The Serum That Helps Skin Cells “Talk” To One Another

More talk = more skin repair. The iconic little brown bottle with the cult following just made the big leap to helping you get youthful-looking skin.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Every time it gets a new iteration, it just gets better. We’re talking about Estee Lauder’s cult Advanced Night Serum. Every reformulation since its 1982 launch has featured a scientific breakthrough. In fact, its legion of fans have almost come to expect it.

But it’s not the sciency stuff that draws followers old and new to the cult of ANR. It’s that every version gives even better results.

Fans will tell you that Advanced Night Repair is like an extended warranty for their skin, from reducing the appearance of lines to looking radiant and rested, to smoother, suppler skin.

It’s why the serum is so sought after: 22 bottles sold a minute; 11.7 million in sales in 2019.

This 2020 version, its fifth, is called Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex (from $130 for 30ml). And its big breakthrough is Estee Lauder’s discovery of a youth-generating molecule after seven years of research.

The inspiration behind the reformulation is based on epigenetics – the impact of your environment on your genes. Only 25 per cent of how your skin ages is determined by your genes. The other 75 per cent is influenced by your environment, including UV exposure, pollution, diet and sleep. So how your skin looks and ages is within your control.

The brand first touched on this concept in its 2013 Advanced Night Repair. But the discovery of a specific molecule essential to skin repair is an industry first. The youth-generating molecule belongs to a group of micro signalling molecules. Dr Nadine Pernodet, vice-president of Skin Biology & Bioactives (Global Research & Development) at Estee Lauder Companies, says these are located throughout the body and they “sense and respond to the environment”.

The Estee Lauder R&D team studied 80 different types before discovering this one. Dr Pernodet says it encourages skin’s natural renewal of fresh, new cells and boosts collagen production, and is crucial in determining how youthful your skin looks.

“We discovered that the level of (the youth-generating molecule) is naturally high in young cells, but declines as the skin ages,” she adds. “Its level can also be affected by environmental aggressors, which impact the skin’s natural ability to counter the skin cell damage that causes premature ageing.”

Skin repair on speed

The new ANR boosts the levels of youth-generating molecule so skin cells can respond to damage faster, which results in faster repair. The formula uses the brand’s exclusive Chronolux Power Signal Technology that contains a new botanical extract, adansonia digitata seed extract from the African baobab tree, along with a yeast ferment and tripeptide. Together, they optimise skin’s natural repair mechanisms and increase collagen production to tackle a variety of skin issues, like fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, skin roughness and sagging.

So how fast can you see results? Dr Pernodet’s team found that lines and wrinkles appeared reduced 25 per cent faster, in three weeks, compared to its predecessor.

And in a clinical study of 36 Asian women, aged 39 to 65 years, they found that one dropper of serum revealed plump and radiant skin, and after one bottle, the appearance of pores was reduced. Testers also reported more bouncy skin.

Though this is a night repair serum, you can also use it in the morning, as the serum helps skin repair itself at precisely the right time, “maximising its natural night and day rhythm of repair and protection”. For optimal results, you should use a whole dropper-ful each time, applying it to your entire face and neck. – VANESSA CHIA



The 2013 iteration of Estee Lauder’s iconic anti-ageing serum was my best friend after late nights, because it made my complexion supple and bright in the mornings. The 2020 version works faster: One dropper claims to make skin radiant and plump, with up to 72 hours of hydration, and eight-hour antioxidant protection.

After one night, I was surprised to find my skin plump with a soft lit-from-within glow. And this was despite heading to bed after 2am. Over the next five days, I used the new Advanced Night Repair every morning and night, and started to notice that the lines on my face were less obvious, while my skin was slowly getting a youthful bounce too.

It’s still early days but I’m liking what I see, especially how my skin looks healthier and more hydrated.


These celebrities are big fans. 
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“It refreshes my skin and feels amazing after a long day.” – model and reality star Kendall Jenner

“I love how quickly the serum absorbs and how it encourages cell turnover while keeping skin hydrated.” – actress and host Oon Shu An

“It moisturises and protects my skin day and night. And when my complexion is dewy and supple, it makes me feel happy.” – Taiwanese singer Ella Chen
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The original: 1982 – Night Repair Cellular Recovery Complex

The first anti-ageing serum at the time to focus on skin repair, and the first skincare product to use hyaluronic acid. The formula works with skin’s natural renewal process to help it recover from environmental aggressors, improving its appearance.
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#2: 1991 – Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex

Reformulated to include the brand’s proprietary antioxidant technologies to support skin’s night-time renewal functions and daytime protective capabilities, to reduce the signs of ageing.
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#3: 2009 – Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex

Introduces the now-signature Chronolux Technology for the first time. What the updated formula does: optimises night-time repair by working even more in sync with skin’s circadian rhythm. It also includes over 20 patents.
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#4: 2013 – Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

The renovated formula enhances the cell purification process, which clears out debris build-up in cells that can disrupt its natural repair functions, for improved radiance and skin texture.
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The latest: 2020 – Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex

The discovery of a youth-generating molecule results in this fifth iteration – a formula that maximises skin repair as you sleep and boosts its youth-generating power.