Review - Lancôme Clarifique Dual Essence & Advanced Génifique
In this blog post I share my experience in detail on these two Lancôme products - Clarifique Refining Enzymatic Dual Essence, and Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate. I was invited by BeautyCrew to trial and review these two Lancôme superstars.
Lancôme Clarifique Refining Enzymatic Dual Essence
"Enriched with rare French beech bud extract, Clarifique Dual Essence is a skin brightening facial essence that leaves skin brighter, more refined, plumper, tighter in just 4 weeks. The refining formula of this facial essence improves skin's natural mechanism of renewal and ensures a refined and more even skin texture as well as bright skin tone."
Beech (Fagus Sylvatica) bud extract
Priced at $150 for 150mL, surely there has to be something special about it. This essence contains 3% lipid layer and 97% aqueous essence (hence the "dual" in the name). Inside that 97% aqueous layer is the hero ingredient, French beech bud extract (Fagus Sylvatica bud extract). Lancôme claims that "the French Beech Buds are sustainably harvested and handpicked only in very limited quantities. The same tree can only be harvested once every 4 years."
Beech bud extract is not new. It is actually used in many products. It has been reported to retain moisture, stimulate cell turnover, contain antioxidants, and it just seems like an all-round great ingredient.
in 2019 L'Oréal published a conference paper which suggests beech bud extract speeds up the invisible skin shedding (desquamation) by increasing intrinsic enzyme expression, which in turn facilitates cell turnover to reveal smoother skin. Perhaps the name "enzymatic dual essence" comes from here. I have not seen the full paper, but generally I am very skeptic of any skincare that claims to work at a cellular expression level: there are many hurdles between applying a liquid on skin, and despite the rather impermeable skin barrier, finding its molecular target and and working on a cellular level to increase protein (in this case, enzymes) expression levels. It does not mean that it cannot be done (the effectiveness of peptides in skincare is an example that it is possible), but it is a big claim.
Apart from this, the essence actually contains other enzymes: pineapple fruit extract (bromelain) and papain (from papaya), both of which are powerful plant-based exfoliating enzymes.
Other active ingredients
Glycolic acid - AHA, a form of chemical exfoliant, included to improve texture and radiance.
Salicylic acid - BHA, also a form of chemical exfoliant, included to clear clogged pores.
Ascorbyl glucoside - a stable form of vitamin C derivative, included to boost radiance, hydration and collagen production.
Tocopherol - vitamin E for skin repair.
In previous blog posts (such as this one), I have explained my view on alcohol (specifically ethanol) in length. In short, it is largely a consistency regulator. It is not evil but I would recommend to proceed with caution for dry or dehydrated skin.
"Developed for Asian skin"
I found this on the box and found it really strange, like, really strange. Skin is skin, so why would Lancôme cut out the non-Asian market? I think what it meant is probably it is formulated for normal to oily skin type as some Asians tend to have oilier skin.
The official trial period given by Beauty Crew on the Clarifique was about 4-5 weeks. I really enjoyed using it so I kept going. It's been 4 months now.
Clarifique essence is very runny. It does not have the viscosity that is usually required for products designed to apply directly onto skin, but I do nevertheless. It is a $150 essence and I cannot bear to have 80% of the product wasted on soaking cotton pads! I shake it before each application, pour some onto my fingertips, tap onto my skin, and if I need more, I give the bottle another swirl before tipping out some more onto my fingertips. It can be messy with the liquid sometimes running all the way down to my elbow. Despite this, a lot of product is saved by not using cotton pads. My bottle will last at least 6 months, as opposed to 6 weeks as others have reported.
In the initial 1-2 week, I did not shake it as vigorously as I should have, and I saw the oil layer slowly disappearing. Simply relying on the “whisk” in the bottle wasn’t quite enough to mix the two components. Thereafter I make sure I shake it diligently before each and every application to try to maintain the ratio of the two layers.
Changes in skin
Because of I know my skin is intolerant to a high concentration of ethanol, I was half expecting to develop dehydrated skin and breakout. To my surprise, not only my skin did not feel any dehydration or dryness, it was noticeably smoother within 2 weeks. In 6 weeks, the bumpiness in my jawline has completely disappeared. Milias were flattened. My skin was smoother, brighter, clearer. I took a picture after 3 months, and I can't remember when was the last time my skin looked this good.
Why does Clarifique work so well for me, despite the high ethanol content?
the oil layer in Clarifique slows the rate of water evaporating from skin;
my skin usually responds well to a combination of AHAs/BHA (Clarifique contains both);
my skin usually responds well to fruit enzymes bromelain and papain;
I layer an oil-based serum on top of Clarifique which further mitigate any possible drying and dehydrating effects of ethanol;
maybe my skin really likes beech bud extract (although I still think it's more the AHAs/BHA and vitamin C combination).
This is my favourite Lancôme product of all times, which genuinely sucks because it is so expensive.
My top tips
Apply directly without cotton pads
Shake very well before each and every application to avoid depleting the oil layer
For dry skin, use sparingly and consider following up with a facial oil and a hydrating serum
Aqua / water, alcohol denat., glycolic acid, butylene glycol, isononyl isononanoate, dipropylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, ananas sativus fruit extract / pineapple fruit extract, ascorbyl glucoside, tocopherol, faex extract / yeast extract, fagus sylvatica bud extract, arginine, peg-32, trisodium ethylenediamine disuccinate, helianthus annuus seed oil / sunflower seed oil, salicylic acid, pentylene glycol, benzoic acid, propanediol, caprylyl glycol, papain, sorbic acid, rosa damascena flower water, rosa damascena flower oil, rosmarinus officinalis extract / rosemary extract, vitis vinifera seed oil / grape seed oil, citric acid
Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate
The Génifique that I got to review this time is an updated version of the Génifique I have reviewed previously.
Pre and probiotic fractions are nutrients beneficial for the Microbiome. The new Advanced Génifique is enriched with a patent-pending complex of 7 pre & probiotic fractions, specifically selected and transformed, delivering essential resources to skin and its microbiome.
The skin is the largest organ in your body and plays a vital role in your immunity and what you put on it impacts your skin's health and appearance. Pre and probiotic fractions are nutrients that encourage growth of beneficial bacteria that promote healthy skin with a stronger microbiome.
After only one bottle aging skin looks visibly rejuvenated...
In 1 dropper: 30 million pre & probiotic fractions deliver essential resources to skin and its microbiome.
In 7 days: skin looks youthfully radiant and feels smoother.
After 1 bottle: skin microbiome recovers faster, and key signs of aging are visibly improved.
The key ingredients are largely the same as the previous version. A few ingredients have been added to this new version (such as vitamin E) but they are ancillary. The top 7 ingredients remain unchanged. For a detailed explanation on bifida ferment lysate (and why it is my absolute pet hate to call it a probiotic), and alcohol denat, see my previous post here.
Given that the ingredients look very similar between the old and new versions, it was completely unsurprising that I found no difference between the two. I finished one bottle of Génifique (took me approximately 3 months, used twice a day). When I first started using Génifique, I have already been using Clarifique and was already seeing results. The addition of Génifique did not add anything. After I ran out of Genifique, my skin has not gotten any worse either. Based on that, I don't think Génifique has been doing any good or bad on my skin. My opinion on the new version of the Génifique is just exactly the same as before (see here).
Full ingredients list
Aqua / water, bifida ferment lysate, glycerin, alcohol denat., dimethicone, hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid, ascorbyl glucoside, lactobacillus, tocopherol, sodium hyaluronate, sodium hydroxide, sodium benzoate, phenoxyethanol, adenosine, faex extract / yeast extract, peg-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate, peg-60 hydrogenated castor oil, polymnia sonchifolia root juice, maltodextrin, salicyloyl phytosphingosine, ammonium polyacryloyldimethyl taurate, limonene, mannose, xanthan gum, pentylene glycol, propylene glycol, caprylyl glycol, alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, sorbitol, disodium EDTA, rosa gallica flower extract, octyldodecanol, citronellol, parfum / fragrance
The products ware received as part of BeautyCrew trial team. A separate review based on 4-6 weeks official trial has already been published on the BeautyCrew website. I have no obligation to publish this detailed follow up review. My opinion is honest.
Makeup artist and hair stylist based in Sydney. Founder of the well-known award-winning bridal specialist team Faces Makeup & Hair. Beauty junkie with an obsession for skincare.