As beauty editors, we get bombarded with a ton of new products every day (we know—tough life). Reviewed is a series where we report on some of the best products we've tried. Whether it's a drugstore lipstick that lasted all day or a hand cream that saved us this winter, you'll find all our favorites in this column. Enjoy!
Over my five years writing about skincare for a living, I've come to the conclusion that there are two types of beauty editors in the world: the type that immediately falls head over heels for every new serum and eye cream she tries, and the type that kind of thinks everything is bullshit. I happen to fall into the latter category.
Remember: I'm the beauty editor who brought you such stories as "Ask a Biologist: Which Anti-Aging Ingredients Actually Work?" and "Bad News: These 6 Common Skin Conditions Can't Be Cured." I'm a skeptic! And after half a decade of talking to dermatologists, most of whom recommend splurging only on science-backed treatments (serums, masks, and in-office procedures) and saving on basics like cleanser and moisturizer, I'd pretty much resigned to the belief that when it comes to hydrating my face, luxury brands were worth neither the hype nor the cash. As a combination skin type, I'd settled on the idea that the best my skin could get out of a moisturizer was an $8 fragrance-free face lotion from the drugstore. No, it didn't make me glow to the gods, but moisturizer wasn't really meant to do that… right?
Right. At least, that's what I thought was right, until last year, when I was proven wrong by a little product called Sisley's Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream. After getting my hands on this one-of-a-kind moisturizer, I used it morning and night every day for four weeks, and my skin truly never looked plumper, clearer, or more idyllic. Keep scrolling to read my full review.
My relationship with Sisley's Black Rose moisturizer is a serious one (truly, people, I'm smitten), so out of respect for our love together, I'll start from the beginning: I was first introduced to the product, which became available last summer (the brand's U.S. president called it the brand's biggest launch in 20 years) at a press preview a few weeks before it hit shelves.
Sisley is one of those small, family-owned yet upmarket brands that makes me feel a little intimated every time I see its chic French packaging in the department store. I've tried its iconic brightening Black Rose Cream Mask ($162) only once, but my skin looked so unforgettably dewy afterward that when I heard the brand was coming out with a moisturizer accompaniment, my interest piqued.
At the press preview, I was informed that the new face cream has a unique gel formula with a texture "as comfortable and rich as a cream, yet as fresh and light as water." I usually find gel formulas to be sticky and not quite hydrating enough (though non-gel moisturizers are often too heavy for my clog-prone pores—oh, the hard-knock life of a combo skin type). But the second a sample of Sisley's moisturizer hit the back of my hand, it was (and pardon my cheesiness) love at first swatch.
Believe me when I tell you that the instant this formula touches your skin, it transforms from a rich, creamy texture to the refreshing feeling of actual water—I'd never felt anything like it. It absorbs right away and leaves the skin feeling absurdly soft. Not sticky, not greasy. Just naturally hydrated and smooth. Perfect for my combo skin.
What also makes me feel a little better about the heart-stopping price tag on this product is its unique, high-quality ingredient list. Fancy plant extracts like exfoliating hibiscus flower, plumping alkekengi calyx and padina pavonica, and alpine rose (a new, antioxidant-packed active) offer anti-aging benefits.
Shea and camelina provide the perfect level of moisture. And a natural combination of rose, magnolia, and geranium essential oils create a luxurious aromatherapeutic experience that's subtle but still makes you feel like you're in a French spa, even if only for a second.
My bare skin after four weeks of Sisley's Black Rose moisturizer:
However, to make sure my feelings for the product were true love and not just infatuation, I decided to dump the day and night moisturizers I was using at the time and go exclusive with Sisley. For four weeks, I applied a dime-size amount of the cream to my face and neck after my usual cleanser, toner, and serum.
Long story short, by the time I had scraped the last precious droplet out of the jar, I was heartbroken to see it go, but my face had never looked better. My pores had never looked clearer, and my complexion never looked glowier or more youthful. The photo above (in which I am wearing not a stitch of face makeup) was taken right after that romantic month with Sisley. Do you see any breakouts or dullness? Me either.
As harsh as this stuff might be on my bank account, writing this review is reminding me that Sisley's Black Rose moisturizer and I are meant to be.