Red, red wine has been mankind’s drink of choice since the creation of goblets. In fact, we as a people love it so much, we've figured out how to explain away our dependence on it by saying it's secretly good for us, making our hearts stronger and whatnot.
A large part of that excuse is resveratrol, a plant compound found in the skin of grapes. It's more present in the red grapes used to make red wine than in the white grapes, which is why people are obsessed with it. Studies suggest that it helps the heart by preventing blood clots and other things you always hear as symptoms in Lipitor commercials (lower cholesterol, etc.).
But notice how I said ���suggest'? It’s because there are so many factors that cast doubt: the fact that the studies were on mice (studies on humans found no benefits), the fact that you’d have to consume almost 60 glasses of wine to match what the mice took in, and the fact that long-term effects have yet to be documented.
Regarding skincare, though, there’s been even fewer studies. The only relevant one I found tested SkinCeutical’s Resveratrol BE and found it improved skin elasticity, firmness, and radiance. It’s the highest concentration of resveratrol on the market, the dermatologist who performed the study, Dr. Patricia Farris, told me.
“What the resveratrol does is boost internal antioxidant defense by increasing synthesis of antioxidant enzymes,” she said. “So it acts as an antioxidant itself and promotes synthesis of enzymatic antioxidants.”
The craze for resveratrol is fairly recent, so it makes sense that there isn’t much research out there yet. Studies cost money to perform, and it seems the only people paying for these ones are the skincare companies themselves. So like my relationship with religion, I go between faith and fact—the wanting to believe in this special ingredient and then being overwhelmed with doubt.
But, I figured, I never pass up a glass of red wine, so why pass up on it for my face? Here are a few of the grapey options I’d recommend if you’re going with faith. I noticed that across all brands, the night creams are a little stickier than usual, so don’t shove your face in your cat’s to kiss him goodnight—I learned the hard way.
DHC Resveratrol Series Set
I’m really into this ombré packaging, first of all, but the lotion (which is not a lotion at all, but a toner) goes first, which I splashed on like Kevin in Home Alone. But there’s no sting, and—even better—no scent. Then comes the essence (THIS is lotion) and the cream (oh hey, it’s cream!). I felt mega-moisturized, but I didn’t notice any visible results. Hoping that long-term use will benefit me later on, which is the point here, I think.
Vine Vera Resveratrol Pinot Noir Longevity Serum
Vine Vera easily has the wine-themed branding down—their logo’s V is a little wine glass, and they have collections called “Chianti” and “Moscato.” At the astonishing price of five hund-ohs, I expected some downright biblical results, but the lightly perfumed night cream went on smooth, and I woke up with the same, relatively unpockmarked face.
100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Scrub + Mask, Luminous Primer
I had never heard of 100% Pure, a brand name that really hits home in the literal department, but I saw lots of chatter on MakeupAlley and figured it deserves a try. I could use fewer sulfates, you know? The scrub has little jojoba beads that were a bit too harsh for my skin, but I adored the grape Bubblicious scent and the way it makes my skin feel like it has moisturizer on after I wash it off. The primer (not scented) has a great weight for daytime, though it didn’t set my makeup as well as my usual primer, Hourglass’s badass Veil Mineral Primer, does.
Caudalíe Vinexpert Firming Serum, Radiance Day Cream SPF 15, Eye & Lip Serum
Trust the French when it comes to red wine. Caudalíe’s Vinexpert (a resveratrol formula they love so much, they patented it) felt the most luxurious, hands down. After a few glasses of wine myself, I decoded the little heads with arrows and applied all three creams. (You pinch the serum on your forehead and smile lines, which is fun!) my skin was glowing as if lit up by an invisible iPhone screen. My gentleman asked, “What’s on your face?” because he’s so romantic.
Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil
Every Bite product has at least 5g of resveratrol, which is like smushing five glasses of wine on your lips—or what I’d call a quiet Wednesday night in. My favorite shade was a berry-hued pencil called Quince, which covers up any Malbec stains you’re trying to conceal. All of their lip products are fantastically long-wearing and have this pixie stick flavor that reminds me of rollerblading in a white crop top in my youth. And good news for my crop top, this resveratrol overload might just be preserving my youth.
Sunday Riley Bionic Anti-Aging Cream
After my sir got Lasik eye surgery done, we now refer to his eyes as “bionic eyes,” which are really just eyes that can see like a normal person and reveal only a lack of eyebrows no one noticed before. Anyway! What a great word. I’ve never met Sunday, but she seems nice via her face cream, which has a sweet purple-candy smell I don’t mind getting into bed with. I love that it’s one product where someone might sell you three. Like Caudalíe, it made my face shimmer and feel a little tight—good signs, unless you’ve been exposed to radioactive waves lately. Is it slowly preserving my youth? Only time will tell.
Photographed by Tom Newton.
For more on anti-aging, read up on copper's use in skincare.