La Prairie formally introduced its latest skincare innovation, Skin Caviar Nighttime Oil, in its native Switzerland, with the first post-pandemic Art Basel as the backdrop. An immersive, nocturnally hued installation, Sense of Blue by French visual artist Maotik, accommodated the launch, for a multi-sensory experience that underscored all that happens between dusk and dawn—in one’s skin and otherwise.
The night oil harnesses retinol and lipids from the La Prairie’s signature moisturizing ingredient, caviar, and also contains the brand’s proprietary cellular complex, featured in an oil for the first time. “We wanted to expand the benefits of our caviar skincare collection to [line smoothing], in addition to lifting and firming—which it’s always been synonymous for—we thought, well, this would fit with the retinol that is present in caviar,” says Dr. Jacqueline Hill, the scientist that leads La Prairie’s innovation lab.
Over three years of research and development focused on the careful extraction process, balancing the formula and designing the proper packaging to preserve the age-reversing potency of both ingredients. Retinol, in particular, is a difficult ingredient to keep stable. After numerous tests, it was discovered that oil—squalane, specifically—was the optimal vehicle for keeping its maximum efficacy. Squalane is lightweight, rich in antioxidants, and is non-comedogenic (meaning it doesn’t clog pores). And, with oil as the means, the product solidified itself as the final moisture-locking, skin-smoothing step in a nighttime regimen. (Face oils help trap moisture and other active ingredients inside the dermis.) Avocado and maracuja oils play supporting roles; both are antioxidant-rich, the former boosts collagen production and the latter is hyper moisturizing and gentle on dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin.
While it certainly doesn’t need to be paired with La Prairie products, the formula is designed with the entire Skin Caviar range in mind. You can mix a couple of drops in with your night cream, too, if applying two to three drops of oil to your entire face feels like one step too many. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, the retinol can help regulate sebum production over time while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, but the brand recommends mixing a couple of drops in with a lightweight moisturizer as opposed to one already rich in oils. (So, in La Prairie’s case, the lightweight Luxe Cream Sheer rather than the denser Luxe Cream or Luxe Sleep Mask.)
The Maotik installation at Art Basel resembles the expert product design of this nighttime oil: dark blue at its center, with shades of cobalt blue encircling it. That opaque core shields the precious retinol from light, while also distancing it from the surrounding temperature, as both light and heat would risk total compromise of the ingredient.
When using this product (or any retinol), isolated nighttime use is important. Even on your face, the ingredient can be rendered ineffective in the heat and sun, while also making your skin especially sensitive to the sun’s rays. Because it does increase the skin’s sensitivity to light (only slightly), it is imperative to wash the face in the morning and apply SPF 30+ throughout the day. If it’s your first time using a retinol product, you may notice some slight peeling or redness for the first few weeks. Regular use is necessary to maintain the targeted long-term results (smoothed lines, balanced and brighter complexion), as well as to prevent their onset or return. Results are most visible after the first 90 days of use, and can also be maintained with regular use. And, at least based on our experience, this rejuvenating salve will become your go-to nightcap.