It’s been a while since we’ve talked beauty and today I’m looking at the industry’s ultimate grande dame, Estée Lauder. They came up in conversation with our friends John Lewis & Partners just after Christmas and I had to admit that while I haven’t really used their products, I was enjoying a large sample of their new Advanced Night Repair formula that I’d discovered in my JL&P advent calendar. So, they suggested that I trial a few more of their products over the winter months – I’ve been doing that and there are three in particular that I’m going to talk about today. Then last Saturday I enjoyed a full Estée Lauder make-over experience on their counter at the JL&P in Newcastle so I’ll show you the results of that too.
Of course the first question that came up with JL&P was, ‘why haven’t I used Estée Lauder products?’ After all as the matriarch of the beauty industry it’s a brand that we all know well. Rather like the Queen, EL has been in our orbit right through our lives. I used to work with them closely when I was editor of Selfridges magazines and they often sent me new products to try. The thing was though that Lauder was my mum’s absolute favourite and so I’d try the samples quickly and then pass them on to her, just for the pleasure of seeing her face light up. She wore their make-up and had all of their perfumes (apart from Youth Dew which will always make me think of my primary school headmistress – one heady whiff and I’m 8 years old again). In the end I came to the conclusion that I’ve always seen Estée Lauder as a brand for grown ups – one that I’d use in the future… and yet if 54 isn’t grown up, I don’t know what is.
One thing worth bearing in mind is that Estée Lauder is the mother brand of a huge family of beauty specialists including Bobbi Brown, MAC, Clinique, Crème de la Mer, Jo Malone… you can see the full collection here. That of course means that although they all operate as individual companies, there’s a huge shared knowledge base so the investment and technology that goes into their products is vast. If you’re somebody who cares about the science behind the ingredients that go into your skincare, it’s worth knowing that Estée Lauder is there at the forefront of it all.
Estée Lauder – testing new products at John Lewis & Partners
So let’s go on to the three products that I particularly want to recommend today. And by the way if you shop before Sunday there’s 15% off everything at the moment and a great free gift when you spend over £75 (use code ESTL75 at checkout).
Advanced Night Repair Serum Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex
The first has to be their Advanced Night Repair Serum Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex (ANR). It was recently reformulated to incorporate a number of new ingredients. Until I started trialling my advent calendar sample I’d never used it because I’ve never understood what’s in it. I like to know what I’m putting on my face – for me it’s a bit like scanning through a recipe before I decide to cook something because I’ll instantly know if I’m going to enjoy the end result. So I’m not drawn to serums unless the packaging makes it clear what’s inside. However, once I started using it in early December I was surprised by the relatively instant results.
I’ve since looked into what’s in this new formulation. It was created with dry, dull skin in mind and rather than including a high number of actives such as retinol or other acids that strip your skin, it’s been created to nourish, repair, smooth and protect. So how does it do that? Amongst others it contains the following key ingredients:
- Hyaluronic acid – as you’ll know this binds to the existing moisture in your cells, plumping them up so as a result your skin almost instantly looks less wrinkled.
- Peptides – a new ingredient for ANR, Estée Lauder has its own patented Chronolux Power Signal technology which is proven to boost the skin’s natural repair processes and build collagen. Caroline Hirons is a big fan of this new peptide addition to ANR and describes it as follows:
in layman’s terms, pollution is preventing your skin from putting the rubbish (trash) out at night, leaving your skin unable to function at its optimum. The result of which could be why your skin never quite looks fresh, bright and glowing… in essence [Chronolux Power Signal technology means] your rubbish men have moved up their collections to nightly, without interruption.
- Probiotics – including Lactobacillus ferment and Bifida Ferment which build the skin’s barrier, helping to protect against damage from UV and poor diet
- Sodium RNA – the sodium salt of ribonucleic acid present in all living cells, an important player in the body’s creation of proteins. In skincare it is believed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging.
- Anti-oxidants – to help protect and repair damage done by the sun and pollution
- Squalane – skincare’s current superhero and another new addition to ANR, it has an instant emollient effect and I suspect this is why ANR immediately makes the skin feel better
So the new Advanced Night Repair is a powerhouse. I’ve now been using it for four months and when I apply it at night after my retinol my skin instantly feels relieved. I didn’t have a serum as part of my night-time routine before but I will absolutely keep on using this.
Revitalizing Supreme+ Youth Power Creme
The next product that I’ve really enjoyed using is the new moisturiser – Revitalizing Supreme+ Youth Power Creme. I’m sent so many new moisturisers to test but I rarely write about them because I don’t often find anything that’s worth raving about. This, however, is truly lovely to use and I can feel a difference. I’ll be a bit more scientific about it in a minute but first I just want to summarise it by saying it gives your skin the feeling that your body gets when you slip out of work clothes into leisurewear. It’s like a sigh of relief and I say that as someone who doesn’t have problem skin so I’m not particularly trying to rectify anything, it’s just incredibly comforting to apply.
It’s a moisturiser that’s packed with multiple ingredients so, a bit like Advanced Night Repair it can feel a bit like a secret formula and it’s hard to understand what it is that works so well. However the key inclusions that they encapsulate as “youth power” include:
Hibiscus Morning Bloom Extract
Lauder scientists discovered that Hibiscus sinensis flowers harvested early in the day hold the highest “youth power” activity. So blooms are harvested in the morning for peak potency, it then takes 83 days from harvest to manufacture to create the extract. Amongst other anti-ageing activity hibiscus has anti-irritant and anti-oxidant properties.
The formula centres around moringa plant extract which is nutrient dense, containing calcium, potassium, vitamins, amino acids and omega 3 and is described by Estée Lauder as “one of the most powerful anti-ageing ingredients we’ve ever discovered”. Moringa oil also contains Vitamins A and C which are good for improving the appearance of fine lines as well as reducing pigmentation.
Cactus Stem Cell Extract
This is infused with hyaluronic acid to give skin 72 hour hydration, improving its moisture barrier.
I particularly like the fact that the inner capsule containing the cream pops out of the glass jar making this a refillable product – and the capsule is recyclable too. I’ve been using it since mid-January and I’m almost at the bottom of the jar which is a good sign because these days, if I don’t start seeing results after two or three weeks, I usually find myself moving on to the next product I’ve been sent to test. It works beautifully with every kind of foundation and primer I’ve tried. Despite the fact that we’re coming out of winter when my skin often feels grey and drab, this year it doesn’t. Whether that’s down to the ANR or the moisturiser I can’t say for sure but they’re both great products.
Double Wear Sheer Long-Wear Foundation SPF20
The last of the Estée Lauder pieces that I’m flagging up is the latest introduction to their iconic Double Wear foundation range – Double Wear Sheer Long Wear Foundation. I have a few different foundations in my collection now that give me glow for winter but with summer on its way I’m keen to find something more matte. I need to combat the inevitable T Zone shine that comes through on a warm day – turning glow into hot and bothered.
My first surprise with this Double Wear Sheer Long Wear Foundation was how light it is – of course the giveaway was in the name, it says it’s sheer. It’s also a different texture to the ones I’m used to because it uses hyaluronic acid for moisture rather than oil which helps to achieve the matte finish without drying the skin. It’s so light that there’s hardly any blending required and your skin looks almost make-up free, just slightly improved. However if you want more coverage you can simply build it with a second coat.
One thing that I was keen to explore was the claim that it’s non-transferable. I often flash back to a funeral not very long ago when a tall nephew gave me a hug as we entered the church and I left a print of my cheek on his fresh white shirt. He was very gracious about it but I felt awful for the rest of the day. Thankfully I haven’t had another funeral to test this on but I have noticed that I don’t have a smeary phone when I take it away from my cheek. I’ve also noticed that it’s stays on all day, even when I go on to a gym session in the evening. If you’re looking for a simple foundation with good SPF for summer that helps to control oil as you go through the day, it’s a great choice.
A classic Estée Lauder makeover
As I’ve been immersing myself in everything Estée Lauder I decided to go into the JL&P store in Newcastle last Saturday for an on counter make-over. I hadn’t slept at all well in the week running up to it and I was looking particularly tired so I really hoped they could help me to appear a bit fresher. I always try to have a make-over once a year to avoid falling into a make-up rut. They’re usually free and they take about an hour but I always learn something new – they’re busy though so it’s worth booking in advance.
Step 1 – skincare
I was met by Courtney who’s spent her whole career working for Estée Lauder and I took notes as we went along so let me show you what she did. She started by removing all of the make-up I had on. She then massaged my face with Advanced Night Repair Serum and used the Advance Night Repair Matrix around my eyes, explaining that both products are good to use during the day as well as at night because they have anti-bluelight technology. This means of course that as well as boosting your skincare, they help to protect your skin from the light that is emitted from screens. After the serum she applied the same Revitalizing Supreme+ Youth Power Creme that I’ve been testing because she agreed it was exactly right for my skin.
Step 2 – foundation
We then moved on to foundation and she used Double Wear Stay-In-Place. In store they have colour matching tools but if you want to buy online, don’t forget that you can find your shade using the excellent Findation site. All you have to do is type in a brand and shade that already works for you and it will find you the right Estée Lauder shade.
Courtney mixed the foundation with a drop of Advanced Night Repair on the back of her hand, explaining that the serum would give a dewy effect and she applied it using a brush to blend the edges.
Step 3 – bronzer, blusher and highlighter
She then moved straight on to Bronze Goddess bronzer in medium deep, applying it in the usual ‘3’ formation across the brow, beneath the cheekbones and then under the jawline. Next she added Envy Sculpting Blush in pink kiss across the top of the cheekbones rather than to the apple of the cheeks – a technique that adds definition to an older face. The final bit of face definition was Bronze Goddess highlighter in heatwave which she swept across the temples, down the bridge of the nose to the tip, onto the top of the cupid’s bow and under the brow.
Step 4 – concealer
The final prep stage was applying Double Wear Stay-In-Place Concealer under the eyes which she again mixed with a drop of Advanced Night Repair to hydrate the area and avoid creasing.
Step 5 – eye make-up
Now Courtney had a challenge here because Estée Lauder have pledged that all of their packaging will be either recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled or recoverable by 2024. As such they’re withdrawing complete categories to be reissued one at a time and there are currently no eyeshadows available to buy. So, Courtney had to work with a bronzing trio instead which worked well because I prefer shades of brown. She started by covering the entire lid with the lighter shade and her advice for midlifers is always to go up above the crease so that you still have definition on show, even if your upper lid area is dropping.
She then layered a deeper shade in the crease and at the outer corners for depth and emphasis, blending it out at the edge as you can see below.
Her next trick was to emphasise the lashline. She used an espresso coloured gel eye pencil but rubbed it onto a liner brush rather than applying it directly which gave a soft, fine line that nudged right into the lashes.
And she showed me how to add a subtle wing pointing directly up to the corner of my eyebrow to lift the corner of the eye visually. I’ve never been able to do this properly and now I realise that I’ve always drawn it too far with the result that I’ve felt ridiculous and rubbed it off. She topped it all off with a Double Wear Zero Smudge mascara.
Step 6 – lipstick
Lipstick was the finishing touch using tawny lipliner first to slightly boost the lip edges. I loved this lipstick shade (eccentric) and bought it straightaway, a soft but cheery pink for spring. It’s a sculpting lipstick so it contains pigments with different facets to create definition. The final step was a spray of Perfecting Make-up Mist for sheen and to fix the look in place.
So here’s the end result, just what I wanted, a soft, natural look for spring that helped me to look much fresher than I did when I arrived. Of course all brands have their specialisms and Estée Lauder really focuses on staying power with the Double Wear range extending into most of their products. Given that a large percentage of their audience are midlifers like us, it’s exactly what we need.
I’m pleased to have discovered new finds from a brand that’s always been so familiar that I’ve completely overlooked it. Quick and simple make-up like this can make such a difference to how you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror, of course it’s only as good as the skincare that underpins it too. Don’t forget that there’s 15% off everything until Sunday and a free gift when you spend over £75 (use code ESTL75 at checkout).
I want to say a bigger than usual thank you to Estée Lauder and of course to John Lewis & Partners too for this little adventure. I’m so grateful that some brands are continuing to value and support bloggers rather than simply commissioning Instagram Reels and Stories. Writing posts like this not only puts a spring in my step but it also helps me to keep on bringing you Midlifechic at a time when it’s challenging because my work life is busier than it has been for a long time.
This year isn’t panning out how I thought it would at all – I imagined we’d be making the most of our newly empty nest by doing lots of travelling – after all we’ve always been well set up to work remotely. Instead we’re spending a lot of time in other people’s offices or on the road and please don’t think I’m complaining (I’m always grateful for a good workload), I just want to explain why I have absolutely no time for Instagram or for a Tuesday post at the moment. I’m aware that I’m dropping a lot of plates but I’m doing my best not to let this blog slip through my fingers too. If all goes well we’ll have scaled a big wall of deadlines by Easter and then it might ease off a little. In the meantime thank you for keeping on reading and commenting, you’re the reason that I continue. If you can, please support the brands that help me to keep Midlifechic going.
I’ve been making the most of snatches of sunshine in between meetings in London this week but I’ll be very glad to get home later tonight. Mother’s Day falling on the day that the clocks go forward makes it feel particularly special this year. I think I’ll only have one boy at home and I don’t know if he and Mr MC have made any plans but it doesn’t matter – being with them knowing that sunshine and longer evenings lie ahead is enough.
I hope you all have a good day on Sunday whether you are or have a mum, were or had one, wanted to be one or chose not to. It can be a bittersweet day as we get older. And that’s what I’m hoping to talk about in more depth next week – getting older, how it feels… and choosing to slow down… or speed up! See you next Friday.