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Wish you could take the guesswork out of skincare and find products that actually work? A groundbreaking new service can help you do just that
t’s amazing how a simple compliment such as, ‘You look fresh-faced today,’ can make you feel on top of the world, yet a bad-skin day (you know, when you glance in the mirror and seem to have aged 10 years since breakfast) has a tendency to leave you feeling, well, rubbish. And the most frustrating thing is that it’s often hard to know what you’ve done differently. So wouldn’t it be brilliant if someone could tell you exactly what products to use? Well – hallelujah! – Boots can, thanks to its new Beautiful You service, available in store and online, which can help you find a tailor-made routine. We asked three readers to give it a go, with the help of Loren Clarke, a specially trained Boots colleague, known as a Beauty Insider.
Delivery director Jennifer Jeffrey, 55, says: ‘I’ve never been particularly worried about wrinkles, but now I’m in my fifties I’ve realised that anti-ageing products should probably be on my radar. What’s more, before the menopause, my T-zone was very oily, but these days I find it’s a lot drier. Unsurprisingly, my sebum reading showed my skin to be practically oil-free, but Loren reassured me this was totally natural and that there were products that could help prevent my face feeling so tight. The analysis also showed I don’t have fine lines or wrinkles! However, a new step I’ll be adding to my regime is an exfoliator. Loren explained that it will help my dry complexion, because it buffs away dead skin cells.’
Jennifer’s verdict: ‘I’ve avoided exfoliators in the past, as my skin can be sensitive. But my recommendations were for sensitive complexions, so I opted for a hot-cloth cleanser – a creamy product you wipe off with a muslin cloth rinsed in warm water. It’s a mini facial every day and it makes my skin feel so soft afterwards.
My sensitive areas haven’t reacted, either. I love my new moisturisers, too – the day cream is really rich, so I only need a tiny amount, and it hydrates all day. The Beautiful You website is now in my favourites bar and I wouldn’t hesitate to have another analysis if my skin changed again.’
Hydrating hero: Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Power Serum, £22.50/2,250 points (30ml)Add
Wipe away the day: No7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser Boots Exclusive £9.95/995 points (200ml)Add
To nourish at night: Garnier Miracle Sleeping Cream, £12.99/1,299 points (50ml)Add
Day cream for thirsty skin: La Roche-Posay Hydraphase UV Intense Riche SPF20, £17/1,700 points (50ml)Add
Marketing manager Laura Kennedy, 38, says: ‘I’m looking for hard-working, speedy products to give my skin back its mojo. But as a mum of young twins, the last thing I want to do is add more tasks to my day. The analysis found that I have combination skin, so my recommendations were products that would target my oily zones and soothe the dry bits. I learned just how much skin ageing is caused by the sun, too, so I’ll be adding SPF to my routine – it will take no time if it’s already in my day cream. Before the analysis, I was stuck in a skincare rut; I wanted to try new things, but I didn’t know where to start. So the in-store part of the experience was brilliant, as I could ask specific questions. For example, I’d heard about serums but I didn’t really know what they were. Loren explained that they’re a concentrated tonic of ingredients, targeted to address different problems.’
Laura’s verdict: ‘A proper skincare regime took a bit of getting used to. At first, it seemed a faff to layer on multiple products (cleanser, serum, eye cream, face oil, moisturiser…), but I started to enjoy it. I loved the serum – it took seconds to apply – and I was even asked for proof of my age when buying wine, so something worked! As a working mum I don’t have the luxury of time, so seeing product recommendations in order of how closely they matched my skin was great. It was a quick process, but it also felt like a treat because it focused on me! And the online beauty cabinet means I can come back to look at products later (basically when the kids are asleep) – perfect!’
The softly-softly scrub: Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, £21/2,100 points (125ml)Add
Fine-line targeter: Boots Time Delay Wrinkle Reduce Daily Serum Boots Exclusive £9.49/949 points (50ml)Add
Fine-line targeter: Boots Time Delay Wrinkle Reduce Daily Serum Boots Exclusive £9.49/949 points (50ml)Currently Unavailable
Skin-plumping moisturiser: Super Facialist By Úna Brennan Neroli Firming Super Lift SPF15 Day Cream Boots Exclusive £16.99/1,699 points (50ml)Currently Unavailable
Beauty sleep in a bottle: Sanctuary Spa Protect Therapist’s Secret Facial Oil Boot Exclusive £17.50/ 1,750 points (30ml)Add
Occupational therapist Emma Clarke, 24, says: ‘Alongside blemishes, I’ve got dry patches, so I’ve been feeling confused about which products to use. I was really surprised to learn that my complexion has average levels of oil, so I actually have a “normal” skin type. Being blemish-prone, I moisturise sparingly, but Loren told me that under-moisturising could make it worse: if skin isn’t hydrated, it can produce more sebum, which may lead to more pimples. We discussed cleansing, too – working in a hospital, I want to be able to quickly wipe away the day when I get home. I’d never used a night cream and I didn’t really know why I should, but Loren explained that they usually contain more ingredients to help nourish the skin while it repairs itself overnight. She was really knowledgeable, offered lots of tips and unbiased advice, and didn’t pressure me to buy anything.’
Emma’s verdict: ‘The night cream has made such a difference to how my skin looks and feels! Usually, I’d wake up to dry patches and my face would feel tight all day, but not now. When it came to choosing a cleanser, I opted for purse-friendly cold cream. It’s an oldie (my gran uses it!) but a goodie, as it’s so quick and easy to use – you just smooth it on, then wipe it off with a cotton-wool pad. I love the blemish gel, too – I’ve been using it whenever I feel a pimple coming, and it helps to stop it in its tracks. Being able to go home and look at my product recommendations online meant I could think about what I was buying and read the customer reviews, which I really trust, as well as keeping an eye on the pennies by ordering recommendations by price.’
Grandma’s favourite: Pond’s Essential Care Cold Cream Cleansing Softening Cream, £3.29/329 points (50ml)Add
The new step: Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright Fade To Bright Intense Brightening Treatment Boots Exclusive £29.99/2,999 points (30ml)Add
Breakout star: Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel, see in store or online for priceAdd
Overnight wonder: Vichy Normaderm Night Detox, £15/1,500 points (40ml)Add
Good all-rounder: New No7 Early Defence Day Cream SPF15 Boots Exclusive £19.50/1,950 points (50ml)Add
Beat those bags: Soap & Glory Puffy Eye Attack Turbo-Boost Hydragel Boots Exclusive £12.50/1,250 points (14ml)Add
1. Set up a profile
To book a consultation with a specially trained Boots colleague (known as a Beauty Insider) at one of the selected larger stores running the service, go to discoverbeautifulyou.co.uk You can also set up your own online Beautiful You profile here.
2. Get your assessment
Prepare for things to get technical! In store, the Beauty Insider uses a hand-held device to assess your skin, then makes product suggestions based on how closely they match your skin profile (ranked in percentages).
3. Open the cabinet
All information is stored in an online profile, so you can go back to it at any time. Plus, there’s a virtual beauty cabinet to keep track of recommended products.
4. Ask the experts
After your skin analysis is complete, you can log in to the website any time you want, to access bespoke tips, trends, tutorials and skincare inspiration.