I’m not one to splurge on a moisturizer quite yet. But I’ve been fortunate, through Advent Calendars, to have the opportunity to try out some of the high-end luxury moisturizers on the market. I also feel like, unless you don’t care much about your appearance or stubbornly keep to the cheap stuff or have sensitive skin, it’s inevitable to start glancing and wondering if spending more gives you more. And maybe it’s an age thing? While in your 20’s your salary didn’t allow you to experience the luxe skincare brands had to offer, it’s something you’ll find yourself indulging in as you get older and you start to earn more.
I’m very picky about my moisturizers. For me, it’s not so much about ingredients as it is about the texture, feel, and finish on my skin. Like, I would gladly use petroleum jelly on my face if it gave me the experience I’m intuitively looking for. I can’t always explain why I like and dislike a certain moisturizer; either it feels good or it doesn’t. Although my absolute favorite moisturizer keeps being the cheap stuff I find at the pharmacy, my little venture into high-end skincare has taught me what exactly spending more buys you.
All of these luxe moisturizers I’m reviewing in this blog post have come in the SpaceNK Advent Calendar 2022 in a little travel sample size. So bear in mind, I can’t speak of the long-term effects of the creams. But I hope you’ll feel guided into which ones would suit your skin the best.
Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream | 50ml/£65
Tatcha is a brand that I haven’t really paid much attention to as it’s only recently become available in Europe through UK’s SpaceNK. But the posts and hype about their Dewy Skin Cream have not gone unnoticed! I was very happy and pleased to get to try it and see what all the fuzz is about.
The Dewy Skin Cream is said to be best suited for normal, dry to mature skin. Or for those with combination skin who prefer a richer texture in a moisturizer. It’s for anyone wanting to tackle concerns of dullness, uneven texture, and loss of firmness and elasticity. And who prefer a shiny finish.
This is the very first Tatcha product I’ve tried so I didn’t really know what to expect. My first impression was that it had a very nice spreadable texture. It definitely feels different from other creams. It reminds me much of oil-free (gel-based) moisturizers, but this one’s texture is a lot more compact. My skin feels hydrated, soft, and plump when using it. But it does leave a slightly hydrated feeling on the skin and therefore may be uncomfortable for oily skin, or be used as a night cream. However, the plumping felt very temporary. And despite the dew, my skin is looking quite dull at the end of the day but… Could just be the season; winter is known to suck the life out of your skin.
The scent is sort of floral with a hint of lavender. Smells like it’s based on essential oils and does not smell overpowering to me.
The Dewy Skin Cream is famous for its shiny finish. I don’t know how to describe the shine other than that I expected a more sophisticated radiant finish – you know, that sort of reflective glow you get from certain sunscreens – but what I got was more of a transparent “wet shine” than a brightened complexion. (Hence, probably why it’s called “dew” *duh*) Had my skin been more mature and parched I might’ve appreciated it more.
However, in my humble opinion, it does not give a very “nice” shine. I let my boyfriend use it so I could observe it outside of myself in different lighting. And his skin looked more sweaty and humid than “healthy glowing” and radiant. Looking at his forehead, I felt slightly embarrassed for him.
Overall, I find this to be a good moisturizer with a luxurious overnight-mask feeling to it. It delivers on its promises of giving the skin a shot of hydration and a dewy glow that lasts almost throughout the day. Although I found the plumpness to dissipate a bit, my overall skin tone seemed to get more even with daily use.
As it’s sort of silicone-based, it has this primer-like feel and finish which leaves the skin soft and prepped for makeup. I do see why many absolutely love it. But to me, it feels more like a gimmick than a product actually worth its price tag. I mean, there are cheaper moisturizers as well as makeup products and primers that will give you that wet look. Not to mention that with makeup you have more control over what areas you want to enhance, instead of looking wet all over. And oh, it seems to pill with certain serums.
Although I don’t mind getting it again in future advent calendars and such, I’m not fully won over to repurchasing a full-size of this cream as I’ve come to prefer a natural finish. Perhaps I’d use it as a night cream. Rather, I would like to try their Silk Cream to compare, which I was recommended when doing their quiz online. So although I didn’t end up completely in love with this cream like the majority I’m not opposed to trying more from the brand.
With the Dewy Skin Cream I’m having a really hard time concluding what kind of skin it would suit the best. It’s sort of one of those creams you just have to try for yourself I guess and decide if the dewiness suits you.
Sunday Riley C.E.O Rich Hydration Cream | 50ml/£60
The year before I had been using their C.E.O Glow Oil which I highly adore. Therefore I was delighted to test out more from the same line. Sunday Riley currently offers two moisturizers in the C.E.O line of products: a rich hydrating cream, and for those who prefer a light feel on their skin, Afterglow – a brightening gel cream. Except for the obvious difference texture-wise, I can’t really tell what’s supposed to be the distinction. The rich cream is formulated with 5% of stabilized vitamin C, while Afterglow is missing this information.
According to Sunday Riley, the Rich Hydration Cream suits all skin types. Because of its richness, it works well as a day cream during wintertime. But I feel it may be best used as a night cream for summertime and for oily skin, as it takes time for it to sink in.
It has a nice subtle non-lingering scent of tangerines, which my boyfriend seemed to enjoy. It definitely lives up to its name, this cream definitely feels rich. Unless your skin is very dry or you live in a dry climate, it will feel slightly tacky on the skin. During winter it’s been fine for daytime use. But I’m feeling, as we’re moving into spring and summer, it does better as a night cream for most.
It doesn’t have the smoothest application. To not waste product, I find it’s best to press it in. While on, it does leave the skin with the same glow as the Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream. However, after a while, this turns more reflective than wet. Which makes me like this one more in terms of how it looks on the skin.
I’m not sure I’ve noticed any huge brightening effect from it. But I do like the feeling of it on my skin and have not had any issues surrounding the use.
I’d call this a good hydrating moisturizer with vitamin C. The Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream has a nicer texture but the C.E.O rich cream has less of a dewy finish that I like better. I will also add that I prefer a moisturizer with vitamin C to a separate C-serum. It’s definitely less fuss. And although not all vitamin C derivatives are equal in terms of brightening and fading dark spots, they all help to boost the protection of your sunscreen.
Although I find it to be a very nice rich moisturizer, I don’t feel compelled to go repurchase as soon as I’ve run out. Like, my overall opinion is that it’s good, but might’ve been a bit too heavy for my skin type as a day cream. I personally would’ve preferred a somewhat lighter texture.
Still, for anyone on the lookout for a rich moisturizer with vitamin C, especially during winter, this one’s worth a try!
Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream | 50ml/£165
Their Black Rose mask quickly became a luxe favorite last year. And I was very pleased to see it making another comeback in SpaceNK’s advent calendar together with the accompanying Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream. Like the mask, this is supposed to plump and add radiance to the skin, but in a lighter texture.
Said to be suitable for all skin types. However, I find the texture and feel of this to be better suited for normal to combination/oily skin. It sinks in quite quickly and does not hydrate as well as the Black Rose mask. In my opinion, dry to very dry skin might not find it hydrating enough throughout the day, especially during winter.
The Black Rose Cream has a nice herbal rose scent to it that’s not too overpowering. I’m personally not a huge fan of Sisley’s fragrance, smells a lot like one of those furniture/floor cleaners my mom used to clean with… But as the scent isn’t that strong or lingering, I’m not too bothered with it.
The base of this (excluding water) is rose water and glycerin. So the formula turns very watery when massaged into the skin, feeling very quenching, sinking in fast without leaving a sticky feel. A more appropriate name would’ve been “water cream”. For us that are more used to or prefer a cream texture, this will feel a bit too light. To me, it feels more like a cream serum. Therefore I find it best to suit oily to combination skin, or perhaps it’s a better fit for summer and hot/humid climates?
While I love the sensory experience of the scent and the quenching transformative consistency, I find that I’m not completely satisfied with the results. This promises a plumped and radiant complexion, but unlike the Black Rose Mask, my skin is feeling a bit tight afterward. An hour after application I don’t see much plumpness or radiance, my skin is actually looking a bit dull compared to the other moisturizers. After a little experimenting, I found that for drier skin it’s important how you prep the skin. Because of its light consistency, the serum you chose to use underneath matters.
The Black Rose Cream is definitely a lovely cream and wins in the sensory experience that I think a +£100 cream should give! At first, I felt that it wasn’t suited for my skin and more for combination oily skin. However, after realizing it’s all in the serums that come before it, I’ve come to enjoy it the most out of all these creams. Maybe a bit too light for winter and evening. But I love how weightless it feels and leaves my skin soft and supple for the daytime. Not moist or heavy and doesn’t make the skin look overly shiny. The only thing I don’t like about it is the price.
The Bonus: Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream | 50ml/£61
I think I’ve used up about three travel-sized jars of the Drunk Elephants Protini cream without writing a review. And as it’s in the same price class as most of these, I thought why not throw it in? :)
All skin types that want a peptides-packed moisturizer with a medium to light cream texture.
Compared to all the others, this one comes completely fragrance-free, which I both like and dislike. For me, the more expensive a skincare product is the more of a sensory experience it should have. But with that said, I do like that there are options for those who prefer without fragrance.
The Drunk Elephant Protini Cream has somewhat the same consistency as the Black Rose cream before it turns to water. It’s a gel cream that spreads out nicely and sinks in fast. It’s almost technically an oil-free moisturizer hadn’t it been for the added marula oil. The result is a face that feels comfortably hydrated and plump.
It’s not my favorite to use during wintertime though. But any other season, I find it to be a good moisturizer that my skin feels comfortable with.
What I love about the Protini cream is that I don’t need a separate peptide serum – which we know can be very expensive. Here you have a 2-in-1 product that delivers on its promises! What I do find though is that the texture may not be favored by everyone. Although I can see dry skin find this to be moisturizing enough, it’s an overall better fit for normal to combination/oily skin.