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Boots No7 Restore & Renew Serum: is it exactly the same as the UK version, Protect & Perfect

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
January 27, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 12 Comments
There is a rumor going around that Boots No 7 Restore & Renew, the US version of the British cream, Protect & Perfect that had women rioting in supermarkets for the last few bottles, are not exactly the same. Some people claim that Restore & Renew is not as strong as the original UK version and they are asking friends to bring over the apparently more potent Protect and Perfect.

My first reaction was cynical disbelief. The Boots website says they are the same thing. Surely, e-Bay entrepreneurs have spread this story so that they can jack up sales of Protect & Perfect to desperate American women. Then I thought, if cynical is my middle name, I should look into this one way or another. It turns out the rumor has some truth.


They both contain the active ingredient that got the British scientist to comment that his tests implied that Boots Restore & Renew was almost as good as a prescription cream with tretinoin: retinyl palmitate (a retinol or Vitamin A). They have a whole bunch of other things in common and they are mostly the kinds of things that makes a cream a cream (water and glycerin and so on). But there is one thing that Boots Protect & Perfect has that Boots Restore & Renew does not: my friend matrixyl.

Palmitoyle penapeptide-3, otherwise known as matrixyl, is a peptide with a good track record of clinical trials suggesting that it improves the skin. I don't know why it isn't in the US version, Restore & Renew, because matrixyl is perfectly legal here and exists in readily available potions and lotions. The combination of matrixyl and retinyl is potentially powerful, so claims that the UK cream is stronger may be correct.

Should we try to hunt Protect & Perfect down on e-bay then? Well, it also contains some other nice goodies such as ginseng and Vitamin E. But there is a snag. It is full of parabens. Restore & Renew has just one, methylparaben.  Protect & Perfect has that one plus another four!

Parabens are preservatives but they are not entirely benign and some people would rather stick pins their eyes than use a product containing them. This is largely because a study - one that was controversial and largely discredited - associated parabens with cancer. Even if they are not that harmful, there are two good reasons to avoid them. If multiple parabens are used, the risk of allergic reaction is much higher than if only one is used. Secondly, the Environmental Protection Agency warns that parabens may be getting into the sea via waste and damaging marine life.

On balance then, I'll stick with Restore & Renew and get my matrixyl fix from other sources. Matrixyl is contained in a serum I use by Skin Image, so I'm covered. I get Skin Image from my esthetician in New York, Ildi Pekar, as it isn't easy to find in the US.

Update: Feb 2008. I can finally confirm that the US product and UK one are more or less the same. Thanks to a reader, not the Boots website (which has still not been updated). I can only conclude that Boots - in its rush to get the cream to the US - sent a different formulation and the product has now been reformulated. Boots could have saved a lot of bother by letting its customers know what was going on.
  • April 4, 2018

    by Denise Beauty Consultant

    I am not an expert by any means. I have been using No 7 since October 2017 and have seen excellent results in my aging skin.
    I now have a position with the Walgreens Drug Store company as a beauty consultant. I do have a cosmetology license and have had one since 1979. (that makes me NO expert, but familiar enough to recommend products) I wanted to alert you all to the fact that No 7 can now be found in Walgreens, with a beauty consultant. Due to a merger with Boots and Walgreens, the product can be purchased in the US and is the same product as in the UK based drugstore chain that originally developed it. Because Target and Ulta have a larger cosmetic footprint in the US they can also be found in some of their stores as well. I found this commentary whilst searching for more information to tell my customers and I was excited to read all the comments.
    Thank you for posting this information, it has been so helpful. I will keep my eye out and ear to the ground for any new information.

  • May 23, 2016

    by Norma

    Whilst standing in Boots yesterday I decided to read the ingredients on the tubes of No 7 Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced Serum, and on the No 7 Restore and Renew. I had used both products (separately, one after the other) for some time, with no effect,. I now use other brands containing higher amounts of Peptides and Retinyl, with better results. Whilst reading the ingredients on the No 7 brands I noticed that on the Protect and Perfect tube the peptides were last on the list, which means that they are present in the smallest amounts (compared to the other ingredients listed at the top of the list, meaning they are present in greater amounts). I also noticed that the ingredient Matrixyl was listed in larger, bold text on the Protect and Perfect tubes, and had been positioned right at the end of the tube, away from the list of ingredients. It had already been listed right at the end of the list of ingredients, by its other name - Palimtoyle Pentapeptide-3. The way the word Matrixyl had been added in larger, bold text, apart from the list of ingredients, could lead many people to think that it is present in a greater amount - when in fact it was already listed at the end of the list of ingredients. I was most disappointed that I had failed to notice this before, and not at all surprised that the products had so little effect on my lines and wrinkles. At least both products contain Retynil, which is generally recognised as an effective anti-ageing ingredient, but I was disappointed to note the presence of parabans. How bizarre, also, that the Restore and Renew, for older skins, contained no Matrixyl!
    At least you know that you were not being ripped off, and that the UK Restore and Renew was the same as the US stock.. As for me, I have switched to another brand that contains 'all' of the ingredients I require for my skin, and in sufficiently high quantities, with no potentially misleading additions itemised to stand out on the container.

  • May 14, 2014

    by margaret Easton

    Parabens should not be used in products for women,they are a cheap preservative,and research doesn't look good on using them.The added damage also that parabens May be getting into the sea via sea waste,and damaging marine life is a worry too of its safety.

  • May 27, 2013

    by Bella

    Thank you for alerting us to the presence of parabens in the moisturiser. It is something I will look out for when choosing my new face cream.

  • September 23, 2011

    by anne

    recommend some face moisturizers & creams for lines & wrinkles with less harsh chemicals that are safer

  • September 21, 2011

    by Barb

    Why are you women using something that is full of chemicals, are you that desperate. There are other products on the market that are safe and not full of those awful parabens.

  • October 2, 2008

    by Nancy

    <p>In June 2008 I purchased the UK version while I was vacationing in London. I loved it immediately and experienced smoother skin with more even color. When I ran out back in the U.S., I found it at Rite Aid drugstore, but, as you know, it was remarketed as Restore & Renew. It was good but not as good as P&P. It didn't go on as smoothly and velvety--my skin soaked it up so fast, I used more of it. For now, I'm not convinced that they are the same, since I just bought it in September 2008. I'm going back to (unfortunately more expensive) P&P until I'm otherwise convinced.</p>

  • March 19, 2008

    by Jacine Greenwood

    <p>If you are after a cream with all the benefits of Matrixyl 3000 without the parabens you may want to consider the Australian brand Eclogite. We have been using these ingredients for over 3 years and have a peptide serum that sells for less than the cost of the Boots No 7. It is the same size as the Boots.</p>

    <p> </p>

    <p>for more information</p>

    <p>Jacine Greenwood<br />
    Managing Director<br />
    Eclogite Skin Care</p>

  • February 17, 2008

    by marta

    <p>I think you must be right. Unfortunately I didn't keep the box. If I had to guess, I suspect that I have an early version when Boots rushed it to the US market and it has since updated the product, but not the website.</p>

  • February 17, 2008

    by Lori

    <p>I just purchused Restore and Renew two comments - regarding parabens not only does it contain methylparaben but also butylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparben, and isobutylparaben. The ingredients on the box also include propylene glycol, lupinus albus seed exract, carbomer, panax ginseng root extract, morus alba leaf extract, tocopherol, pamitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide -7. The Boots website must not include all ingredients.</p>

  • January 28, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>Thank you. But I am confused. This is the list of R&R ingredients copied from the Boots website. Cyclopentasiloxane, Aqua (Water, Eau), Butylene glycol, Dimethicone crosspolymer, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Dimethicone copolyol, Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, Polysorbate 20, Magnesium sulfate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium PCA, Retinyl palmitate, Methylparaben.</p>

    <p>No mention of tetrapeptide. What is it that I am not getting? </p>

  • January 28, 2008

    by N

    <p>Thank you for a thought provoking article. But I think you should have checked your facts first and/or contacted Boots Retail USA before publishing. Yes -- there is a difference in the Protect vs Restore, but the both contain Matrixyl 3000. In the English version they use the Tetrapeptide 7 in the US version they use the Tetrapeptide 3 plus the needed cocktail to go with it. I wouldn't send people over to the other side just yet! Boots Refine & Rewind is Restore & Renew's big sister! It has Larch & Alfalfa extracts that tighten and tone the skin, plus Boots Time Dimensions Anti Aging Line contains Matrixyl 3000, Retin A, and a great AHA complex of Apple, Ginseng & Vit C.<br />
    We can still get great skincare at a lower price. Just check into it a little more!</p>

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