You've probably seen it on Instagram already. The tall blue bottles popping up in the bathroom cabinet photos of your favourite beauty experts. The ones adorned with magnetic bronze tops and simple white lettering. It's Augustinus Bader.
But this brand is still one that can fly somewhat under the radar of the mainstream. Why? The brand has never invested in traditional advertising. Everything you know about the brand so far is from word of mouth and positive organic reviews. Which makes the brand all the more mysterious. Where did the hyper-luxurious brand come from? And why are the cult products, The Cream and The Rich Cream, things you'll find in the bathroom cupboards of just about every beauty editor you know.
We investigate below.
What is the origin story of Augustinus Bader?
The brand is named for its founder, Dr Augustinus Bader - a biomedical scientist and physician. He's a leader in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. His foray into skincare came about as he was creating a wound gel to help heal severe skin trauma like burns without the need for surgery or skin grafts.
His strategy was to harness the body's natural ability to heal and reawaken the cells that became dormant through ageing or damage. Through his 30 years of research, he created and patented TFC8, the powerhouse renewing ingredient that led to the creation of Augustinus Bader skincare.
What's in it?
All Augustinus Bader products are powered by the patented TFC8. As a patented formula, the exact details of what specifically is in this ingredient is secret. But we do know that it's comprised of natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins and synthesised molecules naturally found in the body.
The way it was explained to me when I met with the Augustinus Bader team is that TFC8 or (Trigger Factor Complex 8) is a compound that makes our dormant cells turn back on, encouraging them to renew and repair. Thus reinvigorating and increasing our body's natural skin renewal process.
Around this key ingredient, each Augustinus Bader product is supported by additional skin-loving ingredients. For example, The Cream, the brand's signature product contains extras like vitamin A, vitamin C, rice protein, aloe vera, shea butter and vitamin B5. But The Rich Cream, which is similar but designed for drier skin in need of more nourishment contains evening primrose oil, squalane, vitamin E, argan oil and avocado oil
The brand markets itself as "clean science", so while the products aren't all naturally made, the ingredients that support TFC8 are generally unmodified botanicals. The list of ingredient exclusions is long and robust: 100% free of gluten, GMOs, parabens, fragrance, SLS, SLES, DEA, heavy metals, talc and petrolatum/paraffin/mineral oil. So you can be confident that it's free of synthetic nasties.
Augustinus Bader also only uses sustainably sourced ingredients, carbon balanced paper, fully recyclable packaging and is a partner of One Tree Planted.
Does it actually work?
This is an important question to ask whenever you're considering spending $370 on 50mL of face cream. As a brand founded by a leading scientist, Augustinus Bader comes with a lot of evidence to back its promises.
It's always a pleasant surprise to find a brand so totally open about its science. I reached out to the brand and asked for the clinical trials and they sent an entire folder of studies for every single product Augustinus Bader currently has on the market.
I am not a student of science and have never worked in pharmaceuticals, so my view and understanding of the data will not be at the level of a qualified scientist - but from the knowledge that I do have, the evidence of efficacy is there. I initially thought sample sizes probably could have been a little larger – the clinical trial for The Cream included 90 participants. But I spoke to a friend who runs clinical trials as a profession. She said roughly 100 participants is a good start.
As for the evidence from the trials, the products do in fact work:
"Fine lines and wrinkles were reduced by 32.74% after 4 weeks. Skin looked 52.94% younger after using this product for 4 weeks," according to the trial evidence for The Cream.
There is other evidence based on user perception trials, which offered glowing accounts. But, it's always usually the best to look at the actual clinicals as these usually contain the least bias.
The full clinical trial results aren't available on the website, but you can see a summary for The Cream and all the other products in the range on the product pages.
In summary, the products work and deliver on all key promises according to the science provided. Just note, the brand says the products need to be used for at least 27 days before you will start to see the effects.
What products are in the Augustinus Bader range?
There are currently 11 products in the range.
The Cream is a light-weight face cream with an almost serum-like consistency. It's the hero product in the range and designed for all skin types. It can be used alone but can be used with other products if you choose. The recommendation is that if you're going to use other products, apply The Cream first so the TFC8 can get to work on your skin and not be hindered by other products that can limit penetration. Use morning and night.
The Rich Cream is similar to The Cream, only it is designed for drier skin in need of a little more nourishment. Like The Cream, it's designed to be used morning and night - again, apply this first before any other product.
The Cleansing Gel is a product created as the first step in your routine, helping to clean and prepare the skin to receive the benefits of the following products. The Cleansing Balm is similar but its oily texture makes it more effective at dissolving heavy makeup. Both products offer similar results, it's just about cleansing preference.
The Essence is like an exfoliating toner designed to help prep the skin ahead of using one of the face creams. Whereas The Face Oil is a product designed to use on top of The Cream or The Rich Cream to lock the products in place and provide extra nourishment.
Next up is the body care range, starting with The Body Cream. A thick white cream, this comes in a tub format. It needs to be warmed in your hand before use as it's very heavy. It's a product designed to smooth and tone, reducing the appearance of cellulite and skin pigmentation inconsistencies. I've been using it, and while I haven't yet seen if it's made a difference to cellulite because it's only been a week, it definitely makes your skin silky smooth, unlike any other moisturiser I've tried.
The Body Lotion is a lighter iteration of The Body Cream, it's fast-absorbing and better for those in a warm climate that don't need the intensity of a richly thick cream. Similar, The Body Oil is another alternative to The Body Cream. It has similar skin-improving claims but will offer more of a glow to the skin than the other body products.
Finally, we finish with two handbag essentials - The Lip Balm and The Hand Treatment, two products that offer the same TFC8 renewal benefits to your hands and lips.