Lancome’s Genifique serum has been a huge hit for the company, proving that lots of women believed the marketing campaign Lancome devised for this overpriced, underwhelming serum. Popularity has never been indicative of quality; just think of how popular cigarette smoking and tanning are. Given their marketing success, however, it’s hardly surprising that Lancome now has an eye-area product meant to complement the serum. But why you are supposed to buy this instead of their Absolue Eye Precious Cells Advanced Regenerating and Reconstructing Eye Cream ($95 for 0.5 ounce) is anyone’s guess. Lancome doesn’t know why either, except for budget, but given that the claims about getting rid of wrinkles and not aging around your eyes are identical, the reasoning to spend more money is just flawed. But, then again, who said the cosmetics industry made sense?
The salesperson at the Lancome counter told us this is their one eye cream that “does it all,” up to and including eliminating dark circles caused by heredity. (She obviously feels you don’t need their Absolue Eye Precious product either.) As for the eye cream itself, it doesn’t contain anything that can delete dark circles, whether caused by heredity or by too many sleepless nights.
This has a silky texture and a formula that’s remarkably similar to that of the Genifique serum, but with the eye cream, you get a smaller amount of product for more money. Also, it’s packaged in a jar, so any of the good ingredients, of which there are almost none, won’t remain stable. It also contains alcohol, which causes cell death and free-radical damage.
The sole unique ingredient in this eye cream is bifida ferment lysate. The same ingredient is the backbone of Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Concentrate Recovery Boosting Treatment, which overall has a significantly better formula, is suitable for use around the eyes, and costs less. There’s no research proving that this specific form of yeast has any anti-aging or gene-stimulating activity when applied to skin, nor is it capable of eliminating every eye-area woe. There is limited research showing that yeast ferment filtrate (a compound different from bifida ferment lysate) does reduce oxidative skin damage in the presence of UV light, but this research also showed that many other antioxidants have a similar effect (Sources: Archives of Dermatological Research, April 2008, pages S51–S56; and Journal of Dermatological Science, June 2006, pages 249–257). It is not good news that this eye cream contains several fragrance chemicals known to cause irritation.
Génifique Eye has a unique gel-cream texture that leaves the eye contour velvety to the touch. Dark circles and signs of fatigue appear to diminish. The eye area appears fresher and luminous, as if infused with life.
Water, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Alcohol Denatured, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Polysilicone-11, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Dimethicone, PTFE, Methylsilanol/Silicate Crosspolymer, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Adenosine, Chlorphenesin, Polygonum Fagopyrum Seed Extract, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide, Steareth-8 Methylacrylate Copolymer, Dimethiconol, Limonene, Propylene Carbonate, Caramel, Disodium EDTA, Citronellol, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate
French flair, free gifts with purchase, constant magazine ads, and attractive packaging impel women to seek out the Lancome counter. Once you're there, though, unless you're captured by the enticing claims, the skin-care products are resoundingly dull, and we mean really, really dull (the makeup is a different story). With new research and developments in skin care many cosmetics companies typically improve their formulas, even if just in a small way. That’s not the case with Lancome, which tends to raise their prices while producing lackluster, ordinary formulas with little benefit for skin.
Even more shocking is that their most expensive skin-care items tend to be the most disappointing, usually for what they lack rather than for what they contain. It's startling to realize that their priciest moisturizer is remarkably similar to dozens of other Lancome creams priced more reasonably (but still too high when you consider what you're getting for the money). It seems that all it takes to justify the excessive prices is a good story based around a rare ingredient and claims of delivering a younger look. What a shame so many consumers are taken in by this kind of marketing mumbo jumbo.
L'Oreal-owned Lancome, along with L'Oreal's own skin-care products sold at the drugstore, has fallen well behind their competition. For all their lofty claims and beautiful models, many other companies leave them in the dust. Most of the Lauder companies (Clinique, Estee Lauder), along with Dove, and Olay have skin-care formularies that consistently outperform those of Lancome and L'Oreal in terms of what substantiated research has shown is necessary to have healthy, more wrinkle- and age-resistant skin. Lancome claims to understand women, and they certainly know how to entice them with pretty packaging and scientific-sounding claims. It would be far better if they had an intimate understanding of what it really takes for skin to look its best and function optimally.
The biggest improvement Lancome has made is that almost all of their sunscreens now include the right UVA-protecting ingredients. Who knows why it took them so long to get this straightened out (L'Oreal is no stranger to this issue, as they have developed and patented new UVA filters throughout the years), but it is now easier than ever to find a reliable sunscreen from Lancome. Given their prominence and presence in department stores around the world, Lancome isn't easy to ignore. My suggestion is to look beyond most of the skin care and focus on what they do best: makeup (especially foundations and mascaras).
Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all Lancome products contain fragrance.
For more information about Lancome, owned by L'Oreal, call (800) 526-2663 or visit www.lancome.com.
L'Oreal-owned Lancome is a stellar, French-bred collection of makeup that remains the best reason to shop this line. Because most of Lancome's skin-care products have problematic elements (be it jar packaging, insufficient sun protection, or dated formulas), it is a relief to find that, for the most part, the colorful side of their business has more than its share of innovative products. We enjoyed the fact that no matter where we shopped, Lancome's counter personnel were friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. There's a lot to keep track of, and Lancome deserves credit for keeping their salespeople so well informed.
If you're looking for a force to reckon with for foundations, Lancome is a must-see. They continue to offer some of the most elegant, silky formulas anywhere and in a color range that is overwhelmingly neutral, whether your skin is porcelain or ebony. The only troubling aspect is that most of Lancome's foundations with sunscreen do not contain adequate UVA protection or the SPF rating is too low. Lancome obviously knows about the risks with these issues (after all, they market ecamsule, their version of the UVA-protecting ingredient Mexoryl SX, and brag about its UVA range). And considering that, we are not recommending as many of their foundations as we have in previous editions of this book. Beyond this major gripe, you will discover that Lancome has a well-deserved reputation for their fantastic mascaras, and that their latest powders and eyeshadows apply with a silkiness that makes them gratifying to work with. The rest of the makeup encompasses many valid choices, but before you commit to Lancome, consider the similar options available for less from sister companies L'Oreal and Maybelline New York. Striking a balance among the best of each of these lines will give you first-class makeup that beautifies without breaking the bank.
Note: Lancome is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Lancome does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.