Lancome maintains that this heavily advertised serum is “Much more than a wrinkle corrector” because it also addresses the concerns of large pores, red marks, and uneven skin tone. The claims are enticing, but the reality is this is not an advanced product in the least; it’s more potentially skin-corrupting than skin-correcting thanks to the amount of alcohol and the fact that its LR 2412 ingredient (discussed below) isn’t the miracle antiwrinkle breakthrough it’s made out to be.
This has a silky texture just like most serums, but the amount of alcohol is cause for concern. Not only is there more alcohol than there are state-of-the-art anti-aging ingredients, given the amount of alcohol present, your skin faces potential free-radical damage and collagen breakdown with daily use—even if you cannot see or feel the irritation taking place.
It’s important to note that all the marketing language Lancome uses in their ads and on their web site for this product never directly states what this product does for your skin. Like thousands of products, it claims to have clinical results of happy women who thought their skin looked better, but that’s not science because we have no idea what these women were basing their results on, or what questions were part of the questionnaire. Often these types of cosmetic clinical studies don’t allow a woman to make a negative comment of any kind. When you read between the lines, the language in the ads is mostly smoke and mirrors.
So, what is Lancome’s LR 2412 ingredient (allegedly being used at a 4% concentration and now followed by a "Cx" designation)? LR 2412 is derived from the jasmine plant. Lancome maintains that this ingredient is a molecule “designed to propel through skin layers.” As it does so, it “triggers a cascading series of micro-transformations.” Sounds like a magic wand for your skin, doesn’t it? And Lancome’s constant reminder that this ingredient is protected by 20 patents makes it seem even more remarkable—but a patent has nothing to do with efficacy; it is only about a unique way to use any ingredient. A patent can be obtained simply by presenting an idea, not proof that the idea actually works.
As it turns out, simply “propelling” an ingredient through skin is not a guarantee of anything beneficial happening, and it may even make matters worse. For example, many ingredients, such as sunscreen actives, are meant for and should stay on the skin’s surface; you don’t want them to penetrate through multiple layers of skin because they need to protect the skin’s surface. Also, lots of ingredients can “propel” through skin and cause beneficial changes along the way, such as most antioxidants, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, ceramides, retinol, and numerous other repairing ingredients whose daily use helps improve skin’s appearance and healthy functioning. In essence, Lancome’s claim makes LR 2412 sound innovative, when it’s really nothing new or all that exciting. But the ballyhoo sure makes it tempting!
On the ingredient list for Visionnaire, LR 2412 is listed as sodium tetrahydrojasmonate, which, as mentioned, is derived from the jasmine plant. Part of the original formula but now gone is another part of the jasmine plant, tetrahydrojasmonic acid. Both of these ingredients, in their natural state, are lipids (fats) that help the jasmine plant signal when repair is needed and that control the life cycle of the plant’s cells (Sources: Plant Physiology, April 2010, pages 1940–1950; and PLoS Biology, September 2008, page e320).
Lancome wants you to believe that these lipids, which in the jasmine plant repair environmental damage and control cell behavior, can somehow have similar effects on your skin, such as improving wrinkles, reducing large pores, and fading red marks when applied to skin via their bioengineered LR 2412 molecule. Unfortunately, there isn’t a shred of published research to support their assertion. More to the point, even if these jasmine-derived ingredients were miracle workers for wrinkles, large pores, and red marks from acne, the amount of alcohol in the formula (it's the fourth ingredient) likely will harm your skin in the process, so any potential benefit is muted.
Of course, you also have to ask yourself: If LR 2412 is able to tackle the major concerns mentioned, why is Lancome selling so many other antiwrinkle products that don’t have this ingredient? Shouldn’t they just admit that LR 2412 is the best and stop selling their antiwrinkle products that don’t include it, or at least add LR 2412 to all their anti-aging products?
There really isn’t much else of note in Visionnaire. It contains a small amount of the cell-communicating ingredient adenosine, but so do many other products, although many of those other products also provide a range of anti-aging ingredients, which is what skin really needs. Skin is a complex organ (the body’s largest) that requires a range of beneficial ingredients to be at its healthy, youthful best, not just a derivative of jasmine or adenosine, especially not for this amount of money. In the end, for all of its promotion, Visionnaire isn’t all that visionary!
Irritation from alcohol, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, which impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to minimize or eliminate as much as possible your exposure to products with alcohol, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include this problematic ingredient.
Much more than a wrinkle-corrector, our 1st skincare capable of fundamentally re-creating more beautiful skin. The first skincare with LR 2412, a molecule designed to propel through skin layers. On its path, it triggers a cascading series of micro-transformations. The result: on the surface, wrinkles and pores are visibly corrected, imperfections like signs of UV damage and acne marks appear diminished.
Water, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Sodium Tetrahydrojasmonate, Polysilicone-11, Octyldodecanol, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Dipropylene Glycol, Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Secale Cereale Extract/Rye Seed Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxycellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Adenosine, Poloxamer 338, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Disodium EDTA, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Citronellol, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Parfum/Fragrance
Strengths: Some good cleansers; well-formulated scrubs; foundations with beautiful shades for almost every skin color; great concealers; several outstanding mascaras; the Artliner liquid eyeliners perform well; impressive powder eyeshadows; some fantastic lipsticks and automatic lipliner.
Weaknesses: Expensive for what amounts to mostly mediocre to below-average skincare products; lacking in effective treatments for blemishes or lightening skin discolorations; average toners; moisturizers that are short on including state-of-the-art ingredients; jar packaging; some foundations with sunscreen do not provide complete UVA protection.
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. Our 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 previously have. 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 Beautypedia Research Team.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!