Are They Dupes?: Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate VS L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Serum Intense Daily Treatment

by Gio

a dupe for lancome advanced genefique youth activating concentrate

Did you know that Lancome and L’Oreal Paris are owned by the same company? That’s good news for us.

It means that, whenever Lancome releases a “revolutionary” skincare product with a new “miraculous” ingredient, it is only a matter of time before L’Oreal follows suit. The multinational doubles its profits, and we get the chance to try what the fuss is about without breaking the bank.

An example. L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Serum Intense Daily Treatment is a dupe for Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate. They use the same actives, have similar names, and make similar claims (skin regeneration).

But how well do they really work? And which one is better? Let’s investigate:

Ingredient Analysis

Bifida Ferment Lysate

Both the Lancome and L’Oreal serums contain a very high amount of bifida ferment lysate. According to them, bifida ferment lysate can repair DNA, improve skin’s barrier function and hydration, and help maintain and support skin’s natural microflora. The catch? There’s no independent research supporting these claims yet. We just have to take Lancome’s and L’Oreal’s words for it. Mmm…

alcohol denat

Alcohol Denat

Alcohol Denat is a very controversial ingredient in skincare. Some experts, like Paula Begoun, claim it is always drying and irritating and a cause of free radicals. Others, like Nicki Zevola of Future Derm, believe that in well-formulated products, full of antioxidants and soothing agents, it can enhance the penetration of active ingredients without causing any harm to the skin.

It doesn’t really matter which side you are on (I still prefer to avoid it when possible). Both serums simply don’t contain enough beneficial ingredients able to counteract the potential harmful side effects of alcohol. If you have dry and sensitive skin especially, you’ll do well to stay away from both.



A lot of anti-ageing serums are loaded with dimethicone. That’s because it can make fine lines and wrinkles look smaller by filling them in. But the results are only temporary. Once you remove the serums, your wrinkles are still there, still as deep as before.

On the plus side, dimethicone doesn’t suffocate skin, as often claimed. Silicones like dimethicone have a particular molecular structure made of large molecules with wider spaces between each one of them. This allows them to create a barrier that slows down water loss without completely occluding skin.

glycerin molecular structure

Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate

Both serums are hydrating. They contain Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate, two humectants that draw water from the environment into the skin. Sodium Hyaluronate is particularly effective because it can bind 1000 times its weight in water, and works well both in high and low humidity conditions!

ascorbyl glucoside

Ascorbyl Glucoside vs Peptides

Both formulas are low on real anti-ageing ingredients that can fight premature wrinkles. Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate uses acorbyl glucoside, a form of vitamin C with powerful antioxidant properties that can stimulate collagen production and reduce hyperpigmentation.

L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Serum Intense Daily Treatment instead contains two peptides, palmitoyl oligopeptide, and palmitoyl tetrapepide-7. The first is said to stimulate collagen production, while the latter to reduce inflammation.

So, which of the two is better, ascorbyl glucoside or peptides? It’s hard to tell. Ascorbyl glucoside is one of the less studied forms of vitamin C and, even if it works well, there is only so much one antioxidant alone can do. Our skin needs a lot of them.

As for peptides, we still don’t know how well they work. Their molecules are too big to penetrate skin, but it’s been suggested they could still be effective when left on the surface. How? By signalling to skin receptors present there how a cell should behave.

What About The Rest Of The Formulas?

The first, most important, ingredients of Lancome Advanced Genefique Youth Activating Concentrate Serum and L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Serum Intense Daily Treatment are identical. So, they do pretty much the same thing.

They can temporarily reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and hydrate skin, but the high amount of alcohol could, potentially, dry it out and even irritate it.

The main difference? The choice of anti-ageing ingredients. One antioxidant for the former and two peptides for the latter. I personally prefer antioxidants because there is a lot more research supporting their benefits, but you need to use more than one of them to see some significant results.

So, regardless of which anti-ageing approach you prefer, both serums remain average.

Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate Ingredients

Water, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Glycerin, Alcohol Denatured, Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Adenosine, Faex Extract/Yeast Extract/Extrait De Levure, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Limonene, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Octyldodecanol, Citronellol, Parfum/Fragrance.

L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Serum Intense Daily Treatment Ingredients

Water, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Glycerin, Alcohol Denatured, Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Adenosine, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Chrysin, Octyldodecanol, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Fragrance


Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate is available in a 1oz bottle. It costs $84.00 and can be purchased at Sephora. L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Serum Intense Daily Treatment, housed in a 1oz tube, is priced at a much more reasonable $19.99. It can be purchased at Amazon.

The Bottom Line

L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Serum Intense Daily Treatment is a good dupe for Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate. They share the same benefits and side effects.

So, which one should you choose? I prefer the Lancome serum because it contains a form of vitamin C (although that isn’t enough to justify its outrageous high price tag).

The L’Oreal serum is best for those who want to try peptides without breaking the bank. If you do, follow it up with an antioxidant-rich moisturizer that can counteract the drying effects of alcohol and help fight premature ageing.

Have you tried these serums? Which one do you prefer?

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Jean November 28, 2014 - 11:41 pm

Great analysis and very fair presentation of opposing viewpoints. Thank you. I think I’ll pass on both of these because of the Alcohol Denat and lack of proven ingredients.

Remy November 29, 2014 - 2:33 am

The post demystifies many impressions that people have on some of the intimidating, scientific terms mentioned.

Gio November 29, 2014 - 12:07 pm

Remy, thank you!

Gio November 29, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Jean, I was surprised by the lack of proven ingredients, especially in the Lancome serum. The alcohol too would have been easier to justify if it had helped some active ingredients to penetrate skin.

Jean December 26, 2014 - 5:15 pm

I’ve been noting very high concentrations of drying Denatured Alcohol in make-up products as well. It seems a disturbing trend.

I suspect Denatured Alcohol is included sometimes to make a product dry quickly. In makeup products so you can quickly apply the next step of your make-up. In treatment products to give the impression that ingredients are being rapidly absorbed when actually they are being evaporated away.

Gio December 27, 2014 - 8:56 am

Jean, it is a disturbing trend indeed. People like lightweight products that sink in quickly without leaving a greasy residue behind, and alcohol helps with that. But it’s a big price to pay for a better consistency as alcohol can be so drying!

Remy November 29, 2014 - 2:32 am

Thank you for the very comprehensive review. Reading your post enabled me to learn about new things especially about ingredients found in skin care products. There are ingredients found in our kitchen that may equally be effective but I understand other may have special needs for their skin that require special products.

Gio November 29, 2014 - 12:06 pm

Remy, glad you enjoyed it. I like a good homemade beauty mask or cream every now and then, but there are some issues that are best addressed by traditional cosmetics indeed.

LC Mazzit March 26, 2019 - 12:27 pm

I am 62 and have been using Genifique 2x day for the past 3 months followed by the Renergie day/night creams. Since starting this regimen, people have been commenting on how great my skin looks and they cannot believe I am the age I am. I know everyone is different, but it appears to be working for me! 🙂

Gio March 29, 2019 - 1:31 pm

LC, that’s great. Happy to hear it’s working for you.

Chic Readings November 29, 2014 - 6:04 pm

I haven’t tried these and they both sound appealing to me:) Your analysis are always detailed and so helpful:)

Gio November 30, 2014 - 9:28 am

Helena, glad you find them useful. 🙂

smashinbeauty December 24, 2014 - 2:50 pm

Excellent post! This is wonderful when someone finds the time to compare two similar products. Realistically Vitamin C gives the skin that dewiness. You can always use a vitamin C serum and mix it with the L’oreal one and it should in the end give the same full effect as the Lancome one. Thanks for this one, I will for sure be sharing this post!

Gio December 24, 2014 - 3:39 pm

Smashingbeauty, thank you for sharing it. Vitamin C is a wonderful ingredient indeed. I love how it brightens skin, 🙂

H March 5, 2016 - 3:54 am

Ya. Totally agree. Not enough vit. C and other magic ingredients to justify Lancomb’s outrageous price tag. If I was older and was into anti-aging products I’d skip on both because if any of the ingredients do what they claim they’re in such tiny concentrations that it probably wouldn’t do anything! Major money sucker,if you ask me. I’d recommend Beautypedia by Paula’s Choice. They rate thinks according to ingredients, concentrations and actual science instead of opinion and advertising. Here’s a link:

Gio March 5, 2016 - 9:15 pm

H, I agree. I think, if you like this formula, definitely get the L’Oreal one. But there are so many better products on the market that can do a lot more for skin, so you can safely give both a miss. Oh, I love Beautypedia. It’s one of my fave resources, together with pubmed. Glad you love it too. 🙂

Andrea August 31, 2016 - 11:58 pm

I came across this thread while looking for a less expensive alternative to Lancome Advanced Genifique. I LOVE Lancome Advanced Genifique. A couple of years ago, I tried Loreal Youth Code Serum thinking it would be very similar to Genifique however, it doesn’t even come close. I returned Youth Code after a couple of weeks of giving it a fair chance. So far, I have found nothing that can compare or even come close to Loreal Advanced Genifique. I think Loreal Advanced Genifique is way overpriced but until I find something else less expensive that will at least come close in performance, Genifique is my number one choice.

Gio September 2, 2016 - 11:58 am

Andrea, thanks for sharing your experience. In terms of active ingredients, there really isn’t that much of a difference between the serums. So, can I ask what else is it that sets the Lancome serum apart for you?

Andrea September 2, 2016 - 3:11 pm

Gio, Yourh Code didn’t glide on and absorb as well as Advsnced Genifique and it felt heavier on my skin. Youth code did not oroduce the same glow for me. Also, Youth Code didn’t create as smooth a “canvas” for foundation application. I had high hopes for it because as you said, the ingredients are so similar but overall,, II was very disappointed with Youth Code.

Gio September 3, 2016 - 4:08 pm

Andrea, thank you for your feedback. The active ingredients are the same indeed, but it’s the filler ones that determine the texture, how well it’s going to spread, etc. Sounds like they used cheaper fillers for L’Oreal. 🙁

Andrea September 3, 2016 - 4:52 pm

Thank, Gio! That makes sense! I have a few fine lines but i use Genifique primarily to create a smooth texture and for the glow, so I guess Youth Code isn’t a good fit for me ? I wish it was because its a fraction of tne cost.

Gio September 4, 2016 - 12:04 pm

Andrea, I can see why it wouldn’t be a good fit in that case. What a shame. 🙁 If I come across another dupe for it, I’ll let you know.

Sheila October 28, 2016 - 2:32 am

Gio, I am 58 years old. I have been using Lancôme Genifique Youth serum for several years (probably 5 years). I’m not sure when it was renamed Advanced Genifique, or what the difference is between the the two formulas, but I love this product! No other product has given me the results that this product gives. I have brighter, younger looking skin. I’m a little annoyed that the original formula stated, use 2-3 drops of product. The new Advanced formula states, use a full dropper of product. I still use only 3 drops of the new formula. I suspect it’s a ploy to get customers to use more product, and thereby purchase it more frequently. I haven’t tried the L’Oreal product. I may try it down the road. Thanks for the great information.

Sheila October 28, 2016 - 2:38 am

By the way, today I was told that by a 27 year old gal, that she was surprised that I’m 58 years old, she wouldn’t have guessed I was that old.

Gio November 15, 2016 - 4:43 pm

Sheila, you’re still very young. 😉 But I’m so glad to hear this product is working wonders for you. The L’Oreal dupe feels a bit less luxurious on the skin, but it has the same active ingredients so it will give the same results.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. 🙂

Pam Singer May 10, 2017 - 12:09 am

I love yuor site. I love the serum from Lancôme but read about the same in the Youth Code. I can’t find it in any stores locally and searched on line. What Is the difference between L’Oréal Paris Youth Code Serum Intense Daily Treatment and L’Oréal Paris Code Regenerating Ski Care Serum Intense Daily Treatment. Is this the same product with Bifida Ferment Lysate as the first ingredient?

Gio May 14, 2017 - 3:59 pm

Pam, I’m struggling to find any info on the Regenerating serum. My guess is that it was an older version of the Serum Intense Daily Treatment.

Luana Dunn June 21, 2018 - 8:35 pm

I am 63 years old, fair skinned, and I am on day 6 of the 7 day Lancome Advanced Genifique challenge. I am very excited about my smoother glowing skin, smaller pores, improved fine lines,and fading age spots. I received a 20% of coupon today from Ulta so I ran to get my large Geifique bottle( best value) and my free Advanced Geneifique mask for doing the challenge! I also purchased the box of 4 masks because of the coupon and rewards I had built up to save on my purchase. I have been using Origins products over the serum and I suspect my moisturizers are working better because my face did peel a bit using the serum. I never had irritation or redness though. I do recommend using a sunscreen after this product because it really does exfoliate in a big way! Protect that new skin ladies.I hope my comments help everyone and I really liked your comparison of products review. I am now a subscriber !

Gio June 22, 2018 - 11:54 am

Luana, thanks so much for sharing your experience, it’s very helpful. And thanks so much for subscribing, too. Means a lot.

Apricot February 27, 2019 - 8:10 am

Hi Gio. I also appreciate the comparison. I have used Genifique in the past and I also loved it. I had splurged for the large size around a year and a half ago, but once I finished it I did not repurchase it due to the cost and because I had several other products I wished to try which I received in various sub boxes. Of all the different essences, serums and moisturizers that I have used since I haven’t loved any nearly as much.

The ingredients of the Genifique do not sound particularly impressive but whatever it did, it did really well. I found the formula itself very pleasant and soothing. I have dry somewhat sensitive skin and using this serum was like giving my skin exactly what it wanted. It would leave my skin feeling oh so soft and smooth, perfected and as someone else mentioned, glowing. It did give my face with a perfect canvas for applying make-up but I can’t tell you how often I felt like I didn’t even really need the additional make-up because my skin looked so bright and fresh already. Now why and how did it do that, I don’t really know. All I know is my skin seemed to really like it and despite the plethora of other products I have accumulated I will likely soon be repurchasing it. In fact, that is how I landed upon your article. I had planned on seeing where was the best place to purchase it with a GWP but first wanted to know more about the science behind it. Certainly, nothing you have explained seems to warrant it’s high cost or effect and yet whatever it does and how ever it does it, works astonishingly well.

On a side note, despite the same parent company, I can’t say I have ever had the same positive experience with the loreal skincare products I have tried. I tend not to like their scent, finding them overpowering and can only use them a couple of times before my skin begins to feel sensitized and irritated.

Lastly, I want you to know I very much appreciate you delving into the science of beauty and I am so glad to have discovered your blog, thank you!

Gio March 1, 2019 - 9:25 am

Apricot, so glad you enjoyed the post and hope to see you hear often. I believe the reason Genefique work so well for your skin was the combo of brightening vitamin C + moisture. One thing that department store skincare (Lancome, La Mer, Chanel) does really well is moisturise skin. When skin has all the moisture it needs, it becomes naturally softer and smoother, a little more dewy and a little less sensitive. So if you have dry/sensitive skin, a serum/lotion that helps you increase your moisture levels will do wonders for you. My problem is that it’s way overpriced for what it does. There are many other products out there that do the same thing. And it’s certainly not as revolutionary as Lancome implies!

Gillian September 13, 2019 - 10:20 am

Hi I really really like your reviews on products!

I was wondering if you could review Curel products? Pretty please!!

Gio September 15, 2019 - 1:21 pm

Gillian, on my to-do list!


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