When the Lancome Absolue range was introduced in 1965, the French skincare giant had one goal: to make it the mother of all its anti-ageing products. Half a century on, its formula has been tweaked, and the range has grown to include multiple sub-lines – rejuvenating; repairing; and even a premium line within this premium line dubbed L’Extrait – but the intent remains. With prices starting from $105 for a lotion, it’s the brand’s most luxurious range that promises smoother, glowing skin, even as one gets older.

Since 2006, its star ingredient has been an active substance derived from the natural sugar xylose. What it claims to do: even out the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ). In everyday speak, that’s where skin’s first layer (the epidermis) joins with its second (the dermis) – a region known to crease with age and exposure to UV rays over time. In other words, it helps to reinforce the structure, and in turn well-being, of ageing skin. However, the brand has recently made a discovery that could give Absolue a boost when it comes to fighting pigmentation too.

According to the research, the grooves on skin’s DEJ brought about by age not only weaken skin, but also create pockets that trap melanocytes, or melanin-producing cells. Its explains why some dark spots never seem to go away after you hit 25 and up: Skincare ingredients that target these cells don’t always reach them.

If you’re thinking that this means using Absolue can help prevent stubborn pigmentation, you’re half right. A smoother DEJ = a lower chance of melanocytes getting trapped, but the melanin remains (it’s just easier to treat). So instead of being all Kanye West smug at its revelation, Lancome’s taken the extra step to improve Absolue’s whitening range.

Apart from the addition of “aura” to its name, Absolue Precious Cells White Aura now includes a vitamin C derivative that reportedly reduces skin’s melanin content (read: lightens skin tone) in two ways – by inhibiting melanin production, and supplying skin with antioxidants that help it defend itself against UV damage. Meanwhile, peony root extract – another key ingredient in the updated range – combats inflammation that can cause skin to produce excess melanin.

The main products, the Regenerating and Whitening Global Serum ($395) and the Regenerating and Brightening Global Cream ($370), are light and quick-absorbing. (I personally love the latter – it glides on like water and leaves skin with a healthy glow.) And if it’s immediate results you’re after, add the limited edition Miracle Illuminating Finisher ($130) to your daytime routine – this makeup base with light-diffusing pigments evens skin tone instantly.

An adapted version first appeared in
Female‘s August issue, out on newsstands now. 

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