You have to hand it to the marketing team at Boots (a drugstore chain in the UK), they don’t just hype their anti-aging beauty products, they generate hype that actually works. Their recent launch of Nip + Fab Frown Fix (about $17) had people a wait list of 8,000, threatening to outdo the success of No7 Protect & Perfect Serum, which reportedly had customers “fighting in the aisles” after queuing outside the store. Nip + Fab Frown Fix isn’t in the US yet (although Jennifer Aniston is supposed to be a fan), but the obvious question is whether we should be starting a stateside wait list.

Boots’ marketing people seem to have been flagging a bit when they came up with the name for the Nip + Fab Frown Fix active: Grant X. A bit limp, if you ask me. Looking at the ingredient list, the most obvious instant frown fix is amino butyric acid. This is an amino acid (known as GABA) that acts as a neurotransmitter, inhibiting nerve transmission in the brain and thereby calming nervous activity. By applying it topically, it is supposed to limit expression and the lines created by facial movement. Unfortunately, though, there isn’t any independent research that demonstrates that it works topically.

A more unusual and really interesting inclusion is the herb purslane (listed as portulaca oleracea). Much to my surprise, this might be a frown fixer as well. Animal tests demonstrated it to have skeletal muscle relaxant effects and topical application onto the skin was found to be effective in relieving muscle spasms [Leung & Foster, 1996].

What I don’t understand is what creatine is doing here. This would seem to be a frown maker. Creatine naturally has a vital role in supplying energy to skeletal muscle and nerve cells. It’s been shown to increase muscle strength and raise the body’s human growth hormone. This would seem to be counter to the effects of the GABA and purslane.

Making my brows pucker is barium sulfate. This seems a bizarre addition. It is typically used as a radiocontrast agent in x-rays and in making white paint. I can only imagine that it is used here as a cheap way of whitening the cream. It can be a skin irritant.

Boots bills Nip + Fab Frown Fix as a “filler” and it comes in pen-like packaging enabling you to paint it in your lines for a plumping effect. The only thing here that is likely to do any filling is the high dose of silicone. Although the vitamin-rich purslane seems an inspired inclusion, the rest of the Nip + Fab Frown Fix formula with its tokenistic green tea and panax ginseng, isn't likely to work as well as the hype.


Aqua (water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Barium Sulfate, Amino Butyric Acid, Glycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Creatine, Centella Asiatica Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Benzoate.