Neutrogena just recalled its popular acne mask because of its LED lights. What does this mean for our eyes?

In July, Neutrogena recalled its popular Red & Blue Light Therapy Acne Mask over safety concerns.

According to its website, Neutrogena’s decision to discontinue its masks was out of “an abundance of caution.” Uh oh. The company went on to explain that “for a small subset of the population with certain underlying eye conditions, as well as for users taking medications which could enhance ocular photosensitivity, there is a theoretical risk of eye injury.”

SEE ALSO: I tested out blue light blocking glasses for my iPhone addiction

The popular Instagram-friendly device emitted both red and blue LED lights to kill bacteria while reducing inflammation – two big factors for breakouts. And the results for the mask were fairly positive, with most users seeing a reduction of acne in their day to days. I even tried the mask for a couple of weeks and felt my skin was smoother with less blemishes.

So is the acne mask in question truly dangerous to our eyes and bodies? Do we all have to worry about our opticular health? And what if we used Neutrogena’s mask in the past, are we doomed?

According to Dr. Richardson, optometrist at Zak, we don’t have to panic just yet. “It appears the light therapy mask uses diffused light, which isn’t as damaging as focused laser beams,” she tells Very Good Light. But that doesn’t mean that it’s completely safe, either. Dr. Richardson says because Neutrogena hasn’t disclosed the exact wavelength, its longterm effects are unknown.

She does compare the blue light to digital devices like your iPhone, which emits a small amount of light. “It’s too early to understand the full scope of adverse possible outcomes associated with excessive exposure to blue light,” she tells us. But there are adverse outcomes of too much exposure. These include: cataract formation, age-related macular degeneration, and digital eye strain among other eye condition. It also affects our circadian rhythms.

“Blue light exposure after dark mimics sunlight causing a decrease in melatonin production which results in insomnia and or difficulty sleeping,” she says. “Research shows that poor or insufficient sleep increases the risk for health conditions like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.”

Though studies are limited, one from Australia notes how there too much exposure to  blue light can lead to eye pain, discomfort, irritation, tearing, or worse even blinding. “More seriously, patients with congenital eye conditions like retinitis pigmentosa and ocular albinism could potentially experience accelerated peripheral vision loss and varying degrees of irreversible retinal damage” Yikes. 

What can you do to prevent this? “Wearing sunglasses outside will protect from harmful ultraviolet rays,” Dr. Richardson says. Indoors, wearing glasses with blue light filtering technology can reduce your exposure to harmful blue light.” (For that, you can read our experience with blue light blocking glasses here).

If that isn’t proactive enough, you can also eat your greens for better eyes as well. Eating a diet full of dark, leafy greens is important because of lutein, a powerful antioxidant. “It’s found in our eyes and helps protect our eye from ultraviolet and blue light damage.”

Moral of the story, eat your greens, wear your shades, and seriously, block out those blue rays!

‘I spent over $100,000 to look like BTS’ Jimin’

“Jimin is my ultimate idol and I’d do anything to meet him,” says BTS superfan Oli London, over the phone from London where he resides.

The 29-year old, who works in luxury retail, explained how he went under the knife more than 15 times and spent over $100,000 on his quest to look like Jimin. “He’s perfect and I wanted to look like him. He has beautiful, perfect symmetry and proportions and that cute face.” After years of aesthetic changes, Oli says he’s finally happy with how he looks.

SEE ALSO: Seoul’s top plastic surgery clinic had suggestions for altering my face.

(Oli spent over $100,000 to resembled a Korean pop star. On the left, Oli before any surgery. Photo courtesy Oli London)

“I really think I look more Korean now and I’m so happy and satisfied, it’s where I always wanted to be,” he tells Very Good Light.

Oli’s obsession with Korean aesthetics was immediate – and visceral, he explains. While teaching English in South Korea’s Jeju Island in 2012, he was transfixed at how beautiful Korea was. “I didn’t know anything about Korea before I went, but when I landed, it was like a utopia,” he recalls. The people, for one, were perfect. Their glass skin and skincare made their complexions glisten. Their features were like none he’s every seen before. But it was coming into contact with Kpop that would change his life.

He’d watched Korean pop shows and dramas after a full day of teaching, but it was one particular one that caught his eye. “BTS had a very different aesthetic than everyone else,” he recalls. “They were special and unique and came with this bad boy vibe. Of course I loved other Kpop artists but the way BTS was, I was obsessed. I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to look exactly like Jimin, my favorite.”

He’d start by altering his hair color to red. “But I was very self-conscious, that was a very big move for me back then,” he recalls. “I was so shy and insecure. I was so nervous I went back to the same salon and asked that they turn it back to brown.”

But it was going for a plastic surgery consultation that changed everything. It wasn’t as scary has he thought it would be. For one, the clinic was pristine. The front desk, welcoming. After meeting with the doctors and asking if they could alter his face to look like Jimin’s, he was sold. They’d start with something easy. A nose job. While Oli’s nose was a little flat, Jimin’s has a slight bridge. The procedure wouldn’t be so invasive.

The surgery was botched. His body had rejected implacts. The silicon was displaced and he’d need to get his nose redone. After his nose came his jaw, eye injections, and a whirlwind of traveling around the world for procedures. He’d gone to the UK for simple procedures, Armenia to get his breast tissue reduced and Poland because it was “cheaper and there’s medical tourism.” The latter he’d regret. He’d traveled for a nose-slimming surgery, but he’d come out with an even bigger nose. “It was so bad it left scarring.”

After traveling far and wide for procedures, Oli knew that South Korea had the best technology. It was there that he finally found doctors he could trust. There, they gave him eyelid fat injections to make more of a monolid, helped with his proportions, and more. “I’ve never been so satisfied with myself,” he says. “When I look at myself, I really look like Jimin!”

And when he travels around Seoul, he says others think the same. “Whenever I walk somewhere, there are people shouting ‘Jimin! Jimin!’ and really embracing me for my looks,” he says.

It’s also brought him notoriety. Since he’s announced his multiple surgeries, he’s become somewhat of a sensation. He’s also raised more than a few eyebrows recently when his story made international headlines. For one, Oli is caucasian, who’s been criticized for using his privilege to gain attention. Then there’s accusations of cultural appropriation and insensitivity when it comes to altering his aesthetics to become another race altogether.

Accused of cultural appropriation, Oli says he shrugs off all allegations.

“Cultural appreciation is when you have a strong interest in a culture and an active interest in it from hobbies, eating food, music,” he explains. “When you’re poking fun at a culture’s aesthetics, like a recent American rapper did when he said something along the lines of ‘I smoked and now I look Korean,’ that’s offensive. I’m not doing this in a way that’s offensive. I’m appreciating the Korean look just like Koreans appreciate the Western double eyelid.”

But whereas the double eyelid isn’t solely a western quality – there are many Korean people born naturally with those features – altering your nose or making your eyes more almond-shaped isn’t the same. It’s something that his many critics online and BTS’ fandom, ARMY, has been very vocal about. When Oli release his own Kpop-inspired music video called “Perfection,” the Internet vitriol came rolling in.

His video currently has over 391,000 views with 36,000 “thumbs down,” and 12,000 comments.
“DID LOVE YOURSELF MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?!” one commenter wrote, about BTS’ last album.
“He looks nothing like Jimin whatsoever,” another commented.
“This is cringey.”

Oli says that he’s read them but is unfazed.

“To be honest, it’s all unjustified hate,” he tells us. “I don’t worry about it and I ignore them. They’re teenage girls and look in the mirror and they’re depressed and take it out on other people. Just because I’m different they take issue. When a British person who’s wanted to do a Kpop song people are quick to hate and judge.” To him, his genuine devotion to Korea is real and isn’t just skin deep. “If only they understood where I was coming from, they’d get it,” he says.

So devoted, Oli says he’s willing to serve in South Korea’s military, mandatory for all men, for citizenship. He also hopes to become a cultural ambassador for South Korea’s medical and plastic surgery tourism. But ultimately, none of that matters. He wants to become Jimin.

“Success for me is when I meet BTS and Jimin,” he says. “I know that I can make happen for sure. I hope he’ll like me.”
For now, Oli’s working on his second Kpop single and hopes to relocate to Seoul sometime soon. “I feel most at home and accepted when I’m in Seoul,” he says. “In a past life I was definitely Korean. When you ask the universe what you want and it’s sincere, you’ll achieve it.”

How Lord Jones became the biggest CBD brand on the market

And in the sixth year, the Lord said, “Let there be light.”

Well, Lord Jones, that is. The CBD brand, which launched in 2013 – and best known for its colorful gumdrops – is now one of the most recognizable in a crowded market of cannabis products. The brand made a major step when it was Sephora’s first-ever CBD brand to land inside brick and mortar stores, a major signifier that cannabis was on its way to becoming destigmatized. And Tuesday, the brand announced it would be available in all 171 Sephora locations with its bestselling CBD Formula Body Lotion, Body Oil and new Royal Oil.
So how did the brand do it?
For one, Lord Jones was one of the firsts to develop cannabis products in California by working directly with those who experienced ailments. Its founder, Robert Rosenheck, created a non-profit wellness collective and soon discovered how effective cannabis was. “We discovered the healing and wellness properties of cannabis and had patients of all walks of life with a variety of issues,” he tells Very Good Light. These included those with serious conditions such as cancer, AIDS, autoimmune diseases, migraines and chronic pain.
After creating confections, supplements and skincare for his patients, he realized it was the CBD and not the THC that they wanted. A few iterations later, Robert realized just how effective CBD was for alleviating major pain. It’s then that he decided to dedicate himself to destigmatizing cannabis and creating an aspirational brand to appeal to others in need.
Lord Jones

(Photo by Lord Jones)

Cannabis is complex and our understanding of CBD and the other constituent compounds in the plant comes from working directly with patients who suffered from serious conditions,” he tells us. “This work changed our lives and is the heart of everything we do.”
It’s what he says distinguishes Lord Jones from all other products on the market. Though he admits they’re known for their chic Hermes-orange packaging, Robert says it’s really the product that speaks for itself. But in an Instagram universe, of course aesthetics only help. 
The brand became an almost overnight sensation when it released its gumdrops. Coming in beautiful orange square boxes, the nine beautiful CBD-filled jellies seem almost irresistible. It’s what brings people to recognize the brand and allows customers an easy entry point into discovering its other offerings.
Like the brand’s lotion, which gained an immediate cult following in Hollywood. It was after celebrities began applying the product to their feet before walking the red carpet to alleviate pain, that Lord Jones was cemented into the zeitgeist of beauty culture.
Since, the brand’s launched at Sephora online in October, was the first CBD product to launch in all SoulCycle doors in March of this year as well as all Sephora brick and mortar stores starting yesterday. Its newest offering is the Royal Oil, which comes at 1,000mg per bottle. With such potent CBD, it’s said to relieve pain almost instantly.
Lord Jones

(Photo by Lord Jones)

In terms of best uses of CBD, Robert says it differs person to person. “Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different and dosage can vary by individual in order to achieve desired benefit,” he says.We are constantly discovering new ways to utilize the product from our consumers. As a pre/post work out recovery tool, sleep aid, anxiety reducer and pain reliever. It’s a blessing for us to make these natural, plant-based remedies available to people seeking alternatives to chemical pharmaceuticals.”
Though it may seem as if CBD is a passing trend, Robert begs to differ. He says the ingredient is here to stay. “Cannabis is ancient medicine that has been used around the world for centuries,” he says. “We are in the midst of a revolution: the mainstreaming of cannabis. It’s a wellness revolution. It’s an economic revolution. It’s a social justice revolution and it’s a revolution of consciousness.”

Can a $90,000 car solve all your self-care woes?

What exactly is self-care if not code for spoiling oneself?

At least that’s what it seems like it’s become. In a world where “wellness” and “self-love” as well as “positive thinking” has become as commonplace as green juices, CBD tinctures, adaptogens and more … the term has become so convoluted it means everything but nothing. Your “self-love” may mean an hour of yoga and mine may mean eating a gallon of ice cream but in the end, does it serve either of us in a bigger way? And what exactly is self-care to begin with?

SEE ALSO: ‘I was too ashamed to look into the mirror’

I realize that by many standards I’ve been practicing a version of “self-care” for as long as I can remember. I’m a taurus through and through and naturally, we’re really into luxuriating. We’re inclined to gravitate towards the finer things in life. That may mean a $200 moisturizer or spending $17 for a piece of fried chicken. Bankruptcy be damned, if we’re going down anyway, might as well do it in style (and with a happy stomach full of bougie fried chicken). Though I’ve been practicing this hedonistic form, I realized that it’s brought me no further to overcoming anxiety.

I’d been reading others’ forms of self-care for so long. A writer for Man Repeller admitted she spends $600 on skincare for hers. Sunday Riley’s The Edit writes about how sex-care is a means for self-care to some. And a New York Times interactive piece asked different people what self-care means to them. Some, admitted it was eating something hearty from their childhoods, while others prescribed to methods like reiki healing or meditation. The conclusion from all of these stories? Self-care seems like a mix between selfishness and self-preservation. Finding that happy medium of hedonistic joy, one that allows one to snap out of their current state, into one that seems to uplift.

It was on a June morning where I woke up feeling as if it was time for mine. As if a visceral reaction, I flung my body out of bed and ran to my bathroom sink. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and slathered on sunscreen and realized that L.A. was choking my creativity. But it was doing so much more, physically: the smog was making my under eyes puffy, choking my lungs so that it coughed with a bout of bronchitis and my skin was becoming sallow. Was it the city that I was succumbing to or was it my state of mind? I’d been overcome with grief in the past few weeks, along with the onus of new projects clinging onto my slight shoulders. Was I neglecting self-preservation methods, trading it in for working myself to death?

I needed an escape. And so I decided to rent Audi’s 2019 Q8 in a quirky Dragon orange hue for a road trip to somewhere close enough for a day trip but far from Los Angeles pollution. The car – which Audi kindly provided for this means of self-care (seriously, thank you Audi) – is worth more than I’ll ever be. Yes, this car is $90,000 with all options – so luxe, I literally sat in the front seat, on supple leather, immediately feeling better about myself. Was this vain? Was it materialistic? It was both. And it felt good.

The Q8 and I embarked on a spiritual journey together – leaving the city smog, the unbearable traffic, all of the “actors” of L.A. – for a self-care trip to Santa Barbara, a sleepy beachside city. What I wanted to discover: if driving a $90,000 car to a beautiful city could quench my self-care thirst. But really it was this simple question I wanted to answer: could money and status uplift your mood?

Driving the Q8 was, for a lack of a better word, a transcending experience. It’s probably the most expensive vehicle I’ve ever driven and was not only super powerful, smooth, zippy – like the Augustinus Bader of cars – but made for an enjoyable riding experience (this coming from a former New Yorker who thought he was allergic to driving). I realized that zipping through the 101 freeway was a very freeing experience. Windows down, a 2000’s playlist blasting and my hair caressed by the wind I felt completely one with California.

When I arrived, it was time for Santa Barbara fish tacos, wine, and lots of ice cream. Also, a great opportunity to get lost. Meandering through Stearns Warf to see the deep, blue ocean, to visiting the Santa Barbara Mission, or simply walking along the train tracks was in and of itself an enriching experience. The architecture, which was created by Spanish settlers, feels like another country altogether, with its red tile clay roofs and whitewashed adobe walls. The abundance of flowers, cacti, and fauna line the city and provide for a nice cleansed palette from Los Angeles’ industrial feel.

As I ended my day-long excursion, the brackish sea-water kissing my face, I realized that yes, this was self-care. Not necessarily the fancy car I was driving alongside the Pacific Ocean, or any of the delicious foods I ate. It’s not what you do or buy, rather the moment you’re in. It’s about forgetting about time altogether, putting away your iPhone, being too occupied with your adventure that you forget to Instagram Story any of it. And that’s what self-care is about. It’s ultimately being selfish by practicing self-preservation. Sometimes that comes in the form of a quick purchase, a beautiful cream, or feeling rich, even for a day. For me, it meant leaving it all behind, altogether, if even for just a day.

Photos by Andrew Kim and Jacob Yi/ Very Good Light

The one reason you’re breaking out this Hot Girl Summer

Any day after the Fourth of July is an excuse to literally do nothing.

Work? That can wait. Relationships? Never knew her! Bills to pay? Isn’t there a season called fall for that?

When it’s hot, humid, harsh, feeling like a um, wet marsh, you can find me sprawled out on the ground melting into the wooden floors. And so it may come as a surprise to you to know that my summer laziness comes with one caveat: I will never, ever go without moisturizing my face.

SEE ALSO: I got a dramatic perm, but a more dramatic outlook on life

Yes, you heard that loud and clear.

Summertime is the one season that’s lazy AF but it’s also one when you’ll finding me even more diligent about moisturizing. Two summers ago, my face literally started developing cysts – like, all over – and it was probably one of the worst skin moments of my entire adult life. (I wrote about it my experience with cysts here). I was living in Fort Greene and New York City’s weather was completely unforgivable with frequent days that felt like I was walking into a hot shower filled with sewage water. It’s then that I made the mistake of ceasing all facial moisturization altogether. I mean, if it was already getting what it needed from the natural humidity, what was the purpose of wasting precious creams when mother nature could do it for you?

via GIPHY

Well, you live and you learn. My face began becoming so unhappy that cysts sprouted over all summer long. Since, I’ve researched that your skin still needs your help. After all, she’s sensitive, needy and completely hopeless, but you still love her, anyway. Because as we know, your skin is the first means of defense when it comes to blocking out anything harmful. This includes but isn’t limited to bacteria, viruses, fungi and other foreign agents. And the purpose of skincare isn’t just about looking or feeling your best – it’s often to strengthen your skin’s protective barrier. For that, you need to not only balance its pH levels, but work at making it well hydrated so that nothing breaks down.

A moisturizer, then, is extremely important in keeping your skin’s barrier intact, happy and healthy. It defends it from the elements. When it’s compromised, it goes out of whack and is when you’ll find problems like blemishes, cysts, rashes or more.

Long story short: When you stop moisturizing, your skin signals to itself to produce even more oil to overcompensate. The excess oil then, does major damage, which is where summer breakouts come out in full force.

So take your light, oil-free moisturizer (use it both day and night) bask in your skimpy clothing, your freedom, your light and yes, have that Hot Girl Summer! You deserve!

This Kombucha toner is a refreshing summer skin saver

There’s nothing new about kombucha, the fermented sweet and sour drink that’s packed full of probiotics.

It’s a drink that some say is a complete miracle with antioxidants, acetic acid, and good bacteria that promotes a healthy gut. And so it’s no surprise that there are kombucha products that are just as good for your skin. After all, probiotics are fantastic at promoting skin for its antimicrobial properties. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, probiotics are super effective at treating acne and rosacea. It’s also a skin brightening agent, one that can slough dead skin cells with its natural acids.

YTTP Toner

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

And so it’s no surprise that our favorite vegan brand – Youth To The People – just announced their first kombucha product. The Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner ($38), is a toner that combines two alpha hydroxy acids. One is lactic acid (8%) and the other is glycolic (3%), two of the best AHAs you can use. The former smooths and plumps while the latter is probably the best at sloughing dead skin cells. Glycolic acid, as we know, is the smallest acid molecule, so will penetrate deep into your pores.

SEE ALSO: Youth To The People is building a skincare brand for all

The product is said to hydrate while breaking down an overproduction of oil the relieve congested skin. The result, as Youth To The People says in a press release, is softer, smoother, more radiant skin. It’s also one that’s supposed to leave you more hydrated and dewy.

I tested the toner this past weekend and was pleasantly surprised when it actually smelled a little like kombucha. If you have a very sensitive nose (lol), this is probably not going to be your favorite, but it’s far from the putrid smells of products like, say, Biologique Recherche. When using the product, your skin feels a little tingling sensation, one that comes from the natural acids doing their thing. If you have sensitive skin, this could be a little too powerful for you and you should use at your discretion. But for mine, I felt as if my skin was becoming instantly hydrated with a radiant glow.

YTTP Toner

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

Seriously, you get a real, instant GLOW when you use this product. Not only was my skin prepped for moisturizing, it felt pretty hydrated by the kombucha toner alone. The very next day, I felt as if my skin was properly exfoliated and more pores cleared of any extra oils – almost as if you received a quick facial.

Kombucha skincare isn’t anything new, of course. Fresh launched its own kombucha essence a few years ago to much applause. And probiotics in skincare is a staple in Korean beauty. But what I think makes this product from Youth To The People stand out is the fact that it’s clean, it’s vegan and it comes in a glass bottle – something eco-friendly and allows me to free my guilt from overusing plastic. It’s the little things that count and Youth To The People’s latest certainly makes a big impression.

BUY YTTP’s Kombucha toner here, $38

I’ve been using this brush in the shower and my hair is now insanely healthy.

“When’s the last time you brushed your hair?”

So asked a Korean hairstylist – sternly – when I went to get my hair permed last month. Do your fingers count? I replied, to her tsk tsking and a shake of her head in disapproval.

Brushing your hair is what you’d associate with long hair or rituals before bed. Images of a young child reading a book while their mother lovingly brushes their virgin hair back come to mind. Brushing one’s hair isn’t anything new of course – it’s one that comes with centuries of tradition. The Greeks, Romans and Egyptians all had their own versions, made from steel, animal hair or wood. And in 1777 that a man named William Kent went on to patent brushes himself, creating the world’s first-ever commercial product. It’s what apparently put a brush in every person’s home, creating a brushing revolution.

As it turns out, brushing isn’t only for untangling your hair or styling it. To get a healthy scalp and/or shiny hair, you need to stimulate for circulation and good blood flow. Not only does brushing evenly distribute sebum to create shinier hair, it helps with removing dead skin cells – all which if clogged, could prevent growth. Brushing is apparently so important, one expert once told Allure that doing so daily is like working out your scalp and taking it to the gym.

I took it upon myself to start brushing my scalp after Umma A Good Hair Day In Seoul sent me one. It’s called the White Rabbit Volumizing Air Brush, a light, millennial pink brush. The White Rabbit is waterproof, plastic and can be pumped with air that goes in and out. Immediately while combing through my hair I realized just how good it felt to have the prongs gently massaging my scalp. But the real hack Umma gave me was brushing your hair in the shower. This allows your scalp to be stimulated but for it to aid in helping products get to the roots of your strands as well as to cleanse all the gunk that perhaps your fingers can’t get to.

At first, it was a little awkward – I mean, brushing your hair under water takes serious multi-tasking abilities – but when you get that cadence down of brushing, gasping for air, and being still enough not to topple over, all is well and good. Brushing inside my shower allowed my shampoo and conditioner (and all others treatments) to feel as if they seeped into my scalp while being evenly distributed. I hadn’t realized just how ineffective my own fingers could be in washing, conditioning and applying treatment especially since my hair is so thick.

The end of the month came and I was wowed when my scalp felt less oily, produced much less dandruff and my hair was completely, utterly, well, silky smooth. It’s insane how the simple act of brushing your locks can transform its health, length and sheen. Here’s to singing – and brushing – more in the shower.

Here’s the real tea when it comes to Augustinus Bader’s hyped $265 cream

The last time I tried a bougie cream, my eyes closed.

Literally.

I had tested an expensive cream called La Mer and its $325 Moisturizing Soft Cream, and slathered $12 worth of product into my pores. It’d be the biggest beauty mistake of my life. I’m uncertain as to what I’d been allergic to, but the next morning, I was completely frightened and disturbed to face the mirror. My complexion looked as if a spider had gone to town on my eyeballs. It’s as if it munched and crunched all over my eyelids to my cheeks to my lips. They were so swollen I looked as if I was a balloon. When I conducted my research I realized this was he culprit: Mineral oil. That’s right, folks. This $325 cream called La Mer is composed of mineral oil, a filler ingredient that does nothing but evil to your skin. Ugh.

SEE ALSO: Drinkable retinol is actually a thing. 

You could understand why I had reservations over trying another much hyped moisturizer. I’ve been traumatized! This time around, a cream everyone had been talking about was Augustinus Bader’s $265, called straightforwardly, The Rich Cream. It’s a product with so much hype, it’s getting emotional reviews. Some, like Sting’s aesthetician Joanna Czech said that the cream was “unforgettable.”

Okay.

If you haven’t heard of the product, that’s cool, but it’s been touted by everyone from Victoria Beckham, to Shailene Woodley, to every beauty editor. I came across the product a couple of months ago after one of my friends, also an influencer, had been reviewing it. In her brief review, she said that it completely changed her skin – and life.

Huh.

Either everyone is dramatic AF or Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream really is good, I began to wonder.

It’s all fascinating because the brand’s founder isn’t a beauty blogger, an aesthetician or celebrity makeup artist. He’s none other than a 59-year old German professor who’s been conducting his many experiments with cell biology at the University of Leipzig. His specialty: working with burn victims and treating their skin. After almost 30 years in science, he came across a formulation that was able to trigger the body’s stem cells to create a natural healing process. The secret ingredient? It’s a complex called TFC-8, aka Trigger Factor Complex, that has over 40 different ingredients. These include amino acids, vitamins, synthesized molecules and more.

The Cut asked Stephen Alain Ko, a cosmetic formula to explain exactly what this means. Stephen says that the cream has the same ingredients that enabled mice with second-degree burns to heal quickly. More so, he says that according to a study, the cream works to show “an improvement in fine lines, a reduction in brown spots and pores, and improvements in the skin’s smoothness.”

It also contains ingredients that are only beneficial for your skin including: squalane, palmitoyl tripeptide-8, a form of a peptide, shea butter, pantheol, among others. Basically, a magical formula that promotes collagen production and cells to work overtime. That equates to more youthful skin, the brand claims.

Okay, so does The Rich Cream by Augustinus Bader work?

Augustinus Bader

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

In short: Yes.

Yes, it does. It works so well that I instantly fell in love with it – which is a difficult feat since I’ve come across hundreds of moisturizers that are just meh. As you all know, I’m seriously skeptical when it comes to hype. From that Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask I hated, to the cystic acne spot treatment from Renee Rouleau that didn’t work AT ALL, I’ve spoken my truth. And so I was completely humbled when I tried Augustinus Bader, thinking I’d actually hate the product as well.

With its super premium packaging with an ocean blue tube and a magnetic cap, it’s weighty and feels expensive. One pump of the product will immediately calm your senses as its texture is rich, velvety-smooth, like creamy milk, and non-sticky. It also soaks into your pores instantly, almost as if your skin is drinking the most delicious nectar – from the GODS.

It’s a very interesting experience, being instantly obsessed with a cream. I’ve never felt so excited to go back and slather something onto my face since I first used Vintner’s Daughter (which, btw is an extremely amazing oil but one you do not need). But unlike the oil, this one actually has made my skin all the more dewier, healthier, all the more even toned. What’s the most impressive is the latter – somehow after 6 weeks of testing, my skin’s dark spots started to fade.

Augustinus Bader cream

(This cream evened out my complexion. This is without makeup, coverage or a filter! Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

I’ve had freckles for all of my life, which I don’t mind, but this cream evened my skin out, spots blending into the rest of my complexion. It almost looks as if my skin has B.B. cream over it when I’ve used nothing but sunscreen. Is this effective at everything? No. It doesn’t do anything for blemishes, acne, nor does it pay your bills.

For the price, it’ll do the opposite. While $265 is definitely a splurge and a hard price to swallow, it’s worth it for those who want to save their 9 paychecks for a moisturizer.

Will it solve all of your skin problems? No. But it will give you peace of mind, knowing that a cream really is worth what you pay. La Mer, take note.

BUY Augustinus Bader here, $265