Review – Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

Sometimes I guess things really do come back in a full circle. I remember when I was just getting into skincare, I would sneakily use either my mum’s or older sister’s Advanced Night Repair serum and tried to see whether the hype about this product was real. Well, I was around 19 years old and didn’t really have much to repair (lol lol), so the effect that I saw was just better hydration.

In February this year, while I was waiting for my flight to Beijing in the airport, I decided to browse the Shilla duty-free stores. As my husband can attest, that was a dangerous move for my wallet as I would always walk away with something. That something included this product – the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II. I was curious about how it would fare for my skin after all these years so I bought it to try.

Back in 2013, I realised that this super iconic serum had a revamp. Estee Lauder had reformulated their Advanced Night Repair serum into Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II. The key improvement lies in their patented ChronoluxCB™ Technology. Apparently this ChronoluxCB™ Technology helps not only protects skin cells from damage in the first place but also helps them repair themselves from damage quickly (sorta like Wolverine powers in a skincare serum format.. super fast regenerative ability.. lol..). However when I began to think further, I realised that this sounds very similar to the claims that antioxidants typically have on the skin. So what makes this patented technology different from other antioxidant serums? I was curious and decided to dig deeper. What I found out surprised me and I thought that I should share my findings with you.

Now at this point, you should know that I’m not a dermatologist, a skincare chemist or a cosmetic scientist. I’m a civil engineer who’s a skincare enthusiast and my interpretation might not be totally accurate.

Before we begin, you might want to take a look at its ingredients list below:

The thing which caught my attention about this ChronoluxCB™ Technology was that Estee Lauder claims that it helps to boost the catabolysis activity in the skin. Apparently, catabolysis activity helps skin cells eliminate internal debris that can cause cellular damage, which in turn optimizes cellular performance and helps increase skin’s overall repair. Considered a critical ageing pathway, the efficiency of the catabolysis repair process declines with age and becomes de-synchronized from the night. Together, with skin’s circadian rhythm, the discovery of this natural cellular repair function reinforces the critical link between night and skin’s natural repair processes. The ChronoluxCB™ Technology seemingly  helps support the natural synchronization of skin’s nighttime renewal process so that skin renews its appearance at exactly the right time with patented “clock gene” technology.

Note: Originally the catabolysis activity was studied by scientists for the symptoms of dementia and how a decline in catabolysis activity in brain cells could lead to this condition. However, Estee Lauder wanted to study if the same theory could be applied to skin cells as well.

I know… It sounds incredibly like some hogwash PR marketing dribble.. When I first heard it, I couldn’t help but to raise a sceptical brow. So in order to quench my desire to cut through the marketing bullsh*t, I decided to search for more information and see if this ChronoluxCB™ Technology was really the sh*t.

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Is ChronoluxCB™ Technology really the sh*t??

In my search, I came across the patent that was filed in 2009 by Estee Lauder about their ChronoluxCB™ Technology (Click here for details). While I was going through their patent, I was quite surprised to find out that their patent was actually for the whole composition of the ANR serum and not just one aspect of the ChronoluxCB technology. In fact, the patent was for “a skin care composition comprising at least one keratinocyte CLOCK or PER1 gene activator and at least one DNA repair enzyme; a method for inhibiting damage to human keratinocytes due to environmental aggressors by applying a composition comprising at least one keratinocyte CLOCK or PER1 gene activator and at least one DNA repair enzyme; and a method for repairing DNA damage in human keratinocytes“. The Chronolux technology mentioned in the patent actually refers to a peptide named Tripeptide-32.

To my utmost astonishment, I discovered that the ingredients list on my bottle of ANR serum does not even have that ingredient. However, I saw that the ingredients list on their official USA website does include that ingredient so I’m kinda stumped as to what happened. To clarify, my bottle of ANR serum is bought from the Changi Airport Duty Free Shop so I’m certain that I didn’t have a fake product. 

In any case, although Estee Lauder likes to emphasize on the Chronolux technology aspect of their ANR, their testing was based on the whole composition of the ANR which includes ingredients such as Bifidus Ferment Lysate and Lactobacillus ferment, which are the repair enzymes. Therefore it should work to a certain extent in the repair of the skin.

How does the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II fare?

Despite my misgivings about the bold claims made by Estee Lauder, I do think that this serum is a good overall “anti-ageing” serum. Whenever I use this serum, I will notice that my skin looks more rested, calmer and slightly brighter. Despite the fact that it doesn’t claim to be a hydrating serum, I do find this product to be quite hydrating. Sometimes, I would even skip using my hydrating serums if I use this product at night. One thing which surprised me about this serum is that it has a “heft” to it. It is not at all a watery serum. Hence, I think that oily combination skins might want to keep this product in their nighttime routine only because it feels slightly tacky before it absorbs into the skin.

Since it is not an “active” serum in the sense that it contains AHA/BHA, retinol or Vitamin C, I do not think that it’s fair to expect this serum to have super drastic effects on your skin. Nonetheless, if you are around mid-twenties to early thirties and are discovering that your skin looks and feels slightly drier or more tired than usual despite eating and sleeping as per normal, maybe you would like to give this serum a try. This serum will give a gentle boost to your skincare routine without the harsh and sensitizing effects that “true actives” would have on your skin. The thing about using the Estee Lauder ANR serum is that you’ll need to give it time to work. As I’ve mentioned earlier, it is not a “true actives” serum so it works much slower. Nevertheless, give it time and you should see your skin looking more refreshed and less dull or tired.

Now I know that my review might make you think that my feelings towards this product is kinda meh (lol!). But I’ve already purchased a 100ml sized of it even though I’m only halfway through my 50ml product so make of that what you will.

Where can you find it?

I bought this product from Changi Airport Duty Free Shop. However, you can purchase it from any Estee Lauder beauty counters. It retails at S$122 (30ml sized), S$170 (50ml sized) and S$217 (75ml sized).

Thank you for reading!

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Foundation of Skincare: Double Cleansing

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This picture has no relation whatsoever to my post.. I just really love Big Bang’s T.O.P.. Lol..

Double cleansing is a phenomenon that has blown up over the past few years in the western beauty world. This was very surprising to me since I have been doing the act of double cleansing since I was 19 years old (FYI, I’m going to be 33 years old this year!). Essentially I have been following this routine for 14 years and had also, perhaps naively, thought that everybody was more or else doing the same thing as me.

So what is double cleansing? Well, it is exactly as its name implies – you cleanse your face twice! I worked part-time for a beauty brand during my university days and vividly remembered an encounter with the beauty counter manager who tried to explain the concept of double cleansing to me. She asked me whether I have the habit of showering everyday. At that time, I was mortified and thought that she was hinting that I smelt kinda funky. However, she carried on to ask me another question. She asked if I wore my clothes while showering. I replied “Of course not!”. Then she started to explain that double cleansing is akin to the act of removing your clothes before you shower. Just as removing your clothes before showering/ bathing is essential to washing yourself clean, using a makeup remover to remove your makeup/ sunscreen before you wash your skin itself is important for your skin to be thoroughly cleansed. This concept has stayed with me ever since.

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T.O.P agrees that you should remove your clothes before you shower!

Double cleansing is the foundation of a proper skincare routine. If your skin is not thoroughly cleansed of all the dirt and makeup or sunscreen that accumulates throughout the day, all other skincare products layered on top would not be absorbed properly. If I’m going to be very harsh, I could even say that it’s useless applying all your expensive serums or moisturisers if you are not going to wash your face thoroughly.  

By now, if you are convinced that you want to start double cleansing, I have a few tips to get you on the way. The first cleanse would usually be used to remove your makeup or sunscreen. My first cleanse typically consists of either cleansing oils or balms to remove my super waterproof Japanese sunscreen as well as my makeup. Sometimes I would use micellar water as my first cleanse if I’m wearing a non-waterproof sunscreen or light makeup.

Here’s a bunch that I’d used before and really loved.

First Cleanse (Cleansing Oils/ Balms/ Micellar Water)

  1. Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil (Read full review here)
  2. Dr Lewinn 4 Fusion Cleansing Oil (Read full review here)
  3. Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (Read full review here)
  4. Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water (Read full review here)

For my second cleanse, I usually prefer using low-pH cleansers. Some of them are foaming cleansers and some are more milky/ creamy in texture. Below are some products that I’d used before and loved.

Second Cleanse

  1. Oskia Citylife Cleansing Concentrate (Read full review here)
  2. Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser (Read full review here)
  3. Omorovicza Moor Cream Cleanser => I didn’t really like this cleanser much at first but after I’d gone through one whole tube of it, I find that I kinda missed using it. It’s actually a very nice cleanser. (Read full review here)
  4. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser (Read full review here)

I hope that if you are reading this and had not incorporated double cleansing into your skincare routine yet, this post will inspire you to start. Join us in our glorious world of double cleansing, won’t you?

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Review – NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex 2 (MMHC 2)

NIOD’s Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex (MMHC) was one of the first few products that I had reviewed back in May 2017 when I just started my blog (Read full review here). I knew at that time that Deciem was in the midst of revamping the formula for MMHC and was about to release MMHC2 in a few months time. I’ve always wanted to try MMHC2 for the longest time but got distracted by some other hydrating serums along the way that I never got to it.

Well, as luck would have it, during the Chinese New Year period in February this year, I received a discount code from ASOS for 15% off. When I saw that the NIOD MMHC2 was listed on their website, I went for it and grabbed 3 bottles in one go. Heh! Now that I’ve been using it for around one month plus (and already more than halfway through one bottle), I think that it’s time for me to reveal my thoughts on this product. Will it live up to its predecessor? Will it exceed it? Or will it be a disaster? Read on!

Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract, Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Butyroyl Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium Acetyl Glucosamine Phosphate, Tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric Urea Trifluoroacetate, Pseudoalteromonas Exopolysaccharides, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Myristoyl Nonapeptide-3, Plantago Lanceolata Leaf Extract, Salvia Sclarea Extract, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, PCA, Sodium PCA, Betaine, Sodium Lactate, Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Gallyl Glucoside, Algae Extract, Sodium Salicylate, Lecithin, Polyglucuronic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sclerotium Gum, Pullulan, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Citric Acid, Magnesium Chloride, Silica, Polysorbate 20, Ethoxydiglycol, Propyl Gallate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol.

How does the NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex 2 (MMHC 2) fare?

NIOD’s Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex 2 is the second generation of MMHC, combining 15 forms of hyaluronic compounds to visibly hydrate skin. The formula offers a multi-dimensional approach to topical hyaluronic supplementation by combining 15 forms (vs the 12 forms of HA in the original MMHC) of hyaluronic compounds, hyaluronic precursors and a hyaluronic support technology in a peptide-charged delivery system. It offers water-based hydration and helps skin surface look plump, elastic, comfortable and uniform.

So what’s so special about MMHC2? Well, Deciem had included an extremely rare direct form of hyaluronic acid amongst the 15 hyaluronic compounds. In the world of beauty, the term “hyaluronic acid” is used loosely to refer to “sodium hyaluronate” which is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid. When brands refer to “hyaluronic acid” in their information and marketing materials, in almost every case the reference is to forms of “sodium hyaluronate” which appears in the ingredient listing of the products. In fact, I had only encountered hyaluronic acid in its direct form before in Jordan Samuel Skin’s Hydrate serum (Full review here). While several sodium salt forms of hyaluronic acid are included in MMHC2, the formula also includes 1.0% direct hyaluronic acid which appears as “hyaluronic acid” in the ingredient listing. Direct hyaluronic acid offers pro-repair support far beyond basic water hydration that sodium hyaluronate offers, resulting in improvements to the elastic appearance and the general healthy look of skin.

Below is a table of comparison between the ingredients in the original version of MMHC and MMHC2. You can definitely see the inclusion of hyaluronic acid as well as a rise in the position of the various hyaluronic sodium salts (which translates to higher levels of hyaluronic sodium salts added in the revised formula).

MMHC 2

MMHC (Original)

Ingredient

Ingredient

Aqua Aqua
Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract
Glycerin Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer
Hyaluronic Acid Dimethyl isosorbide
Sodium Hyaluronate Glycerin
Sodium Butyroyl Hyaluronate Sodium Hyaluronate
Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate
Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum
Disodium Acetyl Glucosamine Phosphate Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract
Tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric Urea Trifluoroacetate Sodium Butyroyl Hyaluronate
Pseudoalteromonas Exopolysaccharides Myristoyl Nonapeptide-3
Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6
Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract Ceratonia Siliqua Gum
Ceratonia Siliqua Gum N-Acetyl-D-glucosamine-6-phosphate disodium salt
Myristoyl Nonapeptide-3 Tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric Urea Trifluoroacetate
Plantago Lanceolata Leaf Extract Betaine
Salvia Sclarea Extract Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate
Arginine Ethylhexylglycerin
Aspartic acid Cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose
Glycine Pentylene Glycol
Alanine Potassium Sorbate
Serine Citric Acid
Valine Sodium Benzoate
Isoleucine Lecithin
Proline Magnesium chloride
Threonine PPG-26-Buteth-26
Histidine PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
Phenylalanine Polyglucuronic acid
PCA Chlorphenesin
Sodium PCA Phenoxyethanol
Betaine
Sodium Lactate
Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside
Gallyl Glucoside
Algae Extract
Sodium salicylate
Lecithin
Polyglucuronic acid
Xanthan Gum
Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate
Sclerotium Gum
Pullulan
Cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose
Propanediol
Pentylene Glycol
Dimethyl isosorbide
Citric Acid
Magnesium chloride
Silica
Polysorbate 20
Ethoxydiglycol
Propyl Gallate
Dehydroacetic Acid
Benzyl Alcohol
Potassium Sorbate
Sodium Benzoate
Ethylhexylglycerin
1,2-Hexanediol
Caprylyl Glycol
Phenoxyethanol

However, I’m sure that if you are reading this review, you would be more interested to know whether the MMHC2 is as hydrating as MMHC or even more so. Well, I can definitely confirm that this version is indeed a far superior formula than the original one. How could I tell, you may ask? It’s simple. I find that on days that I use this serum, the fine dehydration lines on my forehead are very much lessened and my cheek area looks more lifted and plump. Most importantly, the hydration actually lasts throughout the day. This serum, like its predecessor, also comes in a watery formula which sinks into my skin nicely without interfering with the rest of my other skincare products. Since hydration serums are a non-negotiable part of my skincare routine (that is, I must use a hydrating serum in both my day and night routines)it is imperative that there’s no “rolling” or “flaking” even when I layer other products over it. 

If you are looking for an excellent hydrating serum which does exactly what it claims to do, I would highly recommend that you give this product a try. Because this serum has such a light watery texture, it would also be suitable for all skin types.

Thank you for reading!