What's Actually in the Cult-Fave Creams of This Stem Cell Doc's Skincare?

Augustinus Bader has a cult following, so we compared its ingredients to those in La Mer, Sk-II, and more luxury skincare lines.

You know you’ve made it when your face lotion is just called the “Rich Cream.” That’s some peak Zaddy Warbucks behavior, and it comes to us courtesy of one of the most hyped luxury skincare brands right now, Augustinus Bader

Augustinus Bader
The Rich Cream

$89 at Augustinus Bader

The drip of those Bader bottles alone caught our attention when they first appeared on the market in 2018. (I made an audible, cartoon AWOOGA when I saw that blend of lapis blue and gold.) And, in the four years since its debut, Augustinus Bader has become the wunderkind of the skincare industry, constantly selling out on Amazon and stocking the shelves of discerning beauty writers and celebrities alike (Kim Kardashian and Leonardo DiCaprio are known to be fans), thanks largely to its products’ TFC8 technology, which stands for “Trigger Factor Complex.” The technology is a blend of 40 different ingredients, and was painstakingly formulated by the brand’s founder—leading stem cell researcher Augustinus Bader.  

Augustinus Bader
The Serum

$375 at Augustinus Bader

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Bader by Zoom a few years ago for Barneys New York (R.I.P.), and was deeply impressed with his sincerity for entering the industry. Skincare is teeming with snake oil, Dr. Bader reminded me, but he was just ready to bring his 30-plus years of experience working with stem cells and healing extreme burns into a modern (and in some ways, more accessible) landscape. After all, if he could heal a third-degree burn, imagine what he could do for a frown line. 

These days, Augustinus Bader’s line includes not only skincare products, but hair care treatments, daily supplements, and a slick collaboration with Victoria Beckham. And, as Bader’s brand continues to humble luxury competitors such as La Mer and SK-II with its performance on both shelves and faces, the more transparent it has become about exactly what ingredients—or rather, lack of ingredients—are in its products that sets them apart. 

Photo: Augustinus Bader

“La Mer, Barbara Sturm, Sisley Paris, SK-II, La Prairie, none of them compare to the clean beauty of Augustinus Bader,” the brand says. And, to prove that it’s not all talk, Augustinus Bader just released its scores from the independent health app, Yuka. We poured over the results ourselves, which classifies ingredients into four risk categories: “risk-free (green dot), low risk (yellow dot), moderate risk (orange dot) and hazardous (red dot),” according to its website

We won’t dwell too long on the negativo scores of certain cult-fave skincare items, but suffice to say that the La Prairie’s Cellular Radiance has a 0/100 score for including propylparaben, BHT, and other ingredients, as did La Mer’s Regenerating Serum for having paraffin, benzyl salicylate, and other funky stuff. Even SK-II’s cult-fave Skinpower Cream got a 0/100 for a stacked list of over eight red and orange ingredients. Bummer. 


But we tip our beanies to you, Dr. Bader, for a glowing report card. Here’s how the brand’s products scored: 

The proof is in the lack of propylparabens—and the other aforementioned sketchy stuff—and the inclusion of nourishing, green-lit ingredients such as cellulose, squalene, and that bangin’ TFC8 technology, of course. We didn’t think we could simp any harder for Augustinus, but there you have it. Now we just have to wait for the doctor’s foray into lubes

Augustinus Bader products can be purchased on the brand’s official website.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter


Augustinus Bader, Skincare, serum, Evergreen

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