For me, the Augustinus Bader cream was THE selling point of the Cult Beauty Advent Calendar (read Part 1). I’ve been eyeing this brand since it first launched some two years ago. Although I was more interested in trying out the original The Cream, I was just as happy trying out the rich cream as we were going into winter.
UPDATE 2022: Since my original review in May 2021, I’ve had the opportunity to try out The Cream a little bit more as I bought the 15ml. Which has sort of changed my opinion about it. I’ve also given The Rich Cream to my +60 year old mother to add a little bit more depth and input to my original review. As a bonus, I’ve also added a review on The Face Oil which I’ve now tried and used. Hope you find this update useful. :)
Composition & Feel
The Rich cream is a bit special. It is, unsurprisingly, a thick cream, but more waxy and viscous. I personally felt the application to be sort of difficult and wasteful. I don’t know how to explain it. It wouldn’t spread out easily, but at the same time, when in contact with the skin, it suddenly would turn slippery… Only to suddenly, within seconds, become waxy again. It felt hard to spread out without taking more than you should need. While, on the other hand, the Cream is very light lotion-like, which spreads out with ease, and not much is needed to cover the face.
There are slight differences between the creams in terms of ingredients too. In addition to their base formula (of lipids, ceramides, TFC8, and peptides) The Cream contains a lesser strength of vitamin A, vitamin C, amino acids, and superoxide dismutase. These are not found in the Rich cream which seems more formulated for barrier night repair. The Cream also has a balance of both lipid and water-based hydrating ingredients while the Rich cream has mostly lipid-based hydration.
And also to note, the Rich cream isn’t vegan as it contains lanolin and beeswax.
Annotation: Augustinus Bader upgraded the formula of The Rich cream in 2021. It’s still largely lipid-based but now includes more water-based ingredients while removing lanolin and beeswax from the formula, making it vegan-friendly.
UPDATE 2022: I got a new bottle of the rich cream in my SpaceNK advent calendar 2021 which I tested out before gifting the rest to my mom. The issues I had with the application seem to have been improved; the cream applies much more smoothly now.
Usage & Experience
The Rich Cream
I used the Rich cream almost every night from January, sometimes in the mornings too. The 15ml lasted me about 2 months. When you screw it open, you’ll see that the vacuum packaging does have about 2-3 uses left. The pump was also a little bit inconsistent, I couldn’t count on 2 pumps would be enough. I mean, I’ve had cheaper products with vacuum pumps perform with much more consistency than this.
Weirdly enough, despite this being a rich cream and perfect for winter, I didn’t find it hydrating enough for my skin. It was more of the classic heavy cream sitting on top not sinking in much. I found my skin wanting more water-based moisture, which this one alone failed to provide. Although it felt heavy, it didn’t cause me more breakouts than usual. However, I’ve read reviews where the Rich cream, in particular, has caused breakouts (with the older formula).
While using it I did feel my skin becoming softer and more healthy-looking. It seemed to help reduce irritations from 1% retinol and felt like a great cream for compromised skin.
UPDATE 2022: I decided to gift the newly formulated Rich Cream to my mom who’s in her sixties. She’s been using it around spring/summertime. Her impression of the rich cream was however a bit underwhelming. Just like I felt with the original formula, neither did she find the cream to be very hydrating for her skin. And found that she had to take a lot more than she usually needs with her other favorites. Overall, she did find it to be an okay moisturizer but perhaps needs to be used for longer to see greater skin benefits on wrinkles.
I was hoping that the Cream, with more of its water-based hydration, would suit my skin better. However, it’s much lighter and more lotion-like. I can see why they made a richer one. Ironically, I feel like the original cream is – Do I dare to say it? – a bit too light for me. I feel like Goldilocks here. But I’m big on how I want my face creams to feel and set, and both of these are not up to my liking. The Cream doesn’t feel very luxurious or as hydrating as I hoped it would be. But as it has more active ingredients I can see past it.
The texture is thin and sinks in fast with no application issues. Just like the Rich cream, I feel my skin looking more resilient and healthy-looking. I do wish it were more hydrating though. It will perhaps be less of an issue for me once the weather gets warmer and the humidity rises.
UPDATE 2022: After buying the 15ml bottle of The Cream and using it for longer I’ve found myself loving it much more! It definitely doesn’t offer enough hydration during winter. But has worked fine for me in more humid weather or with a hydrating serum/toner underneath. I also found that two pumps were enough to cover my face. What impresses me the most and makes me want to come back for more is the instant firming effect. With the Rich Cream, my skin just felt softer and more healthy-looking. But with the Cream I saw fine lines almost instantly being less apparent and my skin feeling lifted and plumped. As I said, ingredient-wise, the Cream has more going for it which truly shows.
The Face Oil
If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you probably know my skepticism toward expensive face oils. My general rule of recommendation is to only spend if the oil offers something more than just a bunch of exotic oils. Augustinus Bader’s The Face Oil offers that little extra that might make it worth it. It has a base of fast-absorbing seed oils from grape, babassu, jojoba, and argan. Together with skin-soothing extracts and ingredients (allantoin and licorice root extract), plus TFC8. Formulated without fragrance or essential oils.
I found this to be a nourishing lightweight oil. I wouldn’t claim it to plump or diminish any fine lines or wrinkles. But does indeed feel like it improves skin’s barrier function, calming down redness and irritation more so than a regular face oil would. The way I apply is by mixing 2-3 drops with my moisturizer. Adding this to The Cream made it feel more nourishing and hydrating.
With that said, comparing it to other hybrid face oils like the Sunday Riley Glow Oil or Korres Black Pine Oil that I’ve used in the past – which has made big nostalgic impression on me. I personally would’ve preferred some aromatic scent in this. This is just me though. I generally lean towards fragrance-free skincare, but when it comes to expensive luxurious oils, I want that extra dimension that scent gives. It’s what makes me come back and spend over €50 on a face oil. But I understand that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But it would be interesting if Augustinus Bader made a version of the Face Oil with fragrance.
Effects of their Patented TFC8
I’m almost forgetting the most important thing! When it comes to the effects of Augustinus Bader’s patented TFC8 ingredient, two months felt a little short to notice any results – even though their own studies show results in as little as 4 weeks.
I was close to not bringing this up as I didn’t notice anything super special while using the Rich cream. Yes, my skin felt softer and healthy-looking, but my ceramide cream from the drugstore also does that. It wasn’t a huge difference per se that I saw or felt. And no, this cream did not defeat my turning-30-fine-lines-and-wrinkles that pop up and deepen around my birthday.
Maybe stuff was happening on a micro level, but I was also using it in conjunction with 1% retinol (from Drunk Elephant), so perhaps that’s why it’s been hard to tell.
UPDATE 2022: However, with the Cream, I did feel and notice a reduction in fine lines much more prominently than with the Rich cream. But that may perhaps go to show that the TFC8 works best in conjunction with other active ingredients. As the Rich cream, for example, lacks vitamin A and vitamin C.
I would recommend the Rich cream to dry non-dehydrated skin types or as a winter/night/barrier repair moisturizer. Although didn’t aggravate my acne or so, it wasn’t completely suited for my skin. With the newer formula, the texture is smoother and the application is better though. Otherwise, overall both my mom and I felt a little “meh” over the Rich cream and don’t feel like repurchasing if we had the money.
I do however really like the Cream, both from an ingredient standpoint and from visible results. But I could also see how that one might not suit everyone. It’s definitely more for normal, combination, and maybe oily skin types. During winter when my skin has been feeling unusually dehydrated the Cream has not been able to help. I’ve literally been using my cheaper moisturizer on top of the Cream to add a bit more hydration. However, in normal circumstances, it’s been more than enough.
As if an Augustinus Bader moisturizer is necessary and life-changing? Yes and no.
It completely depends on what you value the most. ‘Cause, all in all, it’s not the texture of the cream you’re investing in here, but the TFC8 science. I’d recommend buying The Cream if you have the money to spend and you believe (or want to believe) in their TFC8 technology. Just as you’d buy an expensive retinol and vitamin C serum. I wouldn’t say that these creams replace your retinoid serum though… But you could check off a lot of other things from your routine by replacing it with an Augustinus Bader moisturizer. For healthy skin, less is really more.
As for Augustinus Bader going from The Cream to a bunch of different products. They’ve gotten some hate for it (mainly from one Mrs. Hirons) And I’ll admit, at first I too was put off by the brand. Wasn’t it supposed to be just this one moisturizer to rule them all? Isn’t it why it’s called “The Cream”?!
But after having tested both creams and the oil, I don’t blame them. I actually praise them for developing other types of products for the customer to incorporate TFC8. While I don’t know what good TFC8 will do in a cleanser… I do see how, for example, if none of the creams are working for you or you already have a set of favorite moisturizers, you can try and incorporate their face oil, essence, or serum instead. I get the feeling that you’re not meant to own all their products… unless you’re a die-hard fan and your wallet allows it… But it’s more about Augustinus Bader trying to please customers and help them find one product with TFC8 that they can incorporate into their skincare routine. But I might be wrong about that.
And if you really want to be nifty, a cheap hack would be to purchase the body lotion or the body oil and try using it on the face. You get more product for less $$$, you know… And everyone knows face creams are just expensive body creams… I might actually try this and report back…