We put Augustinus Bader's The Face Oil to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
As a self-proclaimed facial oil expert, I’ve tested loads of different formulas in my years writing about beauty, with my favorites hailing from high-end labels to drugstore aisles. So when luxury brand (and Byrdie favorite) Augustinus Bader launched its very first product of the kind this August—The Face Oil—I had to get my hands on some ASAP. After all, this isn’t just any old facial oil. Created by stem cell pioneer Professor Augustinus Bader, this oil is backed by science and formulated with the brand’s patented, high-tech formula that boosts skin regeneration on a cellular level. So, yeah... it’s pretty special.
I tested this hyped new launch over the course of two weeks, making note of any changes to my skin’s texture, hydration levels, and overall glow, as well as any significant reduction in dark spots and fine lines. Is this luxury oil worth its steep price tag? Read on to find out.
Augustinus Bader The Face Oil
Star Rating: 4.7 / 5
Best for: All skin types
Uses: Claims to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation; defend against environmental stressors, free radicals, and signs of premature aging; promote elasticity; strengthen the skin barrier
Active ingredients: Augustinus Bader’s TFC8 complex, babassu oil, argan oil, hazelnut oil, Karanja oil, pomegranate seed extract
Potential Allergens: None
Byrdie Clean?: Yes
About the brand: Professor Augustinus Bader launched his eponymous skin-renewing line of products in 2007 after spending 30 years studying stem cells and the body’s ability to heal itself. Each product features the brand’s Trigger Factor Complex, a combination of amino acids, vitamins, and synthesized molecules that help the body regenerate its own skin cells.
About My Skin: Normal to dry (and loves oils)
Having just entered my 30s, I have three important skin goals: Fade the sun damage I’ve acquired from my pre-daily SPF days, prevent the fine lines I’m beginning to notice under my eyes from getting any more noticeable, and keep my skin consistently smooth, plump, and radiant. My current hero products are AHA exfoliators and vitamin C serums for their smoothing, brightening,and anti-aging benefits,as well as my many antioxidant-rich serums and oils, which fight off free radicals and protect against the elements. And, of course, moisturizing is key.
I absolutely love facial oils (as does my normal-to-dry complexion), and I tend to reach for them over traditional moisturizers and creams for my daytime routine. However, not all oils are created equal, and some are too heavy for me, leaving me with clogged pores or looking way shinier than I realize. That being said, I’m always on the hunt for oil that absorbs quickly and leaves behind a subtle dew rather than a heavy sheen—which is what The Face Oil is intended to do.
After cleansing, I spritz on a facial spray and then apply a vitamin C (I’m currently trying out The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension), followed by one of the many serums I currently have in rotation. After that, it’s oil time! I’ve been absolutely savoring Supernal’s Cosmic Glow Oil but swapped it out for The Face Oil during the testing period, applying to my face and neck every day. Some days, I would apply this in the evening in lieu of a night cream as well—especially after using my GloPRO Microneedling Tool so that I would better absorb its goodness.
Ingredients: Skin-renewing and healing
The star of The Face Oil—and all other Augustinus Bader products—is the brand’s Trigger Factor Complex (TFC8), a combination of amino acids, vitamins, and synthesized molecules that the brand claims help the body regenerate its own skin cells. Because the ingredients of the complex are patented and classified, the brand can’t confirm which of the oil’s ingredients (and their concentrations) are part of it, but, as the Augustinus Bader team told Byrdie, “The key to using the best ingredients is not to provide in abundance but in just the right concentration.”
Beyond the TFC8 Complex, other key ingredients include babassu oil (Orbigyna Oleifera seed oil), argan oil, hazelnut oil, Karanja oil (Pongamia Glabra seed oil), and pomegranate seed extract. You can read more about each individual ingredient here. All of these are present in effective concentrations, ranging from the second to the 10th ingredients.
Overall, the formula aims to condition the skin, protect against environmental stressors, strengthen the skin’s barrier, and provide antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits. The Face Oil is considered clean by Byrdie’s standards and is also fragrance-free and non-irritating. It’s formulated without any allergens or harsh ingredients, such as parabens, fragrance, SLS, SLES, DEA, heavy metals, talc, and petroleum-based products. Sensitive-skinned folks, rejoice!
The Science: TFC8, the brand’s patented complex, regenerates the skin
As mentioned above, one of the key ingredients in The Face Oil and all other Augustinus Bader products (including body and hand care) is the brand’s patented skin-renewing Trigger Factor Complex. It’s pretty high-tech, formulated with 40 different molecules such as amino acids, high-grade vitamins, and synthesized versions of molecules found naturally in the skin. As the brand describes, the complex is meant to function as a skin GPS, guiding each of these nutrient compounds to the right location of the cell microenvironment. From there, the brand says it works to generate “skin renewal conditions.” Pretty freakin’ cool, if you ask me.
This complex is what makes the product especially pricey, but according to the brand, it's meant to be your one and only go-to moisturizer. This is something I wholeheartedly respect, as many luxury brands often push an entire skincare system that would leave me completely bankrupt.
The Feel: Light and luxurious
This isn’t a heavy oil by any means, but it still feels luxurious and deeply hydrating. It applies like a typical oil, appearing on the thicker and heavier side, but it magically melts into the skin with one touch. It leaves behind a slight residue that sinks in pretty quickly, which cuts down any waiting time before applying makeup. Based on the feeling alone, I think it’s a great choice for all skin types, whether you’re on the oily side or very dry. I also experienced no irritation whatsoever and found the formula to be incredibly soothing.
The Packaging: Button dropper allows for perfect dispensation
The Face Oil features a button-activated dropper, allowing you to dispense the perfect amount of oil every time. Maybe I'm old and boring, but I prefer these over the squeeze-top droppers because they’re easier to use and grab the same amount of product every time. More importantly, it’s packaged in a stunning deep blue glass bottle, which not only makes for a nice addition to your shelfie but helps to protect its fancy contents from sunlight.
The Scent: Subtle and botanical
The Face Oil is fragrance-free, but it has a very subtle botanical scent due to the many plant-based oils and extracts in its formula. It’s lovely, natural, and dissipates fairly quickly.
The Results: Nourished, glowing skin
From the moment I first applied The Face Oil, I knew it was going to become an immediate favorite. When I tested it on my hand, it applied like a thicker oil, but it magically absorbed with one swipe of a finger. After applying to my face and neck, my skin instantly felt hydrated and smooth. I also appreciated how quickly the product would sink in without a greasy residue, allowing me to move onto SPF and makeup quicker than normal. I’m using tinted moisturizers or serum-weight foundations these days, and they all applied beautifully over it. By the end of the day, my skin was still soft to the touch and glowing.
I also really enjoyed using this oil at night in combination with my GloPRO Microneedling Tool. I felt that applying after a DIY micro-needling session, this oil not only soothed any redness away, but my skin absorbed the oils even better. I would wake up with the softest, smoothest skin I’ve ever had, even if I was exhausted.
After the two-week testing period, my skin felt all-around more hydrated and firm, even post-cleanse. Though subtle, my complexion was smoother and more radiant. I wouldn’t say I noticed significant changes in lines or sunspots after just two weeks, but I’m looking forward to using this oil to the very last drop and hope to see noticeable results.
The Value: A big investment
This oil costs $230 per fluid ounce, which is a pretty significant investment, but you’re paying for the high-tech Trigger Factor Complex and the high-grade oils and extracts. The brand also offers a 3-ounce bottle for $85, which is a great option if you’re looking to try it out before shelling out for a full-size bottle.
Do I think other equally great and effective oils exist at a lower price point? Of course. Would I go out and spend $230 to restock after my bottle is finished? Probably not, but I definitely think I’ll be yearning for this one long after the bottle is empty. If you’re looking to treat yourself to something truly luxurious and potent, this is the oil for you.
Similar Products: You’ve got options
Augustinus Bader The Cream and The Rich Cream: To compare The Face Oil to the other facial moisturizers in the Augustinus Bader lineup, let’s take a look at the brand’s two cult-favorite creams, The Cream and The Rich Cream. Like The Face Oil, both are formulated with TFC8, as well as a ton of other skin-loving ingredients.
The Cream is formulated for combination and oily skin types and is ideal for humid climates and daytime wear. It contains soothing aloe vera, tons of antioxidants, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. The Rich Cream is formulated for normal to dry skin types and is ideal for drier climates and nighttime use. It contains argan, avocado, and evening primrose oils and is rich in antioxidants and omega 6 fatty acids to protect against free radicals. They’re both slightly less expensive than the oil, ringing in at $170 for a one-ounce bottle, and are also available in 1.7-ounce bottles for $265 or 0.5-ounce bottles for $85.
The Face Oil is more universal, perfect for all skin types and can be used any time of the day, and offers that dewy glow you can’t get from a cream. If you’re looking to choose between the three, it really just depends on your skin type and concerns, the climate you’re in, and when you want to use it.
Supernal Cosmic Glow Facial Oil: One of my favorite facial oils to ever exist is Supernal’s Cosmic Glow Facial Oil, which, as the name implies, is all about the glow. This one is fortified with vitamin C and omegas 3, 6, and 9 and helps to revitalize the skin and boost radiance. Like The Face Oil, the formula is quick-absorbing and much lighter than most oils, leaving the skin deliciously supple and dewy. But, it can leave behind more of a shine and should be used sparingly—I’ve definitely needed a dab of translucent powder after applying on a handful of occasions.
Cosmic Glow Facial Oil is also formulated with a number of plant and seed oils, such as camellia, baobab, amla, sesame, and marula, and is suitable for normal, oily, combination, and dry skin types. While that list doesn’t include sensitive, it isn’t formulated with any added fragrance, so it isn’t irritating. Price-wise, Cosmic Glow Oil is still an investment, ringing in at $108 for a one-ounce jar, but it’s a bit more attainable. However, it doesn’t offer the purported regenerative qualities of The Face Oil, so choosing between the two depends on what long-term benefits you’re looking for.
Our Verdict: One of the best facial oils I’ve ever used
Honestly, this might be my new favorite oil—and I’ve tried many. It’s deeply hydrating without ever feeling greasy, and leaves my skin smooth, supple, and radiant. The only reason it didn’t get a perfect five stars from me is the price point, which I think makes it unattainable for most. But, if you’re a fan of decadent, high-tech formulas, this is the oil for you.
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