These Boots are Made for Flying (off the Shelves)

The beauty world is abuzz with news that a drugstore-chain facial serum equals expensive prescription creams in the benefits it has on ageing skin. In March, a British television show conducted an independent study on skin care products. The researchers were astounded by what they found. They discovered that the Boots No. 7 Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum not only lived up to its claims to repair the skin, but was on par with prescription creams for sun-damaged skin. Last month Boots, the 150-year-old British retail chain, introduced its skincare and makeup to the United States. Their "No. 7" line of skincare and makeup has been sold in Britain for seventy years, and is the UK's number-one-selling line of cosmetics. In America, their products are sold exclusively in Target and CVS stores. Here's what has to say about the Protect and Perfect serum:

Scientifically Proven Skincare

No7 Protect & Perfect Serum – as featured on BBC2's Horizon – scientifically proven to repair skin aged by sunlight.

Professor Lesley Regan (one of the UK's most well-respected medical experts) joined forces with the BBC's flagship science programme, Horizon to investigate the world of cosmetic product claims. Having just turned fifty, her mission was to create an 'experimentally proven' beauty cabinet of products to help keep her looking youthful. Research led her to Manchester University where eminent dermatologist Professor Chris Griffiths carried out independent research on No7 Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum and scientifically proved that it repairs photo-aged skin and improves the fine wrinkles associated with photo-ageing.

Key product benefits:

Concentrated levels of collagen-boosting ingredients to smooth out lines and firm the surface of the skin

Skin-protecting antioxidants to help prevent damage from sun exposure, air conditioning and pollution.

Needless to say, after this television program aired, there was a run on this product. Sales of the serum, which debuted three years ago, jumped by 2000 percent. Currently the No 7 Protect and Perfect serum is completely sold out in the United Kingdom, both in the Boots retail stores as well as online. New stock is expected in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, this item is being waitlisted. In the United States, the Protect and Perfect serum is called Restore and Renew. It's available (for the time being) at Target. But many people in the States who are wise to the hoopla over this product in Britain are buying Restore and Renew to sell it on eBay, where the $20 serum (17 pounds in the UK) has been commanding several times its price from people desperate to get their hands on this product. The chemist for Boots who developed the formula is currently working on an anti-ageing body cream, which is due out in October.

Of course, on learning of the miraculous properties of this serum, I ran out to Target and bought a bottle. I resisted the temptation to stock up on it, though. I'll give it the 4 weeks it claims it takes to see visible results before I decide if I can't live without this product. But it feels good and I haven't had any adverse reactions to it. As the much-maligned "Target Lady" from Saturday Night Live would say, "Approved."


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