One of the top makeup artists in the world, Charlotte Tilbury has become a household name, and her products have become staples in many of our routines. Following the success of her Magic Cream—one is sold every two minutes worldwide—the British beauty guru is finally launching a serum next week, and it’s loaded with actives to deliver the plump, dewy glow she is known for.
Inspired by her craft—applying makeup to some of the most beautiful faces in the world, and needing products that hydrate fast—Magic Serum Crystal Elixir ($80) does just that. Probably its most impressive claim is that boosts skin’s moisture levels by 172 percent after one hour, which was proven in clinical testing, and after 24 hours, skin still shows a 120-percent increase. Clinical testing was done on 209 women and men ages 18–80 over the course of four weeks, using VISIA technology that reveals changes to underlying layers of the skin.
Tilbury, who consulted with dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto, credits this moisture surge to the formula’s potent 0.075-percent concentration of polyglutamic acid, which is the highest recommended level of the ingredient in skin care, and more than four times more hydrating than “it” ingredient hyaluronic acid. Other moisture-retaining botanicals include first light snow lotus and resurrection leaf, which are plant extracts known to survive in extremely harsh conditions and therefore have properties to protect the skin barrier.
“I had a few samples early on to give to clients like Kate Moss and Salma Hayek and others, and they were like ‘Charlotte, when is this coming out!’ They noticed a big difference in both my skin and their own.”
The brand is also the first to market with key ingredient Replexium, which is combination of two peptides that boost the production of collagen types 1 and 17 to reduce wrinkles and firm the skin. Other standout actives include 0.5-percent golden vitamin C, a gold-enhanced, more stable version of the active we know and love for its brightening, tone-evening effects, and 5-percent niacinamide, which is beloved for its anti-inflammatory and redness-reducing benefits. “It also improves barrier function and helps repair signs of sun damage,” says Dr. Mahto.
“The serum really heals and delivers moisture back into the skin,” says Tilbury. “It’s the magic matrix of ingredients—a single, multi-action formula that can be layered with all other products and doesn’t pill. It’s silky, not sticky and gives an incredible crystalline finish to the skin.”
And lastly, it wouldn’t be one of Charlotte’s products if it didn’t have that extra “magical touch,” which in this case is a Crystal Complex—moonstone, ruby, rose quartz, amethyst and crystal quartz—inspired by her love of holistic well-being. “I grew up with a little bit of hippie in me,” Tilbury says. “And now we’re in the crystal age. I believe we’ll see even more innovation in crystal technology for the skin in the future.”
Tilbury’s aesthetician Georgia Louise has been using crystals in many of her facials for years and touts their healing benefits. “When using this serum, you want to make sure you warm it in your fingertips first, about four to six drops. When you warm crystals, you can energize them. Then use a press-and-release motion to get it into your skin. I also like to tap my skin to boost circulation, like raindrops over your skin.”
Tilbury also uses this technique, which she calls her “Tilbury Tap,” to apply moisturizer, serum and concealer. “It’s one of the things I became famous for on shoots because it gave the models an incredible glow and reduced puffiness,” says the makeup artist.
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