How Vintner’s Daughter made me appreciate “slow skincare”

Taking full advantage of this “downtime” during the pandemic to appreciate “slow skincare” like Vintner’s Daughter. Photo: Sarah-Elizabeth

The very first person to introduce me to Vintner’s Daughter was my sister Julee, aka @missjulee. We’ve connected over our love of words, Black people, being mommas to beautiful Black boys and all things beauty. So when she shared a nighttime routine using the highly coveted brand, I just knew I had to give it a go.

But then, COVID-19 happened. And my already pared-down skincare regimen became simpler and simpler. I had to balance working from home and parenting an active toddler whose daily school schedule abruptly ended. When I wasn’t filming remote interviews, I could only manage to wash my face, tone, moisturize and apply sunscreen. On a very good day, I made sure to apply eye cream.

Having less time dedicated to a lengthier beauty routine made me even more conscious about what I was putting onto my body. Not only did the minutes start to add up, but the formulations counted, too.

As I started to welcome “slow skincare” into my lifestyle, I was contacted by Vintner’s Daughter founder April Gargiulo herself. We had a conversation where we bonded over holistic wellness, mindful parenting and having kitchen cabinets filled with plant-based herbs. I couldn’t help but laugh when April “prepared” me for the earthy aroma thanks to marshmallow, nettle and moringa, just to name a few ingredients.

I began my Vintner’s Daughter journey last September when the brand sent me their products to try. Six months later, I still find myself reaching for the brand whenever I open my medicine cabinet. Here’s why:

  • The Active Treatment Essence has pretty much replaced my go-to SK-II and combined my daily toner step as well. The powerful and potent plant-rich product brightens, exfoliates and hydrates my skin with just one-third of a dropper. As someone who has struggled with hyperpigmentation throughout adulthood and, especially after giving birth, I take complexion-brightening pretty seriously. And to see this essence slowly, but surely minimize dark spots along my cheeks and forehead area without stripping my skin and making it feel drier has been amazing.
  • In the past two years, my beauty stash has been overtaken by serums. I find them beneficial when trying to stave off dryness and enhance your “glow.” However, the Active Botanical Serum stands out on its own. For starters, it doesn’t possess the typical “watery” texture that most serums have. This formulation has a feel that’s more kin to an oil. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s loaded with botanical and essential oils, including avocado, grape seed, neroli, sea buckthorn, turmeric and rose. But the scent… the scent is what really drew me in. All of that goodness poured into the dark glass bottle creates the most divine floral aroma that isn’t too heady. I allow myself to lavish in those moments of deep exhalation after warming up the serum in the palms of my hand. Once I press it into my skin, it leaves behind a beautiful, healthy glow.
  • The greatest result I’ve noticed since using these two products is that my skin texture is much, much smoother. No, seriously. While I strongly believe that there is no such thing as “perfect” skin, and that real skin has some texture, I have to stop myself from touching my face so much because it’s less bumpy and rough.

Keep reading below to learn why Vintner’s Daughter founder April Gargiulo defied social norms to “rush” and instead focused on crafting an intentional, sustainable beauty brand.

How did your family’s wine business awaken your very own entrepreneurial spirit?

The biggest influence coming from a winemaking background has provided to my business is the steadfastness it has given me around staying true to our mission to create the highest quality, most performance-driven and safe skincare. We want to create products that bring about profound health, balance and confidence to the skin.

Like winemaking, we rely on both age-old and new technologies to accomplish our singular level of connection with the skin. Also, like winemaking we are patient in our approach and understand that in order to make the very best, you must start with the very best raw materials and honor them through meticulous formulation processes. In a skincare world where fast and cheap alternatives are abundant, this foundation in quality and process has allowed Vintner’s Daughter to service the skin in such a transformational way.

Much like winemaking, the process for formulating Vintner’s Daughter products takes time. How does slow craftsmanship attribute to your brand’s uniqueness? 

More than anything, it is a shared ethos around doing whatever it takes to make the very best of something. There is a respect for the land and the time it takes to make something great.

When I first brought our three-week-long formula to labs, I was turned away time and time again. They were not used to making anything that took over one day and I was asking for 21 days. They encouraged me to take short cuts and use cheap synthetic alternatives. My background in winemaking allowed me to hold true to those time-honored values of craftsmanship and never cutting corners to save time or money.

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum and Active Treatment Essence. Photo: Beauty for Breakfast

The line — which includes just two products: the Active Treatment Essence and Active Botanical Serum — is quite plant rich. Why was this important to you? 

The way I often describe Vintner’s Daughter is to use an example of a beautifully prepared plate of food made from whole plant ingredients and compare that to a meal replacement bar made in minutes with all synthetic ingredients. We know that the plate of food is going to provide what your body needs to thrive, be its strongest, healthiest and most resilient. The meal replacement bar is going to merely sustain you. Vintner’s Daughter delivers whole plant nutrients to your skin much like that beautifully prepared plate of food does all in the most optimal, skin-beautifying ratios. There is no comparison in terms of what this does for the skin. 

I remember our first conversation, where you noted how the fermented ingredients attribute to its unique aroma. Why do you believe fermentation is best for skincare?

Fermentation is a process rooted in transformation, and has long been foundational to skincare in many parts of the world. That is why it is part of our Active Treatment Essence in our 14 day Phyto Ferment. It amplifies absorption, delivers strengthening probiotics and elevates the nutritional impact of our 70+ nutrients in every drop. I could go on for days about our Phyto Ferment and how good it is for the skin. It also gives the formula a tangy, kombucha-like scent which I love. 

I am a HUGE fan and believer in essence. But YOUR Active Treatment Essence is unlike any other I’ve tried so far. Can you elaborate on how its “multi-correctional formula” not only makes it ideal for all skin types but how it eliminates/combines a few other steps in most skincare routines?

There is nothing like our Active Treatment Essence. It is next-level skin food and combines the very best plant actives into one simple step. At the heart of its formula is our proprietary Phyto Radiance Infusion. We begin with 13 of the world’s most nutrient-rich botanicals and spend three weeks extracting their full-spectrum of water-soluble nutrition. This is coupled with our Phyto Ferment, an additional two-week-long fermentation component to amplify absorption and efficacy. Added to the 70+ nutrients in the Active Treatment Essence’s Phyto Radiance Infusion are next-generation plant actives including two different sizes of hyaluronic acid, stabilized natural vitamin C, three plant stem cell complexes, probiotics, marine algae, and gentle micro-exfoliators. Each of these plant actives is added in the most beneficial ratios to help create skin that is deeply hydrated, more plump, firmer, even toned and illuminated. 

I really appreciate how the application method for Vintner’s Daughter products really encouraged me to slow down, be gentler with my skin and really live in the moment. Was this intentional from the inception and why?

I am so happy to hear this. Our Push/Press Method of application was developed to ensure proper application and to help amplify the microcirculatory benefits of our formulas. That it also helps to create a moment of reflection is a true bonus. 

As a brand, you take a sustainable approach; what does that look like now, and where do you see it going in the future? 

We exist to not only impact your skin in the most beneficial ways, but to have a positive impact on the world. Social and environmental responsibility are infused into every aspect of our business, from sourcing and packaging to distribution, voluntary certifications and donating two percent of revenue to charities benefiting women, children and the environment. This way of operating requires more time and resources, but we believe it is the best way to do business. 

What would you like to say to skincare enthusiasts who are curious about Vintner’s Daughter but may be hesitant because of the cost?

I talk about our fewer, but better philosophy a lot. Two expensive products that are truly worth every cent because of the results they deliver and the quality they adhere to are better for your skin (and the world) than a drawer full of less expensive, ineffective products filled with cheap synthetics and toxins. We all need to wean ourselves off the idea that more is better. 

Do you have any plans to expand the line? Or can give me a sneak peek into what may be next for Vintner’s Daughter?

For a product to wear a Vintner’s Daughter label, it must be game-changing, category-defining and deliver transformational, multi-beneficial results. These are very high standards that take years to achieve. Of course, creating product after product increases your sales, but we are not driven by revenue; we are driven by integrity and skin health. We know that with fewer, but far better quality products, we can affect the skin in far deeper ways; ways that bring about lasting health, balance and vitality to the skin. When you apply Active Treatment Essence followed by Active Botanical Serum, your skin receives all the hydration, moisture, nutrition and plant actives it needs to be its most beautiful self.

#HeyBeauties: Have you tried Vintner’s Daughter? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

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