Ingredient Wise: The Charlotte Tilbury Magic cream ‘Treat and Transform Moisturizer’


If you are new to the the ingredient wise series, here is what it is in a nutshell: We take a look at a hyped up product and see if the claims they make are actually supported by the ingredients in them 🙂 Today we are going to review the ingredients found in the popular? infamous? (I dunno..most people either love it or hate it) Charlotte Tilbury Magic cream. This cream retails for 100USD at Nordstrom for 1.7 oz.

(Image Source: Nordstrom website)

The Claims (from the Nordstrom website)

Charlotte Tilbury’s secret is out. Her Magic Cream is a secret mix of patented anti-aging ingredients combined with a hyaluronic booster and floral extracts to lift and transform tired skin in an instant. A breakthrough, multi-tasking ingredient, the BioNymph Peptide Complex, fights the aging process on all fronts, stimulating collagen production and cell energy while fighting free radicals to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and smooth skin. Sodium hyaluronate floods skin with moisture while replumping and extracts of wild pansy promote the renewal of hyaluronic acid in the skin’s surface. Rose hip oil, camellia oil and vitamin E transform a grey complexion into a hydrated one while nourishing vitamin A helps improve skin firmness and smoothness and energetic vitamin C promotes collagen activity for more youthful skin.

The Ingredients ( from the Charlotte Tilbury website)

Water (Aqua), Homosalate , Glyceryl Stearate SE, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Octocrylene, Cetyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Steareth-21, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Carbomer, Dimethiconol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Chlorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Disodium Edta, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Michelia Alba Leaf Oil, Sodium Lactate, Coco-Glucoside, PEG-8, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Plumeria Rubra Flower Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Nicotiana Sylvestris Leaf Cell Culture, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, plus a little bit of top secret magic…

So do these claims work?

Okay where do I start.. I am definitely not the first and last person to say that the ingredient list does not in the slightest justify the 100$ price tag 😐

As I have mentioned in many posts before, the order of the of the list of ingredients is an indication of  its concentration in the product. The higher it appears in the list the higher the concentration of that ingredient in the product.

1. The anti ageing claims

The BioNymph Peptide Complex that they talk about is Palmitoyl Oligopeptide and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 which is commonly sold under the commercial name Matrixyl 3000. Matrixyl 3000 is a formula developed by the company Sederma and is used in many other anti ageing creams in the market as its not unique to this one product !  In fact you can buy Matrixyl 3000 on amazon and mix it in with your regular moisturizer. I will do another post sometime explaining the role of peptides in anti ageing 😉 So basically they have slapped a fancy sounding name on a commercially available complex and made it look like an exclusive ingredient.

Another thing to note; this complex is listed almost towards the end of the ingredient list so I am not sure if there is enough of this stuff for it to promote collagen production. (Heck there is more preservative (Phenoxyethanol) in this cream than this complex)

If you take a look at the ingredient list you will see  Cyclopentasiloxane and Dimethicone are present in high concentrations in this cream. These guys are great at filling in fine lines and wrinkles and temporarily smoothening the skin…and they are found in creams you can buy in the drugstore. So again, nothing magical here !

2. Sodium Hyaluronate

It is present in this cream, but buried somewhere in the bottom of the ingredient list. The moisturizing effect from this cream is most probably solely from the glycerin and glycerin stearate found at the top of the ingredient list. I am sure your aware that Glycerin is an inexpensive ingredient which you can find even in a 5$ face cream.

They also talk about extracts of wild pansy promoting the renewal of hyaluronic acid in the skin’s surface and unfortunately I could not find any research to back this up. Do let me know in the comments if you find any research paper talking about this. All I could find is that it has emollient and soothing properties .

3. Plant extracts, oils and vitamin C

Vitamin C figures almost at the bottom of the ingredient list so lets not even talk about it. (Plus this cream is in a jar and antioxidants in jar packaging and clear glass is a no no)

Some of these plant extracts are potential irritants for those with sensitive skin and as for the oils, I don’t see anything special..I have seen so many other cost effective creams which have similar oils and better ingredients.


Overall, I am not impressed! I might just stick to her makeup products. When I splurge on skincare the ingredients are very important to me. I don’t want to pay top dollar for a basic cream with sunscreen just because of the brand.

Do let me know your thoughts on this cream !

Until next time…ciao!!


9 thoughts on “Ingredient Wise: The Charlotte Tilbury Magic cream ‘Treat and Transform Moisturizer’

  1. I love this category of Ingredient Wise on your blog. I found myself looking for more posts like this for a lot of the much hyped skincare products out there. You should consider doing more like this 🙂

  2. An excellent analysis, lillynlilly! Re: glycerin, I remember having read a pro opinion a long time ago that under certain circumstances (such as hot weather, low humidity) glycerin is not the best moisturising ingredient (let alone in high- end cosmetics). Strange as it may seem, it can have an adverse effect to the skin: it can speed up water loss by attracting moisture from the deeper layers of the skin up to the surface layer. Not to mention the fact that it can provoke allergic reactions.
    Looking forward to further analyses! 🙂

    • Hello there! Thanks for the lovely compliment! I didn’t know that Glycerin can have a counter effect like that… I’ll definitely try dig up more info on that 🙂

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