A while ago, Beautylish kindly sent me this 15ml sample of Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream. I used it sparingly over the course of about a year and only recently finished the small pot. I had such a curiosity about this cream before I tried it and now that I have, I have mixed feelings. In short, I like it, but I probably wouldn't repurchase.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Homosalate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Octocrylene, Cetyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Steareth-21, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Carbomer, Dimethiconol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Chlorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Michelia Alba Leaf Oil, Sodium Lactate, Coco-Glucoside, PEG-8, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Plumeria Rubra Flower Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Nicotiana Sylvestris Leaf Cell Culture, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol.
First, let's talk the price. This stuff ain't cheap. On the Australian Charlotte Tilbury website (there are yet to be any physical stockists of the brand in this country), it retails for $125 for 50ml. Meaning that 15ml pot was $37.50 in value. The price is certainly a major deterrent to repurchasing. In that price bracket, we're talking luxury face creams. I don't think I've spent more than $50 on a face cream, so double to triple that is not something I've entertained. The ~$50 face creams I have tried (e.g. Trilogy Rosapene Night Cream, Clarins Multi-Active Night) have been perfectly adequate for me. I haven't had any particular curiosity about whether a vastly pricier product would also be vastly superior in performance.
The legend with Magic Cream, long before Charlotte Tilbury set up her own line of products, was that as a makeup artist, she mixed up her own face cream that she would slather onto her models' faces backstage before she made them up at the fashion shows. This mysterious, self-concocted cream was supposedly so revitalising and transformative on the models' tired, dull, in-need-of-TLC skin that it was dubbed the "magic cream". Of course when Charlotte Tilbury established her brand, it had to be one of the star products of her range.
The first thing I noticed about Magic Cream was that it was distinctly white (perhaps due to the presence of SPF). The second was that it was thick and a little hard in texture. The third was that upon contact with the skin, it melted and spread out easily, becoming quite greasy to the touch. The skin was left with a slight white cast once the product had been rubbed in, but in a way that was brightening to the complexion. It's not one of those creams that's immediately soothing and gives the skin the sensation of having a big drink of water. It's too emollient and heavy for that. Having said that, it doesn't leave your skin like a total greaseball. There is a certain refinement to the way it's absorbed into the skin even for a rich cream. Once absorbed, it reminds me a lot of Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser. It's not a scented product and the only smell it has is really of sunscreen.
Due to the presence of SPF, I've only used Magic Cream in the day. It sits well under makeup and despite its richness doesn't break up foundation or anything like that. On bare skin, it does give a bit of a plumping effect due to all the oils it's delivering to the skin. It's certainly not an oil-controlling cream, so I don't know how oily skin types would fare with this. On my normal to dry skin, it was on the heavy side and only something I'd reach for occasionally, when I felt my skin required it. It wouldn't be something I'd be inclined to use daily.
At $125, I much prefer Eve Lom Brightening Cream ($144 for 50ml) for everyday use, my jar of which I've tragically just used up. It's a lot more pleasant to use (the jammy rose scent is gorgeous), it's comforting on the skin, not greasy but still hydrating, great under makeup, and I actually feel like it improves my skin. Not things I can say unequivocally about Magic Cream.