Every now and then a product launch gets me a bit sentimental. After nearly twenty years of beauty writing, I’ve lived half my life alongside cosmetic brands. I can actually remember writing about many of the beauty breakthroughs alongside some of my own major milestones. Wedding and teeth whitening, babies and vitamin B, new jobs and hyaluronic jabs… Weird and strangely job-obsessive, perhaps, but it’s true.

It’s no wonder, then, that when a brand revives a much-loved product, (particularly one I watched them give birth to) it’s always a bit emotional for me. Case in point: Elizabeth Arden’s recent launch of Prevage 2.0. I’ve always had a soft spot for the antioxidant superhero serum, so you can imagine how heart warming it was to hear that the upgraded version has ten new ingredients added and FOUR TIMES more free-radical-busting power. 

You see, I was an early Prevage convert. Perhaps one of the earliest. I remember when Elizabeth Arden launched the first product in 2005. A few years later I was lucky enough to be flown to New York for one of their launches. Amid much fanfare in the midst of New York Fashion Week, the face of the brand at the time, actress Catherine Zeta Jones dazzled us with her supple age-defying complexion. I was hooked on the yellow serum in the sleek silver bottle from day one. I came home from the trip breathlessly extolling the benefits of key ingredient Idebenone to my husband (who became such a believer that he still uses it to this day.) 

Elizabeth Arden was actually one of the first brands, over 15 years ago, to bring a cosmeceutical into the world of retail cosmetics. They identified the huge skincare potential of Idebenone and partnered with Japanese Pharmaceutical Company Takeda for the launch. 

Up until that point, Idebenone had been used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and to preserve organs during transplant thanks to its incredible free-radical scavenging properties and ability to slow down oxidative stress. It was the stuff of skincare fairytales: a medical product reprogrammed for consumer use. And the best part? It really worked. 

Idebenone is a derivative of Coenzyme Q10, but is more lipid soluble, meaning it penetrates the skin more effectively. It’s one of the most powerful antioxidants around and according to a study in the journal of Cosmetic Dermatology is more effective at reducing oxidative stress than vitamin E, kinetin, ubiquinone, vitamin C, and lipoic acid. 

With all that in mind, when I heard that there was to be a new and improved version of my beloved Prevage, it was very, very exciting. This time, for the launch of Prevage 2.0 there was no New York trip. A facial at the Self by The Parlour Room Clovelly though was nearly the next best thing. After an invigorating treatment that left my skin gleaming satisfyingly, I took my silver bottle home and set to a rigorous testing regime. 

When it comes to AM or PM application of your antioxidants, current opinions are divided. There’s an argument for both, it seems: in the morning, alongside your sunscreen, antioxidants help to scavenge UV induced free radicals. While at night they help the skin repair the day’s damage. So I straddled the advice and went for a top and tail approach of morning and nightly applications. 

The instant effect of the product is always impressive. The pale yellow lotion imparts an almost golden glow to the complexion. (The product is yellow because pure Idebenone compound is an orange powder). It’s also immediately plumping, a benefit which I find lasts several hours. I also love how it slips seamlessly into my daily routine – I simply use it before my sunscreen in the morning and post cleansing at night, prior to my night cream. 

Within a week I noticed my skin was looking decidedly glowier, which I couldn’t put down to any change in diet or water intake. Now, over six weeks on, I can comfortably say that Prevage 2.0 is better than the original. The addition of vitamin C, E, peptides and a host of botanicals have supercharged the anti aging effects. My skin is infinitely more hydrated. The smile lines around my eyes seem less crepey and some of my darker patches of pigment even appear to have lightened. 

After some measured observation I’m ready to welcome Prevage 2.0 into my own private beauty Hall of Fame. While the shiny new version is certainly an upgrade in the skincare department, it will never supersede all the happy memories I have of the original. Viva la Prevage. 

Words by Sigourney Cantelo. In collaboration with Elizabeth Arden. 

Photography by Claire Wallman (@claire_wallman)

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