Why Augustinus Bader's The Cream Is Worth It

My honest take on why you should spend your money on this more-than-moisturizer.

Augustinus Bader The Cream
(Image credit: Hearst Owned)

Welcome back to Worth It, a bi-weekly breakdown of the new beauty products I’ve tested and adored: I’m talking that drain-it-to-the-bottom-and-tell-my-friends-I’ve-found-The-One kind of love. If it's featured here, consider this my permission to splurge on it. Read on for the product you don’t want to live without, and catch up on the latest Worth It breakdown here.

Augustinus Bader's The Cream

THE PROMISE:

When you try The Cream, it comes at a price. You know, not your soul or an Infinity Gauntlet situation, but it's hefty nonetheless: $265 for a 50 ml bottle of the world-famous lotion. That said, it’s a skincare nerd’s dream. Bader, a professor and director of Applied Stem Cell Biology and Cell Technology at the University of Leipzig in Germany, is considered the top scientist in the world on the subject of regenerative tissue. His work, particularly his extensive studies on disfiguring burns and wound healing, led him to create the illustrious cream. The formula’s secret is its TFC8 (Trigger Factor Complex 8), a proprietary blend that the brand says will activate the body’s own stem cells to promote major anti-aging benefits like minimized lines, even tone, and reduced redness.

Bader also keeps on innovating, and if you've got supremely dry skin, we have good news. The brand has upped the ante and upgraded the formula for The Rich Cream (the denser, more hydrating version of the cult original) for 2021. It's still got that healing kick from the TFC8 complex, but they've nixed the lanolin to make it 100-percent vegan, and added hyaluronic acid and rice protein to hydrate and strengthen skin. I tried it, and luckily, it avoids that trope of falling short of the original: it's as creamy and nurturing as ever. But we're here to talk about The Cream, the formula that truly shocked me.

WHY I'M OBSESSED:

I’ve been aware of the product's cult-status for years, but I honestly just tried it because it came through the Marie Claire beauty closet. Typically, my skin is easily managed: I get ruddy and dry, and I tend to develop tiny, under-the-skin bumps on my cheeks after I sleep on hotel sheets (should I forget my Slip pillowcase). On rare occasions, I’ll wake up with a pimple that’s so mountainous and painful that I wonder if I contracted staph on the F train. But for the most part, I have good skin, and I’m grateful for it. That’s why I usually seek out products that impart glowiness and hydration rather than something that totally overhauls my face—but that's exactly what The Cream claims to do.

Despite my dry skin, I chose the original formula over The Rich Cream (I prefer lighter textures when it comes to moisture). I also didn’t adhere to the proper instructions: Bader recommends using it for 27 days, minimum, with no additional skincare products except for cleanser, but I couldn’t bring myself to abandon the rest of my arsenal. Instead, I used this as my last step in both my morning and evening routines.

My makeup went on smoothly in the mornings for the first week, but my oft-dry skin never felt truly quenched before bed unless I applied a hydrating serum underneath. Meh. Yet, after about three weeks, I started to receive an onslaught of complexion compliments. I guess I haven’t looked as red recently, I thought. And I didn’t have any active pimples, so I didn’t think much of it. I’ll take a good skin week anytime.

But one morning around the one month mark, mid-glam, I realized I’d forgotten to apply both foundation and concealer and had gone straight for my Nudestix blush stick. I genuinely couldn’t tell if I’d put my complexion makeup on. Peter Parker getting stuck to the ceiling on his first morning as Spiderman? Same level of confusion. I took a closer look, skeptical. Do I look… amazing?

Rather than that translucent, un-plump look my skin usually has in the morning, it appeared stronger, almost thicker. My fair tone was even and clear, and my typical little dark circles were nowhere to be found, seemingly buried underneath my reinforced complexion.

I do. I look fucking amazing.

I suddenly felt invincible—like my own more stunning evil twin, or a supervillain who’d traded their lover’s heart for immense power and was rewarded with that golden, CGI glow-from-within. I was transformed, and the expensive blue bottle on my dresser was the precious source of my new supremacy.

I’ve been using The Cream ever since (about three months now) and my complexion has a whole new baseline. When people ask if it's really worth it, rather than offer a cheaper alternative like I typically do with products this expensive, I answer: This shit is wild.

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(Image credit: Hanna Varady)