Sometimes it feels like there’s a new beauty brand popping up every day – I’ve got at least five examples on my desk right now; new, exciting brands promising to be whizzier and more fantastic than the last. Pop into your local beauty hall today and you have an entire world to choose from. But sometimes it doesn’t always have to be about the newest, latest, shiniest thing. Sometimes it can be about the old faithful. A well-loved favourite. A trusted friend.
Boots No7 has been around since 1935, when it was launched as a skincare brand with the slogan "The modern way to loveliness”. Due to popular demand, make-up was added to the range two years later. In the 80 years since, No7 has launched a succession of hit products, including the hugely popular Protect & Perfect Serum (a year's supply of stock sold out in just two weeks). Last year saw the launch of the Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum – an excellent skin-plumping, bounce-giving serum. And on April 12, Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi Action Serum was introduced. Clinically proven to firm and smooth your face and neck, according to my trusted tester, Elaine, after two weeks of use her skin is looking more radiant and brighter and her cheeks in particular feel firmer.
Any brand that promotes the idea that women of any age, colour and shape are beautiful and worthwhile is more than fine by me
But it’s not just high-performing skincare that makes No7 so super. In a world where young, white and skinny is the default aesthetic used to market beauty products to us, No7 stands out from the crowd. The face of 2016’s Lift & Luminate range was ballet dancer Alessandra Ferri, who, at 53, is the oldest principle dancer of The Royal Ballet. In October, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie became the face of No7 make-up. Fifty-year old stunt woman Amanda Foster stars in the latest ad campaign, directed by Susanne Bier, who was the first woman to win an Oscar, Emmy and a Golden Globe. The message of all of these campaigns has not been simply just about looks, but rather achievement and substance. “We believe that beauty isn’t about showing off, it’s about showing up,” says a spokesperson for the brand. Granted, “beauty for a more confident you” is incredibly trendy right now and, at the end of the day, No7 is trying to flog us cosmetics, but any brand that promotes the idea that women of any age, colour and shape are beautiful and worthwhile is more than fine by me.
Of course, a brand is only as good as its products and No7 has forever been a reliable source for moisturisers, foundations and lipsticks that work and don’t cost the earth. While they might not be in the sexiest packaging or on the shiniest counters, they do the job bloody well. And you can’t argue with that. Sometimes the oldies really are the goodies.
My top 5 buys from No7
This non-smudgy, non-flaky eyeliner offers a strong hit of colour that’s easy to apply. The thin brush means you can go as subtle or as bold as you wish. It comes in classic black, grey, emerald green and purple – all look fabulous on.
This has a delicate smell – fresh, like spring – and dries remarkably quickly without any hint of stickiness. It contains lovely things, like almond oil and vitamin E (antioxidising, protecting and repairing), which leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. It’s also hypoallergenic, so gentle for sensitive skin.
These are just so quick and easy to use – just dot on the colour with the wand and blend it over your eyelid with your fingers. They come in lots of really lovely neutrals and it sticks fast all day – no slipping and sliding. You can also use them as a base for powder shadows to grip to.
A thick, rich cream that feels almost like an overnight treatment, this leaves your skin feeling infinitely softer and smoother in the morning.
A sweet-smelling serum that helps your skin look radiant, brighter and more even in tone. Use for two weeks and notice a difference.