Most skincare companies take a “go big or go home” approach when they launch, meaning they debut with multiple products. But bigger isn’t always better. A small number of companies have debuted with just one product. Summer Fridays started with its Jet Lag Mask, and Linda Rodin’s skincare company began with a face oil, Olio Lusso. Remember when Augustinus Bader rolled out The Cream? While those companies now have extensive product lines, what makes Vintner’s Daughter different is that it launched with one product, and now has a grand total of… two. Here’s a closer look at the story behind Vintner’s Daughter, its two products, and is it worth a try?
What Is Vintner’s Daughter?
Vintner’s Daughter was created in 2014 by April Gargiulo. This third generation winemaker spent years working at her family’s Napa winery, Gargiulo Vineyards. The entrepreneur told Into The Gloss she was inspired to create Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, which has a grapeseed oil basedl, for two reasons. She wanted something safe and non-toxic, and wanted it to address her skin issues, “including hormonal breakouts, discoloration, restoring elasticity and radiance, and just bringing back a general youthfulness to my face.”
The serum’s popularity grew from word of mouth, and celebrity makeup artists quickly became fans. After write ups in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and Into the Gloss, sales went from 30 bottles a day to 300, according to The Cut. It took five years for the company to debut their second product, Active Treatment Essence. Will there be a third product anytime soon? Gargiulo told The Cut, “I’d love a body product or a cleanser one day, if we could crack those codes, but they’d have to be transformative, category-defining game changers to earn a Vintner’s Daughter label. Two products in seven years. Maybe we’ll do another one in year ten.”
What is the Vintner’s Daughter Philosophy?
Vintner’s Daughter focuses on high quality ingredients. Like a winemaker, Gargiulo takes into account each ingredient’s terroir. Gargiulo told Into the Gloss that synergy, or how ingredients interact with each other, was key to creating the serum’s formula. The serum contains 22 plant based oils including cypress and frankincense. “Together, the pair work to restore and renew skin cells (and are especially good at clearing up skin prone to cystic acne),” notes the article. The Vintner’s Daughter philosophy is all about simplifying and paring down a beauty routine, as the company says that five to six drops takes the place of several skincare steps.
What Are The Most Popular Vintner’s Daughter Products?
Vintner’s Daughter sells just two products- the Active Botanical Serum, and the Active Treatment Essence. The Active Botanical Serum is described as a “powerful, multi-correctional face oil infused with 22 of the world’s most nutrient-rich botanicals.” It is a cult favorite (and pricey) product. A key to its formulation is “phyto radiance infusion,” a multi-week process to extract maximum nutrients from botanicals. “Our potent concentration delivers optimal ratios of healing phytonutrients, balancing minerals, free-radical fighting antioxidants, strengthening phytoceramides [plant lipids], nourishing fatty acids, and brightening vitamins to renew, repair, protect, and tone the skin.” The company says it’s suitable for all skin types.
Another component is the serum’s three part delivery system. First, the serum has a low molecular weight and small particle size, which the company says helps penetrate the skin quickly. It also contains ingredients that “temporarily suspend the surface tension of the skin to allow for deeper absorption.” The third component is tied in with the application, which involves rubbing the serum between the hands before pressing it onto the face for 30 seconds.
The second product is the Active Treatment Essence. What’s an essence? It usually has a water-like texture and is thinner than a serum. Although different formulas serve different functions, most help to prep the skin for a subsequent product. According to the company, the Active Treatment Essence, which is fermented, does multiple things. It “delivers optimal nutrition, micro-exfoliation, brightening, firming, and multi-level hydration to noticeably improve the overall appearance of skin.”
The two products are meant to complement each other. Vintner’s Daughter suggests prepping the skin with Active Treatment Essence before dispensing five to six drops of the Active Botanical Serum. Together, the two products are designed to “deliver powerful hydration, optimal nutrition, and daily repair and protection for your skin” according to the company.
How Much Do Vintner’s Daughter Products Cost?
Vintner’s Daughter products are expensive. A 50ml bottle of the Active Treatment Essence is $225. A 5ml bottle of the serum is $65 while the 30 ml size is $185.
Is Vintner’s Daughter Cruelty Free?
Yes. The products are vegan and not tested on animals.
What Ingredients Are in Vintner’s Daughter?
Vintner’s Daughter two products are focused on ingredients and their origins. As Gargiulo told Joanna Czech’s blog, “Coming from wine-making, I believe in the concept of terroir – that there are places in the world that grow the best of something. So our rose comes from The Valley of the Roses in Bulgaria, from a family that has been producing this very beautiful rose oil for generations. Our hazelnut comes from the Piedmont region of Italy – again a place where they’ve been producing this particular oil in these very ancient, methodical ways.”
Gargiulo told Czech that she considers all 22 ingredients in the serum to be “active.” “They were chosen because they’re the most active ingredients in the world. And we boost a couple further by infusing them with plants that are even more nutrient-dense,” she said.
Some of those 22 ingredients include alfalfa, dandelion, avocado, bergamot, carrot seed, cypress, rose, nettle, sea buckthorn (from a shrub), rosemary, tamanu (from a Polynesian nut) and turmeric. The heart of the formula is what the brand calls “phyto radiance infusion.” According to the brand, “it begins with the world’s most nutrient-rich, whole plants like calendula, lavender, lemon peel, and the super greens alfalfa, nettle, and dandelion.” It takes three weeks for the nutrients to be extracted.
The Active Treatment Essence contains more than 30 botanicals, including apple cider vinegar, astralagus (an antioxidant), olive, soy, licorice, nettle, oat, papaya, hyaluronic acid and moringa, a plant with anti-inflammatory properties.
Where Can I Buy Vintner’s Daughter ?
Vintner’s Daughter products are sold on the company website and various spas, as well as Violet Grey, Goop, and at department stores including Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.
Does Vintner’s Daughter Work?
It is always tempting to try a cult favorite product like Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum just to see if it lives up to all the hype. Looking at customer and editorial reviews is a good place to start.
Beauty editors have gone crazy for it. Into the Gloss declared it to be “The Face Oil to End All Face Oils.” The writer called it “liquid gold” and after applying it for one night, the next morning “I didn’t even recognize my own skin.” A 2019 article in Glamour called “I Regret to Inform You Vintner’s Daughter Is Totally Worth It” noted “My bank account didn’t want me to love a $225 essence. Sorry, bank account.” The writer said, “But this stuff is different. A few drops of both sink in within minutes, leave behind a subtle sheen better than tinted moisturizer and bronzer together, and make my face feel like it doesn’t need makeup, or even a particularly good night’s sleep, to look its best.” Celia Ellenberg, Vogue’s Beauty Director, named it her hero skincare product in 2020.
The Essence has received similar praise. Who What Wear said that “Post-application, the skin is illuminated and it’s ridiculously soft to the touch (trust me, I already tried it and am devoted to it).” InStyle’s reviewer noted that “Instantly, my face was brighter and less tired, and my skin loved its silky texture.”
What do real people think? The Active Botanical Serum reviews are more mixed on a Reddit thread, with most people commenting on the hefty price tag. “For me, it really wasn’t worth the hype” and “There’s plenty of other beauty oils with very similar ingredients for 1/4 of the price. I will say the smell is very nice and luxurious.” On Influenster, the serum gets a 4.4 out of 5 star rating from more than 90 reviews. For some its “A splurge worth every penny, dime, quarter, dollar” and “pricey but so worth it.” People who gave it a low rating generally couldn’t get past the smell or said it did nothing for them “… it sits on my skin oily and shiny and does not absorb well (I tried on dry and slightly damp skin).” Others had a bad reaction. “’I’ve tried it three times and each time my skin has reacted badly to it–itching and small red bumps. I do have mature skin and hoped this would be nourishing to my face.
A few people struggled with the smell of the Essence, which some liken to kombucha due to the apple cider vinegar. A Reddit user thought “It smells so bad like musty damp mold in a gym shower.” Another Reddit user commented “The cost isn’t the issue it’s just the smell of their natural products.” Others couldn’t get past the price tag. “Wait did I read that right: Essence for two hundred and fifty dollars??” Others could care less about the cost. Blogger Lauren Kay Sims wrote “This product is the ultimate, multi-corrective hydration step!” and “This product is expensive because it is packed with SO many amazing ingredients that will do wonders for your skin.”
What Are Some Alternatives to Vintner’s Daughter?
While Vintner’s Daughter has a cult favorite status, perhaps you don’t want to spend that much on skincare. Or maybe it did nothing for you. One brand to consider is Formulyst.
Formulyst makes it easy to create your own skincare routine. Each skincare concern is assigned a number, and your personal combination will be just as unique as you (and your skin) are. All you have to do is find your formula, and follow the numbers.
Formulyst’s Active Serum is packed with good for you ingredients, such as nourishing vitamins B and E, and vitamin C, which helps skin look brighter. Rounding out the all-star list are ferulic acid and niacinamide which help stabilize the formula and boost the potency of vitamin C.
Formulyst’s Pro-Collagen Serum is formulated for aging skin and contains a potent mix of peptides and proteins. Gently pat a few drops of this hydrating serum on the face to help to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Sources: The Cut, Into the Gloss, Glamour, InStyle, Joanna Czech, Vogue, Reddit.