I Splurged On This $$$ Cult-Favorite Moisturizer—Here Are 7 Affordable Options You Can Try Instead


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Source: @augustinusbader
Source: @augustinusbader

I have heard of quite a few “game-changing” beauty products and ended up being very disappointed by them, so I was pretty skeptical of the famed Augustinus Bader Cream.  Whenever I hear someone talking about The Cream, it is usually with reverence, and words like “life-changing,” “miracle cream,” and “holy grail” are thrown around. At $265+ a bottle, it fell firmly in the splurge category for me, yet I was intrigued enough to look into the brand, shove my skepticism aside, and order a bottle. 

Augustinus Bader
The Cream

Rooted in groundbreaking stem-cell technology, the cream is designed to trigger your existing stem cells to repair and renew your skin.

Currently 20% off! Discount applied at checkout

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I am definitely a maximalist when it comes to my skincare routine, and I tend to mix high-end skincare with drugstore options, yet everything I read suggested that if I just washed my face and applied The Cream twice a day, I would see amazing results in 27 days. It’s supposed to completely balance your skin, minimize pores, reduce fine lines and remove dark spots (my biggest concern).


I tend to mix high-end skincare with drugstore options, yet everything I read suggested that if I just washed my face and applied The Cream twice a day, I would see amazing results in 27 days.


My skin tends to be normal and does well with just about anything I throw at it, but by day #5, my skin was not happy. It felt congested and dry, looked dull, and I would catch myself wanting to grab a face mist or oil throughout the day to help add some moisture back into my skin. By day #7, I ditched The Cream and went back to my full routine thinking that this cream was just a $265 mistake, but determined to find a way to incorporate it into my routine. 

Going back to my initial research, I realized that the key to The Cream lies in the science behind it. The brand was founded by Professor Augustinus Bader, a globally recognized biomedical scientist and physician-scientist who researches stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Through his work, he developed a wound gel that helps burn survivors heal quicker and without the need for surgery of skin grafts. That science is what he used to create TFC8 (Trigger Factor Complex 8), the primary cocktail of ingredients in The Cream that promotes the regeneration of cells and the repair of fine lines, dark spots, and pores. In order to work, TFC8 needs to be the first thing applied to clean skin but it does not need to be the last. So, I tried it again for 27 days, applying it to my skin after cleansing and used a non-active serum, moisturizer, or oil on top. 

I really wish I could say that I don’t love this moisturizer, but after 27 days, my skin glowed, my skin tone evened out, and everything just looked firmer. The major selling point for me though, was when I aggressively stress-picked my face one night and I barely had a scar a few days later. I also had two friends with different skin types (oily and dry) try out The Cream, and they also noticed positive changes in their skin.


The Final Verdict

Final verdict: it is worth the hype, to the point that I would seriously consider re-purchasing it during a sale and incorporating it into my routine a couple of times a week. That being said, it’s definitely going to be out of the budget for many, and I strongly believe that no beauty product is worth jeopardizing your rent, mortgage, or credit score over.

Thankfully, there are so many great affordable products out there, so I found a couple of options that can help you achieve similar results without breaking the bank.

Skin Food Original Ultra- Rich Body Cream

There is a reason beauty editors will not shut up about this drugstore moisturizer. It is the perfect moisturizer if your skin is dry or dehydrated, and it’s an easy way to give your skin an extra glow. I also love to use it when I’ve used too many acids and my skin barrier has been compromised, as it is so soothing, it feels like a gentle hug.

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Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer

If you are looking to lock in as much moisture as possible into your skin, I have to recommend this moisturizer. It is no secret that honey is extremely hydrating and moisturizing, but this formula also has fig fruit extract, which binds moisture into the skin while also plumping and reducing fine lines. Finally, ceramides and shea butter help keep that moisture in your skin. It is a bit thicker, so I usually use it at night and wake up with the softest and smoothest skin.

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Heritage Store
Rosewater Moisturizer

The Rosewater Mist has been a cult-favorite for a while, but soothing gel moisturizer is perfect for days when I need some hydration but don’t want to use a heavier cream. It works well with sensitive skin and with the addition of niacinamide it helps reduce inflammation and the appearance of pores. I also really like using the Rose Oil at night, as 2-3 drops patted into the skin is all I need to lock moisture in and have dewy, glowing skin.

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First Aid Beauty
Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

Whenever I think about a rich moisturizer that will play well with all skin types, this cream is near the top of the list. It immediately hydrates the skin and absorbs quickly with no greasy feel while also working to calm down any redness and irritation that your skin is experiencing. It’s also an easy way to make your skin appear plump, even, and bouncy.

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Hypoallergenic Cica Sleeping Mask

I know this is not a moisturizer, but a sleeping mask that you apply as a thick cream just before bed is close enough. It works while you sleep to soothe, strengthen your moisture barrier, and hydrate your skin so that you wake up with a moisturized complexion.

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The Inkey List
Retinol Anti-Aging Serum

A lot of what the Bader cream treats like scarring, dark spots, skin texture, dullness, and fine lines and wrinkles, can also be treated with retinol. This one doesn’t break the bank or require a prescription, is gentle enough to be used daily, and won’t dry your skin out as much as other retinols. I would still recommend following it up with a moisturizer, but it is a great way to get all the benefits at an affordable price. Read this if you're new to retinol.

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Faded Brightening & Clearing Gel

This serum gel has been everywhere recently and for good reason. I initially got it to help get rid of maskne, but it is formulated with niacinamide and exfoliating acids which helps reduce the appearance of scars and even out skin tone. Over the past few months, it has been what I reach for when I know that I might be left with a scar or dark spot on my skin that I want to get rid of fast.

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not all items are worth the splurge $$