Luxury Beauty Brands on the Unique Ingredients Redefining the Skincare Landscape

Hannah Gay investigates the hero ingredients of five premium, professional skincare brands and what makes them stand out.

Consumers are oftentimes wired with questions around how high-end skincare brands justify the cost of their products.

While status, luxury packaging and exclusivity play a role, it’s most often in the formulations produced that can take a product line-up to the next level.

Some of the most well-recognised skincare businesses globally tend to have one thing in common – their attention to research and development. While rare for a business to discover a one-of-a-kind ingredient or compound, those that do will often tell you that it was no accident; that years, sometimes decades of science and experience came first.

As always, educating consumers on the value of certain ingredients falls heavily on the shoulders of skincare therapists. It’s via this channel that the average client develops their understanding of what truly makes a product so effective on their skin. 

We spoke to five luxury beauty businesses on the unique, holy grail ingredients they’ve devised for today’s considerate consumer:

Image Skincare utilises Plant Stem Cells

Plant Stem Cells / Image Skincare

Hannah Gay: How many SKUs in total does Image Skincare stock that contain plant stem cells?

General Manager at Professional Beauty Solutions, Lisa Williams: “One of [Image Skincare’s] standout [skincare] advancements is our plant-derived stem cell technology, found in over 29 products across our collections, and featuring as the hero ingredient in our MAX Collection; our ultimate, advanced-ageing range. With 8 products in the range, the MAX Collection delivers unsurpassed preventative measures against the effects of ageing to cater for clients who want to defend against prominent fine lines, wrinkles and sagging whilst plumping the skin and repairing cellular damage.”

HG: What do plant stem cells do for the skin that other ingredients can’t do?  

LW: “Plant stem cells are the ultimate anti-ageing ingredient that offer a multitude of benefits, from accelerating the reconstruction of damaged skin to combating and preventing ageing effects on the skin. With their self-renewal abilities in addition to rapid growth rates and their abundance of antioxidant compounds, they are quickly becoming one of the most sought-after ingredients in the skincare industry.

What sets plant stem cells apart from other ingredients is their unique ability to regenerate whilst also boasting specific epigenetic factors whose function is to maintain the self-renewal capacity of other cells – making them one of the most powerful anti-ageing ingredients in skincare.

Most skin care companies use one type of plant stem cell, Malus Domestica or the apple stem cell. Image Skincare uses 15 different plant stem cell sources. Through research we have discovered that different plant stem cells can target different skin conditions as well as offering different benefits; such as helping to plump the appearance of skin, help skin appear taut and firm, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots and help promote the look of even-toned skin. Laugh lines, crow’s feet, and large pores can also be reduced with a variety of stem cells and extracts.”

HG: The Max Crème retails for $AU199. Explain how the business justifies this cost with a focus on the product’s formulation and inclusion of plant stem cells.  

LW: “The MAX collection is our premium anti-ageing skincare line designed specifically for clients seeking a progressive approach to anti-ageing, that has been clinically formulated to jumpstart defense against fine lines, wrinkles and sagging. The MAX Crème contains a power-packed multi-peptide complex that boasts an abundance of plant stem cells to support lasting, visible results in the fight to reclaim youthful firmness and elasticity. The higher product cost is associated with utilising advanced technology and superior raw ingredient sourcing which in turn influences the market cost of the product.”

Augustinus Bader utilises TFC8®

TFC8® / Augustinus Bader

Hannah Gay: I understand that TFC8 is a patented formula. Why was it so vital to the brand that the ingredient received this status?

Professor Augustinus Bader, founder Augustinus Bader: “Everything we create is backed by scientific knowledge and years of biomedical research; it’s our company’s core. Acquiring a patent supports security for the investment and represents an independent recognition by examiners knowledgable in the art that it is considered an innovative invention.”

HG: Do all Augustinus Bader products contain TFC8?

AB: “TFC8, our proprietary technology, is at the heart of all our formulas. It’s based upon the physiological knowledge of the body’s intrinsic repair code that originated from preceding medical research. Because the technology works in a supportive manner with the body’s innate renewal system, it has the flexibility to address a wide range of skin and hair concerns.”

HG: What is the primary function of TFC8 in Augustinus Bader skincare products?

AB: “The technology TFC8 is like rebuilding a complex puzzle having the function of a navigation map for intrinsic cells in a repair need situation; it also serves as a toolbox to bring key naturally occurring ingredients together in such a configuration that your own cells can interpret how to repair the skin in a better way with less dependence of the current lifetime age. What makes the complex unique isn’t the fact that the vitamins, antioxidants, and lipid structures haven’t been used or heard of before – instead, it’s the result of both a transporting mechanism to the cellular microenvironment plus precise percentages, combinations, and structures that make it unheard of in the field.”

CALECIM utilises Red Deer Umbilical Cord Linings

Red Deer Umbilical Cord Linings / CALECIM

Hannah Gay: Explain how CALECIM came to discover such a unique ingredient and develop a line of skincare?

Founding director and CEO of the CellResearch Corporation Group of Companies, the Singapore-based bio-tech company behind CALECIM Professional, Gavin Tan: “CellResearch started life as a biotech company. When we discovered cord lining stem cells our first thought was to develop a therapeutic to help people suffering with disease. However, drug development is a famously long and expensive process, so we looked for ways of funding this venture leveraging the platform technology. We knew how powerful the technology was on wounds so we thought it might work to help treat the visible signs of ageing- turns out it works as a cosmetic incredibly well. The underlying technology is patented and incredibly powerful; it is called: Cord Lining Conditioned Media. It is a compound that contains over 3,000 proteins, including growth factors and cytokines, derived from ethically harvested red deer cord lining stem cells. It directs ‘Youth Messages’ to help skin restoration, increase skin turnover and stimulate the natural production of hyaluronic acid for a plumping and firming effect.”

HG: What makes the discovery of these cells so ground-breaking?

GT: “The discovery of cord lining stem cells is a huge step forward for stem cell therapy and stem cell derived products in general for a few reasons. Firstly, although stem cells have been heralded as a holy grail for treating disease for over 30 years, limited treatments have been approved by global regulators. This is largely because the other sources of stem cells have various limitations. Stem cells from the umbilical cord are incredibly numerous, high purity, young (and therefore dynamic) and importantly they are immune privileged which means we can transplant a cord lining stem cell from anyone in the world onto anyone else in the world without the fear that the transplant will be rejected. All these features have wide ranging implications for therapeutics and cosmetics.”

HG: How have you been able to financially back this ingredient?

GT: “When it comes to cosmetic applications the discovery of this source of stem cells provides a real competitive advantage to clinicians and consumers. Because we can get thousands of times more cells from an umbilical cord of red deer than we can from any other source, we are able to create products that contain unrivaled concentrations of stem cell exosomes (the extract of the stem cell) at an accessible price. If you wanted to make a cosmetic using stem cells from another source in the same concentrations, it would cost the consumer ten times as much.”

Caudalie utilises TET8™ Technology

TET8™ Technology / Caudalie

Hannah Gay: Caudalie has introduced TET8 technology into its Premier Cru range, which I understand to be a patented formula. What is TET8 and what makes it unique?

Caudalie Founder, Mathilde Thomas: “TET8 is Caudalie’s co-patented technology with Harvard Medical School, backed by over 10 years of cutting-edge research. It is composed of a green extract of Magnolia enriched in Honokiol, associated with Caudalie best vines molecules. It acts on youth proteins and delivers exceptional results in targeting 8 signs of aging: Deep wrinkles, Fine lines, Firmness, Volume, Elasticity, Age spots, Hydration, Radiance.”

HG: The line was recently re-released with mostly all ingredients of natural origin, and is in reusable packaging. Has taking on more sustainable practices added to the retail price of the products?

MT: “For this launch, we did not want to compromise between naturalness and effectiveness and are proud to say that the Premier Cru collection combines the best of Caudalie’s natural and cutting-edge anti-ageing expertise at no extra cost for consumers. We are also excited to launch for the first time a fully recyclable capsule that you can easily replace in your Premier Cru The Cream jar. It’s a system that’s more eco-friendly and sustainable and which will help us to reduce around 3.12T of multi-material packaging and 18T of glass each year.”

HG: Given Caudalie has a large spa presence outside of Australia, how will this range be incorporated into your current treatment offerings, and who is the target client?

MT: “The new Premier Cru range will be available in selected spas and Caudalie Boutique spas across the world. A new Premier Cru facial will be available and will include the new Premier Cru products with TET8 technology.”

Germaine de Cappucini utilises Glyco 8-Power biomolecules

Glyco 8-Power biomolecules / Germaine de Cappucini

Hannah Gay: How many SKUs in total does Germaine de Cappucini stock that contain Glyco 8-Power biomolecules?

Tess Walls, Director and National Trainer at ISPA Group: “Three – SRNS Repair Night Progress Serum, SRNS Repair Night Progress Serum Eyes, and SRNS Mask.”

HG: What makes Glyco-8 Power so unique?

TW: “[Glyco-8 Power is an] exclusive ingredient from Germaine de Capuccini. During the night it helps restore the skin its loss of daily energy and accelerate the regenerating and repairing processes of the DNA.

It is a delivery system that also speeds up cell regeneration; it multiplies the effects of the active ingredients in the product by eight times! This allows the results that we would normally see in 30 days to be visible within 7 days.

They are biomolecules that generate small vesicles that trap the active ingredient of the formula inside them. Their great affinity to the lipids of the skin make them penetrate easily, spreading the content that is trapped inside, increasing by eight times the capacity of absorption and multiplying the benefits of the serum on your skin.”

What are the short and long-term benefits of using this ingredient on the skin?


  • “Rebuilds the composition of the lipidic bi-layers 2 of the stratum corneum to instantly create a healthier skin by increasing the barrier function without creating any residue on the surface,
  • Releases the active ingredient deeper into the skin,
  • Stimulates skin renewal to get the result within 7 days.

Products contain a potent cocktail of active ingredients, [such as a Zinc-Glycine Complex, a High-Purity Collagen Activator, and Soluble Native Collagen] with more than 50 percent of each.”

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