When it comes to luxury skincare, it’s hard to know if the eye-watering price tag translates to better skin outcomes.
Taking the plunge on pricier skincare can feel like a big commitment, and don’t get us wrong, there are many wonderful and affordable products that can do wonders for your skin. Yet, sometimes, there’s nothing better than popping the cap on a new bougie product that you know has years of dedicated science and formulation built into it.
Here, we dive into some of the tried-and-tested products that our team cannot get enough of (even if they are on the upper end of our budgets).
Retinol: Alpha-H Liquid Gold Midnight Reboot Serum 50ml, $134.95, Adore Beauty
There’s a reason they call a product like this liquid gold, because you’ll literally throw your golden coins at it to make sure it’s always stocked on your beauty shelf.
This powerful serum combines retinoid and glycolic acid to smooth and resurface the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains collagen boosting Tripeptide-5, to stimulate collagen production alongside coenzyme Q10 to reduce uneven tone and texture. Note: retinoid is not suitable for pregnancy.
Using this product leaves you with glowy, bright skin and it’s brilliant at ridding the skin of imperfections, including pigmentation post-acne.
Antioxidant: Fresh Tea Elixir Skin Resilience Activating Serum 50mL, $170, Sephora
Calling all retinol avoiders, we have the perfect brightening formula that will help reduce the appearance of your fine lines and wrinkles. Gentle on skin and great for all skin types, it uses an exclusive ‘APT Technology’ that captures “the Mauritius tea plant’s adaptive phytocompounds”. Phytocompounds are biologically active compounds that are used to improve skin health.
This is combined with vitamin B3 (niacinamide), ceramide III to support skin barrier function alongside a very specific type of hyaluronic acid (5kDA) that is designed to “absorb faster and penetrate to the deepest layers of the epidermis due to its very low molecular weight”.
As you can see, this serum has a lot of formulation behind it, hence the price tag, but it is a mainstay in the skincare cabinet of many beauty lovers (and a great option if retinol isn’t your vibe).
Vitamin C: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum 30mL, $236, Adore Beauty
This serum is a thing of beauty editor folklore (there are stories of people using it off their benchtops after spilling even the tiniest drops), and it’s no surprise.
Vitamin C is a notoriously unstable product that is hard to bottle, but SkinCeuticals have put decades of research and science into making sure their L-ascorbic acid formula is active, but not too harsh on the skin.
That’s down to the concentrations and joint formulation with vitamin E (tocopherol) and ferulic acid. It might have an interesting smell, but it’s worth every penny.
Vitamin B: Let It B Serum, $129, Dr. Naomi
Now available in Sephora, Dr Naomi is a cosmetic physician who has formulated her own line of transformative skincare. Her Vitamin B formulation ‘Let It B’ is the ultimate skin saviour whenever it is acting up and causing problems.
There’s no denying the formula is pricey, but it includes potent formulations of vitamin B3 (niacinamide), vitamin B5 (panthenol) alongside aloe, probiotics, triple hyaluronic acid to boost the skin’s hydration and relax your angry skin.
Plumping Serum: Dr Dennis Gross DermInfusions 3D Visible Fill + Repair Serum, $120, MECCA
Dr Dennis Gross’ latest formulation is touted as filler-in-a-bottle, and we’re obsessed with this space-age style formula.
Lightweight and hydrating, this newly-developed formula features a MicroCelle Delivery system, which reduces the molecular size of the active ingredients for faster, better results.
Plus, its clever ingredient profile features a combination of hyaluronic acid, peptides, niacinamide, and ectoin, to soothe, plump, and restore the skin barrier.
Essence: L’Occitane Immortelle Reset Tri-Phase Essence 150ml, $119, Adore Beauty
Applied after your cleanser or toner, an essence is a great way to strengthen your skin barrier, while adding radiance and moisture. This essence uses organic immortelle essential oil, sustainably sourced from Corsica, picked in the morning and distilled in the evening of the same day to maintain the antioxidant and anti-ageing properties.
It will target your skin’s elasticity, firmness and also fight environmental aggressors and free radicals that accelerate ageing.
It’s called tri-phase, as it has three layers that are shook together before applying. An aqueous layer containing Acmella Oleracea (a known soother, colloquially called the toothache plant) alongside prebiotics, the middle layer of Immortelle essential oil and then a top oil phase that compliments your skin’s natural oil composition.
Eye Serum: Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE 2.0 Anti-Aging Eye Serum 20ml, $150, Adore Beauty
While many skincare experts have debunked eye creams, there is a lot to be said of eye serums. This formulation is nourishing and active, helping to cool, depuff and plump the under-eye area for a more awake visage.
It is applied through a cooling metal tip and won’t clog the delicate under eye area. After a few weeks of using this product, we really have to say it’s amongst the top products for the eye area that we’ve tried.
Exfoliator: Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment 30mL, $85 Sunday Riley
While there are plenty of physical exfoliants on the market, getting a good chemical exfoliator is key to rejuvenating your skin and helping it turnover old dead skin cells in favour of new ones (hello, glowing complexion).
Good Genes is an active formulation that can be applied and rinsed off after 15 minutes for sensitive skin, or left on overnight for most skin types. The main exfoliator is purified lactic acid, one of the most hydrating AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), which helps to reveal a fresher, brighter, more clarified look to the skin. It helps to fight the build up of oil and debris on the skin, stopping skin congestion and dullness in its tracks.
It’s balanced by a series of other ingredients such as licorice for brightening, lemongrass to tone and arnica, aloe and pricky pear extract to soothe without greasiness.
Occlusive Layer: Aesthetics Rx H2O Lipid Balm 125ml, $99, Adore Beauty
If you’re applying moisturisers and serums like they’re going out of style but finding that your skin is losing its hydration as quickly as you’re applying it, it might be time for an occlusive layer.
This thicker, balm like consistency is brilliant applied to dry patches and to seal in your skincare. This gentle, fragrance-free formula uses polysaccharides (that mimic the skin’s natural ability to hydrate and retain water) alongside aloe vera, vitamin B5 (panthenol), arnica extract, rosehip oil, vitamin E (tocepherol), rice bran oil and squalene for major moisturisation and soothing qualities.
This unique formulation also contains alpha bisabolol, derived from camomile to reduce the appearance of dry and damaged skin. Let’s just say it’s an eczema girlie’s best friend.
Moisturiser: The Rich Cream, $437, Augustinus Bader
This moisturiser definitely costs a bomb, and that there are a lot of brilliant moisturisers on the market that do a lot. However, for dry and mature skin there is also no escaping that The Rich Cream is a choice product.
It was formulated by Augustinus Bader, a German-based world-leading stem cell and biomedical scientist who spent 30 years working with burn victims and has infused his own skincare with his ground-breaking healing technology.
If you’re young and your skin is loving a more affordable moisturiser, by all means go for it. But this cream is the bees knees if you’re looking to boost moisture, sooth and repair your skin.
Cleanser: Chanel La Mousse Anti-Pollution Cleansive Cream-To-Foam 150mL, $75, MYER
We all love a cleanser that leaves our skin feeling fresh without making it feel dry, which is where this genius cream-to-foam formulation comes in. It has a richness that still delves into the deepest pores, clearing out excess oil and sebum while simultaneously replenishing the skin with the lipids it needs.
It’s great at removing makeup and is non-comedogenic, using marine plant extracts to combat environmental pollutants that can damage the skin.
Lip Moisturiser: DIOR Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm, $62, Adore Beauty
Dior Addict lip products are crazy popular, and that is down to their expert formulation. The ‘Lip Glow’ is designed using nearly all-natural origin ingredients (97 per cent) and provides long-lasting hydration over time.
The balmy formulation can also be used as a lip primer before applying more matte or drier consistency lipsticks that can tug or cling to dry patches, so it’s a win, win.