Is Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum Worth The Hype?

by Gio
Review Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum

It’s the question on everyone’s lips atm: is Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum worth $185?

I know, I know, worth is subjective. You may not hesitate to splurge 1K on a designer bag while your BFF thinks you’re crazy. That’s cool. Your money. Your call.

Same with skincare.

Kind of.

I’m all for splurging on luxury skincare products if you can afford them BUT only if they contain actives that really work and give you the most beautiful skin ever. Otherwise, you may pay $5 but you still got ripped off.

So, is Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum really the “facial oil to end all facial oils” (that’s how In The Gloss called it) or is it all hype?

Let’s see what’s inside:

What’s In Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum?


Grape seed oil is derived from the seeds of grape. It’s much thinner and less greasy than most oils, which is why it makes a great base for natural beauty products.

Grape seed oil is loaded with antioxidants. They’re called procyanidis and help neutralise the free radicals that cause wrinkles, dark spots and sagging. 

There’s also some research that shows that grape seed oil provides some protection against UVB rays (P.S. This doesn’t mean it’s a substitute for sunscreen!).


Hazelnut oil isn’t an oil you see often in skincare. That’s a shame because it’s loaded with oleic acid (it contains a whooping 85%!), a super moisturising substance.

Oleic acid makes even dry skin soft and smooth for hours. Plus, it helps other ingredients penetrate your skin, so they work better and faster, too.

P.S. Oleic acid may also cause breakouts. If you have oily skin, this may not be the best oil for you.

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You know what they say, “an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.” Wait, what?! That’s apple? Oh well, I’ll keep eating my fair share of avos cos they taste better. 🙂

Plus, avocados are awesome for the skin. Avocado oil is rich in fatty acids that moisturise skin and antioxidants like vitamin E that fight free radicals damage and protects skin from UV damage.

In a nutshell, it makes your skin soft and smooth and keeps wrinkles away.

Related: How Do Antioxidants Work?


Rosehip oil is my fave oil for skin. It’s derived from the hips of roses, i.e. the radish-like balls roses leave behind after they blossom.

Rosehip oil has a whooping 64-87% linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is a super moisturizing fatty acid. It works by strengthening your skin’s protective barrier, so that moisture stays into your skin and moisturises it.

Talking about linoleic acid, do you know that those who suffer from acne have less of it in their skin? Studies show that if you add it back in, you can make mini pimples disappear.

There’s more. Rosehip oil is a natural source of vitamin A, the only thing that can really reduce wrinkles. Vitamin A fights wrinkles on three fronts: it boosts collagen production, destroys free radicals and speeds up the skin’s natural exfoliating process. All things that make it look younger.

Related: Why Rosehip Oil Is My Go-To For Any Skincare Woe


If you’ve ready this far, you’re probably thinking that Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum is indeed worth the hype. Not so fast.

A few essential oils sneaked their way inside and they could cause some serious trouble to your skin. Usually, these citrus essential oils are just sprinkled in to make the product smell good.

But in Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, bergamot oil is the THIRD ingredient. The brand says that bergamot, together with the other citrus offender, lemon oil, can fade away dark spots. Science doesn’t agree. I couldn’t find any studies supporting this claim.

What we know, instead, is that citrus oils are irritating for the skin. Even if they don’t give you a rash, they can inflame the deeper layer of the skin, a process that eventually leads to wrinkles.

I know it sucks. I love the smell of anything citrus. And if there’s only a drop of lemon or bergamot essential oil, I’d still go ahead and use it. But this serum has way, way too much.

P.S. While we’re on the subject, lavender oil can be irritating, too. I know it’s not a citrus oil, but I had to mention it.

Related: 7 Natural Ingredients That Can Irritate Sensitive Skin


Thick and silky, takes a couple of minutes to sink in.


Floral with a hint of citrus.

How To Use It

It’s the last step of your skincare routine at night.

vintner's daughter active botanical serum review

Performance & Personal Opinion

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum has a light oily feel (duh!). It absorbs quickly into my slight dry skin, leaving just a sheen behind. I kinda dig it, but it may be too much for oilier skin types.

It does a great job at hydrating skin. It plumps it up, so fine lines look smaller, and makes it silky soft to the touch. It also strengthens your skin’s protective barrier, helping it withstand attacks from cold weather, pollutants, and anything else that tries to harm it.

I don’t have any dark spots, but even if it did, I doubt it’d lighten them. As I mentioned above, the science isn’t there. Plus, there are better ways to fade away dark spots.

This oil didn’t make me breakout, but then my skin isn’t acne-prone. If yours is, stay away – just in case.

Related: The Battle Of The Skin-Lighteners: Which Is The Best Alternative To Hydroquinone?

Who Is This For?

I honestly don’t recommend this. It’s best suitable for dry skin, but you can find plenty of less potentially irritating oils at a fraction of the cost.

Who Is This NOT For?

I don’t recommend it to anyone, but it’s ESPECIALLY NOT for:

  • Oily, acne-prone skin
  • Sensitive skin


A sleek black bottle with a dropper applicator. It’s beautiful, practical, and keeps the oil inside safe from the UV light that could spoil them faster.

Does Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum Live Up To Its Claims?

Our potent concentration delivers optimal ratios of healing phytonutrients, balancing minerals, free-radical fighting antioxidants, strengthening phytoceramides, nourishing fatty acids, and brightening vitamins to renew, repair, protect, and tone the skin. It does contain all these goodies. But some of the oils in here can also be irritating and cause breakouts.
Added to this infusion is a targeted group of cold-pressed botanical oils and essential oils of the highest-grade to further amplify the performance of Active Botanical Serum.This may be true, but amplify how?

Price & Availability

$185.00/£175.00 at Cult Beauty and The Detox Market

Do You Need It?

No. On paper, Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum has a lot going for it. It’s loaded with nourishing oils that moisturise your skin and keeps wrinkles away too.

But the high concentration of bergamot oil is a dealbreaker for me. It can give you an irritation and won’t even fade your dark spots. What the heck is it here for?!

Dupes & Alternatives


Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil; Corylus Avellana (Hazelnut) Oil; Citrus Aurantium var Bergamia(Bergamot) Peel Oil; Persea Americana (Avocado) Oil; Calendula officinalis (Marigold) Extract; Rose Damascena (Rose) Absolute; Daucus Carota (Carrot) Seed Oil; Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil; Rosa Rubignosa (Rosehip) Seed Oil; Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel; Lavandula x Intermedia (Lavender) Flower; Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Leaf; Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf; Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Leaf; Boswellia Carteri (Frankincense) Oil); Citrus Aurantium var Amara (Neroil) Flower Oil; Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract; Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit; Curcuma Longa (Tumeric) Root Oil; Cupressus Sempervirens (Cypress) Leaf Oil; Jasminum Grandiflorum (Jasmine) Flower; Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu) Oil.



Alexis A December 21, 2017 - 3:17 am

That’s a shame it has so much bergamot oil! I use a pure rosehip oil in my routine and find it’s the best for my oily skin. Sooo good 🙂

Gio December 23, 2017 - 7:08 pm

Alexis, I love rosehip oil too! It’s one of the few oils oily skin can use and the results are amazing!

katy December 21, 2017 - 4:43 am

Never mind the citrus oils. The other oils are NOT expensive. If this is so groundbreaking, why can’t you just buy your own oils and mix them? Only worth $185 if you want the Vintner’s Daughter to reach her retirement goals sooner!

Gio December 23, 2017 - 6:58 pm

Katy, I don’t usually comment about prices because what’s outrageously expensive for one person may be perfectly reasonable for another. I personally don’t mind splurging on something like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic because I know it does exactly what it says. In this case, I agree it’s a lot too much, though!

Susan December 21, 2017 - 10:09 am

I was going to comment that the main oils are not expensive… but Katy said It already

Gio December 23, 2017 - 6:59 pm

Susan, you definitely aren’t paying for the ingredients here!

Maja December 22, 2017 - 7:24 pm

I’m using my first (and probably last) bottle and I quite like it. Yet it is anything but a game changer. If you can afford it, try it. If you can’t afford it, don’t worry about it.

Gio December 23, 2017 - 6:54 pm

Maja, some of the oils in it are very moisturizing. If you don’t have sensitive skin, I can see why you’d like it. But I agree, it’s not as revolutionary as they say.

JD December 25, 2017 - 8:31 am

I’ve read or heard it recommended by different youtubers and a few magazines. But I’ve always wondered whether it’s worth the price (I ask the same question every time I see products over a certain price threshold). Thank you for your frank assessment. It’s extremely helpful.

Gio December 31, 2017 - 9:07 am

JD, I think after a certain threshold no product is worth the price as you’re paying for marketing and brand name. Still, if it has active ingredients proven to work, you like the texture/feel and your wallet can take the hit, it may be worth the indulgence. But the amount of citrus oil in this serum is problematic, especially when it’s not even proven to fight dark spots. *sighs*

yen January 18, 2018 - 4:23 am

Thank you for this! I’m new to your site and appreciate your info. You made mention of lavender also being a problem in skincare..
here’s the thing.. I like my products to smell nice with natural ingredients (no artificial fragrances).. what would you say are safe natural aroma additions to skincare that you’ve found to be A-okay for the skin? Thanks!

Gio January 27, 2018 - 10:41 am

Yen, I hear ya! When skincare smells good, it’s that much more pleasant to use. Sadly, there really isn’t really a thing as safe fragrance. Natural products use essential oils but these are some of the most problematic ingredients in skincare. So you either go fragrance-free or look for products that use very little fragrance. Zelens (I know, not natural), for example, barely adds a drop.

Gmama February 7, 2018 - 3:17 pm

Another big concern with citrus oils is phototoxicity. If you wear the oil during the day in any sun it breaks down and can actually cause skin damage and burns. In all fairness I bought samples of this oil and I’m trying it just at night. My skin feels really dang soft, but I don’t think I’ll pay full price for a big bottle.

Gio February 10, 2018 - 5:39 pm

GMama, that’s true, thanks for pointing that out. I wish they just removed the citrus oils. It’d make your skin just as soft but without side effects. 🙁

Lynette March 22, 2018 - 5:53 am

Thanks for your informative and honest review.

Gio March 23, 2018 - 12:24 pm

Lynette, my pleasure. Glad you enjoyed it.

Ramona Sommer May 12, 2018 - 3:15 pm

I have tried Vintner’s Daughter and was so disappointed. My skin felt dryer by the day, I had no added radiance nor did anything else improve about my skin. It actually made my acne prone skin worse. Having paid $180 + $30 postage + €65 custom fee, this was truly the biggest waste of money.

Gio May 19, 2018 - 6:41 am

Ramona, oh no! Sorry you had such a bad experience with it! 🙁

Irene July 14, 2018 - 4:31 pm

Thank you for this review! It is very informative, and after reading this, I decided to do some digging and emailed the CEO April Gargiulo herself to ask why she included such high levels of photosensitive essential oils in there. She emailed me back almost immediately and told me that they actually don’t list the ingredients based on volume, or how active the ingredients are in the formula, to prevent copycats. She assured me that the levels of bergamot were very low and were extracted through a process that actually eliminates photosensitizing effects!

Gio July 21, 2018 - 8:13 pm

Irene, thanks for letting us know. I find it weird the ingredients aren’t listed in order of volume as that’s the industry standard everyone follows. Also, the brand makes a huge fuss about citrus oil brightening the skin. If there’s so little it can’t brighten skin why make this claim?

Karen Yu March 13, 2019 - 5:15 am

Thank you so much for your honest review!
I will save my money. What do you think of May Lindstrom’s Youth Dew?
Thank you very much!

Gio March 16, 2019 - 12:07 pm

Karen, it’s very moisturising, but it has too many fragrant oils that can irritate skin.

Comments are closed.