Think of it as an investment in yourself.
Oct 11, 2021
Like any regimen, skincare is a very personal journey. What works for one person might not work for another. However, there are several ingredients often found in luxury skincare lines that experts swear by for themselves and their clients.
“Luxury skincare products frequently contain higher concentrations of active ingredients or more unique ingredients, which all add to their cost,” says Dr. Karyn Grossman, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in cosmetic dermatology and founder of Grossman Dermatology in New York City. “Also, newer technologies and ingredients will often preview in luxury skincare brands [before going mainstream].”
While we’re no stranger to the plethora of amazing drugstore brands out there, many of the luxury skincare brands on the market have science-backed ingredients that can visibly transform your skin with continued use. Celebrity aesthetician Joanna Czech, who counts Kate Winslet, Kim Kardashian and Christy Turlington as clients, says, “I know how much money you need to spend sometimes to get a certain level of efficacy. Not always, but a lot of the time, quality ingredients are much more expensive.”
Well, there you have it. When it comes to efficacious, results-driven skincare, sometimes price does matter. So we’ve rounded up some of the best luxury skincare brands worth investing in that promise to make your skin just as beautiful as the products look on your shelf.
Dr. Barbara Sturm’s celebrity clientele (Emma Roberts, Emily Ratajkowski, Kim Kardashian, and more) swear by her glow-inducing products, but also her innovative, non-surgical treatments that transform skin, like the iconic “Vampire Facial” that she helped pioneer. Even if you can’t make it to her clinics in Los Angeles, Munich, or Düsseldorf, Germany, you can reap the benefits of her eponymous skincare range. With a prior medical career in orthopedics, she is focused on science-backed ingredients and treatments that work, without the use of toxic ingredients, and is renowned for her anti-inflammatory approach to skincare.
Her products focus on molecular cosmetics, which utilize the body’s own proteins to combat aging. Hero products of hers are definitely the Glow Drops, an anti-aging serum that rejuvenates and hydrates the skin, and the Hyaluronic Serum, with long- and short-chain hyaluronic molecules, which sink into skin better at different rates. And we know hyaluronic acid is like a glass of water for the skin. Above all, her products are hydrating and feel luscious on the skin.
Swiss luxury skincare brand La Prairie is a pioneer in anti-aging cellular therapy. When used correctly, La Prairie’s products have the power to minimize the effects of aging. The brand is known for its powerful formulations using platinum, gold, caviar, and white caviar; the two latter ingredients are rich in nutrients, like amino acids and vitamins, and have been proven to enhance the production of collagen and ceramides. The brand’s most recent launch, the Platinum Rare Haute Rejuvenation Protocol, has been turning heads for both its price tag and its suggested use of just four times a year. Made with growth factors, which stimulate collagen production and cell proliferation, and peptides, the hefty price tag can be attributed to the high levels of active ingredients. The benefits claim to promote firmness, elasticity, skin volume, and an even skin tone.
American and European board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Yannis Alexandrides specializes in facial reconstruction and rejuvenation surgery and wasn’t satisfied with any products on the market to help his patients recover properly. His line 111 Skin, named after his London surgical practice, 111 Harley Street, is a science-backed luxury skincare brand with more than 20 years of research on its proprietary ingredients. While 111 Skin features luxe ingredients like diamond, it’s Dr. Alexandrides patented NAC Y2 ingredient that shines. NAC Y2 is a powerful, high-antioxidant ingredient that improves skin’s resilience, brightens the skin, and protects it from environmental aggressors. Many love 111 Skin’s effective sheet masks for its anti-aging ingredients, like peptides, which help stimulate collagen production, shield and detox skin from pollution particles, and lift and firm skin.
Czech says another great way to give your skin vitamins it needs is by taking oral supplements, which should always be consulted by a doctor. The brand’s Reparative Beauty Dose has NAC (which products glutathione), vitamin C and A, Coenzyme Q10, cultured greens, and L-Methionine, which can help increase skin’s collagen production, fight environmental damage, and heal inflammation.
There are a handful of fabled skincare lines out there, and Augustinus Bader is one of them. Augustinus Bader, the 62-year-old scientist who created his eponymous skincare line, is a professor at the University of Leipzig in Germany and has spent decades researching the effects of stem cells, particularly for burn victims. His approach to skincare is completely science-backed with ingredients that are incredibly effective. All of Augustinus Bader’s products are formulated with the patented Trigger Factor Complex, or TFC8, which combines amino acids, peptides, and vitamins to activate cells and essentially “tell” them to self-regulate.
“A lot of luxury brands use different types of peptides, which are essentially building blocks to the proteins that we all need to create collagen and elastin to have youthful looking skin,” says Dr. Tess Mauricio, board-certified dermatologist and founder of M Beauty Clinic by Dr. Tess in Beverly Hills and San Diego.
The Cream is the luxury skincare brand’s “holy grail” product and is said to heal everything from acne to dryness. “You will find repairing effects of The Cream, for instance; you can see a reduction of breakouts, a reduction of fine lines, and reduction of dehydration or even a reduction of hyperpigmentation,” Czech says.
The French are no strangers to luxury, from haute couture to beauty to art. While French women are known to use pharmacy beauty products, there are several ultra-luxurious skincare products worth investing in. One of them is cult skincare brand Biologique Recherche. The biological skincare brand, developed in the 1970s by husband and wife Yvan and Josette Allouche, is known for its potent (often smelly) ingredients, and above all, its effectiveness. What’s lacking in glamorous packaging, the products make up for in their ability to transform skin. Lotion P50 (not actually a lotion, but more of a watery exfoliant) is a hero product and one of the most potent chemical exfoliants on the market. Applied like a toner, it gets rid of dark spots, reduces acne, regulates sebum, and gives you a nice glow. Its serums, like its placenta serum (made from sheep placenta), repairs the skin from acne and even under-eye bags, while other creams and serums use cellular regeneration technology for anti-aging effects.
Is there anything Dior can’t do? We’ll wait. But in all seriousness, Dior’s Capture Totale skincare relies on active botanical ingredients extracted from flowers to transform the skin. Dior’s Capture Totale range focuses on cellular energy, which Dior has been researching for more than two decades. The main ingredient is Longoza, harvested from one of Dior’s gardens in Madagascar (the brand has seven around the world). One of its bestsellers is the Super Potent Serum, which aims to plump and firm the skin thanks to Longoza and an exclusive grade of acetylated hyaluronic acid.
According to Czech, there’s also something to be said about incorporating night cream into the mix, like the Capture Totale Intensive Restorative Night Creme. “Concentrate on your nighttime routine,” Czech says. “Your products are 60 percent more potent when they absorb during relaxation and rejuvenation time.”
MBR Medical Beauty Research
With a serum worth $1,750, MBR Medical Beauty Research deserves to be on your radar—and here’s why. German luxury skincare brand MBR works with a network of aesthetic experts, surgeons, chemists, dermatologists, estheticians, and other skincare professionals to create the most effective products that work to address a variety of skin issues with ingredients that help regenerate cells. Everything is made in small batches and rigorously tested by individuals before leaving the facility. Czech swears by MBR Liquid Surgery, which is, seemingly, exactly like it sounds.
“[Liquid Surgery] has synthetically achieved molecules that carry more oxygen into damaged tissue than hemoglobin from the blood,” Czech explains. “Actually, the extra delivery of oxygen combined with Augustinus Bader’s The Cream, which stimulates cells creates a faster healing process.”
MBR’s concentrated products work to stimulate dermal tissue functions, nourish the skin through effective ingredients, and purify the skin. Plus, the products are made in Europe (specifically Germany), which has stricter ingredient regulations compared to the United States.
Vintner’s Daughter was founded by April Gargiulo whose fine winemaking background inspired the process in which she creates her products. Vintner’s Daughter has just two products: Active Botanical Serum and Active Treatment Essence. Its products are beloved by dermatologists, estheticians, and celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow for its nourishing, non-toxic ingredients.
The serum has 22 high-quality active, clean ingredients, including minerals, phytonutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, phytoceramides, aminos, and omega fatty acids. The consistency is more oil-like than serum-like, but Dr. Grossman approves, saying, “Adding just a couple drops into your moisturizer is very effective at creating a barrier to protect your skin, while locking in the products you applied before that.” On the other hand, the essence is made up of more than 30 botanicals and has a super watery texture (like a true essence) and is meant to be patted into freshly cleansed skin in. Both nourish, soothe, and balance the skin and work on all skin types.
Plant-based French skincare brand Sisley was one of the first brands to use botanical ingredients when it was founded in 1976. The luxury skincare brand uses phyto-cosmetology in its skincare, which essentially means that each plant extract they use is backed by science, used to harness the energy of plants to regenerate the skin. Not only do Sisley’s products reveal glowy, hydrated skin, but they also come in ultra-luxurious packaging. The Black Rose Cream Mask is a cult favorite, thanks to its moisturizing, yet plumping ingredients. You’d be remiss not to scoop up its lovely, delicately scented floral mists or toners, that leave your skin moisturized and refreshed. The brand also released a specific anti-aging collection, Sisleÿa, that uses Persian acacia and Lindera extracts with yeast and soy protein complex, Atlas Cedar extract, and pomegranate extract.
Results-driven, botanical, award-winning European skincare line Chantecaille is known just as much for its makeup as it is its skincare. Founder Sylvie Chantecaille was inspired to make skincare after finding a meadow of rose de Mai, which led to her famous Rose de Mai Face Oil, which has firming benefits and more. The rest of the French brand’s products run the full gamut of cleansers, exfoliators, serums, oils, retinols, masks, and more, and are formulated with ingredients including pure botanicals, flowers, and essential oils.
Oh, and don’t think the brand forgot about retinol. “Using a retinol can help rejuvenate and brighten the skin,” says Dr. Anna Guanche, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon. “Retinol products should be the backbone of any good skincare regimen.” And true to its brand foundation, Chantecaille’s Retinol Intense+ combines the power of retinol with plant botanicals to brighten the skin.
La Mer is one of the first brands we think of when we hear ‘luxury skincare,’ but many don’t know it was actually founded way back in 1965 by Dr. Max Huber after he suffered burns in a lab accident. Inspired by the healing effects of sea kelp, which Dr. Huber discovered living by the ocean in San Diego, he created the skin-healing lotion Crème de la Mer. Today, Crème de la Mer, the cream that started it all, is the brand’s pinnacle product. The sea has been an endless inspiration for La Mer’s ingredients, and the brand has since expanded to include serums, masks, cleansers, oils, and makeup made with marine algae, sea water, kelp, and more. Not only do the products feel ultra-nourishing for the skin, there are few product lines that smell more divine.
Dr. Grossman’s pro tip is to use antioxidants in the morning, and one of her favorites is La Mer’s Regenerating Serum, which protects the face and improves fine lines and wrinkles. “Antioxidants help protect your skin from damage from UV rays, which still gets through your SPF,” she says.
For those seeking to clean up their skincare routine without sacrificing on luxury, Tata Harper is for you. The line features naturally derived, non-toxic ingredients that work, like naturally derived BHA; rosehip seed oil, which contains a natural form of retinoic acid from vitamin A, botanical essences, enzymes from pomegranates, clay, and more. Don’t know where to start? Beauty editors and customers swear by the Resurfacing Mask and the wrinkle-reducing Elixir Vitae Eye Serum.