what serum
looks like

How one freelance beauty editor’s apprehension turned into a full-on love affair with the serum your skin will drink up like fine wine.



It was like a scene from a horror film. Water beads dripped down my face. Steam covered the mirror. Then, the sudden clank of products on the floor. In that very moment, a bottle of Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum teetered back and forth on the counter in slow motion. Back. And. Forth. Until unforgiving time decided to push momentum forward, and I was left with wet hair, wrapped in a towel, overlooking a toppled bottle and fingers covered in spilled liquid gold.

I was nearly in tears.

This devastation may seem a bit dramatic to some—a hyperbolic attempt to sell a beauty product. But the loss was real, people. Since I started using Vintner’s Daughter, a recommendation made in both the celebrity and beauty realms (from Tracee Ellis Ross and Naomi Watts to veteran makeup artists like Pati Dubroff and Jamie Greenberg), my skin tantrums have been nonexistent. (Read: I have not had a zit since using this product!) That’s a bold claim, especially for a thirty-something woman prone to breakouts with the slightest hormonal imbalance (or a slice of Brie), but it’s true.

Like with most Hollywood trends, I was apprehensive of Vintner’s Daughter at first. Not because it was so illustrious or touted by A-listers and green beauty fans alike, but because there’s a misconception that face oil, with its heavier consistency, can clog pores and lead to breakouts. In reality, quality face oils help reinforce your skin’s moisture barrier while breaking down dirt. And Vintner’s Daughter? Well, the holy grail of face serums—formulated by actual vintner’s daughter April Gargiulo—nourishes, clears, and restores.

In full disclosure: This isn’t my first attempt at putting into words how effective this formula is. For my last piece, I spoke to Gargiulo, who shared that she created Vintner’s Daughter out of need. She was pregnant and wanted to use nontoxic, natural ingredients to combat her breakouts. She ended up crafting a skin serum with the same wine-making precision used in her family’s vineyard.

For me, it was like learning to drink wine on Two-Buck Chuck—with the fuzzy headaches that ensued in the aftermath—to moving to Tuscany and living my best life with DOCG-labeled (government-tested-and-assured-for-quality) wine. The latter provided no metaphorical hangover—just a clean, beautifully scented buzz.

If in doubt, start slow. At first, three to four drops of the golden elixir were all my combination skin could handle. Don’t worry, oily skinned sisters and brothers—each drop felt rich and soothing (but not too slippery) because of its dry texture. A few weeks later, my acne had vanished, my skin tone looked more even, and my foundation wore like perfectly luminous J.Lo skin. Now, I’m applying six to eight drops a night, warming the serum with my hands before pressing it into my skin. Needless to say, my skin is unapologetically addicted to the stuff. In fact, when I feel a blemish bulging, I actually apply a little more serum to the afflicted spot—and presto chango.

As a beauty writer, I’ve tried the full kaleidoscope of face oils and serums, from affordable options to the stupid-expensive formulas. I use the word “kaleidoscope” rather than, say, “range” or “spectrum” because skincare isn’t linear. Certain ingredients meld well together while others don’t. The industry’s mixed-bag approach to ingredients is incredibly subjective when it comes to results. Vintner’s Daughter—with all of its 22 active botanicals—is a beautiful blend of ingredients that work together like a freaking philharmonic orchestra. Perhaps it’s because each ingredient is harvested at the most optimal time. When the marigold can offer the most antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties. The lavender’s scent is surpassed only by its ability to penetrate pores.  When the frankincense oil can help regenerate skin cells and reduce acne. Your face is absorbing skin’s version of Mozart’s Piano Concertos—or Beyonce’s “Formation,” if you will. Take in the experience—and, please, for God’s sake, tighten the bottle.