I Tried the $265 Moisturizer Beauty Editors Swear By, but Is the Updated Formula Worth It?

Samantha Sasso

I wish I could say I didn't fully enjoy the Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream ($265), but alas, I've joined the ranks of celebrities and editors who swear by the science-backed brand. For nearly four years, I convinced myself that the brand's two face moisturizers couldn't be as good as the steep price tags imply, because quality isn't always equated to a formula's efficacy, right? In this case, I was very wrong.

I'm the first to admit that celebrity endorsements, including the random unpaid ones, sway my opinion on a product. I'm sorry, they just do! Before the news of The Rich Cream's recent vegan reformulation hit my inbox, I couldn't escape these powerful products on my social feeds, but it was one celeb mention that got me thinking maybe I should put The Rich Cream to the test. Around the time I was halfway through season four of The Crown and mystified by the young Hollywood up-and-comer who plays Princess Diana in the Netflix series, Emma Corrin, I found out her makeup artist, Florrie White, is a big fan of the brand and got Corrin on the bandwagon, too. If it worked for her, it could work for me, too, I thought.

A short month later, I found out that Professor Augustinus Bader, the biomedical scientist behind the popular formulas, had decided to upgrade The Rich Cream. The latter had already been available since the brand's original launch and existed as a more intense version of its lightweight counterpart, The Cream . Only now, Professor Bader was interested in making the already-beloved moisturizer better.

While Professor Bader never intended to launch a consumer skin-care brand (he was really focused on formulating a medical-grade wound-healing gel), his research eventually led him to create products for everyone, not just patients with severe skin damage. And the promise is a big one: almost any skin type and concern benefits. If you have dry skin, it'll be moisturized; if you have fine lines, they'll be supple and smooth; and if you have hyperpigmentation, skin will appear brightened and even. It sounds impossible, but I'm here to tell you it's not.

Professor Bader returned to the lab to do one thing: remove The Rich Cream's nonvegan ingredients, including beeswax and lanolin, and replace them with vegan-friendly alternatives, like hyaluronic acid and hydrolyzed rice protein (both of which increase moisture retention in the skin). The one thing he made sure not to remove is the brand's proprietary ingredient and secret sauce, the Trigger Factor Complex, or TFC8. Inspired by his stem-cell research, this complex blends amino acids, vitamins, and peptides to encourage cell repair and regeneration, a stronger barrier, and overall a more luminous complexion. It's like hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL on your biggest skin problems.