Soapy face wash

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There’s no doubt about it: Augustinus Bader is the must-have skincare brand of the moment. Formulated by professor Augustinus Bader, who specialized in stem cell research for 30 years, the products meld science with beauty—specializing in skin regeneration to promote radiance and health. But you might have heard of Augustinus Bader through its collaboration with Victoria Beckham on a cell rejuvenating serum (which, coincidentally, was the way a couple of W editors caught wind of the beauty brand). So how do these coveted products work, when tested in the real world? We tried the brand's new hero cleanser, The Cleansing Balm, which was released in late October, and gave our honest opinions.


Alexandra Ben-Gurion, Visuals and Content Director

Had you heard of the brand Augustinus Bader before? What were your opinions of it going into using this product?

I had heard about Augustinus Bader, actually, through our Editor at Large, Lynn Hirschberg. On one of our phone calls she mentioned how Victoria Beckham had collaborated with them and it was FLY-INGGG off the shelves. When we tried to purchase the cream, it was sold out everywhere. I think I gave up the hunt until this recent opportunity to try the brand, but now I am hooked. The hype lives up to the reality!

What is your go-to favorite cleanser and cleansing routine?

My all-time favorite cleanser that truly saved my skin is the Avene Cleanance cleansing gel. It really wipes away everything without drying your skin, plus, I’m a sucker for all French skin care. My cleansing routine usually involves a Neutrogena Moisturizing makeup wipe followed up Avene. This is my version of “double cleansing.” 

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How did the Augustinus Bader cleanser work for you?

The Augustinus Bader cleanser was true heaven. It’s in the form of a super soft balm that smells wonderful and really feels like it’s wiping away the day while still being very gentle. I followed the balm with my normal cleansing routine and my skin has definitely improved—less congestion and just overall radiance. I’ve finally found my true double-cleansing technique.

Did the cleanser stand out among others you've used in the past? Would you use it again?

I would happily use the cleanser again and definitely plan on adding it to my routine. The ease, great smell, and softness of the balm is comforting and a nice addition to a morning and evening routine. The cleanser stands out because of its amazingly soft texture.


Tilden Bissell, Digital Designer

Had you heard of the brand Augustinus Bader before? What were your opinions of it going into using this product?

I’d heard a lot about Augustinus Bader and have written about it on occasion because of the Victoria Beckham collaboration, but hadn’t tried the products myself. I viewed it as a prestige skincare brand backed by science, and knew it had won tons of awards and accolades—aside from that I didn’t have a super strong opinion.

What is your go-to favorite cleanser and cleansing routine?

Pre-Covid, I would have considered myself a collector of cleansing balms, but over quarantine, W’s beauty expert Maryam Lieberman got me hooked on Sisley’s Cleansing Milk with Sage, which has been more than sufficient in my minimal makeup routine. If I do ever wear makeup, usually I’ll double-cleanse with a cleansing balm, like Naturopathica’s Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm or Then I Met You’s Living Cleansing Balm, to break down makeup and oil, followed by a water-based cleanser for sweat and any other gunk I missed. I feel like cleaning is pretty straightforward, but my top tips are to make sure you wash your face for long enough (keeping your expensive cleanser on your face for 5 seconds is a waste of money), and if you’re washing your face in the shower, save it for last so your skin is still damp when you go to apply your other products (unless it’s retinol or something that should usually be applied to dry skin). 

How did the Augustinus Bader cleanser work for you?

I was a little nervous when I found out there was avocado oil in there, which can be a problem ingredient in my skincare routine, but I did a swatch and it didn’t make me break out. The balm’s texture was buttery, and when you rubbed it between your fingers it turned into a silky emulsion which felt luxurious. It also appeared to be unscented (or had a light enough scent I couldn’t pick up), which is a huge plus in my book. I liked it fine when using it for daily cleansing—but it really shined when I took off heavier makeup. My mascara and liquid liner literally melted off, and my skin felt clean without being overstripped.

Did the cleanser stand out among others you've used in the past? Would you use it again?

This is a very, very good cleansing balm. Like, definitely in the top three I’ve used regarding quality. In my opinion, it’s perfect for dryer winter skin or frequent makeup wearers looking to take it all off, but I’m not sure I’d use it every day. However, if price is a concern, I think you can prioritize some of the other Augustinus Bader products that I’ve enjoyed more—like the Essence or their cult-classic The Cream—if you’re new to the line and want to see major results.


Christina Holevas, Senior Accessories and Jewelry Editor

Had you heard of the brand Augustinus Bader before? What were your opinions of it going into using this product?

I have heard a lot about Augustinus Bader prior to using it—mostly really good things. Once, a model I was working with on set told me that she was considering fillers or Botox, but felt like she didn’t need them anymore after using the Augustinus Bader products, so I definitely wanted to try them.

What is your go-to favorite cleanser and cleansing routine?

Cleanser is typically the most low-maintenance part of my skincare routine. I just use plain Cetaphil. I can’t remember where I saw this, but someone on the Internet said that they sing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song every time they wash their face, to make it last for a full 60 seconds and get all the dirt off, so now I try to do that. I still know all the words!

How did the Augustinus Bader cleanser work for you?

The Augustinus Bader cleanser worked just fine for me. I didn’t notice much of a difference in my skin in a negative or a positive way. It’s a very luxe cleansing process, which I’m sure some people will love. For me, it felt like a little too much. The texture was a bit thicker than I’d prefer, and it seemed like the product didn’t completely emulsify and disappear after I added water to my face. The cleanser comes with a small cloth that you’re meant to use to wipe it off, which helped, but having to take that extra step was high-maintenance for me. 

Did the cleanser stand out among others you've used in the past? Would you use it again?

I really love many of the other Augustinus Bader products—like the moisturizer and the serum—and I feel that they have changed my skin, but I’m not sure if I would go out of my way to use the cleanser again.


Julia McClatchy, Assistant to the Editor in Chief

Had you heard of the brand Augustinus Bader before? What were your opinions of it going into using this product?

Before receiving this product, I had never heard of Augustinus Bader; that being said, I did not have a strong opinion, which allowed me to dive in without bias or expectations.

What is your go-to favorite cleanser and cleansing routine?

For years now, my favorite cleanser has been The Ultra Facial Cleanser by Kiehl’s. Typically, I begin my morning and night skin routine by using the cleanser and moisturizing with the Lala Retro Whipped Cream and Shaba Complex Eye serum by Drunk Elephant, followed by their Virgin Luxury Marula Oil and a turn with my jade roller to set. During the evening, I’ll sometimes add a detoxifying mask—my favorite is the Masque Instant Detox by Caudalie. Whether I am preparing my skin for the day or resetting it at night time, I always try to use the same products and keep my regimen aligned, as this is my true secret to clean and healthy skin.

How did the Augustinus Bader cleanser work for you?

Being that I rarely stray from my typical skin care routine, I was hesitant to add the Augustinus Bader cleanser into my rotation. However my uncertainty quickly faded, as I began to reap the benefits of such a well-formulated product. The balm is perfectly lightweight, odorless, and moisturizing—so much so that my skin doesn’t require a second step to remove residual makeup, nor do I need a moisturizer after cleansing.

Did the cleanser stand out among others you've used in the past? Would you use it again?

Absolutely. I've found that the balm-like texture and odorless formula brings my skin a new level of moisture and clarity that I have never gotten from any product before. I definitely plan to continue using this product and am dreading the day it runs out. 

Related: Augustinus Bader on The Body Cream, His New Cult Classic: “Skincare Cannot Stop at the Face”