I've said it before, and I'll say it again: One side effect of life as a beauty editor is an unavoidable scepticism when it comes to beauty products. It's not that I'm not interested or intrigued by what comes across my desk; it's just that it's theoretically impossible for each and every product to live up to the life-changing hype brands put out there. But every so often I'm introduced to something so revolutionary I can hardly wait to report on it. Enter: Augustinus Bader—an under-the-radar (and incredibly scientifically advanced) brand that just might be the future of skincare. So far, the brand consists of two iterations of its trademark face cream—The Rich Cream (£205) and The Cream (£205)—both of which launched back in February. So what makes the two creams so darn extraordinary? Four words: science and stem cells. Do I have your attention yet?
Late last year, I had the opportunity to sit down with professor Augustinus Bader himself to learn more about the launch and to get my first peek (and personal trial) of the cream currently making waves in both fields of science and skin.
Here's what I learned: Bader (a German physician, scientist, professor and researcher who's considered one of the leading stem cell and biomedical pioneers in the realm of medical and healing treatments) currently holds over 200 patents and has authored 180+ peer-reviewed papers. And while the majority of his 30-year career has been devoted to research in the aforementioned fields, he's now expanding his findings and innovations to the skincare industry.
After all, if Bader's patents could heal the likes of third-degree burns in as little as days, weeks or years (depending on severity), why couldn't similar technology work wonders in the field of everyday skincare products? His basic idea: Our bodies hold the innate ability to heal and regenerate, and with the help of stem-cell technology, which according to the brand "activates and orchestrates the body's innate regenerative processes," game-changing skincare can be born.
Inspired by a hydrogel Bader developed back in 2007, both face cream formulas build off the technology to encourage "optimal skin environment," which in turn, the brand explains, "supports the body's innate renewal processes." For some context, these renewal processes can slow, turn off completely, or change as we get older or are exposed to damaging environmental factors.
So what's the key ingredient? Meet TFC8, Bader's proprietary trigger factor complex, which boasts natural amino acids, skin-essential vitamins and other synthesized molecules that already occur in the skin. Oh, and as a bonus, the creams are also composed of hydration heavy hitters like shea butter, aloe leaf, and avocado, primrose or sunflower oils. (The ingredients will vary depending on the cream you opt for.)
Additionally, the high-tech formula is said to be so inclusive and benefit-rich that it'll replace every step in your skincare routine following your go-to cleanser. According to the brand, you'll no longer have need for toners, serums or any other kind of moisturizers, as the cream works best unburdened by competing formulas sitting on top of the skin.
So if you're balking at the price (we get it), there's that to consider. And while the brand claims you can combine the rich cream (a heavier, more luxurious formula) and the regular (a lighter version with all the same benefits), you definitely don't need both.
But Do They Work?
According to the brand, you'll notice positive differences in the skin both immediately and in the long term. So Byrdie UK Editorial Director Amy Lawrenson, Byrdie U.S. Editorial Director Faith Xue; my 70-year-old makeup artist mother, Elise; and I all had to try the cream to see how our skin would fare.
The literature claims users will notice an almost immediate improvement in brightness, plumpness and hydration. And with diligent usage, one can expect a decrease in things like wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and redness as time goes on, in addition to a consistent increase in overall skin health, elasticity and even skin tone.
Interestingly, across the board, all three of us noticed the impressive results the brand claimed we'd notice immediately, like improved brightness, hydration and plumpness. However, as time wore on, we each had different experiences. Keep reading for our thoughts.
"I've been using The Cream for just over five weeks, and I've never had more compliments about my complexion, from 'It looks so glowy' to 'Bloody hell, your skin looks amazing.' I started with The Rich Cream and then moved onto The Cream, which was better suited to my oily/combination complexion. Although I was surprised the find The Rich Cream didn't break me out, even though it contains argan oil, avocado and evening primrose oil for those who suffer with dryness. My skin tone looked more even, my complexion felt plump, and it had that enviable lit-from-within glow. I love it so much I'm on my third bottle. It doesn't come cheap, but 10% of the profit is reinvested into Bader's medical research."
"Though I have oily/combination skin, I opted for the rich version because I liked the luxurious feeling of the thicker texture (plus my skin needs all the help it can get in the hydration department this time of year). For two weeks, I completely cut out the rest of my skincare products and only used the Augustinus Bader cream at night. I have a pretty extensive skincare ritual, so I was shocked to find that my skin didn't freak out at all when I minimised my routine. Instead, I woke up each morning and marvelled at how soft, clear and smooth my complexion was. I had to introduce other products back into my routine eventually, being a beauty editor and all, but I still reach for my Augustinus Bader cream whenever my skin is feeling particularly parched or I can't be bothered to go through my extensive regimen."
"While I absolutely loved the lightweight feel of the cream and how suddenly streamlined both my morning and nighttime skincare routines were, after about two weeks of using the cream, I noticed a new crop of whiteheads making a rather unusual appearance along my cheeks, jawline and even a few up near my temples. Of course, the breakout may not have been related to the product, but considering nothing else in my life—like my diet, stress or sleep patterns—had changed dramatically, it seemed to be the only likely culprit.
"As a disclaimer, my skin is incredibly finicky, and over the past year (especially around the holiday season when I was test-driving the cream), it had reached an all-time irritability high. The only thing that had seemed to quell the angry outbursts of hormonal acne was a specialised routine esthetician Renée Rouleau had prescribed me a few months prior, and in all honesty, it could have just been the initial deviation from that ritual to the Bader cream which re-excited my acne. That being said, I didn't want to rock the boat, so I called it quits with the Bader cream and reluctantly passed it off to my mom."
"I've tried my fair share of skincare products over the years—especially preventative products geared toward maturing skin—but I honestly loved The Cream by Augustinus Bader. I used it religiously as directed both in the morning and the evening. I loved the feel of it and the overall consistency, and had no problem with breakouts or irritation of any kind. I used the cream over the course of several months, and I definitely saw an improvement in the 'H' lines between my eyes and the 'smile lines' around my nasolabial folds.
"Though no cream is going to work miracles, I definitely saw some improvement, which is more than I can say for the majority of products I've experimented with. And what I really liked was that I felt my skin was continuing to improve over time. I even used the cream on my neck, which is where I have the most wrinkles, folds and spots, and noticed an improvement there as well. Plus, even though I was using The Cream both morning and evening, it really did last quite a long time.
"Additionally (and this has nothing to do with the formula itself), for some reason I really appreciated the packaging and the satisfying way the magnetic closure pulled the cap securely onto the bottle. I'm usually not someone who's impressed one way or the other with packaging, but I thought this was pretty ingenious."
As my mum mentioned, it's unrealistic to expect any product to reap miracle-like benefits for everyone. After all, we're all unique. That being said, the science, technology and potential are still incredibly intriguing, and if anything, this product could certainly pave the way for a new approach to skincare.
The verdict: Both iterations of the cream definitely boast impeccable quality, well-researched ingredients and formulation, and impressive results depending on your skin type and needs. Plus, for the sake of time, money and beauty sleep, there's something to be said for a two-product skincare routine. Want options? Keep scrolling to shop other anti-ageing moisturisers we swear by.
Click here to see the pricey skincare products that are actually worth it.