I might be obsessed with beauty products, but I rarely go overboard with spending on makeup and skincare. Yes, I’ll splurge every now and then on a $100 serum or a luxurious lipstick, but I’m definitely not one of those girls who cover themselves in LaMer moisturizers and La Prairie powders. While I own a few luxury beauty products, they’re definitely not my everyday essentials. I use my Tom Ford Shimmering Oil on special occasions and apply a Christian Louboutin lip gloss only when I’m wearing shoes by the same designer. Otherwise, I stick to well proven, good products that I purchase at Sephora or Ulta.
Recently, I got a bit out of my comfort zone when luxury skincare brand Retrouvé gifted me a full set of products that retail for… about $1700. I can’t even explain how excited I was to treat my skin with a set of products that cost as much as your typical vacation in the tropics. I imagined how my skin dramatically would improve overnight and I’d no longer need any expensive Botox treatments… As it turned out, my Expensive Skin Care Experiment had its highs and lows, but it still was something of a miracle experience.
Below, I provide a detailed review on each of the products from the most expensive skincare line I’ve ever tried. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this experiment. Also, please leave a comment below: Tell me, what was the most expensive beauty product you’ve ever tried!?
The first lesson I learned while testing this indulgent skincare line is that I really need to start reading labels before using any products. When I first opened up this beautifully packaged product, I used it as a regular cleanser and it was great, but nothing I’d never experienced before. The product gently removed my makeup and didn’t leave any ‘filmy’ feeling on my skin or leave it feeling dry. It smelled delicious and I enjoyed it using as much as any other Sephora-level cleanser.
The real magic happened, though, when I finally decided to read the directions and figured out that there is an option to apply the product on dry skin and then remove it with a piece of damp paper towel (my skin is constantly breaking out, so I try to keep it almost sterile and never use a regular towel for my face). This little change in the application process made all the difference for me: my skin finally had a chance to absorb all the nutritional ingredients of this cleansing elixir. I was hooked and never wanted to go back to my regular affordable cleanser!
What’s In It: Avocado Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil.
Price Point: $75 for 1.6 oz.; available at Bergdorf Goodman.
This gorgeously packaged product is officially the most expensive eye cream I’ve ever tried in my life. It goes for $415 for 1 oz. and has a consistency that I can compare with something between honey and a facial primer. When I first swatched it on my hand, I found it didn’t have the perfumed scent you expect from a luxury brand. But taking into consideration that one of the main goals of Retrouvé is to enhance the most natural products possible, its neutral aroma actually makes sense.
My first impression when I applied the product was that it looked a little oily. Having said this, I was impressed how my skin ‘inhaled’ this thick-looking cream by the time I finished applying my facial serum. I was impressed the next morning when my typical under-eye circles and puffiness were close to non-existent. I decided that it was probably a coincidence and applied this eye cream again the next night—the result was amazing again!
Having used this product for a few weeks now, I can honestly say I’ve started to hate the idea of using it… not because it doesn’t deliver what it promises (just the opposite… it exceeded my expectations), but because I’m anticipating there will be $415 less in my bank account once I run out of this miracle eye concentrate. Honestly, I don’t know what they put in the bottle, but this stuff really works! I had my Botox a while ago and this product definitely helped me to restore my under-eye area to post-treatment condition. It’s much smoother now and my concealer doesn’t crease that much on the days I use this eye cream.
What’s In It: Squalane (rated as “Best” by Paula’s Choice in the antioxidants category), pharmaceutical-grade Cholesterol Esters, Morinda Citrofolia Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, and Vitamin E.
Price Point: $415 for 1.0 oz.; available at Bergdorf Goodman.
Here is just another confession for you guys. Ever since I turned 25, I can’t imagine my life without using Vitamin C for my face. If you’re somewhere close to my age, you probably know that the most annoying thing that happens to your skin in your 30s isn’t wrinkles, but the lack of radiance. If you think about it, all of the mimic wrinkles are easily fixable with the help of injections, but what can you do if your complexion is just ‘blah’? Ever since I began exploring the power of Vitamin C this problem is no longer relevant for me (or, at least, not right now), so if your skin is not sensitive to this ingredient I definitely recommend checking it out.
Knowing that my high-tag serum by Retrouvé contains a good amount of Vitamin C (we’re talking 7-10% here!), I was excited to give it a try… and I was not disappointed. Over the course of using the serum, I noticed that my skin is definitely more radiant than when I use my typical $14 drugstore Vitamin C serum (surprise, surprise!) and it doesn’t look irritated at all! It also doesn’t turn oily the way it often happened before with some anti-aging serums. Overall, I was truly satisfied with the results of using this serum, especially in combination with other products in the Retrouvé line. It’s definitely a do!
What’s In It: Vitamin C, Pomegranate, Squalane, Vitamin E, White Tea, Ambiaty Extract, Morinda Citrifolia Extract, Pichia/Resveratrol Ferment Extract, Laminaria Extract, Padina Pavonica and Hydrolyzed Algin.
Price Point: $395 for 1.0 oz.; available at Bergdorf Goodman.
To be honest, it took me a while to remember which of these creams is designed for what. In my mind, the word “nourishing” is associated with a nighttime product: you apply a moisturizer during the day and a nourishing cream at night. In the case of Retrouvé, everything is reversed: you should use a Dynamic cream under your makeup and save Replenishing moisturizer for the night. Go figure! As a result, the first three days, I ended up googling each product every time I needed to apply one, so it was somewhat annoying. Finally, I simply put a sticky note on the night cream saying “night” and my life became much easier.
Let’s start this review with a day cream that was simply amazing. I couldn’t justify why a moisturizer that doesn’t contain an SPF costs that much, but my opinion changed after my latest facial when my skin overreacted to some of the ingredients used during the procedure. At first, I was afraid to use this high-intensity moisturizer on damaged skin and stuck to Pond’s Cream, but then tried it anyway and it did make a difference. My skin definitely healed faster than with any other product I tried—I was impressed! Aside from my breakout incident the cream also performed great, leaving my skin smooth, hydrated, and totally ready for a makeup application.
My relationship with the night cream was not that cloud-free, though, as I didn’t like the scent of this product. In my opinion, it is a bit too harsh. I also was not in awe of its absorbing properties. I have a combination skin with patches of extremely dry skin and a somewhat oily T-zone. What I noticed after using this product is that it was a bit too heavy for oily areas of my skin, while everything worked great on the dry patches. With this in mind, I ended up using this product only on certain areas of my skin, leaving the serum to do the rest of the job on the oily parts. I’m not sure that it was the right way to go, but it worked for me!
What’s In the Replenishing Cream: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Squalane, Pomegranate, Apple Stem Cells, White Tea, Coenzyme Q10, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Laminaria Extract, Padina Pavonica and Superoxide Dismutas.
What’s In the Nourishing Cream: Squalane, Pomegranate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B5, Coenzyme Q10, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Retinyl Palmitate, White Tea, Laminaria Extract and Hydrolyzed Algin.
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Before we wrap up, I want to mention some of the cons of using these products.
* The first one is obvious: its price. I don’t know many people who can afford spending almost 2k on skincare, but the high price tag is one of the things that distinguishes luxury brands from the mass-market ones, right?
* The second one is a bit silly, but I feel that it’s a bit inconvenient that all the bottles look the same so you really need to read what each says before applying the product. While I understand the beauty of Retrouvé packaging, perhaps I’m a bit too lazy to get used to this uniform bottle design.
* Finally, I was surprised that a product that costs so much does not contain an SPF. It was also really weird for me to apply my $15 SPF on top of my super expensive serum, eye cream, and a moisturizer. Perhaps I needed to up my SPF game with something more elegant while I was testing the Retrouvé line, but my options were somewhat limited, because I’d stopped purchasing SPF cream as my daily creams already contained sun protection.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning a few additional things about the brand that perhaps explain its pricing policy.
* I love the idea that Retrouvé positions itself as a gender-neutral brand, which actually helps to save some space on your bathroom’s shelf. If you and your significant other use the same products, you’re actually saving money and the environment (fewer bottles to use, fewer things to recycle).
* Most of the ingredients that are incorporated into Retrouvé products come in clinically measured concentrations that make them more effective than many other products on the market. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but brands are legally allowed to say that their product contains an ingredient (let’s say, an expensive ingredient like retinol) even though it comes at a much lower concentration than is clinically proven to be effective (so you’re getting not 1% but something like 0.001%). High-potency ingredients are expensive and it’s understandable that some brands are choosing this way, but since with Retrouvé the price of ingredients is no concern, the brand promises to include the perfect dosage of ingredients needed to get the job done.
PRO TIP: always check the labels and if the ingredient you’re looking for is located closer to the end of the ingredients list, you are getting just a fraction of the amount of this ingredient in your product.
* In contrast with other brands that emphasize the importance of just one active ingredient in the product, Retrouvé provides the whole package of awesome ingredients. From one point of view, it might be a bit risky, because if you are allergic to one specific ingredient, you can’t use the entire bottle, but from another perspective, it actually saves you so much time compared to applying all your single-ingredient products. Not to mention, your makeup looks much better when your skin is not overwhelmed with all those skincare layers.
* None of the Retrouvé products are tested on animals, which is very important for me, personally. Also, according to the brand’s presentation that I attended a few months ago, some of the plants incorporated in the Retrouvé formula are actually grown in the gardens of the brand’s creators.
What’s the most expensive beauty product you’ve ever tried?