There is a common misconception in skincare that face oils hydrate. And since just about every oil promises dewy, plump skin—we don’t blame you for believing that to be true. The reality, though, is that oils can’t mix with water. They’re hydrophobic—afraid of water, and therefore have nothing to do with hydration. What they can do is moisturize, or lubricate the skin with emollients, which in turn helps lock-in hydration. So face oils have never and can never hydrate, except when molecular chemistry gets involved.
Enter science-driven brand Noble Panacea’s new Absolute Nourishing Lift Oil, an innovative new formula that uses the brand’s patented tech to encapsulate hydrating hyaluronic acid within an oil. The oil then releases microscopic hyaluronic acid droplets into the skin barrier progressively throughout the course of the day or night. Absolute Nourishing Lift Oil is, simply put, a game-changer, flipping everything we know about skincare on its head.
“It’s truly innovative,” explains makeup artist Fulvia Farolfi, US Chanel Beauty ambassador and the vision behind the red carpet looks of Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain. “I love oils on set, but I was always very hesitant to use them myself as I understood they can not really hydrate. Noble Panacea’s whole concept—the fact that they were able to combine hyaluronic acid in the molecule of the oil—is extraordinary. It has been a staple in my routine.”
How Does it Work?
Skincare brand Noble Panacea is the brainchild of Sir Fraser Stoddart, a chemistry professor at Northwestern University who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016 for his work in molecular machines. The brand is powered by something called the Organic Super Molecular Vessel (OSMV), which houses and protects skincare actives to preserve their efficacy.
“The OSMV is like a tiny molecular house, a sculpture that is octagonal in shape. It has the active ingredient that is kept very, very small and it protects it from degradation and cross interaction,” Noble Panacea CEO Celine Talabaza tells Bazaar. “It creates a layer of protection. The beauty is this tiny vessel operates a bit like the Manhattan subway. You get off at a specific stop. It’s the same for the active ingredient.”
In the case of the new face oil, this means holding hyaluronic acid within the oil structure— allowing for the release of controlled microdoses of the hydration powerhouse—while the oil locks in previously applied products. Additional ingredients include plumping squalane, collagen-boosting retinol, hazelnut seed oil, and sea fennel extract, which works to replenish the lipid barrier.
“It is really truly groundbreaking because you can not find that system of encapsulation anywhere else in the market today,” says Talabaza. “It means that you now have an oil that not only protects your skin from evaporation of whatever product you used before— moisturizer, serum —but on top of this it will deliver hydration, drawing that water from the previous product and implanting it in your skin.”
I have to be honest, I have not been a huge fan of face oils in the past. I’ve found that almost every option I’ve tried has been too heavy on my combination skin, leaving me feeling almost greasy to touch, often with a fragrance that overpowers. I was curious to try Noble Panacea’s offering nonetheless: would it be too much? How would my skin react and would I feel hydrated?
The line’s products all arrive in a sculptural white cylinder. (“The white box is a shell made out of starch. It is ultimately biodegradable,” explains Talabaza). Each dose is individually wrapped in recyclable packages. The idea is to preserve the efficacy of the active ingredients and avoid oxidation. What’s cool is that you can send your packages back at the end of use and receive a new round in return.
I have to say, I love the individual packaging. It’s ideal for travel but also for ensuring exact doses. They also feel very hygienic.
I tested the oil over a few weeks by applying it after my nighttime moisturizer. Frankly, it felt amazing. Noble Panacea’s products don’t have any fragrance, and for me this was perfect. The feeling on my face was rich at first and light by morning. There’s a feeling of depth to the face oil, and a beautiful glow upon application. I’m a cynic when it comes to skincare efficacy, but I would use this product on texture alone. It feels indulgent and looks gorgeous, and I can already tell it will be a lifesaver when fall and winter arrive.
I have yet to test it with makeup, but touched base with celebrity makeup artist and brand ambassador Patrick Ta who describes it as the perfect prep product. “I love using oils as skin prep, especially this one, because of the hydration it provides, for any skin type, regardless of if you are oily or dry,” Ta explains. “If you have oily skin, add the Brilliant Glow Hydration Oil to the high points of your cheekbones to create a natural highlight from within. If you have dry skin, apply the Absolute Nourishing Lift Oil all over for maximum hydration before foundation application.”
Noble Panacea’s Absolute Nourishing Lift Oil is out now, and will be followed by a lighter Brilliant Glow Hydration Oil available next month.