review estee lauder advanced night repair synchronized recovery complex II

If you’re a regular here, you know I don’t have much time for department store skincare. Dior, Lancome & co make the best makeup, but their skincare efforts leave a lot to be desired.

The exception to the rule? Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex. Estee Lauder is the one department store brand that actually cares about what they put in their lotions and potions. While everyone else gives you overpriced hydrating formulas, Estee Lauder uses anti-aging ingredients too.

This serum is one of my fave products from the line. Here’s what makes it stand out in a sea of average department store skincare products:

About The Brand: Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder was founded in 1946 by Estee Lauder and her husband Joseph. At the beginning, the brand only sold two products: Cleansing Oil, Skin Lotion, Super Rich All-purpose Creme, and Creme Pack. They did so well, within two years, their products were sold in Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Today, Estee Lauder is the second largest beauty company in the world, after L’Oreal. Their portfolio includes Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Dr Jart+, La Mer, and Tom Ford – and, of course, Estee Lauder itself.

In my personal opinion, Estee Lauder makeup is quite… boring. But their skincare is one of the best lines you’ll find at a department store. While every other department store brands charges an arm and a leg for a simple moisturising formula that wouldn’t be out of place at Ulta, Estee Lauder goes the extra mile and infuses anti-aging and soothing actives in their products too. That’s what makes them worth the extra dollars.

Key Ingredients In Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II: What Makes It Work?


Probiotics are all the rage now. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II has its own share of good bacteria, too. Bifida Ferment Lysate, to be exact. It’s a multitasker that:

You’ve guessed it, it’s especially beneficial for sensitive and easily irritated skin.

Related: The Truth About Probiotics In Skincare: Do They Really Work?


Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II jumped on the peptide bandwagon, too. The new version (released a few years ago) uses Triptetide-32, a peptide that claims to activate the clock gene PER-1 (it’s the gene that determines the normal human sleep pattern).

Here’s the theory: PER-1 activates the keratinocyte genes. These genes help protect against cellular damage and promote cellular viability, longevity and improve repair of DNA damage. The catch? They’re turned off at night. By turning on the switch, Tripeptide-32 could make them work when you sleep, too.

In practice, it’s highly unlikely that Tripeptide-32 can reach deep enough into the skin to activate these genes. Why? Your skin has enzymes that break it down before it has the time to reach its destination.

But let’s say that Tripeptide-32 can bypass these enzymes and reach PER-1. The only study that claims it can activate genes comes from Estee Lauder. Not the most unbiased of sources…

Related: The Truth About Peptides In Skincare: Do They Really Work?


You won’t find hyaluronic acid on the label. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II uses sodium hyaluronate, a derivative that better penetrates skin.

What does it do? It’s super hydrating. It works by attracting moisture from the air into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water!

When skin has all that extra moisture, it just looks younger. Moisture plumps up fine lines and wrinkles, so they look smaller to the naked eye. It makes your skin softer to the touch. And it gives it a subtle, healthy glow.

Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine, No Matter Your Skin Type

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Water: The main solvent, it dissolves the other ingredients in the serum.
  • Methyl Gluceth-20: A humectant and skin-conditioning agent, it gives skin plenty of hydration so it stays supple and soft.
  • PEG-75: It’s a humectant that attracts and binds water to the skin, helping it to stay hydrated. It can also be used as a solvent to improve the texture of a formula by making the ingredients blend cohesively.
  • Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane: A synthetic, wax-like ingredient that functions as a skin conditioning agent, making skin softer and smoother.
  • Butylene Glycol: A solvent that dissolves other ingredients in the formula. It also has humectant properties, so it draws moisture into the skin and binds it there for extra hydration.
  • Propanediol: A solvent that dissolves other ingredients in the formula. It’s also hydrating.
  • Cola Acuminata (Kola) Seed Extract: A.k.a. kola nut, it has no known benefits for the skin. Not sure why it’s here?
  • Hydrolyzed Algin: It’s hydrating and makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Pantethine: A.k.a. Pantothenic Acid, it’s very hydrating and makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Caffeine: It’s a powerful antioxidant that can fight the free radicals that give you premature wrinkles. But don’t expect it to do anything for dark circles. It can also be sensitising for sensitive skin.
  • Lectithin: This multitasker works as an emollient to make skin softer, water-binding agent to boost hydration, and emulsifying agent to keep the oily and watery parts of a formula from separating.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin: It makes skin softer and smoother. It also has some preservative-like properties that help your products last longer.
  • Sodium RNA: It’s said to help improve the visible signs of agingby downregulating the activity of the enzyme elastase, which is responsible for breaking down elastin fibers (the fibres that keep your skin elastic). In theory, when those fibres remain intact, your skin looks plumper and younger. But it’s such a new ingredient in skincare, I couldn’t find any independent research that shows it works as claimed.
  • Bisabolol: The main soothing active in chamomile, it reduces inflammation, and calms down redness and irritation.
  • Glycereth-26: A glycerin-based humectant and emollient that makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Squalane: Super moisturising, it makes skin softer and smoother without clogging pores.
  • Oleth-3 Phosphate: It helps the watery and oily parts of a formula mix and stay together.
  • Caprylyl Glycol: A moisturiser that holds water into your skin. It also has preservative-like properties that help extend the shelf life of your skincare products.
  • Lactobacillus Ferment: A lab-created, non-living probiotic ingredient made by fermentation of the microorganism Lactobacillus. Research shows it soothes skin by strengthening its ability to protect itself against environmental aggressors.
  • Oleth-3: It helps the watery and oily parts of a formula blend together beautifully.
  • Oleth-5: An emulsifier that prevents the oily and watery parts of a formula from separating.
  • Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile): Chamomile is a mixed bag. On one hand, it is loaded with soothing compounds that can reduce redness and irritation. On the other, it can cause irritations and allergies in people who are allergic to it.
  • Yeast Extract: It soothes skin and protects it from environmental aggressors.
  • Choleth-24: An emulsifier that keeps the oily and watery parts of a formula from separating and ruining the texture.
  • Hydrogenated Lecithin: It can be made in a lab, derived from plants or animals. It has powerful moisturising properties.
  • Ceteth-24: Another emulsifier that helps the watery and oily ingredients blend together cohesively.
  • Tocopheryl Acetate: A form of Vitamin E, it’s a powerful antioxidant with moisturising properties.
  • Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate: An old-school UV filter. It’s not dangerous, but I’m not sure what it’s doing here? It’s not needed in this formula.
  • Hexylene Glycol: It is a solvent that creates a beautiful, easy-to-spread texture.
  • Carbonmer: It’s a thickening agent that also prevents the watery and oily parts of a formula from separating.
  • Triethanolamine: It helps adjust the pH of skincare products.
  • Trisodium EDTA: It binds to the metal ions in the water that would otherwise spoil the formula and neutralises them.
  • BHT: A potent antioxidants that helps fight the free radicals that cause wrinkles.
  • Xanthan Gum: It thickens the texture.
  • Phenoxyethanol: It’s a preservative that kills a wide range of bacteria to extend the shelf-life of the serum.
  • Red 4: It gives the texture a reddish hue.
  • Yellow 5: It gives the texture a yellowish hue.


Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II has a lightweight, gel-like texture that spreads easily on the skin and absorbs instantly. It’s very pleasant to use and doesn’t leave any sticky or greasy residue behind. At this price point, texture must be perfect, don’t you agree?


Most department store skincare is loaded with fragrance that makes it smell good. I DON’T like that. Fragrance is the most irritating ingredient in skincare. Skincare should be nourishing, not irritating!

Thankfully, Estee Lauder did NOT add any irritating artificial fragrance to this serum. This serum is fragrance-free. Phew! But, it still has a smell. What you’re smelling is the ingredients. And, sadly, they don’t make the serum smell very nice. But hey, I’ll take an unpleasant smell over an irritation every day of the week. Plus, the scent doesn’t linger around long.

How To Use It

For best results, use this serum at night, after retinol/exfoliation but before moisturiser. You can also use it in the morning before sunscreen. There’s nothing here that will hurt your skin if used twice a day. But, it’s pricey, so you may want to use it only once a day to make it last longer.


Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II comes in a dark, opaque bottle that looks sleek. It’s something I’m proud to have on my vanity. The dropper applicator makes it very easy to use. Plus, this type of bottle ensures the antioxidants inside stay safe from the light and air that would otherwise deactivate them.

Performance & Personal Opinion

If your skin’s sensitive and prone to irritation, you’ll love Esteee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II. It’s very soothing, calms down redness and hydrates skin, leaving it softer and smoother all night long.

If you’re into anti-aging, you’ll be disappointed. This serum has a few antioxidants that’ll help you keep wrinkles at bay, but it can’t make wrinkles smaller. A retinol serum would work better for you.

FYI, if you have sensitive skin, a soothing product can help you keep your skin younger. A lot of anti-aging actives cause inflammation, the main cause of premature aging. So do environmental aggressors that hurt your skin more than someone with resistant skin. So, when it comes to prevention, it’s great to have a skincare product like this in your stash. It’s not as popular as retinol, but it keeps your skin in good condition.

I didn’t get any breakout or irritation from this. It’s very gentle for all skin types.

estee lauder advanced night repair II review

How Does Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II Compare To The Other Estee Lauder Serums?

If you were curious to try Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, but now you don’t think it’s the right serum for you, here are other options from the brand that may be a better fit (if your wallet can stomach the price tag):

  • Estee Lauder Idealist Serum Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher ($94.00): A silicone-based formula that makes skin smoother and pore smaller by filling them and smoothen them over (with silicones!). But it’s also enriched with antioxidants that help you fight wrinkles. Available at Boots and Estee Lauder.
  • Estee Lauder Perfectionist [CP+R] Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum ($116.00): It can’t double natural collagen in your skin, like it claims. But it’s full of antioxidants and soothing agents that fight free radicals, protects skin from environmental aggressors, and reduce inflammation. It also uses silica to absorb excess oil, making it a good choice for oily skin. Available at Boots, Estee Lauder, and Harrods.
  • Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Serum Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment with Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 ($82.00): A silicone-based formula with plenty of antioxidants to fight and slow down premature aging. It also has Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 (Argireline), a peptide called “Botox in a jar” because it’s said to freeze muscles, so wrinkles can’t form and show. It has a minimal effect only on very thin skin. Available at Blue Mercury, Boots, Estee Lauder, and Ulta.
  • Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Serum Rapid Brightening Treatment with Ferment² + Vitamin C ($176.00): An oil-free formula loaded with antioxidants and soothing extracts that can fight premature wrinkles and reduce irritation. But there’s nothing here that’ll brighten your skin tone. Even the Vitamin C (a derivative less effective than the pure form) is not present in high enough concentration for the brightening job. Shame! But it still helps for anti-aging. Available at Boots, Estee Lauder, Nordstrom, and Sephora.

What I Like About Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

  • Lightweight, fast-absorbing texture.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Beautiful and practical packaging.
  • Soothing, helps reduces irritations.
  • Helps protect skin from environmental aggressors.
  • A little hydrating.
  • Doesn’t clog pores.

What I DON’T Like About Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

  • Doesn’t smell very nice.

Who Should Use This?

This serum is ideal for sensitive and dry skin in need of soothing. If your skin is easily irritated, you know how precious something like this is. Everyone else will just take it from granted. But hey, if your skin has other concerns and doesn’t need the extra soothing power, you don’t need this.

Does Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II Live Up To The Hype?

Instantly adds radiance.It makes skin a little brighter.
Intensely hydrates.Yes, it’s hydrating.
Advanced Night Repair reduces the look of key signs of ageing.Look is the keyword here. The serum doesn’t promise to reduce your wrinkles. It promises to make them look smaller. Anything that hydrates skin can do this. But the effects are only temporary.
Advanced Night Repair contains ChronoluxCB™, a patented “power signal” to help reactivate and synchronise skin’s natural repair process, even when it is impaired by blue light exposure at night and other environmental assaults.The words “power signal” makes me think this refers to the peptide. But “reactivate and synchronise skin’s natural repair process” is such a vague claim, it’s impossible to tell exactly what it does (and if you can’t tell it, you can’t prove it’s a lie). Plus, anything with antioxidants can help you fight blue light export and other environmental assaults.
Effective for every ethnicity.With the exception of a few skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, you can treat most skin problems in the same way, regardless of your ethnicity. This claim makes EL sound inclusive, but really most skincare products work for everyone.

Is Estee Lauder Cruelty-Free?

Estee Lauder is NOT cruelty-free. They test on animals, either themselves or through a third-party.

Price & Availability

$70.00/£58.00 at Sephora

Do You Need It?

If you have sensitive skin, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II can be a good addition to your skincare routine.

Dupes & Alternatives

  • Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule 5X ($52.00): It’s loaded with probiotics to soothe skin and protect it from environmental aggressors. Plus, niacinamide, a multi-tasker that hydrates, fights wrinkles, brightens skin, treats acne, and reduces redness. Available at Soko Glam, Stylevana, and Yes Style.
  • Neogen Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro Serum ($38.00): A gel-textured formula with probiotics and antioxidants to soothe irritations and fight premature aging. But it can’t promises skin like it claims. Available at Beauty Bay, Soko Glam, Stylevana, and Yes Style.


Water, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Methyl Gluceth-20, PEG-75, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Cola Acuminata (Kola) Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Algin, Pantethine, Caffeine, Lectithin, Tripeptide-32, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium RNA, Bisabolol, Glycereth-26, Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Oleth-3, Oleth-5, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Yeast Extract, Choleth-24, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Ceteth-24, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Hexylene Glycol, Carbonmer, Triethanolamine, Trisodium EDTA, BHT, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Red 4, Yellow 5.