No one can fail to have noticed that women are becoming more vocal about the menopause, with high-profile campaigners such as Davina McCall, Mariella Frostrup and Lisa Snowdon leading the charge.
The spike in demand for HRT has been dubbed ‘the Davina effect’ after her TV documentaries on the subject. With 13 million menopausal women in the UK, brands are falling over themselves to cater for this market.
In the skincare world only a few products have, so far, alluded to the M-word, such as Prai’s MenoGlow range (from £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. Having launched its Protect & Perfect Serum in 2007, it advanced the formulation with its ‘miracle’ Matrixyl 3000 peptide blend in 2014.
Women become more vocal about menopause with high-profile campaigners. The spike in demand for HRT has been dubbed ‘the Davina effect’ after her TV documentaries on the subjec
Now the brand has introduced No7 Menopause Skincare. The collection of four face products — a Matrixyl 3000+ serum and night cream and SPF day cream (all £32.95), plus cooling face mist (£14.95) — has been ‘co-created’ by 7,000 menopausal women in the UK and U.S., as the packaging also states.
But is specific skincare for the menopause anything other than a new marketing spin? GP Dr Johanna Ward, founder of Zenii skincare, whose menopause day and night cream Rebalance (£85, zenii.co.uk) is out this week, says: ‘We need to avoid flooding the market with supposed menopause-specific products that contain only sprinkles of clinically-evidenced ingredients and simply use the term to sell ineffective skincare.’
There’s no doubt No7 have done extensive homework into the effects of oestrogen loss in menopause. Their research with the University of Manchester found skin loses plumpness, vitality and glow as it’s less able to make collagen, nourishing oils and hydrating hyaluronic acid — leaving the skin in a constant state of low-level inflammation. Taking HRT — which puts oestrogen back — lessened all these effects.
They pinpointed ingredients to balance out these effects and married them with feedback from their ‘co-creators’. The resulting range focuses on calming, rebalancing and building the skin barrier, and avoids potentially irritating actives such as retinol and acids.
It promises to encourage skin ‘to behave as if oestrogen was still present’ and targets six major menopausal concerns: lines and wrinkles, lack of firmness, dullness, dryness, unevenness and redness or sensitivity.
Women flagged dark circles and undereye puffiness too, for which there’s a Menopause Skin eye cream out in January.
The women in the study loved it (93 per cent said their skin felt soothed). But what does independent skin expert and facialist Fiona Brackenbury think?
‘It’s well thought through,’ she says. ‘They pinpointed the most important elements: ceramides and lipids to replenish and strengthen the skin barrier, and peptides and soy isoflavones to tackle the loss of firmness.’
Having tried the range myself for a week, here’s what my 54- year-old dry skin thinks…
ROLL WITH IT
No7 Menopause Skincare 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 glow and build skin barrier
THE SCIENCE: The range’s hero product, with a cooling metal roller applicator, combines multivitamins and antioxidants to soothe, replenish glow and build skin barrier with ceramides (fats), niacimide (vitamin B3), hyaluronic acid and Japanese Lily Turf, plus soy isoflavones to bind to oestrogen receptors and collagen.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The milky serum felt instantly soothing on my face and neck, which lapped it up like a sponge. I preferred to apply it with my fingers to avoid using too much.
VERDICT: A treatment that feels like a treat.
No7 Menopause Skincare Protect and Hydrate Day Cream, £32.95
THE SCIENCE: Mildly-scented and light cream that majors on rebalancing, hydrating and calming with niacinamide, bisabolol, antioxidants and SPF30.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? 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 rosewater and moisturising glycerin to calm hot flushes and moisturise dry skin.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Evaporates and cools quickly without stickiness. Cooling comes from alcohol, which made my skin feel tight.
VERDICT: Discreet but drying.
NIGHT SWEATS NINJA
No7 Menopause Skincare Nourishing Overnight cream, £32.95
No7 Menopause Skincare Nourishing Overnight cream, £32.95. Created with ingredients to tackle all six menopause skincare concerns
THE SCIENCE: Ingredients to tackle all six menopause skincare concerns, plus shea butter for nourishment.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? My skin loved it. My night sweats were no match for its waterretaining shield. Skin felt soft and supple eight hours later.
VERDICT: Beauty sleep in a jar.