By Bryan Goh

This New Skincare Line Promises Healthy, Glowy Skin In A Flash

Luxurious self-pampering that makes you look good as you feel
Lancôme Rénergie Behold, the Beauty World's Most Powerful Skin Renegrating Cream
From left to right: The Lancôme Rénergie H.C.F Triple Serum ($226 for 50ml) and Rénergie H.P.N. 300-Peptide Cream ($200 for 50ml).

In its 88 years of being a cosmetic powerhouse, Lancôme isn’t so much the peak of Parisian beauty as it is one of the brands for the beauty obsessed. We prefer to describe them instead as progressive and innovative; a game-changer even before the phrase became a way to describe brands who do novel things.

It was one of the first in the market to develop an all-purpose cream titled Nutrix in 1936 that did everything from moisturising to remedying radiation burns. It was also one of the first to include a variety of mascara brush styles to suit every style, length and when it comes to skincare innovations, Lancôme pioneered the boom of skin microbiome-improving skincare with the Advanced Génifique serum in 2009.

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Photo credit: Lancôme

The genesis for the Lancôme Rénergie H.C.F Triple Serum to Annie Black, the brand’s International Scientific Director, was simple. In an industry slated to reach a staggering US$580 billion (about S$778 billion) by 2027, Black could have decided to ride the trend wave and churn out products that captured the zeitgeist of the moment albeit for a short time but instead, she paid close attention to the three pillars that have been the bedrock of every Lancôme product: savoir-faire with the highest-performing of ingredients, sensoriality that makes the use of the serum luxurious, and self-pampering that makes you look good as you feel.

Here, Black takes us through the two products that form the Lancôme Rénergie series, the importance of paying attention to your skin’s needs and being smarter about tackling skin ageing.

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Lancôme Rénergie Behold, the Beauty World's Most Powerful Skin Renegrating Cream
Photo credit: Lancôme

How did the genesis of the Lancôme Rénergie H.C.F Triple Serum, come about? Was it a response to customer feedback or was it something that the brand has always wanted to do?
We’ve always been interested in high-performing ingredients and a lot of people are interested in what we call derma ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and others that are recommended by dermatologists so that was the starting point.

We wanted to put together very high-performing ingredients and push the boundaries as our motto for the Rénergie series is to make the impossible possible as there are many different ways we can do this.

The challenge for the Lancôme Rénergie H.C.F. Triple Serum was to combine ingredients that are normally difficult or impossible to do so. On one side, you have hyaluronic acid that wonderfully hydrating and on the other hand, you have ferulic acid which is a great antioxidant that does not like water as it degrades quickly within it.

So the idea behind the serum was to develop something that was a multitasking product with the best ingredients put together in the perfect formula that stays stable: you’ll get three separate formulas that are freshly mixed and within it, have the most potent ingredients that is dispensed in one simple gesture.

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Lancôme Rénergie Behold, the Beauty World's Most Powerful Skin Renegrating Cream
Photo credit: Lancôme

What about the Rénergie H.P.N. 300-Peptide Cream then? What makes it different from the serum besides its texture?
We had another challenge on our hands for this product and we looked to peptides this time. Most peptides are synthetic and we wanted to combine much more of them for the cream’s formula but it’s very difficult to do this as each synthetic peptide is synthesised one by one by chemistry.

Each of them addresses one biological target so when you look at what is in the cosmetic field, you see that products may have between one to three within a formula but we wanted to push it further by putting together even more of them.

The way we were able to put 300 different types is by working with plants that are rich in protein which in turn, makes them rich in different forms of peptides.

So, what exactly is the next-generation hyaluronic acid used in the series? How much better is it compared to its normal version?
There are many different types of hyaluronic acid like those which have a high molecular weight that will stay mostly on the surface of the skin as a kind of surface filler and you have others which penetrate deeper into the skin to bring in more hydration as they have a smaller weight.

The next generation hyaluronic acid used in the Lancôme Rénergie formula is hyaluronic acid which is a bit different as it has a low molecular weight but has an altered structure to give the skin even more benefits.

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Photo credit: Lancôme

Can your skin ever get immune to a skincare product’s formula? Or does a formula stop working once it restores the skin to optimum health?
Your skin always evolves over time so when you use a skincare product, your skin reacts to it but never reaches a plateau. It always evolves and changes over time due to circumstances like seasons, stress, and the temperature of the environment you’re in.

You can measure the different facets of your skin, especially when you do a diagnosis like Lancôme’s Skin Screen where they will give you a picture of it at a very precise time point. But again, depending on your lifestyle, this always changes.

The key to good skin health is to have a skincare routine that is adapted to a point in time, but you also need to change it depending on your lifestyle, seasons, and so on.

Was the Lancôme Rénergie series developed to be used as a complete series and is it the best way to use it? Or would you advise mixing it with other brands?
You can do what you like as it depends on the needs of your skin. For instance, I mix the Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate Serum ($191 for 50ml) with Rénergie as it is a universal product because it works on improving your skin’s barrier function and microbiome which is a fundamental need for your skin.

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The first thing we should try and do with our skin is to have a good barrier function because it leads to healthy skin. Once you have achieved that, you can tackle something different depending on your skin concerns. For me, I’m getting little wrinkles so I’m using the H.P.N. 300-Peptide Cream for lifting and tightening my skin.

In autumn, I would recommend using the Clarifique Clarifying Pro-Solution Serum ($180 for 30ml) for a couple of weeks if you notice unevenness in skin tone that is caused by the sun. A skincare routine is not something that should be the same for a very, very long time as it can change within a year especially if you are a frequent traveller.

Perhaps the most important question would be to ask what the delivery system of the Rénergie H.P.N. 300-Peptide Cream is especially since its texture is so cosmetically elegant.
That’s a great question, and I’m happy that you noticed this because we work a lot on the sensoriality of our products. There are different ways that we can build our formulas and we always start with a brief for a type of product that we want to develop.

In this case, the brief was to get as many peptides and ingredients in that cream as possible but we never, never compromise on sensoriality. That’s one of the signatures of Lancôme as the brand is all about the science of formulation.

When we add some ingredients to a formula, it can sometimes either break its texture or influence the structure of the formula which is why we do everything from changing a plant, adding butter or mixing in jellifying agents. That is a very precise scientific way to work and we’re very lucky to have amazing engineers at Lancôme to develop these formulas.

Sometimes, customers and brands always think that skincare products are all just about ingredients but the sensoriality of one is so important because even if you have something that brings a lot of performance, you’ll stop using it because of its smell or texture. You’ll only get the best results for your skin if you consistently use a product so thank you for bringing that up.

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Is there some kind of geroscience element to the Rénergie series? Which is to say, you can’t control your biological age but you can definitely control the age of your skin.
Yes, you’re right as the ageing process is influenced by the genes that we inherited from our parents which account for about 20% of the way we age but the other 80% comes from our lifestyle. The good thing is that we’re able to do something about it through different methods.

Of course, sleeping, exercising, and living well are important to slow the ageing process down but we sometimes forget the importance of skincare. Our skin is the outer layer of the body which makes it the first line of defence so it’s so important to take good care of our skin.

UV protection is extremely important and you need to protect against UVB which are the rays that give you a tan and more importantly, UVA rays which are the ones that go deeper into the skin and are responsible for damage to the skin and premature ageing.

Protection against pollution is also a must and then of course, it always comes back to the same thing—what ageing-related skin concerns do you want to tackle? Asians and Caucasians age differently with the first signs for the former being unevenness and spots and the latter being the development of wrinkles. You need to remember to always use the right product at the right time.