I have just finished a month-long testing session using Lancôme’s best-selling serum, Advanced Génifique*. Actually, it was slightly more than a month; I managed to tip out the very last drops of serum on day 34, which I thought was pretty good going considering that I’d been applying it twice-daily to face, neck and decolletage! The whole testing idea was sparked off when Lancôme presented me with some recent research on serum use; whereas 55% of UK women buying into the “anti-ageing” sector wanted a cream formulation, only 26% wanted a serum. This really surprised me – I thought that serums were all the rage! But a quick survey of friends and acquaintances showed a definite lack of interest in serums – mainly, I have to say, because most of them didn’t really know what they were for. I suppose I lose sight of the fact that I’m constantly submerged in a sea of beauty information and love sitting reading about the latest products; many of my friends couldn’t give two hoots. They just want to know what works and how much it costs.
Which is why I thought that a month’s trial of the Advanced Génifique serum could be rather interesting. I wanted to be able to sum up in a nutshell the main distinguishing features of a skincare serum – what it did, how it felt, how it should be used – and to this end, I kept a bit of a “serum journal”, noting down my thoughts on texture, ease-of-use, any specific skin changes that I could easily observe and so on. I also gave my admin assistant Rach a bottle of the serum to test – you’ll be hearing a lot more about Rach, she’s a total beauty obsessive who really puts products through their paces! – and she noted down her thoughts too. (You can follow Rach on twitter here, if you fancy saying hello!)
I have to admit, before going any further, that asking me to use a serum for a month was kind of like preaching to the converted; I think that a well-formulated serum is one of the most hard-working elements of any skincare routine. With it, you can quickly deliver your active ingredients into the skin, whether their purpose is to hydrate, calm, protect or repair. But I don’t think that I’ve ever consciously applied a serum and thought about how it fits into my beauty product line-up, how it works with other products or what kind of specific effect it’s having. So I was actually really keen to spend some time thinking about the benefits and advantages (or disadvantages!) of a serum over other product types and textures.
I also should stress that – for the moment, at least – I have no obvious wrinkles. I know that wrinkles and fine lines aren’t the only sign of ageing (we can add in sagging and loss of tone and dark spots and all of the other things we become concerned with) but they are a useful one, if useful is the right word, for monitoring the effects of a product. Hence the bottle of Advanced Génifique that winged its way over to Rach; she’s in her early forties, she has a magnifying mirror and she’s not afraid to use it.
So, on with my serum “journal” notes. A couple of things to bear in mind: to keep things fair and to monitor the effects of the serum as best as I could, I used the Génefique creams from the same range when I needed a product to follow up with. I also used the Genifique Eye Light-Pearl in the eye area, just to keep my testing neat and tidy! (I raved about Light-Pearl a couple of years ago, you can read that post here.) I didn’t try out any new super-duper cleansers during the month’s trial and I avoided any kind of chemical exfoliants. (Shunning my AHAs always gets my heart thumping a little; I dread that my skin will suddenly shrivel up and die!) Let’s take a look at my notes.
1) Daily Use and Routine
Day 8: “This is the first time I’ve used a serum religiously, day in, day out, without getting bored and switching to some other product. I have to say that it’s an easy step; I don’t feel as though I’m adding any hassle to my regime. The Advanced Génifique is incredibly light and absorbs instantly into the skin, which makes it even more convenient. Some serums can be a little oilier or “stiffer” and I find that you need to wait a little while before following up with moisturiser. But this one is quick, easy and I don’t mind having to apply it at all. My routine is cleanse, Génifique serum, moisturise. On very hot days, I skip the moisturiser and apply my SPF over the serum, which seems to work well for me. In fact, I like the simplicity of it and the fact that I’m getting my “treatment” step without needing loads of product layers.”
Rach’s comments: “I’m using this serum straight before makeup in the morning, then following it with a moisturiser at night. I have really dry skin, but it feels enough without moisturiser in the daytime. Perhaps because it’s summer?”
2) Texture and Effects
Day 22: “I’m really used to using the serum now; it feels like a little pep-up shot of skincare coffee before I put on my moisturiser or BB Cream or whatever it is I’m following with. It’s so, so light to apply. No massive skin changes yet, though it does look really clear and maybe a bit brighter?”
Rach’s comments: “The serum is non-greasy, which is important for me. I feel like I get instant results in that my skin looks smoother very quickly – my pores look smaller, and I do feel as though my skin is generally a bit plumper. The main noticeable thing is that a few people have remarked on “how well I look”! Nobody could put their finger on what exactly, just that I looked more youthful!”
3) Overall Notes and Changes
Day 34: “After quizzing Rach on her Génifique thoughts, I’ve had a good look in the magnifying mirror. I do try to avoid this at all costs, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. My skin seems very good, but noticeable differences? There’s a general smoothness, the texture is better and there’s a kind of clarity and radiance to it. Subtle, but definitely there. I have also had quite a few comments on Youtube about a “glow” when I’ve had no makeup on.”
Rach’s comments, after I told her mine: “You’re not going to notice such a massive difference on you, there’s nothing to dramatically improve! I saw a definite change in my skin, I love it. I used too much of the serum at a time, did my whole chest as well, so it would get expensive at that rate, but worth it for me.”
Verdict? My month’s testing has reaffirmed my love for serums; I like that they deliver the skincare “power” without adding a layer of gunk. The Génifique is especially light and fast-absorbing, water-based, with enough “slip” to spread the serum quickly and easily over the skin. I especially like the way that this serum is applied; the bottle has a self-loading dropper and it dispenses just the right amount for one application. You only need a few drops, so it’s better than dispensing loads from a bottle and then not being able to get it back in! Also, if you happen to knock over the bottle when the lid is off (which I did pretty much every day, because I had it balanced on the edge of my ridiculously small sink), the contents don’t all pour out. Overall, a great success. So much so that since my official testing ended, I’ve started a new bottle of Advanced Génifique and have been mixing and matching it into my skincare routine with other products – it seems to sit well underneath pretty much anything, which is a bonus!
Even more of a bonus, though: I have ten bottles of Advanced Génifique for readers to try. It would be great to get your feedback, so if you put your name down for this then please be prepared to report on your findings when you’ve finished it. Even if you just leave a little comment; I’m intrigued to see how different products work on different people. It’s becoming something of a preoccupation, in fact. The Génifique claims are that it “reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improves the appearance of radiance, clarity, firmness and evenness in skin tone and texture“; I think that between Rach and myself, most of these have been ticked off the list, but I’d be really interested to know how it works for other people. If you’d like to give Advanced Génifique a go then please leave a comment below before 12 noon on Monday.
You can find Advanced Génifique serum online at Lancome.co.uk; at the moment if you spend over £30 you get two free samples, chosen by you at checkout, and if you spend £60 there’s a free gift worth over £40. (Code is SUMMERSKIN, enter at checkout.) And if you’d like to try the serum first-hand, then all Lancome counters offer a complimentary Youth Activating Ritual which is a little cleanse-tone-serum-moisturise pamper treatment. Free, no booking required, and the consultant will advise on how best to use your Génifique. Lancôme have also just launched a 20ml size instore, it’s £35, so handy if you want to give it a more lengthy trial session!
Phew – I need a lie down! One last thing; how lovely is the empty bottle (above)? I never usually look at used-up packaging but in this instance, the finished bottle is actually prettier than how it started! The empty dropper looks like a little pearl perched inside the glass. I like the attention to detail. I’ve just noticed that there are a few drops of serum left in the old bottle – I’ve left it standing on its head in the bathroom so that I can use it all up tonight! Waste not want not…
*The product trial and post have been sponsored as part of my work with Lancome