It seems like many of us, perhaps maybe all of us, have recently become obsessed with skin-care routines. The trend has been on the rise for a while, but more acutely, it’s due to a year and a half spent inside, staring at our faces in our laptop cameras, and having little to occupy our time other than internet research and online shopping. That combination has created a hoard of internet skincare sleuths seeking the fountain of youth in a bottle. And just like that, the bar has been raised for skincare, especially our nighttime routines. There’s a lot of hope in feeling like you can wake up glowing and better than before. Skincare novices have become skincare pros. Skincare enthusiasts have become skincare masters (and have become even more particular). As a beauty editor, I happen to have fallen into that latter category.
The position has offered incredible opportunities to seek out skincare holy grails in ways few others can. In the most recent instance, this involved going to Zurich, Switzerland, the homeland of renowned skincare brand La Prairie, not only to enjoy their incredible facial experience at The Dolder Grand Spa, but to be fully immersed in the story and science that the brand has to offer. I spoke with La Prairie’s Director of Strategic Innovation and Science, Dr. Jacqueline Hill, who helped create the brand’s most exciting launch to date, La Prairie Skin Caviar Nighttime Oil, the luxury skincare brand’s first formulation containing retinol. We all know retinol as the potent ingredient for improving skin tone and texture and softening fine lines, so a retinol combined with La Prairie’s famously skin-firming caviar based formulas, had to be next level.
“We knew that caviar contained retinol, but we hadn't leveraged that in the past,” says Hill. “So we decided to try and extract, stabilize it, and bring it into a formula the would really maximize its benefits.” That’s how the brand created Caviar Retinol, a combination of caviar lipids and caviar-derived retinol. It’s the star ingredient of the Skin Caviar Nighttime Oil that makes the formula particularly effective as a nighttime treatment.
“We designed the formula to boost the skin rejuvenating processes that are peaking at night during your natural circadian rhythm,” says Hill. Our skin needs help speeding up those processes as we age with the assistance of skincare, she explains, “that’s why the Nighttime Oil boosts epidermal renewal and collagen formation”. The additional benefit of the oil is preventing transepidermal water loss, “it’s like a shield,” says Hill “it seals in moisture and the benefits of the skincare,” helping prevent the evaporation that occurs at night. The result is powerful line softening with gentle delivery that also firms and strengthens the skin barrier. On an experiential level, the oil has a light scent, that’s fresh rather than earthy and aromatic like oils you might be used to. It sinks into your skin quickly without leaving you feeling sticky or drippy, it’s almost smooth to the touch.
As a way of pampering yourself at night, the La Prairie skincare regimen is one that’s hard to beat. The brand’s recommended protocol (for best results and peak experience, of course) includes four layering steps, starting with the Skin Caviar Essence-In-Lotion, then the Skin Caviar Liquid Lift, the Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Cream for your delicate eye area, and then the final step of Nighttime Oil. This whole routine will set you back $1860, but that’s the elite echelon of skincare for you.
Not to be a brand that limits itself solely to skincare innovation (although it would be enough), this year, La Prairie also celebrated the magic of the night and the Nighttime Oil by collaborating on an art installation with digital artist Maotik to create a 360˚ immersion experience of nightfall, deep night, and twilight for Art Basel– another stop on my epic Swiss expedition. With the brand’s signature rich cobalt blue color, and shadow, and light, the installation produced the feeling of the transitions of the latest and earliest night hours when the sky doesn’t feel like something far away from you, but it clings to your skin.
While unfortunately, there was no way to take that fleeting feeling with me when I left, I could comfortably hold an elegant cobalt blue glass bottle of Skin Caviar Nighttime Oil in my hand and bring it home. The heavy glass bottle demands a place on your counter or vanity the way it demands a place in your routine and elevates your practical nighttime skincare routine to something far more romantic. The beauty of luxury and strong skin transforming power combined–what could be better?