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What makes a serum so popular that 10 bottles of it are sold every minute despite its super-heavy price tagSkin-changing serums and moisturisers are dimes a dozen in the beauty sphere and each advertised as the next big thing, thanks to influencers, Instagram, and celebrities. But even with ample beauty reviews around, one can see that the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex is a step above every other serum bottle. 

That’s not because it is spanking new or has Bella Hadid recommending it. The reason is much more basic; the cult product works wonders and has been a staple in beauty closets since 1982. 

ANR and Indian women

Before looking into Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair as a potential must-have in the skincare regime, one should be able to justify its price. In a developing country like India where Ayurveda and home remedies rule the roost, a 20ml bottle of this modern serum retails at Rs 3,900. And a 50ml bottle is slated at a whopping Rs 7,900. That’s a steep amount to pay for serum and to top it off, a serum was a ‘non-essential’ in the Indian handbook of beauty, till a few years back. Between a moisturiser, a hesitant face mask, and the occasional retinol, a serum isn’t exactly attracting Indian women. 

That’s why the story of why Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair is important in the larger picture. It might be too steep for a baby boomer, but for millennials and Gen Z, it’s on it’s way to becoming a cult favourite as it takes care of a multitude of skincare problems in one go. And much as you try, there is no product like it in the market – no dupe, no ‘mee-too’, no combination of the same ingredients. Nothing is like Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair.  

History

But what justifies its steep price point and what makes this wonder serum worth our while? For one, Estee Lauder was one of the first beauty companies to work with formulas that are quite ahead of the curve, meaning it’s a company that invested in innovation long before beauty brands invested in research.

It’s also the first company that connected DNA damage and skin ageing, making Night Repair the first-ever serum in the world. And not just that, the company created its first overnight repair product even before overnight masks and night beauty regimes were fashionable. The formula you get now is revised many times over and today’s version is called “Synchronized Recovery Complex II – a sign that it has been updated with the latest skincare advances.

Ingredients

A formulated anti-ageing product, it’s also one of the first products that used the iconic hyaluronic acid as a primary ingredient. Hyaluronic acid, as you know, holds 1,000 times its weight in water and helps retain moisture, making skin supple and smooth. Perfect for dehydrated skin, an issue most Indian women face on the daily, due to our arid climate and warm seasons. Bifida ferment lysate is another top ingredient in this bottle, and it’s known to contain probiotics for the skin, thereby strengthening skin’s immunity while protecting and repairing it against environmental aggressors. 

Not to mention, Peptides, the serum also contains tripeptide-32. What do peptides do? When collagen breaks down, peptides are the ones that send signals to your cells to produce more collagen, thereby making you look younger and your skin more elastic. There is no other product that is known to repair past visible damage and help prevent future damage – so in that sense, it’s formula is as unique as they come. The product also delivers a high dose of antioxidants to neutralise the free radicals that damage our skin daily. 

Our review: First impressions

The first impressions of the serum, for me, weren’t applause-worthy. The first week of my big purchase, I felt like I made a mistake. The skin was smooth and supple, but a dozen creams promise that, so why go with Advanced Night Repair? Considering that I had already spent a tiny fortune at Changi Airport, on my travel to Singapore, I had no other option but to continue on my quest to figure out the magic behind the miracle bottle.

The bottle, on the other hand, is a dream; made of glass and a well-working dropper. As a woman who cares about how products look, I was glad for these small but effective markers. The brown-coloured, apothecary-style bottle with gold design looked like royalty on my humble bedside table standing tall among, used-up cotton pads and multiple lens cases.

Thank god for my frail ego that did not want to accept defeat after the first two weeks. On week three, I started seeing significant changes. For one, I woke up with a soft, plumped up face. It was like I doused myself in highlighter (my BFF’s words, not mine). The serum was also gel-like in texture – not too thick, not too thin, and was in an unmistakeable peach hue. I applied it every night and woke up to see how beautifully plump my skin became.

The change was not instant but noteworthy. Colleagues asked if I had a facial; my mother, who cannot tolerate exhaustive amounts spent on skincare called to say that I was glowing. Another feather in the cap? It suits all skin types – oily, combination, dry, and extremely dry. It’s also non-comedogenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free. Though, I must admit that the initial smell; it smelled like it came straight from a plant, but slowly it didn’t seem to matter. It’s lightweight and hydrating, nothing heavy and unwieldy.

How does one use the Advanced Night Repair?

It can be used after a toner and before a night moisturiser. The brand’s mandate is simple: “Apply a drop on each fingertip of one hand” and “touch fingertips of both hands together” before massaging into the skin. Other ways to use it: Use it under your makeup before applying moisturiser and sunscreen as a base. Some women add a few drops on top of the cheekbones to give it that glass-skin effect; it’s used as a highlighter. One can also mix it with the foundation for beautiful radiance.

The verdict

As a believer, I would say that ANR is a great beginner anti-ageing serum for those who don’t want to go near the harsh retinol. And yes, the right skincare can be expensive but if it’s result-based, it’s also, addictive. As far as the price is concerned, I use it sparingly and buy a bigger bottle so I can use it for the whole year without investing in a hundred cheaper products. Seems like a small price to pay for a revolutionary product.

Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.