When I saw Gabrielle Union’s glowing skin on the red carpet at this year’s Met Gala, I had to know which products used to prep, and Lancôme’s new Absolue The Serum was the focus. The brand’s most luxurious serum to date, it launched in other global markets last year and was a huge success, so I’m excited that as of this month, we now have it stateside. Here’s my honest review.
My Skin Type:
Combination. I’m drier in the cold-weather months and oilier in the warm-weather ones thanks to the high humidity on the East Coast.
For the past decade, Lancôme scientists have been studying how skin ages over time, and how we can preserve a more youthful look for longer with smoother skin, fewer lines and wrinkles and a more even tone. The brand’s latest launch draws from the same playbook, as it was inspired by a newer field of research called Longevity Science, which encompasses all the ways we can innovate to extend the human lifespan. As we age, our skin surface cell turnover becomes quite sluggish, making us lose that youthful radiance and plumpness we once had (and probably took for granted). This serum aims to restore that luminosity via exfoliating lactic and citric acids, a firming agent, and the smoothing and antioxidant properties of an exclusive blend of rose extracts, which is the star of this anti-aging formula. It’s also safe for all skin types, including sensitive, and was tested by dermatologists.
Let’s talk more about the roses: One is the brand’s newly patented Absolue Perpetual Rose, which is organically grown in the South of France—nowhere else in the world—and hand-harvested. “What makes this rose so special is that it blooms continuously throughout the year, whereas most roses only bloom once or twice a year—this is a phenomenon of nature,” Kate Cummings, brand marketing director of skincare for Lancôme, told me, noting that the first rose used in skin care was in 1973. “We actually use several parts of the rose for skin-care ingredients. For this serum, an innovative green technology process creates a natural extract that’s 50 times more concentrated, allowing it to reduce visible signs of aging and give skin a hydrated, firmer, healthy glow.” This extraction method also helps cut down on bio-waste from the roses. One example of this is incorporating upcycled rosewood extract into the serum’s formula—it’s an ingredient would have otherwise been thrown away, and was discovered to have powerful antioxidant benefits. By 2025, Lancôme aims to have made 95 percent of the rose sustainable.
Another highlight is the serum’s refillable glass bottle, made with 40-percent recycled glass—it feels so heavy and luxurious, and looks beautiful on my vanity. If you replenish your serum with two refills, you’ll reduce plastic usage by 46 percent, compared to buying three new serums.
Grand rose extracts (Absolue Perpetual Rose, centifolia rose and damascena rose), vitamin E, Pro-Xylane (a firming ingredient proprietary to L’Oréal, Lancôme’s parent company), and an Exfoliating Acid Complex with lactic acid, citric acid and HEPES (hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid) that acts as a buffering agent to maintain a neutral pH
What It’s Free From:
Parabens, phthalates, mineral oil and sulfates
How to Use It:
Apply it morning and night after cleansing (and toning if you include that step). This is also a great serum to use with a gua sha stone or face roller to help it penetrate even better—or just use your fingers and give your face a nice massage as you rub it in.
What It Feels Like:
A lightweight, concentrated gel-cream-serum that feels really refreshing on skin and absorbs quickly. It doesn’t leave behind any sticky or greasy residue, and it layers well with my other skin-care products (moisturizer and sunscreen).
What It Smells Like:
Rosy floral, but it’s on the lighter side (it’s not like spraying perfume on your face or anything). It is made with synthetic fragrance, in addition to the natural scent of the rose extracts, so if you’re sensitive to fragrance, this is something to consider.
The Bottom Line:
This new serum is sustainable luxury in a bottle. It’s light as ever on my skin, yet packed with anti-aging ingredients, and I love the refillable component to support sustainability efforts. My skin feels soft, hydrated and pampered each time I use it.
Price/Where to Buy: