Ask B.J. Nichols, Retrouvé Director of Training, what he'd bring to a deserted island, and the brand's Intensive Facial Replenishing Moisturizer ($445; bergdorfgoodman.com) would top the list.
One pump will keep your skin's moisture levels in check, repair the sun damage your bound to get while stranded, and likely serve as better company than a Wilson volley ball, though coming in at $445, the price might just rival that of a plane ticket out of there, provided you can get cell reception, of course. Additional items within the line range anywhere from $75 to $400, so we just had to ask Nichols—what goes into the high sticker prices? An innovative exterior and high-quality ingredients in their purest forms would be the short answer, and the formula certainly feels luxurious. The texture borders more on a serum than a traditional moisturizer, and has a scent slightly reminiscent of a tall glass of kombucha. Our skin practically drinks it in on contact.
The brainchild of Kiehl's heiress Jami Morse Heidegger, Retrouvé initially began after Heidegger sold Kiehl's to L'Oreal in 2000. Initially, she was working with chemists to create the products for herself, but eventually ended up launching the range in 2014. "The Intensive Moisturizer was 15 years of evolution before it became what it is today. Jami never intended to sell the products," Nichols tells us. "Back when she was at Kiehl's, she would ask the chemists to make her stronger versions of the products because she could, and with this line, she wanted to create the most exclusive, effective ingredients that were proven by science."
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For the moisturizer in particular, elements like white tea and apple stem cells do more than just act as pretty additions to the ingredient list—Heidegger and her chemists formulated them with a base of squalane and pharmeceutical-grade cholesterol ester, both of which are highly compatible with the sebum your skin naturally creates. "Each ingredient is chosen to work synergistically with your skin, and drive the active ingredients to the dermis, or the deeper layers of your skin," Nichols explains. "All of the anti-aging ingredients are also used at their clinically-effective levels. If an ingredient is tested to work at a certain percentage, that's the amount you have to have in the formula in order for it to produce results on skin. Some companies don't include quite that amount, but still make that claim, so knowing that, Jami wanted to use the clinically-effective levels with the high concentrations of moisturizers and antioxidants."
Because the product is so potent, Nichols claims it's the only one you really need to address every single one of your anti-aging concerns. If you consider all of the single-issue products currently taking up space in our medicine cabinet, the $450 price tag somehow seems a little less steep.
Still, the potent ingredients mean nothing if the exterior of the bottle does nothing to protect them, which, of course, Heidegger thought through. Each of the products are housed in a thick glass bottle, which is painted black to prevent light from altering the formula. In the labs, all of the ingredients are mixed in a vaccuum so that air doesn't come in contact with the moisturizer, then immediately poured into the airtight containers, which are also equipped with airless pumps. "Air doesn't get introduced to the product, so you can dispense it onto the skin without altering the potency," Nichols adds.