw water from lower layers of the skin up to the top layer to help our skin to look hydrated and healthy! Sodium hyaluronate works in a slightly different way, and can hydrate the skin by its unique capacity to hold water (one molecule alone can retain 1000 times its own weight in water!)

Clinical Trials

Its very rare that the Geeks are able to get our hands on a solid product clinical trial (double blind, randomised controlled trial) that is published in a reputable journal (British Journal of Dermatology), so we were excited to investigate the results. The product was tested on 60 (49 women, 11 men) aged 45-80 years, all using the product for 6 months and some using for 12 months – ensuring both short and long term benefits were investigated. The study found that product reduced the appearance of wrinkles and increased the level of a protein called fibrillin-1 that plays a role in increasing the elasticity of the skin. However, the results were not that spectacular in terms of wrinkle reduction and the serum didn’t work on all participants (you can find a comprehensive low-down on the full study by Colin Beauty Pages here)

The Verdict

Although we were impressed to see a clinical study behind this product, we were left feeling rather underwhelmed with the star ingredient “Matrixyl 3000 plus”. Whilst it could be this peptide blend that is giving the positive results shown in trial (seems likely from looking at ingredient list but there is no independent research to back it up), the results from testing weren’t exactly as exciting as all the media coverage implied. Saying that, the product does contain some good ingredients for the price and it’s the anti-oxidant complex that truly delivers on the promise of protecting and perfecting the skin against the signs and causes of ageing, However, antioxidants can be found in most skincare products on the shelves, so we were really hoping for something a little extra to make us as excited about this product as the reviews made it seem.

You can find No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum here.