I first learned of this product in my early 20’s. Didn’t get why it was so popular, but everyone seemed to rave about how amazing it was. Being the poor college graduate I was, I decided to try a cheaper dupe – L’oreal Youth Code Serum – which was fantastic, and now sadly discontinued :(
Yes I loved the dupe for $18, but to drop 5x the price for the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum? It just seemed… unnecessarily expensive. Even when I was gifted the product to try, I had serious doubts this would wow me, especially since I already use heavy hitters like tretinoin in my routine.
Boy was I in for a surprise! And if you’re very much on the fence about this product and can’t understand why it’s so darn popular, this post is for you.
Table of Contents
What is it
An advanced, anti-aging face serum with bifidus prebiotic that targets the 10 key signs of aging, visibly improving radiance in seven days.
Best suited for
Mature skin types (35+) with dull complexions that want to strengthen their barrier health (because acids and retinoids are no joke) and find that glow. Younger folks can use it too, but I think it’s a bit of an overkill. Can be beneficial for sensitive skin as long as you don’t mind alcohol.
Things to note
Contains alcohol and fragrance, though the latter is at the end of the ingredient list.
A glass bottle with a patented dropper that draws up the perfect amount each time you open the cap. Just click the button to dispense the product! Very user friendly and feels well made.
A light lime-like scent. Smells kinda like Mike’s Hard Lemonade because of the alcohol! It’s noticeable when you initially dispense the serum, but quickly dissipates on application.
Lightweight and silky liquid with a hint of viscosity. It’s like your typical hydrating serum, but much more elegant, not oily or sticky at all. Absorbs quickly into the skin.
Satin finish with no tackiness. Super easy to layer subsequent products with no pilling.
Let’s talk about the star ingredients:
- 10% Bifidus Prebiotic, aka Bifida Ferment Lysate, which is actually a probiotic, but both help strengthen the microbiome on our skin. Probiotics specifically are rising in skincare, and studies have shown that they can help with wound healing, inflammatory skin conditions, and improve barrier functions.1 L’oreal (Lancôme’s parent company) did a study showing that 10% Bifida Ferment Lysate can help decrease skin dryness + sensitivity while increasing skin resilience.2
- Hyaluronic Acid is a popular humectant that helps keep our skin hydrated. But did you know that HA can also act as an osmotic pump and help deliver water-soluble actives deeper into the skin?3 Just one more reason to love this ingredient!
- Vitamin C as Ascorbyl Glucoside, which converts to pure vitamin c in the skin. That means you’ll get the antioxidant protection, collagen production, and brightening benefits of ascorbic acid but without the irritations and quick oxidization!4 Definitely one of the more promising vitamin c derivatives.
We also find adenosine, another barrier strengthening + collagen producing ingredient, as well as yeast extract and glycerin for additional moisturizing benefits.
On the other hand, this does contain alcohol quite high up on the list, but I bet if you didn’t read the ingredients you’d never guess, because nothing about this serum feels stringent or drying.
My opinion is that alcohol in a well formulated product is fine, and can even be beneficial in helping with absorption and creating a more comfortable texture. But obviously if you know your skin can’t tolerate alcohol, you should still avoid it. Same goes with fragrance.
Overall not the most innovative or exciting ingredient list. But just as a master chef can create a gourmet meal out of the most simple ingredients, Lancôme has also created something quite magical with the Advanced Génifique Serum.
- Start with clean, dry skin. If you're using a first essence or an exfoliating toner with AHA/BHA, apply those first.
- Once your essence/toner has fully absorbed, twist the cap and push to dispense the full amount for your face and neck.
- Gently massage the serum into the skin in an upward and outward motion.
- Wait for the serum to absorb completely, then proceed with the rest of your skincare routine.
- Apply morning and night to see the best results.
Usage Experience & Results
What I love more than pretty packaging is functional packaging, and Lancôme has nailed both. The experience reminds me of their Clarifique Essence – as soon as you open the cap, the correct amount is ready to be dispensed, no calculations necessary.
I absolutely love how this feels on my skin, the silky liquid absorbs like a dream and feels like nothing at all. Which on the other hand, might be disappointing to those expecting this to double as a hydrating serum. Oily skin folks might be ok with it, but if you have dry skin like me, you’d have better luck using a dedicated hydrating product.
Immediately after: Skin feels smooth. No significant brightening or hydrating effects.
The next morning: Could be a good night’s rest but I feel like my skin looks a bit more radiant?
After a week: Skin barrier feels more resilient. Still get random peeling from tretinoin but there’s no redness or sensitivities. Complexion looks less dull?
After 4+ weeks: Skin feels like a baby’s bottom despite me cutting back on exfoliation. Barrier health seems to be at an all time high even with tretinoin/retinal daily. Continuing to see that subtle glow and I’m not complaining.
It definitely took time to see the changes in my skin, but I’m pleasantly surprised. I’ve been using all the proven actives – retinol in the evening and vitamin c in the morning – yet the Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate still managed to take my skin to the next level!
The Genifique reminds me a lot of other skin-health improving products like EGF serums, in that it just made my skin look brighter, more resilient, and just… better. The biggest surprise for me was definitely how soft and smooth felt, because nothing from the ingredients suggested this benefit, but I will take it!
On the other hand, I didn’t notice any changes to my fine lines or pores since using this serum. I’m already using retinol to treat these concerns, so I wasn’t expecting the Lancôme to do much anyways.
What Others Say
Reviews sourced from Sephora to give you a better idea of how this will work for different skin types:
Nothing touched my large brow spots on my face due to hormonal changes, not even thousands of dollars in laser therapy. Within three weeks I noticed them disappearing.combination skin
It’s evened out my skin tone where I had some acne scars, reduced my (naturally gigantic) pores and made my skin incredibly soft and smooth. Because it is so effective at increasing cell turnover, it’s also eradicated my adult acne by whisking away dead cells that could normally fall into my pores.oily skin
I’m in my mid 50’s with acne scars and a lot of red in my skin. Hardly any wrinkles, though. Have not noticed one single thing from this product.dry skin
Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum alternatives
Calecim Professional Serum
Completely different ingredients but the long term results are similar. Obviously Calecim is more effective and you’ll see results much quicker, but it’s also super pricey.
Missha Time Revolution First Essence 5X
This Kbeauty essence features 99.1% Bifida Ferment Lysate, and is also more affordable at $54. I do notice more resilient skin with using the Missha but it’s also more subtle and there’s no brightening or smoothing benefits.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
I used the previous generation of ANR, which also features Bifida Ferment Lysate, but I didn’t notice any changes to my skin even after finishing the entire bottle. The texture also feels a little thicker. Between the 2, I prefer the Lancome, but I’ve yet to try the latest version of the ANR.
NEOGEN Dermalogy Probiotics Double Action Serum
This offers a combination of Bifida, Lactobacillus, and Streptococcus thermophilus ferment probiotics and focuses on strengthening your moisture barrier. While I haven’t personally tried this every Neogen product I have used so far have been fantastic.
Good Light We Come In Peace Microbiome Serum
In terms of overall results I’d say this is the closest affordable dupe I’ve tried, despite the two not sharing any ingredients. Good Light features Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Bakuchiol, and lots of nourishing plant oils. This one is also alcohol and fragrance free.
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum
Both are “first serums” that you use at the beginning of your routine, though I think Sulwhasoo is even more delightful to use. It also helps with subsequent product absorption and efficacy which I found interesting.
- Lightweight formula makes this easy to apply for all skin types.
- Non drying or irritating despite alcohol and fragrance.
- Noticeable results with consistent use.
- The serum benefits will complement any skincare routine.
- Pricey given the relatively common ingredients used.
- Doesn’t and shouldn’t replace your standard anti-aging products like retinol.
- You may find the results underwhelming given the price.
Scores & Summary
Now that I’ve tried it and figured out what it does, I really do love this serum. I find that it complements my existing anti-aging routine well and takes my skin health to the next level. With that said, I wouldn’t say it’s a must have for everyone. You can easily achieve 80% of your skincare goals using the basics (sunscreen, retinol/vitamin c, a suitable moisturizer). But for those of us who are striving for that last 20%, the Genefique serum is one of those products that will help you get there.
To keep my content accurate and trustworthy, I rely on peer-reviewed studies, articles from reputable academic institutions, and quotes from certified healthcare professionals to back my claims.
M. Habeebuddin, et al. Topical Probiotics: More than a Skin Deep. Vol. 14, no. 3, 3 Mar. 2022, pp. 557–557, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8955881/, https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics14030557.
Gueniche, Audrey, et al. Bifidobacterium Longum Lysate, a New Ingredient for Reactive Skin. Vol. 19, no. 8, 14 July 2009, pp. e1–e8, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19624730/, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00932.x.
RealizeBeautyEd. “The 500 Dalton Rule of Dermal Penetration and Cosmetic Science.” Realize Beauty, Realize Beauty, 27 Mar. 2017, realizebeauty.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/cosmetic-science/.
Stamford, Patrick J. Stability, Transdermal Penetration, and Cutaneous Effects of Ascorbic Acid and Its Derivatives. Vol. 11, no. 4, 1 Dec. 2012, pp. 310–317, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23174055/, https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12006.