In the beauty world, few names are as synonymous with beauty and skincare as Estée Lauder. The global company now includes nearly 30 brands, including MAC, Clinique and Crème de la Mer and is sold all over the world, but it has very humble roots. Here’s a closer look at the woman behind the brand, Estée Lauder herself, what the company sells today, and are Estée Lauder products right for you?
Who Was Estée Lauder?
Estée Lauder was born in New York, in 1908 to Hungarian and Czechoslovakian parents. She became interested in beauty after her Hungarian uncle, a chemist, came to live with her family, and started whipping up skin creams in the kitchen. She learned how to make her own creams as well as the best way to apply them. Inspired by the belief that “There are no homely women, only careless women,” Lauder launched a beauty company with just four products.
Estée Lauder, the company, was officially launched in 1946. Lauder promoted her products by pounding the pavement and introducing them to women at beauty salons where she gave out free samples of her products. This was considered unusual at the time. Her first big order was $800 worth of products from Saks Fifth Avenue, which sold out in two days. The 1953 launch of Youth Dew beauty oil was the company’s first blockbuster product. It was a bath oil scented with jasmine, vetiver and patchouli. Lauder also pioneered the “Gift With Purchase” concept which is now considered a mainstay.
What does Estée Lauder Sell?
Today the Estée Lauder brand sells a wide variety of products, including makeup, creams, skincare, serums and fragrance. Here’s a closer look.
Estée Lauder Skin Care: The comprehensive line of Estée Lauder creams and moisturizers includes DayWear Anti-Oxidant 72H-Hydration Sorbet Creme SPF 15, a whipped cream designed to have a lightweight feel, as well as Revitalizing Supreme, an anti-aging cream that can be used twice a day. The Nutritious Super-Pomegranate Radiant Energy Lotion Fresh Moist is a facial spray that adds a quick blast of moisture. Advanced Night Repair Mask is soaked with the namesake serum and is designed to give skin a quick boost. The ReNutriv line is Estée Lauder’s most expensive. The ReNutriv Ultimate Lift Generating Youth Cream retails for $310 and is powered by Floralixir Dew, which is thought to help firm and strengthen skin.
Estée Lauder Eye Creams: The eye products are designed to moisturize as well as target the signs of aging. Advanced Time Zone contains grapeseed and rosemary extract to tackle fine lines, and Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Eye Gelee comes in a slim tube, and is applied with a gold tipped applicator.
Estée Lauder Eye Serums: The popular Advanced Night Repair facial serum is also available as an eye serum that can be used twice a day, under an eye cream.
Estée Lauder Cleansers: Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm transforms from a balm into a silky cleansing oil as it is massaged into the skin. The Multi-Action Foam Cleanser/Purifying Mask pulls double duty as a daily cleanser that can also be used as a three minute mask.
Estée Lauder Makeup: Double Wear Stay in Place Makeup foundation is an oil free formula designed to give medium to full coverage with a matte finish. The Pure Color Envy line of lipsticks is pigment rich and hydrating. The Bronze Goddess is an oil controlling bronzer packaged in a compact
Estée Lauder Fragrance: Estée Lauder’s original scent, Youth-Dew, is still sold today but has been joined by other classic fragrances such as Cinnabar, Intuition, White Linen and Beautiful.
What Are The Most Popular Estée Lauder Products?
Advanced Night Repair is arguably Estée Lauder’s most famous product. Officially called Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, this product is thought to be the industry’s first serum and is designed to help reduce the signs of aging (read our review here). Other popular products include the Tri-Peptide Face and Neck Creme SPF 15, which is aimed at anyone looking to improve brightness and boost skin firmness. Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment with Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 is powered by AHAs (a fruit acid) which helps dissolve dead skin cells and improve skin texture and smoothness. The Nutritious Super-Pomegranate Radiant Energy Moisture Crème contains the antioxidant pomegranate, which helps protect and nourish the skin. Estée Lauder has also embraced the popular K-beauty item, the Essence, with its Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion. (Not sure what an essence is? Read our guide here.)
What Ingredients Are in Estée Lauder Products?
Many of the ingredients found in Estée Lauder products are commonly found in other skincare brands, such as hyaluronic acid, a key component in the Advanced Night Repair line as well as Perfectionist Pro Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it an moisturizing all-star. Other hydrating ingredients include squalene, an emollient, and shea butter.
Products like the Perfectionist Pro Instant Resurfacing Peel with 9.9% AHAs + BHA contains AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), including glycolic, tartaric and citric acids, which exfoliate the skin by gently dissolving dead skin cells, as well as salicylic acid, an acne fighter that also sloughs off old skin cells. Creams such as NightWear Plus Anti-Oxidant Night Detox Crème contains vitamins vitamins C and E, along with coenzyme Q10.
More unusual ingredients are found in the ReNutriv Line, which is powered by The Floralixir Dew. According to the company, this ingredient “begins with two precious flowers that thrive in the frigid Himalayas and the parched highlands of Brazil, their potency magnified by the power of Re-Nutriv science.”
How Much Do Estée Lauder Products Cost?
Estée Lauder products are considered prestige, and are priced in line with other department store brands. The Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Crème retails for $85, and four Advanced Night Repair Masks are $82. Advanced Time Zone Eye Cream is $64. Perfectionist Pro Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment with Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 retails for $108.
Where Are Esté Lauder Products Sold?
Estée Lauder skincare products are sold at department stores including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, as well as beauty stores such as Ulta and Sephora.
Do Estée Lauder Products Work?
Whether or not a products “works” can be a matter of personal opinion, as well as how an individual’s skin reacts to a product. One person’s miracle product can cause a breakout in someone else, or do nothing at all.
When evaluating whether Estée Lauder works, the brand certainly has its fans and has been around for a long time. Some of its iconic products include Advanced Night Repair, which has won an InStyle Best Beauty Award and Allure’s Reader’s Choice Award in 2015 and 2016. The Double Wear Foundation received a Best of Beauty Awards from Allure magazine in 2018. Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick scooped an award from O, Oprah’s magazine, in 2018.
Estée Lauder shares user reviews on its website. The Perfectionist Pro Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment with Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 has garnered almost 200 reviews, with 90% of reviewers recommending it. It has 4.6 out of 5 stars and feedback includes “my skin looks brighter and pores tighten when used” and “Perfectionist Pro is the closest skincare grade that I have tried that isn’t in office physician/medical grade or Rx. The results are truly awesome. “ Those that didn’t like the product said it didn’t do anything for them- “I received a free sample of this product Perfectionist Pro serum, and I bought a full size to try, but honestly after using this, I don’t see any difference. I expected more from Estée Lauder.I am so disappointed this time.”
Sephora offers a wider range of reviews. One of its newer products, the Nutritious Super-Pomegranate Radiant Energy 2-in-1 Cleansing Foam, gets almost 7,000 “loves” and a 4.5 rating from 35 reviews. “I have tried so many cleansers and this is one of the best facial cleansers I have ever tried. It does not leave your skin dry but removes all the makeup, etc. it foams well and cleans well.”
What Are Some Alternatives to Estée Lauder?
Estée Lauder may not be the right choice for everyone, especially anyone who may not want to spend that much on their skincare. Many of the ingredients that Estée Lauder uses, such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and vitamin A, can be found in lower priced brands that still offer a comprehensive line of skincare products. Two consider are Formulyst and Advanced Dermatology.
Formulyst’s philosophy is long-term and effective skincare. The brand wants to help its customers achieve their best looking skin, rather than covering it up with makeup. The collection targets everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin.
Formulyst’s Luminous Skin Serum tackles skin discoloration such as dark spots thanks to Triple Brightening Technology, a powerful blend of alpha arbutin (derived from the bearberry plant), rumex extract (a plant that helps stop the production of melanin) and a biomimetic peptide. The serum leaves skin looking lighter and brighter.
Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is the star ingredient in Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream. What makes this formula different is that it contains a high dose of retinol but it’s also packed with ultra-soothing and hydrating safflower seed oil and jojoba to lock moisture in and soothe the skin.
Dry, parched skin is no match for Formulyst Super Hyaluronic Water Moisturizer. The hero ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which occurs naturally in the body and can hold up to 1,000 times it weight in water. This lightweight, oil free formula works by attracting water to the skin and contains multiple types of hyaluronic acid – and delivers hydration without leaving skin feeling weighted down.
If you like the simplicity of a skincare kit, consider Advanced Dermatology. This no nonsense brand offers a pared down approach to skincare. The packaging is simple and streamlined, and the products bring skincare back to the basics. The kit contains just six essential items including a daily cleanser; serum; anti-wrinkle firming treatment; night cream; day cream and an eye cream. In other words, everything you need to achieve your best possible looking skin.