£3.99 Boots beauty spray simply boils down to H²O
IT COSTS almost £4, is part of a range of "expert" skin products and claims to be "specially formulated to refresh and hydrate".
But close inspection of this facial spray, on sale at thousands of branches of Boots, reveals its science boils down to one single ingredient: water.
Shoppers who examine the contents on the side of the Expert Sensitive Refreshing Facial Spritz have found it contains only "aqua".
The 3.99 product is part of the Boots Expert range, described as "the definitive answer to those everyday health and beauty problems we all suffer from, but keep putting off.''
On the back of the 150ml can, the manufacturer boasts of the beauty benefits of the product, which includes protecting skin from "dryness''.
It reads: "Sensitive skin needs extra care throughout the day which is why this gentle facial spritz is specially formulated to refresh and hydrate.
"Hypoallergenic and fragrance free, it instantly cools and freshens skin, helping to protect from the drying effects of central heating and air conditioning.''
It also adds that the water is lanolin-free and has been "dermatologically tested".
But yesterday the consumer group Which? warned customers to make sure they were getting value for money.
A spokesman said: "Customers should not get carried away by the promises made by products. Always check the ingredients to ensure you are getting what you think you are paying for.''
Penny Lamb, an adviser at skincare store SpaceNK in Edinburgh, said spraying water on the face would not always be the best way of preventing dryness. "Water on its own won't really help because it will just evaporate from the skin and leave you with the same dryness.
"It needs to be a blend of something, otherwise it is like taking a shower without moisturising - you end up with tight and dry skin. Even rose water would be better, or a recognised moisturiser which locks water into the skin."
Boots admits that the spray is 100 per cent water but claimed it was justified in calling the spray "specially formulated''.
A spokeswoman said: "The ingredient contained in Boots Expert Sensitive Refreshing Facial Spritz is water. This is clearly stated on the packaging as 'aqua'.
"This is the case with most facial spritzes, as the benefit is derived from applying a fine mist of water and allowing it to evaporate quickly to refresh and invigorate the skin. While the product is water, the process it goes through is intense and includes removing impurities and bacteria. The cost of the product is a combination of purifying the water and the technology needed to deliver it.''
Boots also sells a daily moisture cream as part of its Expert range, at 4.49 for 100ml, which is described as "fragrance-free, lanolin-free and dermatologically tested".
The Scottish Consumer Council declined to comment yesterday, while the Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) was unavailable.
A spokeswoman for Highland Spring, whose mineral water is less than half the price of the treated water in the Boots spray, said it had no plans to branch out into skincare.
"The best way of hydrating the skin is to make sure you're drinking enough water in the first place. Many people aren't drinking the recommended two litres of water a day," she said.
Boots is the trading name of Alliance Boots, and was bought earlier this year by American private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in a deal worth 11.1 billion.
Alliance Boots has 3,000 chemists around the world with 2,600 in the UK. Its distribution business supplies 125,000 pharmacies.
CREAMING OFF THE PROFITS
DRESSING up plain water as something special does not have a happy history of winning consumer confidence. Three years ago, Coca-Cola ran into trouble after selling treated water from south-east London as the designer drink Dasani. It dropped the product after an outcry and the discovery that it contained bromate in carcinogenic levels.
On the cosmetics front, however, Boots has had greater success with its 16.75, 30ml jars of No7 Protect & Perfect beauty serum. It became one of the most sought-after items in Britain after a television documentary this year identified it as one of the few anti-ageing creams that actually worked.
Sales increased by 2,000 per cent overnight, stores amassed four-figure waiting lists, the company's website had 4,000 requests in one evening, and single jars of the serum were changing hands for 100 on eBay.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
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Wind direction: North east