No one can fail to notice that women are increasingly speaking out about menopause, with high profile activists such as Davina McCall, Mariella Frostrup and Lisa Snowdon leading the charge.
HRT’s spike in demand has been dubbed the “Davina Effect” after its television documentaries on the subject. With 13 million postmenopausal women in the UK, brands are scrambling to cater to this market.
In the world of skincare, only a few products have, so far, hinted at the M-word, such as Prai’s MenoGlow range (from £22, praibeauty.co.uk), Korres White Pine Meno- Reverse Serum-in-Moisturiser (£37.60, feelunique.com) and Vichy Neovadiol Perimenopause Plumping Day Cream (£32, boots.com).
But now Boots No7 has entered the fray. After launching his Protect & Perfect serum in 2007, he took the formulation one step further with his “miracle” peptide blend Matrixyl 3000 in 2014.
Women are getting more vocal about menopause with high profile campaigners. HRT’s spike in demand has been dubbed the “Davina Effect” after its television documentaries on the subject.
Now the brand has introduced No7 Menopause Skincare. The collection of four face products – a Matrixyl 3000+ night serum and cream and SPF day cream (all £32.95), plus a cooling face mist (£14.95) – has been ‘co-created’ by 7,000 post-menopausal women in the UK and US. , as the packaging also indicates.
But is specific menopause care anything more than a new marketing spin? GP Johanna Ward, founder of Zenii skincare, whose Rebalance menopause day and night cream (£85, zenii.co.uk) was released this week, says: “We need to avoid flooding the market with supposedly menopause-specific products that only sprinkle clinically proven ingredients and just use the term to sell ineffective skincare.
There is no doubt that No7 has done extensive research on the effects of estrogen loss during menopause. Their research with the University of Manchester found that skin loses plumpness, vitality and radiance as it is less able to make collagen, nourishing oils and hydrating hyaluronic acid, leaving skin in a constant state of low-level inflammation. Taking HRT – which restores estrogen – lessened 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, and avoids potentially irritating actives such as retinol and acids.
It promises to encourage skin to “behave as if estrogen is always there” and targets six major menopausal issues: fine lines and wrinkles, lack of firmness, dullness, dryness, unevenness and redness. or sensitivity.
Women also reported dark circles and bags under the eyes, for which a Menopause Skin eye cream was released in January.
The women in the study loved it (93% said their skin felt soothed). But what does Fiona Brackenbury, independent skin specialist and facialist think?
“It’s well thought out,” she said. “They identified the most important elements: ceramides and lipids to replenish and strengthen the skin barrier, and soy peptides and isoflavones to combat loss of firmness.”
Having tried the range myself for a week, here is what my 54-year-old dry skin thinks…
RIDE WITH IT
No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Glow Serum, £32.95
No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Radiance Serum, £32.95. The line’s flagship product, with a cooling metal roller applicator, combines multivitamins and antioxidants to soothe, replenish radiance and build a skin barrier
SCIENCE: The line’s flagship product, with a cooling metal roller applicator, combines multivitamins and antioxidants to soothe, replenish radiance and build a skin barrier with ceramides (fats), niacimid (vitamin B3), hyaluronic acid and Japanese lily grass, plus soy isoflavones to bind to estrogen receptors and collagen.
HOW DOES IT LOOK? The milky serum felt instantly soothing on my face and neck, which washed it away like a sponge. I preferred to apply it with my fingers to avoid putting on too much.
VERDICT: A treatment that looks like a treat.
SOOTHING THE DAY
No7 Menopause Skincare Protect and Hydrate Day Cream, £32.95
SCIENCE: Lightly scented, lightweight cream that focuses on rebalancing, hydrating and soothing with niacinamide, bisabolol, antioxidants and SPF30.
HOW DOES IT LOOK? A good day cream. Not rich enough for me so I used a night cream underneath.
VERDICT: Nice, but expensive.
No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Glow Mist, £14.95
SCIENCE: Contains organic rose water and moisturizing glycerin to calm hot flashes and hydrate dry skin.
HOW DOES IT LOOK? Evaporates and cools quickly without sticking. The chill comes from the alcohol, which made my skin tight.
VERDICT: Discreet but drying.
NINJA NIGHT SWEATS
No7 Menopause Skincare Nourishing Night Cream, £32.95
No7 Menopause Skincare Nourishing Night Cream, £32.95. Created with ingredients to tackle the six skincare concerns associated with menopause
SCIENCE: Ingredients to tackle the six menopausal skincare concerns, plus shea butter for nutrition.
HOW DOES IT LOOK? My skin loved it. My night sweats were no match for its water retention shield. Skin was soft and supple eight hours later.
VERDICT: Beauty sleep in a jar.