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As beauty brands conquer the middle-aged market, Boots No7 enters the fray with a new range

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No one will have missed the fact that women are becoming more empowered about menopause, with high-profile campaigners such as Davina McCall, Mariella Frostrup and Lisa Snowdon leading the charge.

The spike in demand for HST has been dubbed “the Davina effect,” after her TV documentaries on the subject. With 13 million women going through menopause in the UK, brands are falling over themselves to cater for this market.

In the skincare world, only a few products have hinted at the M word so far, such as Prai’s MenoGlow range (from £22, praibeauty.co.uk), Korres White Pine Meno-Reverse Serum-in-Moisturiser (£22, -, praibeauty.co.uk), Korres White Pine Meno-Reverse Serum-in-Moisturiser (£37.60, feel unique.com) and Vichy Neovadiol Perimenopause Plumping Day Cream (£32, boots.com).

But now Boots No7 has entered the fray. After it launched its Protect & Perfect Serum in 2007, it developed the formulation with its ‘miracle’ Matrixyl 3000 peptide blend in 2014.

Women are becoming more vocal about menopause with high-profile campaigners. The spike in demand for HST has been dubbed ‘the Davina effect’, after her TV documentaries on the subject

Now the No7 brand has introduced Menopause Skincare. The collection of four facial products – a Matrixyl 3000+ serum and night cream and SPF day cream (all £32.95), plus cooling facial mist (£14.95) – has been ‘co-created’ by 7,000 menopausal women in the UK and the US, as stated on the packaging.

But is specific skincare for menopause anything more than a new marketing spin? GP Dr Johanna Ward, founder of Zenii skincare, whose menopausal day and night cream Rebalance (£85, zenii.co.uk) comes out this week, says: ‘We need to avoid flooding the market with alleged menopause-specific products that just sprinkling some clinically proven ingredients and just using the term to sell ineffective skincare.”

There is no doubt that No7 has done extensive homework on the effects of estrogen loss during menopause. Their research with the University of Manchester found that skin loses plumpness, vitality and glow because it is less able to make collagen, nourishing oils and moisturizing hyaluronic acid, leaving the skin in a constant state of mild inflammation. Taking HRT – which brings back estrogen – reduced all of these effects.

They identified ingredients to balance these effects and married them with feedback from their “co-creators.” The resulting range focuses on soothing, rebalancing and building the skin barrier, avoiding potentially irritating actives such as retinol and acids.

It promises to encourage skin to ‘act as if it had estrogen left’ and targets six major menopausal issues: lines and wrinkles, lack of firmness, dullness, dryness, blemishes, and redness or sensitivity.

Women also noticed dark circles and bags under the eyes, for which there is a Menopause Skin eye cream in January.

The women in the study loved it (93 percent said their skin felt soothed). But what does independent skin expert and facialist Fiona Brackenbury think?

“It’s been well thought out,” she says. “They mapped out the key elements: ceramides and lipids to replenish and strengthen the skin barrier, and peptides and soy isoflavones to address the loss of firmness.”

Tried the range myself for a week and here’s what my 54 year old dry skin thinks…

ROLE WITH IT

No7 Menopause Skin Care Instant Radiance Serum, £32.95

No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Radiance Serum, £32.95.  The range's hero product, with a cooling metal roller applicator, combines multivitamins and antioxidants to soothe, replenish radiance and build a skin barrier

No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Radiance Serum, £32.95. The range’s hero product, with a cooling metal roller applicator, combines multivitamins and antioxidants to soothe, replenish radiance and build the skin barrier

THE SCIENCE: The range’s hero product, with a cooling metal roller applicator, combines multivitamins and antioxidants to soothe, replenish radiance and build the skin barrier with ceramides (fats), niacidimide (vitamin B3), hyaluronic acid and Japanese lily peat, plus soy isoflavones to bind to estrogen receptors and collagen.

HOW IS IT GOING? The milky serum felt instantly soothing on my face and neck, which licked it up like a sponge. I prefer to apply it with my fingers so as not to use too much.

VERDICT: A treatment that feels like pampering.

CALMING DAYS

No7 Menopause Skin Care Protect & Moisturize Day Cream, £32.95

THE SCIENCE: Mildly scented and light cream that emphasizes rebalancing, moisturizing and soothing with niacinamide, bisabolol, antioxidants and SPF30.

HOW IS IT GOING? A decent day cream. Not rich enough for me so I used night cream underneath.

VERDICT: Nice, but pricey.

HOT FLUSH BLITZER

No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Radiance Mist, £14.95

THE SCIENCE: Contains organic rose water and moisturizing glycerin to soothe hot flashes and hydrate dry skin.

HOW IS IT GOING? Evaporates and cools quickly without being sticky. Cooling comes from alcohol, which left my skin feeling tight.

VERDICT: Discreet but drying.

NINJA NIGHT KNOW

No7 Menopause Skin Care Nourishing Night Cream, £32.95

No7 Menopause Skin Care Nourishing Night Cream, £32.95.  Made with ingredients to target all six skincare problems of menopause

No7 Menopause Skin Care Nourishing Night Cream, £32.95. Made with ingredients to target all six skincare problems of menopause

THE SCIENCE: Ingredients to target all six skincare concerns of menopause, plus nutritional shea butter.

HOW IS IT GOING? My skin loved it. My night sweats were no match for the water-retaining shield. The skin felt soft and supple eight hours later.

VERDICT: Beauty sleep in a jar.

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