Skincare Science: Botanics Radiance All Bright Serum

Skincare Science: Botanics Radiance All Bright Serum

I must confess I have never used a serum before (gasp!) and as a beauty blogger I decided this needed to change! As an ever-curious scientist the product I chose was Boots Botanics Radiance Concentrate Serum All Bright (currently on offer for £3) which, the box informs me, has been ‘scientifically proven to brighten the skin in 2 weeks. Energises the skin for a visible, radiant glow’, what more could you want? The Botanics range (featured VERY early in The Scientific Beauty’s life, excuse the photography!) has been developed in association with Kew Botanical Gardens and features some interesting plant-derived ingredients which piqued my interest so I couldn’t resist purchasing. So what science is lurking in this Botanics serum?

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At the top of the ingredient list we have Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) fruit and leaf extract which is quite a commonly used ingredient in cosmetics as it is a skin-conditioning agent and also an astringent. The extract’s astringent properties will cause the skin cells to contract slightly giving a tightened, dry sensation which will help to constrict pores and control oil production. This tightening is something that you can feel immediately after applying the product as it sinks in and is great for oily skin like mine but perhaps not the best if you have dry or irritated skin. I do feel that my shinyness is reduced on days when I have used this serum under my foundation so clearly the science works! Side note – Astringents can be found in many places in nature and also in food products such as tea and wine which is why we get a dry sensation in the mouth after a sip of merlot!

Up next is the Hibiscus flower extract which has a historic range of useful properties for the skin. It has anti-oxidant qualities which could prevent the signs of ageing from appearing by reducing free-radical damage. It has also been shown to interrupt melanin production which when used long-term could actually improve sun-damaged skin. The brightening effects that Botanics claim is becauses the extract has mild alpha-hydroxy acid properties. Much like glycolic acid, this means that it gently exfoliates the very top layer of skin, the layer which is older, drier and duller due to increased UV exposure. Once this layer is removed the cells revealed underneath appear brighter and have a smoother texture, giving an overall brightened appearance! Sounds like the folks at Botanics are onto something with this hibiscus flower extract!


When looking into the properties of hibiscus I found lots of reference to it’s ability to inhibit the enzyme elastase, responsible for breaking down the plumping and elastic proteins from the skin as we age. This of course led to claims that it can plump skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. However, the original scientific paper states that the key molecule involved, hydroxyhibiscone A, is extracted from the root of the plant and not the flower, so be careful how you interpret hibiscus-claiming products!

The star players in the Botanics Radiance Concentrate Serum All Bright seem to be scientifically sound! Interestingly many of the emulsifiers, binders and skin conditioning agents used in the product are also plant extracts, so the developers at Kew Gardens have really gone all out in producing a great product from their plant sources! (Though remember ‘natural’ does not mean good for you, and ‘synthetic’ does not mean bad for you – see my longer post on this here)

So am I a serum convert? Well yes! I love this product and have added it to my daily skincare routine, so thumbs up from me! Do you have a favourite serum or product from the Botanics range?



Pharmaceutical Biology, August 2013, pages 941-947; and Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, January 2013, pages 45-49