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We tried £500 worth of Augustinus Bader skincare to see if it really lives up to the hype

Worn by the stars and backed by science – are the brand’s luxury elixirs really all that?

Ellie Fry
Wednesday 18 August 2021 16:26
<p>Heralded for its transformative effects, the coveted skincare targets ageing, damage, scarring and dullness </p>

Heralded for its transformative effects, the coveted skincare targets ageing, damage, scarring and dullness

Since its launch in 2018, skincare brand Augustinus Bader has been the It girl of the luxury beauty sphere, with a star-studded fan base that’s impossible to ignore.

Founded by a world-renowned stem cell specialist and backed by decades of research, its admirers include the likes of Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Alexa Chung, Meghan Markle and Jennifer Aniston. Victoria Beckham was such a fan that she decided to collaborate with the brand to create skincare for her own line, VB Beauty.

If you don’t trust the opinions of A-listers alone, you may also be interested to know that Augustinus Bader’s range was recently voted the “greatest skincare of all time” by a panel of 300 industry experts, beating the likes of La Mer and Estee Lauder to the title. The brand has also just launched an initiative that allows customers to choose a five per cent donation to a charity that matters to them, on every order, which only adds to its impressive credentials.

Ready to shop now? Browse the full Augustinus Bader range at

So what is all the fuss about, we hear you ask? Well, it all boils down to some pretty impressive science. Professor Augustinus Bader, a German-born doctor, scientist and co-founder of the eponymous brand, has dedicated 30 years of his career to researching skin healing and tissue repair. This led to him creating a medical-grade hydrogel that treats the skin of burns victims. After envisioning how the success of this treatment could be applied to commercial skincare, Bader then incorporated the same technology into all of his products, in the form of his patented Trigger Factor Complex, known as TFC8. Still with us?

TFC8 is a cocktail of 40 different ingredients, including vitamins, amino acids and synthesised molecules found naturally in the body. Based on the idea that your body has an innate code for tissue repair, the complex essentially unlocks this code, forcing your skin into healing mode and tackling ageing, damage, scarring and dullness in the process. The brand claims that this technology “visibly transforms the skin”, and many consumers seem to agree.

But all of this technology comes at a rather eye-watering price, with the brand’s cult moisturiser costing £205. With this in mind, we spent a month exclusively testing Augustinus Bader’s products to see if they deliver on these transformative claims.

Augustinus Bader the rich cream

We’re kicking off with the product that secured Augustinus Bader’s pivot to cult status. You’ve almost certainly seen this moisturiser on many a bathroom shelfie – it’s an instantly recognisable bottle that screams luxury straight off the bat. Like everything in the brand’s skincare line, the cream features the coveted TFC8 complex, and we were keen to see if it lives up to the hype. Regretfully for our bank accounts, we saw near-immediate results after using this cream. It’s important to note that we paired the moisturiser with both the brand’s cleanser and the essence, which also feature TFC8, so our results may have been accelerated, but the cream was our favourite product.

The formula glides onto the skin with ease and absorbs quickly, but there’s no luxury scent here (like us, you may prefer this, whether you’re sensitive-skinned or more interested in the science). The added radiance is subtle, but the main thing we noticed was how plump our skin looks straight away. The brand describes this as a “cushion-y bounce” and we couldn’t agree more – it’s something we’ve yet to replicate in the same way from any other skincare product. Longer-term results after a month of use include reduced acne scarring and texture, a more even skin tone and generally healthier-looking skin. It really does feel as though our skin has been regenerated – our make-up applied far better on a smoother base and we felt confident with clearer, happier skin.

Despite such technical ingredients, unlike other potent formulas, this is extremely gentle on the skin with no tingling or irritation. On the face of it, it feels like any other moisturiser, but it’s the results that speak for themselves. You can tell the brand is solely focused on science-backed results as opposed to all the bells and whistles, and we’re happy with that. The brand also offers a richer version of this moisturiser (£205,, and while we found it slightly too heavy for our oily skin, dry skin types will love it.

Augustinus Bader the cleansing balm

Housed in a weighty glass jar, the brand’s cleansing balm is a treat to use. Again, there’s practically no scent here, but the buttery balm removes the day with ease. After applying the nourishing formula to dry skin, simply add water to emulsify and watch the balm turn into a milky consistency.

We love how much of a multi-tasker this cleanser is, removing even the heaviest of make-up effortlessly while leaving our skin feeling hydrated and plump. At £55, there’s no doubt it’s an expensive cleanser, but you’re paying for the long-term results from the brand’s regenerative TFC8 technology. We’ve tried plenty of cheaper cleansing balms that do the job just as well, but you won’t reap the skincare benefits that this one offers.

When paired with the brand’s other products, our skin was much brighter and clearer. Thankfully, it’s non-comedogenic too, meaning this is safe to use on acne-prone skin. Despite being great at removing make-up, we did find that we needed to apply quite a lot of the balm to remove it, so given the price, we’d suggest using this as a second cleanse to make the most of it.

Augustinus Bader the essence

This toner-chemical-exfoliant-essence hybrid is really putting Augustinus Bader’s TFC8 complex to work, as the complex formula aims to resurface the skin while balancing it. Unlike other chemical exfoliants, it feels incredibly gentle on the skin with no irritation in sight.

The signature formula triggers the skin’s renewal processes, essentially forcing it to repair itself. Thanks to this, we noticed reduced acne scarring and redness, and far less texture after just a couple of weeks use. The essence also features gluconolacctone, a poly-hydroxy acid (PHA) that sloughs away dead skin cells, as well as the powerhouse ingredient salicylic acid to tackle congestion and blemishes.

Although using the essence with the brand’s moisturiser will give you optimum results, if you’re stuck between the two, we’d plump for this as a starting point for treating skincare concerns such as acne scarring and signs of ageing, as it showcase’s Bader’s TFC8 complex in the most potent way.

The verdict: Augustinus Bader skincare

We can’t give our final thoughts without addressing the elephant in the room here: the price. It’s without a doubt on the luxury end of the spectrum, but the difficulty is that these products genuinely do work for us, delivering near instant results. There are definitely more affordable products out there that will help you to target acne scarring or dullness with similar success, but the real selling point here is how plump, smooth and seriously revitalised our skin looks after use.

Few skincare products deliver on every marketing promise, but Augustinus Bader’s do, and if you can’t trust a world-leading stem cell scientist then who can you trust. Out of the whole range, we’d recommend investing in the essence as a starting point, but if your budget stretches to both, the cream and the essence together make a powerful duo that we’d definitely vouch for.

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IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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