Retinol is widely considered the gold standard of anti-aging ingredients – it’s loved by dermatologists and skincare aficionados for its ability to tackle fine lines, sun damage and scarring, while generally smoothing and brightening the complexion.
Derived from vitamin A, it’s available over the counter in different percentages. In the UK this ranges from 0.1-1 per cent.
The best way to introduce it to your skincare routine is by starting with a low percentage, using it only in the evening on clean skin, two to three times and week, and gradually building up your tolerance.
Because of its multitude of benefits, it’s often expensive, so when No7 launched a budget-friendly product for £34 in June 2020, it quickly amassed a 100,000-strong waitlist – the largest ever sign-up for a single product from Boots.
Now, as part of Boots sale, the retailer has slashed the prices of No7 products by up to 50 per cent, and its retinol is part of that, costing just £15.18 for a limited time.
We’ve also tried it ourselves, putting it to the test against Dr Dennis Gross, a high-end brand known for its vitamin A products, so we can vouch that not only is this an absolute steal, but it will also make a difference to your skin. Keep reading for our in-depth review and how to get your hands on this unmissable bargain.
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No7 advanced retinol 1.5% complex night concentrate: Was £34, now £15.18, Boots.com
Housed in a simple yet practical bottle, this squeezy tube is a deliberate choice at it allows you to get the maximum amount of product out. It’s also opaque, which prevents the retinol from degrading due to sunlight exposure.
“The formula is a lightweight, thin, non-oily cream and it has a good slip across the skin, meaning a little goes a long way. It absorbs quickly, leaving no tackiness behind, and is fragrance free,” said our reviewer, adding, “we experienced no irritation or dryness when used every evening (though our skin is already acclimatised to using retinol; we’d still suggest you ease yourself in if you’re a first-timer). After using this consistently for two weeks, our skin was soft, bright and we’d started to see some impact on the fine lines on the forehead.”
While the product label says it’s a 1.5 per cent retinol product, this number is made up of retinol, Matrixyl 3000+ and bisabolol, which combined, help to restore plumpness to slack skin and improve the appearance of wrinkles.
As our reviewer explained, “A 1 per cent retinol is the maximum that can be sold over the counter in the UK, so this product couldn’t be 1.5 per cent concentration, but many consumers won’t be aware of that fact. The reality is that at 0.3 per cent... a gentle, entry-level retinol.”
We loved the results this gave and if you’re new to retinol it’s a great option to slowly introduce into your routine. So don’t be put off if you’ve never used the ingredient before.
Retinol can make your skin more photosensitive, so make sure you’re extra vigilant at applying SPF every morning (you can find one that works for you in our guide to the best sunscreens for your face that offer daily protection without feeling greasy).
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