Boots magic face serum got better

Boots-face-serum-ingredientsBoots No7 best selling Protect and Perfect Serum could lay claim to being one of the best face serums in a value for money category.

Most users are happy with the product and get good results so it is something of a surprise that – not long after the original was so successful – Boots decided to launch another version with a slightly different formulation.

if you are already a user or thinking about buying the Boots serum this could be confusing – so how does the later version differ from the original Protect and Perfect?

The answer is that it all depends on the condition of your skin.

Protect and Perfect Intense is aimed at women with deeper lines and wrinkles and sun damaged skin who want the benefits that the original anti aging serum from Boots No7 delivers but in a more powerful formulation.

Apart from one key ingredient – the formulation is not radically different from the original Protect and Perfect Serum – originally sold in the US as Restore and Renew and which caused a mad rush to buy all over the world.

You may recall that the hype surrounding the original Boots serum arose because – wonder of wonders – Boots showed through clinical research that the product actually worked.

Now in 2012 Protect and Perfect Serum is a best seller world wide with an enviable reputation for quality, efficacy and value. So why change the formulationm?

It turns out they didn’t change it – rather added some enhancements to make it more powerful.

Making sense of the ingredients list

Protect and Perfect Intense is based on the same anti aging compound as the original – this much you get from the advertising blurb – but what is actually in the formulation?

You can look at the ingredients listed but without a bit of translation you may be none the wiser. I asked a friendly cosmetic scientist to give me some clues as to which were the key actives and what they were supposed to do.

The main anti wrinkle actives are – retinyl palmitate which is a vitamin A precursor with lower irritation levels and two peptides (palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7) to firm and smooth lines.

Antioxidants in the serum give protection from free radicals. Look for vitamin E (listed in the ingredients as tocopherol) and sodium ascorbyl phosphate which is stabilized vitamin C for brightening and refining skin tonne.

Like the original serum the intense version also includes natural actives like extract of white lupin (lupinus albus) and ginseng root. The added ingredient in the Intense version is alfalfa extract which intensifies the anti aging effects of the other active ingredients.

Many users comment on the velvety feel of the serum which glides on to the skin – I can vouch for that – it really does have a delightful feel on the skin and works so well under makeup.

According to my expert advisor – this is down to a silicon based compound (cyclopentasiloxane) which is extensively used in hair and skin care formulations for conditioning and smoothing effects. Boots seem to have got the mix just right because silkiness is a real feature of the serum and has been enhanced in the Intense version.

Results from clinical tests

Not surprisingly – Boots have tested the product to a very high level with 70% reporting significant improvements after 12 months use and 50% after only 4-6 weeks. They specifically ran tests which isolated how effective the anti aging ingredients were rather than the base moisturizers.

Results showed that improvements to the skin came from the active ingredients in the formulation rather than added moisture from regular use.  An important point it seems to me.  Any good hydrating cream will deliver some  skin benefits – but how do you know the additional active ingredients you’re paying for actually deliver younger looking skin?

The extract of alfalfa in the Intense version of Protect and Perfect produces a more intensive wrinkle reducing action, making it suitable for deeper lines and wrinkles according to Boots. Protect and Perfect Intense also has a richer more luxurious feel than the basic version which is lighter.

Upgrade or stick with the original?

So the question is – should you upgrade if you’re already a user of Protect and Perfect and if you’re not – which one should you go for?

The original Protect and Perfect is a great beauty serum for dealing with fine lines and wrinkles – the first signs of aging as they appear on your skin – certainly if you are in the younger age bracket for anti aging products – say late 20’s or 30’s.  If you have deeper wrinkles, sun damage and more mature skin then Protect and Perfect Intense   would be a better move.

Looking at user reviews at – there are 105 happy people using the original Protect and Perfect serum with an average five star rating. Results for the Intense version are almost identical – 117 happy users and average 5 star. On Amazon results are similar but spread out over the various offers for the product – prices tend to be better too.

The newer product is only slightly more expensive than the original so obviously a lot of people have tried it and like it. It comes in a bottle with pump or a tube – with the original you only get the tube option. Personally – I think the tube is a better method of delivery as you can get every last drop of the serum by cutting the tube in half when down to the last few drops. With a bottle and pump it is more difficult.

I have used both versions – Boots is my favorite go-to skin care brand for value and I was an early Protect & Perfect adopter after the publicity surge. My personal preference is for the stronger product as I’m starting to see a few of those deeper lines.

The price means you can use it on your neck and there is a body serum from the range which feels just as good, is quick to apply and delivers definitely smoother, softer skin.

The reality is you can afford to try Protect and Perfect Intense  since Boots have set a very reasonable recommended retail price  – especially considering all the testing and research they’ve splashed out on.  The approach of the company according to their official comments is that they believe should be available at reasonable prices and that provided they can sell enough of a product there is no reason to charge more.


About Eileen

I am the publisher of Simply Anti Aging and a web author researching and writing on all aspects of anti aging. I'd love you to connect with me on


  1. Hey, I see that you strap line your site as “a unique site for women of all ages who want to look good for their age”. What about us guys. As far as I can see there’s no equivalent. Can I just say that I’ve been using the Men’s version of this cream (I used to be slightly embarrassed to buy but not any more). I’ve been using for about 6 months. A female colleague asked me if I was wearing “foundation” (whats that?) as my skin looked so smooth lol. So,thata’s a good sign and I’ll keep using it

    • Marcus – I have been thinking for a while that I should write for men as well – as you say there is nothing out there like this site for you. I guess what held me back was thinking there was something different about anti aging skin care for men and how could I write about it as a woman? Actually I think your comment is totally right – products for women will work for men too – some are more suited than others so I should do some work and put up an article or two. Thanks for the timely reminder!

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