I am obsessed about finding a skincare product that promises to work like Botox! As a 46 year old 'botox free' beauty editor who has worked in the industry for over 25 years, I have tried thousands of creams that promise to iron out wrinkles just as successfully as injectables, but very few have come close.
My mission to discover the best 'botox-in-a-bottle' has recently become more urgent. I have a big birthday coming up in 3 years (50!), and my wrinkles, or 'lines of life' as I like to call them, are getting deeper and more pronounced. And thanks to a recent move from the UK to Florida, where the sunshine is hitting my skin hard, my pigmentation is also getting worse. And that's not all: I'm now in the full throes of perimenopause, which means that my skin's collagen levels are depleting fast. So goodbye youthful bouncy skin, and hello saggy jowls! No wonder going under the needle is more tempting than ever.
But, my botox temptation has temporarily been put on pause since discovering that the well-respected cult British beauty brand, No7, was finally launching their new science-backed FUTURE RENEW™ Damage Reversal Serum in the States.
Ever since the range’s UK launch in April, British beauty editors have been in a frenzy about it: writing about its “game-changing” scientific formula that is backed by impressive 'blind' clinical trials that come with Tik Tok trending results. And because it's a brand that I genuinely love and respect, I have been extra eager to get my hands on a bottle.
I have always been a fan of No7 skincare. Not only because their products are relatively affordable considering the research and development that is invested in them (the Future Renew Serum costs $39.99), but also because I have, in the past, witnessed first hand that they really do work.
Back in 2007, I was asked to review their first cult serum, Protect & Perfect, after its wrinkle-fighting peptide technology was proven to work by a well respected British BBC TV science documentary show called Horizon. Even though I was in my early 30s at the time, my skin showed a few early signs of ageing and had a general new-mom tired tinge. A few weeks of testing it out, my skin reacted so positively that I have had a tube stocked in my bathroom ever since. And it's my go-to recommendation for my followers on my Instagram page.
So will the new Future Renew Serum allow me to put my Botox temptations on hold?
According to science: yes! Fifteen years in the making, the No7 team and a group of scientists at Manchester University, created a new 'super peptide' ingredient that 'biohacks' the skin's natural repair process. Tested on a diverse range of skin types on over 4000 women, it delivered some jaw-dropping results. One blind trial showed that 97% of the women who tested the serum had improvements in the appearance of three or more visible signs of skin damage, like uneven skin tone, wrinkles and sagging. No7 were so happy with these results, they proudly presented them at the prestigious annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting in March. Clearly a risk not worth taking if the brand didn't feel confident in their claims.
How does this 'botox in a bottle' serum work?
Over a lifetime, our skin is exposed to many aggressors like UV, pollution, bad diet etc which can lead to wrinkles, pigmentation, dullness, sagging skin, You get the gist. Skin proteins that make up the healthy structure of our skin (collagen, elastin and fibrillin are the ones that you may have heard of) are then exposed to certain enzymes which over time start to eat them up (a bit like how Pac Man eats the pellets in the video game). The enzymes then break them down into peptides, which then signal an SOS warning to the body to kick-start any damage repair. The new patented 'peptide blend' in the No7 Age Renew serum tricks the skin into thinking it has been damaged in order to kick start this renewal process, prompting the production of collagen (the protein that makes skin stronger and smoother) and fibrillin (the protein that gives your skin that youthful bouncy texture).
What's my verdict?
I've only been testing the serum for a week: in the mornings, I apply it to my face and neck after cleansing and before my SPF. And at night, I've been using it after cleansing and before moisturising every other night. The other evenings I use a retinol serum.
As a beauty editor, I have been sent some really expensive serums to try — in fact, the last bottle I finished cost over $600. But I can confidently say that this is one of the most luxuriously textured serums I have ever used. It feels extremely silky as soon as you apply it, yet it sinks into your pores almost right away. Which is always a good sign that is penetrating deep into the lower layers where most of the renewal work happens.
I've never been one to use a separate eye cream, and I found that this is fine to use around my eyes. So unless you are particularly concerned about this area or have extremely sensitive skin, I would happily recommend that you do the same.
I love that I can use it alongside my retinol, too. Mixing potent skincare ingredients in your skincare regime, even if you're using them on different days, can often be a risky business as it may cause sensitivity issues. But luckily this formula has been tested on sensitive skins so it's fine to mix it in alongside other more potent skincare ingredients within your regime.
So far, and it has only just been a week, it has made my skin feel extremely soft, and it definitely looks more glowy. But let's be honest, no cream – not even this one - is going to reverse the clock overnight. I want to see an improvement in pigmentation; a tighter jawline and those annoying lip lines that have suddenly crept up in the last year need to go.
So I have to be patient to see these real results. According to Head of No7 Scientific Research Dr. Mike Bell, and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hope Mitchell, you will see optimum results if you apply the serum daily, morning and night, for at least 3 months.
Going by my past experience with No7, and all of the science-backed technology behind it, I'm feeling pretty confident that this serum will deliver some great results in that time. And I can put my Botox temptations back on hold. For a while, at least.
No7's FUTURE RENEW™ Damage Reversal Serum costs $39.99 and will be available from Walgreens May 26, with additional availability at Amazon and Walmart July 2023.
Also available in the FUTURE RENEW™ COLLECTION is a Damage Reversal Night Cream and Damage Reversal Eye Serum.