When it comes to skin care, there are many products out there with multiple claims. However, it is fairly rare, mainly because of how skin care works, that you are able to actually see visible results from products.
The Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II Serum is one of the few skin care must haves for me. It has truly transformed my skin, minimised my pores and even helped heal some rashes and burns.
Serums are used prior to a moisturiser and contain some ingredients that might be otherwise difficult to incorporate in a moisturiser cream. As a result, there is definitely merit in using a serum prior to a moisturiser but of course not all serums are worth it.
After some demand for this post, here’s a detailed review and ingredient analysis of one of my ride or die serums, the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II.
Here’s my chemist’s verdict:
The serum has an off yellow colour which likely comes from the yellow dye found in the product. I really don’t think that colouring products is a must and I would have preferred for it to be avoided since a lot of dyes come with possible ingredient negatives such as causing sensitisation or allergies to some.
However, I also understand the power of psychology especially in believing that a product works. If you had to describe what colour a good serum would be, wouldn’t you have picked this one? The colour definitely suits the purpose of the product.
The serum has a watery but slightly oily texture. It is easier to handle than water as it is not as runny but at the same time it is more slippery and easier to spread than water.
It neither feels drying or oily on the face. The texture is definitely spot on.
Theserum has a subtle but sweet, cosmetic oil type of smell. It is pleasant but of course it is not natural, there are fragrance ingredients in it.
It’s definitely not what I would call cheap skin care but it works and I think it is worth the cash.
For 50mL of this serum you will have to pay £75. Most of the money is of course the brand tag, I’m sure you could make this serum for cheaper, but if you can afford it at least you know it works.
It will also last you for 2-3 months or more, depending on usage, so the cost is not as high as it might initially seem.
The outer packaging is fairly simple and plain bearing the standard Estée Lauder design and branding.
The actual product comes in a brown plastic bottle that doesn’t feel or look cheap. It also comes with a dropper which allows easier handling or the product and definitely adds to the psychology of using a serum.
I like the way it looks, even if it’s not particularly girly or pretty, it almost looks clinical and it fits with how I feel about this product. As I mentioned above, this serum has helped my skin with so many issues that I almost consider it “medicine for skin”.
Please bear in mind that my skin issues were simple rashes and burns. If you have a serious medical issue consult with a dermatologist first. I refer to it as “medicine for skin” because it works really well but it is obviously not a drug and should not be used as one.
Practicality of use – user experience
This serum is very easy to use. The texture and the dropper make it practical and easy to apply. It is absorbed really quickly by the skin and doesn’t feel heavy or sticky.
Because it is slightly oily and not completely watery, like for example the Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Oil (see Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil Review – Performance and Ingredient Analysis), it means that you could place it on your hands first and then work into the face.
This serum is suitable for all skin types and ethnicities.
This serum is oil free, dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested (although don’t put it in your eyes!), non-comedogenic (it won’t clog pores), fragrance and paraben free.
This formula is patented until 2033, showing that Estée Lauder is not joking about this one. It has actually been one, if not the most top selling product of Estée Lauder for years.
Some have criticised Estée Lauder for not changing the formulation for years, but I would say “why fix something that is not broken?”.
According to Estée Lauder this serum has been tested and proven on over 500 women*:
The Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II serum has minimised my pores, made my skin smoother and calmer, smoothed out some texture and even though I don’t know if it slowed down any ageing (it is primarily an anti-ageing serum), it definitely gives my skin a more healthy and youthful appearance.
I have been using this serum for years and I don’t envision myself stopping.
This serum contains 40 ingredients.
This serum definitely contains some really nice ingredients that will nourish your skin. It doesn’t really contain any red flags but it does contain two colour dyes that in my opinion, it really doesn’t need to. Overall, this serum will nourish your skin well and is a nice complimentary product to a good moisturiser.
Admittedly, the ingredients, although very good, are not as spectacular as the results might suggest. As a result, it could be the amounts of the ingredients contained that make this serum such a success. Whatever the reason, the ingredients are definitely good and the results are even better.
There are many ingredients in this serum but a lot of them are there for formulation purposes. As a result, and in order to keep this post shorter, I will only be listing the interesting ones, the ingredient positives and negatives, below.
- Water based formulation.
- Bifida Ferment Lysate – Conditions and soothes the skin.
- Methyl Gluceth-20 – Water binder and skin softener.
- Butylene Glycol – A humectant that can preserve water and a skin conditioner.
- Propanediol – Can increase absorption of other ingredients through the skin. Also a skin conditioner.
- Cola Acuminata (Kola) Seed Extract – A skin conditioner that contains caffeine and has stimulating, astringent and anti-irritant properties.
- Hydrolyzed Algin – Anti-oxidant and conditioner.
- Pantethine – A conditioner and form of vitamin B5.
- Caffeine – Potent anti-oxidant, improves puffy eyes, soothes and penetrates the skin providing a constricting effect which reduces redness. Slows down the process of photo-ageing.
- Lecithin – A lipid that improves skin equilibrium.
- Tripeptide-32 – A moisturiser and skin restorer.
- Ethylhexylglycerin – Weak preservative (often used instead of parabens in combination with other preservatives) and a skin conditioning agent. Used in ointments to treat eczema.
- Sodium RNA – A high end, fancy skin conditioner that might have anti-ageing properties.
- Bisabolol – Sweet floral aroma. Perceived to have healing properties. Anti-irritant, anti-flammatory, anti-microbial. Can enhance the absorption of other molecules.
- Glycereth-26 – Skin conditioner and humectant.
- Squalane – Moisturiser, skin conditioner, humectant, source of replenishing fatty acids and anti-oxidants.
- Sodium Hyaluronate – Known in the science community as the fountain of youth compound. Can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, so it is a king moisturiser. Helps wounds heal faster and increases collagen production leading to younger looking skin. For more info and all the scientifically proven claims see “Hyaluronic acid – the fountain of youth?”
- Caprylyl Glycol – A skin conditioner and anti-microbial agent. Also a good moisturiser.
- Lactobacillus Ferment – Skin conditioner.
- Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) – Skin conditioner and soother that has anti-oxidant properties.
- Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure – Skin conditioner and anti-oxidant.
- Hydrogenated Lecithin – Skin conditioner and replenisher.
- Tocopheryl Acetate – A hero compound, more stable form of vitamin E. A good anti-oxidant and conditioning agent that can also moisturise and help with inflammation.
- BHT – anti-oxidant, does not penetrate the skin far enough to be absorbed into the blood stream.
- Xanthan Gum – Skin conditioner.
- Lecithin – Generally considered safe but some suspect this to be a carcinogen. However, there is no proof.
- Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate – Controversial information. It is considered safe however, there are high concerns. Some believe it to have hormone-mimicking effects on laboratory animals. This chemical is found in humans, including mothers’ milk samples.
- Red 4 (Ci 14700) – A red dye. Limited evidence of carcinogenicity. Like with most of such claims, there is no solid evidence.
- Yellow 5 (Ci 19140) <ILN39632> – A yellow dye. It is considered safe but there are some concerns over toxicity. There is really no need to have the two dyes in this product, it could have done without them.
Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:
This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.
If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.
With that being said, the following compounds present in this serum have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Butylene Glycol, Caffeine, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Tocopheryl Acetate, Hexylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol.
This is one of my ride or die products. It contains some really good ingredients and it has transformed my skin over and over again.
My pores have been visibly smaller since I started using this and it’s also one of my “skin medicines” for many occasions. It helps heal small burns, from cooking for example, or deal with small rashes and scars. It even made a friction skin rash that I had for years disappear for me. With that being said, if you have a serious skin condition please consult a dermatologist first.
I highly recommend this serum, it is expensive but it works.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!
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