11 PV Girls try the iconic Estée Lauder ANR for 30 days - is it as good as the raves?

While other girls dream of building an extensive makeup collection with custom-built dressers, my ultimate beauty goal is to never need to wear foundation or concealer ever again. Between those two options, I used to think that it would be easier to do the makeup collection than it is to get perfect skin! In the skin care forums that I follow though, there was a product that was often mentioned and frequently on the “favorites” list of people. That’s where I first heard about Estée Lauder’s best-selling Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II.  

At more than P5,000 for the full-size 30mL bottle, I put it on my list of Things To Buy When I’m Rich and made do with products within my small budget. After all, how life-changing can a tiny bottle possibly be, right? That’s where I was quickly proven wrong.

As our first ever team challenge, Estée Lauder invited me and my fellow PV girls to try using their Advanced Night Repair and Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion for 30 days. We all had different skin types, concerns and routines, so it was very exciting for us to find out exactly how one product could be something that all of us would want to add our routines. Here’s what we discovered, and we share our makeup-free selfies to reveal the results!

The first photo was taken at the beginning of the challenge, the second (middle photo) after 15 days, and the last photo after 30 days.

Den Bengzon

Skin type and concerns: dryness, occasional dry patches, fine lines, uneven skin tone

I deliberately avoided reading about the Micro Essence and ANR until I’d completed the challenge to be sure thatt whatever changes I might experience, it would be something that I actually observed rather than been conditioned to expect. It was love first use because of the lightweight texture and delicate, somewhat spicy scent. By Week Two, I noticed that my face was glowing and looked brighter than ever! More importantly, my skin felt (and still feels) amazing, and my laugh lines have diminished. Saving up for my repurchase already!

Gett Balalad

Skin condition and concerns: oiliness and acne

I noticed that my breakouts heal faster than usual! I also like that there seems to be a glow about me. even if I lack sleep or feel bleh. I think my skin may be purging though, as I've been breaking out more at both the usual areas and not-usual ones like my forehead.

Angela Fernandez

Skin condition and concerns: combination with hormonal acne on forehead

Both the microessence and ANR felt light on my skin. They were easy to apply and fit right into my skincare routine, and seemed to improve the absorption of the other products that I used. My skin feels softer and smoother, with a radiance that made me look more healthy at just 15 days into the challenge. The changes are even more noticeable now, as I’ve received compliments on how my breakout is clearing up and my redness has lessened. The day after I finished the challenge, I stopped for a second after cleansing my face and decided, "Yes, I wanna keep doing this!"

Charlie Ermerna

Skin condition and concerns: oiliness, acne, scarring, dark spots, uneven texture and tone

To my surprise, the serum and essence combination, despite being light on the skin, was actually enough to keep my skin moisturized that I was able to skip my usual moisturizers! As the challenge hit the midpoint, my mom actually commented that my skin looked a bit brighter. The pores on my cheeks are no longer as embarrassingly visible so I’ve been skipping silicon-based primers without cringing at the sight of my pores.

My skin also now looks considerably lighter (and actually now matches my the color of my neck), even radiant despite my period acne. While I wish that the serum also did its magic to my acne and scar problems, I’m happy to have tried it and see my face look bright. I wish the pictures were able to do enough justice on the serum’s effect on my skin. I now understand what the rave over this serum is about. This bottle is not just a product of sweet talk - it actually, totally, works!

Katsy Faustino

Skin condition and concerns: dryness, blackheads, fine lines

Before I started using the essence and ANR, I didn't like how my face looked so yellowish. The tone was just off and made me look sickly without a sheer wash of base. I also had to exfoliate every 2-3 days around the nose area, or else I will have a build-up of blackheads. Two weeks into using the duo, I noticed that I didn't have to exfoliate as much. My skin tone started losing the yellow tint and actually looked healthy.

I also noticed an improvement in skin texture even though I refrained from exfoliating the entire month, which I couldn’t have skipped without the help of the Micro Essence. My skin felt nourished, and not once did I experience the extra tightness that comes from having dry skin. I would definitely keep using the products and plant to repurchase once I've used them up. A little goes a long way and I can clearly see the results so I look forward to trying out the rest of the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair line, particularly the eye creams as that is another one of my main skin issues. In fairness, my under eye area somehow lightened up even by just using the ANR serum.

Crystal Rodis-Concepcion

Skin condition and concerns: oiliness and acne

I had just come from a nasty breakout that left me with a lot of acne marks when I started this challenge. The first time I tried the products, I knew that I would enjoy using them because both felt so light and easily absorbed by the skin. Waking up in the morning of Day 2, I immediately noticed that my skin was not oily at all and felt like I had just applied my skincare products minutes ago.

After a few days, I noticed that my skin was looking brighter. By Day 15, I noticed that my acne marks had faded a little, and that there was a big change in my oil production. I can now go longer without blotting my face, and when I do, my oil blotters aren't as soaked in oil as before. It feels so good to not be so dependent on oil-blotting sheets, and I have this duo to thank for helping normalize my skin!

Jenn Tan

Skin condition and concerns: oiliness, acne, large pores, scars from a recent bout of chickenpox

I took this challenge shortly after my bout with adult chickenpox, which left deep, indented scars on my skin. I was also unable to follow my usual skincare routine for the two weeks I was sick so my skin was really messed up! I have actually tried the ANR serum before its current reformulation; it didn't agree with my skin back then but I'm glad my skin positively responded to it this time around.

The most immediate change I noticed is how my skin felt smoother to the touch the day after my first application. I remained a skeptic until about a week into the challenge; though my skin is far from perfect, it looked better in photos even without makeup on and I began to believe in the "I woke up like this!" glow. It doesn't directly treat acne as I still did get pimples from time to time, though I did observe that they were fewer and smaller. My theory is that ANR strengthened my skin's natural mantle, effectively making it more resistant against external factors and less prone to pimples. I still have pore problems although my skin's texture has definitely improved.

The best thing about using ANR for me is that it protects and nourishes the skin even during days when I had little sleep. Of course, it's still much healthier to get a good night's sleep but on days when you're running on only so much of it, you can depend on ANR to catch your skin and not let it fall.

Marielle Ong

Skin condition and concerns: dryness, dullness and hyperpigmentation

The Micro Essence feels hydrating but not slick and slightly sticky like some of the moisturizing liquids/toners I've used. It actually feels very presko and clean on the skin without drying it out. The same goes for ANR: The gel consistency is rapidly absorbed, giving it a coated feeling sans any discomfort or fear that it would stick to my pillowcase. What amazed me about this duo was how they maintained a healthy skin texture when I got sick halfway through challenge.

Being ill usually gives me rough, bumpy, tired skin that just feels gross and neglected but using ANR made my face felt noticeably smoother even when I wasn't at 100%. While it doesn't really register on cam, my fingers can definitely detect the difference!

Claire Reyes

Skin type and concerns: sensitive, combination, hormonal acne, large pores, dark spots

I was really excited to do this challenge - this is my first time to try Estée Lauder skin care for a whole month! At the same time, I felt apprehensive and doubtful as I have sensitive skin and get hormonal acne so I usually stay away from too many active ingredients. What really made we decide to try was the need to address the dark spots left behind by pimple marks. Finding  something that addresses these issues, while not making my oily areas greasy and my dry patches obvious, is a real challenge!

And so I found it hard to believe when I noticed my skin wasn't as greasy when I woke up after the first ANR challenge night. I noticed micropeeling on my nose but it was never felt painful, just that my skin was regenerating at a much faster pace. By day 15, my dark spots were less noticeable. Even though I had a fresh breakout (I had been on day 2 of my period) my skin wasn't as red as usual. The texture in my cheeks was also less noticeable.

By day 30, I was a true believer in the power of ANR! I had clearer skin overall, and my skin is the closest it's ever been to a normal skin type. Even the lines around my mouth and eyes weren't as obvious! This is something I will definitely consider adding to my permanent skin care. It may seem expensive but considering how well it performed with the very small amount I've been using, it's definitely worth it!

Sam Gonzales

Skin type and concerns: normal, occasional dry patches, prone to dehydration

I get the intermittent hormonal blemishes due to PCOS and what I love about the ANR regimen is that it definitely tones down the redness of all the marks, such that I’m confident enough to just go out with sunscreen and a lip balm. It also eliminates the “tight” feeling I usually have around my nostrils, which was always a problem due to the dryness of my skin. The best part of the challenge was to form a nighttime routine - to never neglect cleansing and treatment.

Stacie Chan

Skin type and concerns: combination-oily, fine lines around the eyes, uneven texture, whiteheads

I noticed that my skin felt softer within the first few days of using ANR but after taking the second photo on Day 15, I was shocked at how much brighter my skin actually looked even though there was redness on my forehead and cheeks. I met up with the PV Team sometime around Day 20 and received a lot of compliments on how well my skin looked! It was then that I realized that I could finally walk out without base makeup, except for concealer for my dark circles!

Admittedly, I didn’t even notice how dull my complexion was until I started using this duo. My Day 30 photo says it all; the ANR challenge has made it look healthier and more glowy! Even the usual small bumps I get on my forehead have completely disappeared. The combination costs about P8k, which is a whopping amount for a student like me. I would definitely pay for the price IF I had the cash but unfortunately, I will most likely re-purchase only when I have a steady job and no longer living off an allowance.

Have you tried taking the month-long #AdvancedNightRepair challenge? Hope we've convinced you to do so!

Product photography by Samantha Gonzales