Call me vain, but I’ll try pretty much anything on this earth in order to keep my skin looking like it did when I was 10 years old—the age before any trace of tweenage acne reared its ugly head, the age when I still had all the time in the world to play outside and let nature magically impart a natural, healthy glow to my jump-roping face. Fast-forward to now, and I’m battling any visible signs of aging with every product and wacky fad I come across. My bedroom is covered in eye creams and serums, and my calendar is filled with appointments for acupuncture or meditation that promises to reduce stress levels and, thus, fend off wrinkles.
When I say I’ll try anything to maintain a youthful appearance, I mean it. The tanning bed days of my former Midwest teenage self haunt my dreams, so I’m game to reverse any damage with whatever anyone throws at me. When my inbox began to get overloaded with pitches about diamonds and gold as the “miracle” cure for aging (#BeautyEditorProblems), I immediately resolved to try every single product I could get my hands on … all at once. These creams and gels and masks not only sounded luxe, but they claimed they had legitimate firming and brightening properties—and at their insane price points, they had to be good, right?
Nervous that some marketing department was having the last laugh at my expense, I did a little homework and discovered that gold has some promising qualities, as far as skin care goes. According to Peter Thomas Roth, who has his own gold line, adding the metal to your skin care routine can help improve radiance and lock in moisture. Products with 24-karat gold will be more expensive, but colloidal gold (a suspension of gold in water), less so. Colloidal gold can still help to lift and firm skin and increase elasticity.
Likewise, diamonds are also thought to pack a serious antiaging punch. Lionesse and 111SKIN, both extremely high-end skin care lines, have found success using highly concentrated formulas that incorporate black diamonds, golden sapphires, and other precious stones. According to 111SKIN founder Yannis Alexandrides, the nanoparticles in diamonds bond well with water and help your skin stay hydrated longer. Plus, their microspheres can be used to transport other ingredients, like collagen, hyaluronic acid, or vitamin C, deeper into the skin.
Armed with nine new products, I set out to slather my skin in pure antiaging luxury for two weeks straight. I used everything from Lionesse’s Diamond Rejuvenation Face Masks (a whopping $2,000 for a set of 28) to a less-pricey Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Face Mask ($80).
The first couple days, I was pleasantly surprised. I have sensitive skin by nature, but everything that I applied—the Peter Thomas Roth mask followed by Lionesse’s Golden Sapphire Serum ($700) topped off with that brand’s Night Cream ($800) mixed in with 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Eye Cream ($360) and finished with 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Eye and Lip Contour Gel ($140)—resulted in a visibly luminescent glow. Were the claims true? Could I really get my 10-year-old self back if I moved into a cardboard box on the street in order to buy skin care products?
But then day three rolled around, and I started to get little breakouts from the eye cream. This is typical for someone with sensitive skin, so I trudged on. When I hit day five—a solid amount of time in any testing arena—I pulled out the big gun: the $2,000-a-pop Lionesse mask. Sadly, the diamond-filled product was sorely disappointing: The silicone-like material slid off my face (and ripped!) so often that I had to lie down during the entire 20 minutes it was applied. My skin did glow (like a diamond, I must say) when I removed it, but it simply wasn’t worth the effort—especially not at that price tag.
The next day, I opted for gel-like products and eye masks, layers of serums, eye creams, and contour gel. The serum from Lionesse is a godsend. It’s an extremely lightweight consistency and is meant for any area that you feel needs more love, as it has that extra-absorbtion factor with the addition of golden sapphire. I clearly used both that and the 111SKIN Lip and Eye Contour Gel (also a thick gel used for areas prone to wrinkles or crow’s-feet) and just bathed my skin in thick luxury before I went to sleep.
At this point I was knee-deep in high-maintenance and high-priced products, so for my second week I started using NuFACE’s 22k Gold Trinity Facial Trainer ($349) and 24k Anti-Aging Infusion Gel Primer ($39) on my skin daily. The microcurrents in the facial trainer are said to improve facial toning, reduce wrinkles, and benefit your overall skin tone. Adding this (admittedly high-tech) machine into my routine instantly boosted things—I’d never felt like I had more taut and toned skin in my life.
I am now 15 days into my $4,583 skin care routine (if you want to be precise about it), and I’m showing no signs of stopping. Call me crazy, but if I have to trade in my own (currently nonexistent) engagement ring for a winning face cream, I’m in.
The $4,583 Breakdown
Lionesse is a “gem”-based skin care line, and its Golden Sapphire collection boasts the ability to feel lightweight on the skin but to add in moisture where needed—a dream in cold weather. Packed with (you know it) Golden Sapphire, vitamin C, and sodium hyaluronate (the salt of hyaluronic acid), it’s meant to be applied to the spots where you find you’re most, ugh, wrinkly. (Lionesse’s Golden Sapphire Serum, $700)
These diamond face-and-eye-rejuvenation masks from Lionesse are $2,000 for a box of 28 and help to reduce the appearance of any blemishes on your skin with their finely ground diamond powder. Whether for acne, fine lines, or scars, slathering ground up diamonds on your face is the way to go. Just remember, you have to lie down while putting this mask on, as the rubber consistency causes it to slide right off which is annoying. (Lionesse’s Diamond Rejuvenation Face Masks, $2000 for set of 28)
Featured in Lionesse’s Black Onyx collection is a lightweight night cream packed with collagen, vitamin A, vitamin C, and sodium hyaluronate to bring back your skin’s moisture levels and battle age lines. Because, ugh. (Lionesse Black Onyx Night Cream, $800)
111SKIN has a patented NAC Y2 formula, which essentially packs in everything you want to save your under-eye area. With ingredients like hyaluronic acid (of course) and arbutin, this product is lightweight yet oh-so moisturizing to help reduce any fine lines and regenerate the skin underneath. (111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Eye Cream, $360)
What is a contour gel, you ask? It’s a super-rich gel that is meant to be applied to the areas around the eyes and lips that are most prone to aging (crow’s-feet, anyone?). Packed with a special ingredient called Matrixyl 3000, which helps to increase the skin’s collagen levels, this gel attacks the most visible signs of aging—from all of those years of smiling too much, clearly. (111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Eye and Lip Contour Gel, $140)
I’m a sucker for a great eye mask, and the 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Eye Masks was hands down my favorite product from the entire bunch. Obviously the easiest to apply from the group, the slap-on-and-go mask was taken with me everywhere. It has a “Bio Cellulose” time-release technology that gives you instant lift to your under-eye. Bonus? It’s packed with retinol, hyaluronic acid, and wild rose hips to help hydrate and heal. (111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask, $115 for 8)
The brilliance of a machine that uses microcurrents, essentially stimulating the facial muscles to produce more collagen in your skin, cannot go unnoticed. Now NuFACE has created the 22K gold Trinity to take advantage of the antiaging benefits–and to make your bathroom counter look even more chic. (NuFACE 22k Gold Trinity Facial Trainer, $349)
NuFACE facial-training machines are always used with a gel primer that is applied to protect the skin. This 24k antiaging gel primer is brand-new for the holidays, but it’s a must-have if you are investing in the NuFACE. The gel is filled with algae extracts, gold (of course), licorice root extract, and more to diminish dark spots while the microcurrents do their work to firm up your skin. (NuFACE 24k Anti-Aging Infusion Gel Primer, $39)
The most inexpensive mask on the list due to its use of both 24k gold and colloidal gold, Peter Thomas Roth’s 24k Gold Face Mask was also a favorite. First of all, it has a golden gel consistency, so you literally look like an Academy Award while wearing it. But more importantly, it’s filled with caffeine to help tighten your skin, peridot to help reduce the effects of stress, and of course, gold for a youthful glow. (Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Face Mask, $80)