This $660 Skin Cream Uses Black Diamonds to Soften Your Face

111Skin's new "Celestial Black Diamond Emulsion" aims to penetrate your skin to deliver moisture and protection against aging. But does it work?
Source: Barneys New York; ; Market Editor: Aja Mangum
  • Key Details: A lightweight moisturizer and recovery creme that uses diamond particles to penetrate the skin's surface and deliver collagen types I and III and hyaluronic acid to restore a youthful appearance.
  • Competitors: RéVive Moisturizing Renewal Cream ($195), By Terry Liftessence Rich Cream ($160).
  • Price: $660, for a 30 millimeter (1 ounce) bottle that will last a couple of months, if applied nightly.

British-based dermatologist Dr. Yannis Alexandrides started his line of restorative creams as a way to speed up recovery from the cosmetic procedures performed in his office. When clients started coming back to plead for more after their initial tubs ran out, he realized he should start a new part of his business.

Using a formula that he calls "NAC Y^2," which is a blend of amino acids and antioxidants, the products in the 111Skin line aim to protect the outer layer of the skin, strengthen epidermal cells, and encourage regeneration of those cells so that signs of aging are minimized. Also, according to the website, black diamonds are "believed to have formed in space." (No comment.)

I started using the emulsion a couple of months ago. A rep from the brand told me I would see "brightness, hydration, and, over time, a more youthful appearance." What I immediately noticed was a gentle burning sensation that would last all day. It was the kind of result that makes you think, "Huh, maybe science is happening!" And then you think: "Maybe I shouldn't put something on my face that feels like flames."

Six weeks' worth of use did not show a noticeable youthfulness, but my face did feel smoother to the touch. I'm 35 and have decent skin, but I know my trouble spots and this didn't do much to aid them. Also, I have used nighttime moisturizers for years, and definitely have experienced more potent effects from far cheaper products such as Clinique's Moisture Surge Overnight Mask. (Which, by the way, costs $34.) But the 111Skin emulsion was a more delicate matter—while the more inexpensive creams often leave me feeling too moisturized (i.e. oily-looking), the black diamond emulsion was just right. 

It you can afford to try the whole 111Skin array of products, you may find that it hits your sweet spot: not overly powerful but effectively moisturizing and age-defying. My experience was that using one product on its own wasn't worth the lofty price tag. (By comparison, one 1 oz. of gold costs only about twice as much.) Far cheaper options will do the trick. I find that a combination of Murad's Time Release Retinol Concentrate For Deep Wrinkles and a standard drugstore overnight moisture mask will do just as well—and save you several hundred dollars in the process.

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