It is not often that a product lands on my desk that knocks me off my feet through its intoxicating fragrance and that’s matched by its performance. However, one product that has got it all is Vintner’s Daughter—a triumph for winery owner April Gargiulo and her team of skin care experts.
Just to give you an idea, this luxe serum sold out within two days of launching on BeauTeaBar. I’d say that’s a surefire indication that Vintner’s Daughter has taken its place among the most coveted green beauty brands. I, for one, am hooked and join discriminating company. The serum is treasured by a crush of beauty editors who feel the same way. The “PRESS” category on the website virtually brims over with nods from Refinery29, Well + Good, Into the Gloss, and other must-have lists.
Nonetheless, there is still a buzz of curiosity and intrigue around this relative newbie that I hope to demystify here.
When she became a mother, April sought out cleaner beauty choices but experienced a growing dissatisfaction with the available products that did not meet her expectations. Many times she found that options were not as natural as they claimed either. So she drew on her family’s extensive history in viniculture and set out to formulate her own product.
As any wine connoisseur knows, it takes time for wine to reach peak flavor. The aging process can be slow but well worth the wait, as it activates a full-bodied flavor. So too, this serum.
When I spoke to the lovely April several months ago, I was thoroughly impressed by the research and sourcing of every one of the 22 active ingredients that enlivens the end result.
But what drives this serum into the spotlight stems from the unique maceration process that mimics the one used to create wine (hence the brand name). As April said herself, “If I had to choose one defining characteristic of our serum, it would be our formulation process.”
She explained further:
“Borrowed from fine wine-making [April’s family business can be found here], we employ a unique temperature-controlled formulation process—called extended maceration in wine-making—that deeply infuses every drop of our serum with powerful whole botanicals. As a result, Active Botanical Serum teems with skin-healing phyto-nutrients, collagen building phyto-ceramides, wrinkle-preventing anti-oxidants and nourishing vitamins and minerals. Skin is healthy, nourished, and radiates a more youthful vitality.”
Tasting ~ the sensory examination and evaluation of wine
I too have been taking my time to savor not only the exquisite bouquet which is, as previously mentioned, absolutely intoxicating in and of itself, but also the select ingredients that comprise this formula. There are a few reasons for that.
For one, I experienced some initial breakouts while using it, so I needed to do some sleuthing to discover if the serum was the culprit.
Secondly, I like to see consistent results over time.
Lastly, the hefty price tag may cause sticker shock*—it’s $185 for 30 ml—so I wanted to make sure that the cost reflects quality contents—something that I rarely find in hyped up department store brands that contain an onslaught of synthetic fillers and binders with few active ingredients.
When tasting fine wine, the steps are categorized in levels. As listed on Wikipedia, these are: appearance, “in glass”( the aroma of the wine), “in mouth” sensations, “finish” (aftertaste).
So here are my findings, a la vino…
Let’s start with the breakouts. It turns out that the serum was not the problem. I had been testing out a few other products and quickly realized that my skin didn’t take a liking to something in the mix. I’m still not sure which product or ingredient aggravated my skin. Once I switched back to my regular products, I didn’t have any problems with the serum. I also cut back and used less than the recommended 6-8 drops listed on the box, which seemed to help too.
As for actual appearance, this serum looks like liquid gold to me. It’s vibrantly alive with a deep golden-orange hue. Magnifique!
The seductive serum is appropriately encased in dark violet Miron glass that energetically activates the botanical formula—both preserving the contents as well as enriching them through a symbiotic light emission and filtration system. That is why you see so many dark bottles in the natural world because overexposure to light would lead to quicker spoilage and shorten the product’s lifespan.
Immediately on opening, the abundantly floral, yet layered aroma fills the senses. I’ve come across several products lately that compromise a delicate scent for pungent, yet functional ingredients. Not so here. This scent is feminine and absolutely gorgeous. With every application, I do find myself taking a moment to drink it in.
“On skin” sensations
As far as consistent results, I noticed a clarity in my skin within a few days that I thought was my imagination, until I checked in with April who confirmed that customers often report increased skin clarity. My skin started looking more luminous and uplifted than it did before, while feeling taut and smooth.
I continue to see improvement when using as little as one to two drops in the a.m. and p.m.—whether on its own or added to boost my daytime regimen. That amount allows this 30 ml bottle to last for a long while, and it’s really all this oily-skinned gal needs without leaving a residue. I definitely suggest playing around with the number of drops until you get the right dosage for your skin type.
Often, this is the only product that I press into my face and neck at night. It feels like all I need to feed and nourish my skin, while still allowing it to breathe while I sleep.
Complexity and character
When it comes to potency, the choice ingredients make Vintner’s Daughter a standout formula. April described the way each painstakingly curated ingredient plays off the next one.
“I’m frequently asked what the most important/exciting ingredient is in our formulation. The answer is there are 22 important active ingredients in our formulation and each one plays a unique role. Furthermore, each ingredient enhances the other to achieve even greater multi-correctional results. For instance, our cypress and frankincense are both incredible healers on their own, but together offer a super charged micro-circulation effect that allows our serum to penetrate skin even deeper.”
When I asked her specifically about the function of jasmine, I was duly impressed. Even though it appears later on the list of ingredients—which can often indicate a lesser role in the formula—it became clear that its purpose is as intentional as the rest. April told me:
“All of our ingredients work on many levels and Jasmine is no exception. It was chosen to round out several of our skin balancing goals not least of which was achieving optimum radiance. I struggled with acne-prone skin my whole life and jasmine offered potent antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties including the acne-fighting compounds benzaldehyde, benzoic acid, and benzyl benzoate. It also helps to fade discoloration from past breakouts. Bonus round: It increases skin’s elasticity, provides immunity from environmental stresses and its scent is said to increase focus.”
Of course, these are not inexpensive ingredients to source responsibly—especially when quality extraction is vital to the overall performance of the formula.
Which brings me to my last concern: the price tag. As I said, using a small amount will draw out use of this serum for a lengthier period. Plus it doubles as an eye treatment in place of an additional eye serum or cream—though, let’s be serious, I’m not giving up my beloved serums just yet! I’ve been replacing night creams and balms with it as well, so it functions as a true multi-tasker.
At the end, spending a sizable amount on a product is a personal choice. Sometimes it does pay to splurge on a stellar product, considering that the trade off would be ingredients that are not sourced ethically or organically and are surely not as effective—or worse, just empty “calories” sitting on the skin.
I’d say Vintner’s Daughter is a serum that is gradually fermenting into another all-time favorite potion of mine and deserves a glass dome all its own—as seen above in shop from my visit to BeauTeaBar’s retail store in Cold Spring Harbor, NY.
Ultimately, you are getting an advanced formula with exceptionally sourced ingredients that definitely delivers. It’s a vintage the experts can’t dismiss and that is sure to please even the most discerning palate.
*April generously sent me a full-sized bottle for review. Decision to review is entirely my own and all opinions are mine.