The Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activator comes said self-loading dropper, which I really like as it isn't as messy as sticking my fingers into a jar. The product is a milky-looking liquid with a surprisingly light texture. I applied it to my face with my fingers, and it absorbs quite quickly after a minute or two. It has a pleasant, slightly floral fragrance that is not overpowering or strong. When I used it, I did find that my skin seemed to be more well-hydrated, somewhat plumper and smoother, and had a better texture overall. I'm not exactly at the age where I really need to be concerned about fine lines or wrinkles, so I can't say for sure how those work, but overall, I'd say that this seems to have done its job.
Now, I could end my review, here, but then we'd miss out on the really cool part of this product - it's ingredients! This is where it gets a little interesting. One of the key ingredients (the second ingredient, in fact) in this product is Bifida Ferment Lysate, which is actually a bacteria. That can be found in your gut. So why is it in skincare? Apparently since 2009, there have been claims suggesting that Bifida Ferment Lysate can aid in repairing DNA damage, and since damage to cellular DNA is a large part of aging, I can see why this could potentially be huge in skincare. There was even a patent filed in 2009 for a skincare formulation involving Bifida Ferment Lysate. To date, the L'Oreal Group (which includes Lancome under its umbrella of brands) seems to be one of the main companies putting out products with this ingredient. L'Oreal has also published a paper from 2009 showing that Bifida Ferment Lysate, when applied to skin in a cream of 10%, helped improve skin barrier function, and hydration.
The only issue is that there doesn't seem to be any other published research replicating the results (I did a quick search on the Wiley Online Library and nothing turned up). I'm not too surprised, though - this seems quite cutting-edge, and the L'Oreal group happens to be one of the companies that is quiet innovation-driven in its new product launches. Evidently they believe it works effectively enough for them to include it in a product, and make it one of the key ingredients, too. The Lancome PR people are actually really nice, so I felt bad bugging my contact for further info on whether there was any other research they conducted on bifada ferment lysate, because I'm sure all I did was create more trouble for them - not least because the marketing arm that deals with bloggers probably isn't exactly the same department as the one that does R&D; I mean, they may not even be in the same country or continent! But I did it anyway, and I hope they don't hate me for it. I'll let you know if I get anything - it would be cool if there was because it does seem promising (it's one paper, I know, but hey, most creams can't even back up their novel ingredients with anything!). In anycase, there are other ingredients that have a beneficial effect on skin - the other two main ones are Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate, which help with hydration.
To buy or not to buy? That depends on how cutting-edge you believe the bifada bacteria to be in improving your skin.
I know that for some consumers, it's perhaps a leap to buy a skincare product when its star ingredient isn't independently proven, but for me, it does seem to work, so I'd say this isn't too bad overall - if nothing else, it does seem to work in making your skin more resilient in its barrier properties and hydrated. And, it does have a unique selling point. It is a little pricey, but there are so many lousier products out there in the market with generic formulation that are equally pricey (if not pricier). If you want a product that will deliver solid hydration to your skin, is lightweight and easy to use, and if you want to try something on the cutting-edge of technology, this is a good one to pick.
The Advanced Génifique Youth Activator comes in a few sizes and prices: 20ml ($99, limited edition), 30ml ($130), 50ml ($170, limited edition), 75ml ($210). The prices are staggered such that on a per-ml basis, the larger volumes are cheaper, but the smaller sizes are good if you're thinking of just trying the product before committing to a huge bottle.
(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)