You gotta have faith to use Augustinus Bader’s products. Considerable faith. For optimal results, I am directed to use The Cream and only The Cream after cleansing, day and night, for 27 days, effectively sidelining the rest of my beauty arsenal. It comes with a top price tag of £205 for 50ml, which will get me about six weeks’ use. The body cream, launching this August, is £130 for 170ml.
Based on 30 years of scientific research, the products contain the proprietary Trigger Factor Complex TFC8, which triggers my own stem cells into repair – my body apparently already knowing what it needs. “The cream allows your skin to be its best because it’s based on your particular genetic code. It’s totally personalised,” says Prof Bader.
Judging from the proliferation of effusive Instagram posts since its launch in February 2018, by shops, makeup artists, magazines, celebrities and influencers, plus print and online articles adding to the frenzy, the Augustinus Bader faithful are many. The Cream (in two different textures, one richer than the other) has been one of the most hyped luxury beauty products in recent memory, achieving cult status akin to La Mer but in a much shorter period of time.
The wait lists are monumental. It comes in hefty, luxurious packaging, has a satisfying magnetic cap, and there’s a bougie pouch to store it in.
When clean beauty is still driving the luxury skincare market, and the K-Beauty ten-step routine has gone mass, what people who swear by Augustinus Bader are placing their faith in is scientific authority. It’s a so-called “doctor brand”, though not one backed by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Instead, Prof Bader is a medical doctor and expert in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, currently holding down duties as Director and Professor of Applied Stem Cell Biology and Cell Technology at the University of Leipzig in Germany and as co-founder of his skincare company. He claims that the Augustinus Bader creams are currently the only consumer products based on real stem cell research. “Even if you eat good food or already have good skincare products that work, there are key signals [in tissue repair] that nobody knew about [until now], which is our ABC Method,” says Prof Bader. ABC stands for activate, boost and commit, three signalling functions that Prof Bader discovered must simultaneously occur with your body’s physiological communication systems to trigger healing and which the aforementioned TFC8 utilises.
In one sense, Augustinus Bader does genuinely represent the next level of skincare, with his stem cell research and notion of personalised medicine, but it’s all for nothing if the resultant products simply don’t work and/or – crucially in this PR-driven age – they’re not in the right hands.
Violet Grey, the luxury beauty boutique on Melrose Place in West Hollywood, was the first to stock The Cream and even puts forward the story that Melanie Griffith was the one to tell Violet Grey’s founder Cassandra Grey about Augustinus Bader. Kate Bosworth, Victoria Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio and others are also mentioned in the video.
“We’ve been so lucky,” says Prof Bader of the skincare line’s big start in Hollywood. “These are professional people working in the film industry and, for them, their appearance is extremely important. It also means they have tested everything. So when they test something and it really works for them, they like it.” He goes on to namecheck Courtney Cox and the Kardashians, who he didn’t know existed until they started using his creams – in my mind, surely some act of God?
Agustinus Bader’s THE CREAM
“The cream allows your skin to be its best because it’s based on your particular genetic code. It’s totally personalised” says Prof Bader.
Augustinus Bader can now be found in judiciously selected retailers across Europe, the US and Australia and, soon, China. The skincare line will also be expanding – a face cream for super-sensitive skin, a face oil, a body oil, a lip balm and a cleanser are all on the horizon. What you won’t be sold is an eye cream, which a lot of people ask him for. “You don’t need an eye cream, you can just use The Rich Cream,” Prof Bader says. (Skincare Redditors, start your engines…)
Personally, I didn’t adhere to exclusive use of The Rich Cream – my preferred texture and bought with my own money – for fear of giving up a tried-and-true rotation of exfoliating acids and retinol, but then, out of curiosity, decided to give it a go on nights only for two weeks. It’s an unfair assessment, but I didn’t see any huge changes, though I should point out my skin was in already in a good place. Outrageous #humblebrag for which I’m sure to be punished: I’m not sure what there was to visibly “repair”? Instead, my askin did feel stronger and slightly firmer, and I do think it’s a very good face cream, with the inclusion of ingredients such as squalane, shea butter and various nourishing oils.
It amuses me no end that when I google Augustinus Bader, I find that “people also search for…” Saint Augustine, the theologian, philosopher and church father whose writings influenced the development of the Roman Catholic Church, Western philosophy and Western Christianity as a whole. Perhaps next time I’ll submit completely to Augustinus Bader’s scientific authority, with St Augustine in mind: “Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.”
photography SHINI PARK
beauty editor ABISOLA OMOLE
written by SABRINA SHIM
edited by SOPHIE DENING
art direction CAMILO GONZALEZ
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