Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Face Oil Comparison: Vintner's Daughter VS. Best Face Forward

One of the most requested posts lately have been a comparison between my old standby, Best Face Forward Serum Oil to the much-hyped Vintner's Daughter Oil (it was buzzing even before Gwyneth Paltrow Gooped about it). Beauty oils have become very popular and are sometimes represented as the cutting edge of beauty (somewhere in the afterlife Cleopatra is having a good laugh at some YouTubers and PR people). Some oils are simple blends or even based more-or-less on a single ingredient (argan, marula, jojoba), while others combine and balance several types of oil that are supposed to provide a wider range of skin benefits (calming, healing, nourishing, brightening). Both BFF and Vintner's Daughter belong to the latter group, therefore are perceived as treatments or serum oils.  Long time readers know that I've been a loyal customer and user of Best Face Forward since 2012 (meaning that I've been repurchasing bottle after bottle, mostly at retail price). It made me somewhat reluctant to shell ot $185 for 1oz of Vintner's Daughter (1oz of BFF retails for $40, and you can also buy a 2oz bottle for $70). But the ingredient list of Vintner's Oil was very impressive and promising, and while researching I've found this interview with the owner of the company by Youtuber Stephanie Nicole (you can also watch her video about the science behind face oils).

Let's start with some more facts- the oils that make up the blended product. For BFF I have the screen shot from the website, and for Vintner's Daughter a photo from the back of my box:


Vintner's Daughter
As you can see, there's a lot more going on in Vintner's Daughter, though we cannot know how much of each ingredient is actually present in either one. Best Face Forward's three main oils are argan, borage, and carrot seed oil (which is responsible to the product's light tint), while Vintner's Daughter is mostly based grape seed oil (duh), hazelnut oil, and bergamot peel oil. Perfume people reading this who are familiar with IFRA and the issue of citrus oils in perfume are kindly asked not to have a stroke (more on the issue below). There are several similar ingredients, which confirms to me that April Gargiulo of Vintner's Daughter has been doing her homework and is, indeed, committed to creating an excellent product (I already know and trust Annette Wells of BFF and wish I lived closer so I could experience her bodyworks).

Another fact that's obvious the second you open the bottle and let the first drop fall into your expecting palm is the scent. While Vintner's Daughter doesn't contain any synthetic fragrance it uses not just the aforementioned bergamot (that's the stuff scenting in your Earl Grey tea), but also rose absolute, jasmine grandiflorum, neroli (that's a form of orange blossom oil), frankincense oil, lavender, and several more citrus oils. Basically, it smells  just like a Mandy Aftel perfume* (and that's a massive compliment). In comparison, while BFF does contain some rose oil which you can definitely smell if you sniff closely, it is not perfumy in any way, shape, or form. BFF smells kind of herbal-crunchy-organic, but even my husband has stopped complaining about it for the most part.

BFF directions for use

Vintner's Daughter directions insert

Other than the scent aspect that makes Vintner's Daughter much more of a luxury product the two oils perform the same way for me. They do good on their promises and keep my skin in tiptop shape (I do, of course, use various acids, actives, vitamin C, snail secretions, and whatnot). The nature of the product makes me more likely to go slather BFF after a long sojourn into a NYC winter night or when the humidifier isn't cutting it. You just don't go full-on anointment with a $185 oil. Unless you're Cleopatra. Or Cersei (in Game of Thrones you anoint the new king or queen with seven oils). My skin receives and absorbs the two oils very similarly and feels the same both in the short and the long run. BFF leaves a faint orange residue that is not visible on my skin, but it's something to consider if you're Emma Stone. All in all, it depends on your skin and the oils that feel best to it. Or what causes you an allergic reaction.

Which brings us to skin irritants, the natural vs. synthetic debate, and the fact that IFRA restricts the amount of natural oils used in perfume, where to begin with you get mostly alcohol with a eent tiny amount of an actual "perfume". Oils are good. Oils are kind. Oils can restore the appearance of the skin and make it look and feel dramatically healthier. And like anything they can cause an allergic skin reaction. Natural oils and absolutes contain a larger number of different molecules, thus increasing the chances one would have a reaction to one of those molecules. Put all those natural essential oils together and the odds increase almost exponentially. Certain oils are known to be more irritating than others (that is, for those who ARE sensitive to them. Not to everyone). Those include but are not limited to most citrus oils, lavender, and cinnamon. Then there's someone like me who is not sensitive to any of the above or any of the stuff in any of the oils mentioned in this post, but is extremely (and that's putting it mildly) allergic to pure coconut oil and some (but not all) of its derivatives. And I'm talking a skin reaction that includes red painful welts all over my body and scalp. So go figure and be careful. Patch tests are recommended for a reason.

Bottom Line: While I've thoroughly enjoy using Vintner's Daughter (my bottle is nearly empty), I won't be repurchasing because of the price. I already bought a new BFF that you see in the top photo. For aromatherapy I have other stuff.

Best Face Forward Serum Oil ($40, 1oz) is available for purchase from Annette Wells. Vintner's Daughter ($185, 1oz) is available from a few online retailers as well as directly from the company. The links here are not affiliated or sponsored and I only include them for your convenience, as they don't always appear first in a Google search. I do not get a cut of the sale or any incentives (and I hate that I even need to say it again, but beauty blogging is what it is these days).

*Mandy Aftel actually makes face oil for her Aftelier brand. The current roster included a honeysuckle one, a rose, and a jasmine elixir.  They're $65 for 12oz (aftelier.com) and are based on rice bran, sweet almond, apricot kernel, camellia, grapeseed, squalene, and rose hip seed oils, plus Aftel's own perfume blend. They're nourishing, providing a sense of aromatherapy, and because of the small dropper and the way they blend, I keep them in my foundation drawer and add a drop to most liquid foundation I use. I've been doing it since the very first Face Elixir Mandy has launched and it's a fool proof trick for someone like me whose dryish skin tends to get dryer from wearing foundation. I still miss the Ylang one.


  1. I like RMS oil. I real like it a lot. Wish you try it. $78.00. I bought African Botanics for $250 and still like RMS better. I am waiting for Rodin face oil to ship. I am in a face oil craze. I stop buying The department store brands of Sisley, Clarins, La Mer etc. they all feel so synthetic. African Botanics smell so good, but RMS works so well. My skin soaks up RMS. I actually have combination skin still after years of acne.

  2. Since Bergamot is listed as the third ingredient that means it's at a fairly high concentration. It may be the bergaptene-free version, but that is not clarified. From the point of view of formulation I'm wondering why it would be included at such a high concentration. All citrus oils have a potential to be irritating and there's lemon oil in there as well. I actually prefer the combination of ingredients in the BFF oils and actually think it would be more beneficial and nourishing that the VD.

    1. I was wondering the same thing. My skin broke out in a rash just reading the ingredient list! LOL

    2. I think it *has* to be bergaptene-free or it would be highly photo-toxic. Not just allergenic, it might just give you permanent discolorations.

  3. You've mentioned BFF several times over the years and I've so wanted to try it--but I'm allergic to jojoba in all its forms, so no BFF for me. As you can imagine, avoiding jojoba severely limits me in terms of using natural (and some other) products. (Probably similar to the way that avoiding coconut limits you.) As for Vintner's Daughter, I've considered it because, as you said, it's being hyped all over the place (and it doesn't contain jojoba)--but the price is hard to swallow and all of those essential oils look potentially challenging to my sensitive skin. I do adore facial oils, tho, and have used one as my primary moisturizer, winter and summer, for the past 6 years. I've used many different ones, but stuck for years to a facial massage oil from Snowberry (I used it 2x daily as a moisturizing oil). More recently I switched to Kahina's Prickly Pear Oil for various reasons. Insanely expensive (tho slightly less than Vintner's Daughter)--but my skin is loving it. Many oils are not moisturizing enough for my skin, those with tons of essential oils are irritating, but that prickly pear oil is divine. Now I just need to win the lottery to keep buying it...unless you can convince Annette Wells to make a version of BFF without jojoba. :)

  4. The Vintner's Daughter sounds like too much of a good thing? Plus, that price tag! $185 is steep!

    I love the Best Face Forward Serum Oil and have used it since reading about it on your blog - I feel that, alternated with my Clarins Santal oil - both are precisely what I need to maintain moisture and smoothness in my skin.

  5. How does BF compare to Sunday Riley's Juno? The ingredients look similar and I need a replacement for their body version, which they discontinued....

  6. I've been using BFF for a year or so and alternating with other products/creams. It was time to order and she was out of stock! So bummed. But that's the beauty and the pleasure of small companies. I do like Rodin but I think the purity of BFF is reflected in my skin, especially in winter. I used to love Jurlique Rose Chamomile face soak - there was something magical about how warm water and a few drops of this delicious stuff in a bowl, applied with a washcloth, transformed and prepared the skin.

  7. It's been almost a month. Are you coming back?

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