A Beauty Founder Explains Why Antioxidants Are the Key to Your Healthiest Skin

Brighter days ahead.

By Langa Chinyoka

With every new season comes a new skincare trend. Whether it’s a self-proclaimed miracle product or buzzy ingredient, there always seems to be something we beauty lovers can’t get enough of. Sometimes, it’s an anti-aging secret like collagen body creams or tretinoin. Other times, it’s an ingredient that’s suddenly everywhere, like niacinamide or hyaluronic acid. Some are more salient than others, and some are definitely more effective. But as beauty trends come and go, one constant remains: a focus on nourishing our skin from the inside out.

Whatever your skincare routine looks like, your focus should be on taking care of it—not punishing it for a few blemishes (believe me, I’ve been there). Just like your body deserves nutrient-rich foods, your skin deserves nutrient-rich products. That’s what I learned from talking to April Gargiulo, founder of Vintner’s Daughter, about the secrets to glowy skin and the best antioxidant skincare products.

Feature image by Zachary Gray.

Meet the New Luxury Skincare Routine

From her time as a beauty founder, Gargiulo has become an expert on the benefits of nutrient-packed skincare. To Gargiulo, luxury skincare products are those that contain high-quality ingredients that feed your skin—no matter the price. Designing a luxury line-up of products amounts to choosing the right ingredients. I consider myself a skincare savant, but April schooled me on the facts and fiction of what makes good skincare. Two truths I immediately stepped away with:

1. The best ingredients make the best products

2. It’s not just about the names on the back of the bottle. It’s how they work together.

“Antioxidants are vitamins that help protect the skin,” Gargiulo told me. “They help brighten the skin, and they allow the skin to increase its own efficiencies—its own ability to balance, brighten, and firm. All the things healthy skin should be doing.”

I admire April’s mission to help everyone achieve their very best skin in the fewest steps possible. Her goal is to support the ultimate transformation: a renewed sense of confidence and trust in yourself and your beautiful skin. We explored that (and so much more) in our conversation.

Keep reading for April’s tips on crafting a skincare routine—plus her recommendations for the best antioxidant skincare products.

April Gargiulo

Founder Vintner’s Daughter April Gargiulo—a third-generation vintner—set out to bring those standards of exceptional quality and craftsmanship to the world of skincare.

Iskra Lawrence smiles while applying skincare products in her Austin, Texas bathroom.
Image by Michelle Nash

What is antioxidant skincare?

In short, antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals. Free radicals can be damaging compounds often caused by UV exposure and pollution and chemicals. An overload of free radicals in our systems causes oxidative stress. This means your body chemistry is imbalanced and can’t detoxify the effects of free radicals. Not ideal—but there is a solution. Antioxidants that help your body detox and heal.

In skincare, antioxidants fight signs of aging while replenishing the skin with nourishing elements that heal and keep you protected from further damage.

Some of the most common and effective antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin C One of the most recognizable antioxidants. And for good reason! This super ingredient boosts collagen, fades hyperpigmentation, and prevents sun damage.
  • Vitamin E Another rich vitamin known for its healing properties. Vitamin E also helps stabilize and boost other antioxidants when paired together. The more the merrier.
  • Vitamin A (Retinol) Retinol is well known for its ability to stimulate collagen, reverse signs of aging, and dramatically improve fine lines. It speeds up renewal and repair to improve texture and tone.
  • Niacinamide Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is a powerful antioxidant that does it all. Its anti-inflammatory properties improve texture and help stabilize other actives.
  • Coenzyme Q10 Why do all the good things in life have to be fleeting? Like collagen, Coenzyme Q10 is a nutrient that controls elasticity in your skin, but our reserves fade as we age. Applying it topically helps combat wrinkles and keeps skin cells healthy.
  • Polyphenols Found in things like fruits, vegetables, teas, and other botanicals, polyphenols are a natural defense against signs of aging and DNA damage.
  • Resveratrol One of the most popular polyphenols is resveratrol, known as the “longevity molecule” for its reparative effects.
Megan O'Neill cleanses skin in her bathroom
Image by Belathée

What are the benefits of antioxidant skincare products?

The best antioxidant skincare products counteract the negative effects of environmental stress. Reversing the effects of UV rays, chemicals, pollution, and more, antioxidants build your skin back up to withstand further damage. They strengthen your skin, promote longevity, stimulate collagen and other good molecules, and pack your skin full of nutrients. Overall, they help your skin repair itself. All this combines to correct signs of aging, even skin tone, and heal sun damage.

Which antioxidant is best for your skin?

Using a mix of different antioxidants lets them combine properties for maximum effect. Antioxidants work together synergistically, compounding benefits and counteracting negative effects. For example, many dermatologists recommend combining a retinol skincare routine with niacinamide and vitamin C to ease inflammation and help speed up cell turnover.

Gargiulo also believes in the benefits of synergy. The best antioxidant skincare products contain multiple antioxidants working together. Her own products are carefully formulated to bring out the best in every ingredient. “Your skin needs nutrients to be its most healthy and balanced, but certain nutrients need other nutrients to even be able to work. Those come to us already perfectly calibrated from nature,” she says. “There are all sorts of synergies like that in nature that allow your skin to put those nutrients to work even faster.”

Megan Roup's bathroom sink with various skincare products and a goop dry brush laying on the counter.
Image by Michelle Nash

What should we look for in antioxidant skincare products?

The best antioxidant skincare products employ multiple different antioxidants to form a holistic, nourishing cocktail. You can find antioxidant skincare products fit for every part of your routine—and every budget. Bonus points for naturally-derived compounds that harness whole ingredients for brighter, healthier skin.

As a beauty founder, Gargiulo opts for timeless ingredients, saying that “the ingredients we choose are ingredients that have been revered and honored since ancient times. These are ingredients that literally span across ancient cultures, across time, and have been part of the medicinal, nutritional landscape. They’re the things that healers, witches, and doctors have reached for to help fortify the body. They’re the most timeless, most time-honored skin botanicals in the world.”

To join in on the tradition, try stepping up your skincare game with some of the best antioxidant products out there.

Vintner's Daughter products_best antioxidant skincare products
Image by Belathée

Add antioxidants to every step of your skincare routine with these nourishing, free-radical fighting products

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Smoothing Enzyme Cleansing Balm & Makeup Remover

Start your routine off right with this super hydrating and smoothing cleansing balm. I’m an advocate of double cleansing, and this Glow Recipe balm proves that no step in your routine should be overlooked. It doesn’t just help remove makeup—it washes away pollutants and chemicals as the first line of defense against free radical damage. Plus, I love the addition of antioxidant-rich blueberry for bouncy, glowing skin.

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Smoothing Enzyme Cleansing Balm & Makeup Remover, $32

Youth To The People Superfood Cleanser

Youth To The People harnesses the magic of superfoods to feed your skin just like you’d want to feed your body. This pH-balanced cleanser is effective but not stripping, thanks to its antioxidant blend of naturally powerful ingredients.

Youth To The People Superfood Cleanser, $36

Dermalogica AGE Smart Antioxidant HydraMist

I’ll admit, I’ve been skeptical of face mists that just end up being… water. But this HydraMist is different. Its antioxidant-based formula provides protection while improving tone and texture. The high concentration of vitamin C stimulates collagen production to form an active, hydrating base for your skincare products.

Dermalogica AGE Smart Antioxidant HydraMist, $45

OSEA Sea Vitamin Boost

For a refreshing spritz that packs a punch, keep this OSEA facial mist handy. Whether you use it to prime your routine or to give yourself a dewy glow throughout the day, you’ll be loading your skin up with antioxidant-rich seaweed and pomegranate with this nourishing vitamin elixir.

OSEA Sea Vitamin Boost, $38

Renee Rouleau Elderberry Soothing Toner

When it comes to gentle but effective products, Renée Rouleau can do no wrong. This soothing toner delivers antioxidants deep into the skin while soothing inflammation and calming redness. Sweep this tonic across your skin for visible, long-lasting results.

Renee Rouleau Elderberry Soothing Toner, $38.50

Vintner’s Daughter Active Treatment Essence

Your search for the perfect blend of botanicals ends here. Because Vinter’s Daughter emphasizes ingredient synergy, antioxidants work in harmony with other whole ingredients for maximum hydration. April notes that “because we start with whole plants, we’re capturing not only those raw nutrients but also all the synergies that exist in nature.”

Vintner’s Daughter Active Treatment Essence, $225

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

Pair your essence with this serum for a complete dose of nutrients and antioxidants. This serum provides the moisture to match the essence’s hydration. According to April, “we’ve created these two products to be your complete routine.” So get the full circle of nutrients and indulge in the luxury of glowing skin.

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, $195

PCA SKIN C-Quench Antioxidant Serum

Stem cell extracts and vitamin E come together in this rich serum which uses antioxidants to gently fight signs of aging. The blend of botanicals and antioxidants protects you from UV rays and strengthens your skin to fight free radicals.

PCA SKIN C-Quench Antioxidant Serum, $120

Whistling Thorn Complexion Balancing Stem Cell Serum

Whistling Thorn products are anti-pollutant and antioxidant-rich—perfect for city dwellers who have to battle high levels of oxidative stress on a daily basis. This serum contains resveratrol to combat UV damage, ferulic acid to fight off free radicals, and apple stem cells to keep your skin protected from UV exposure.

Whistling Thorn Complexion Balancing Stem Cell Serum, $54

Three Ships Dew Drops Mushroom Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum

Made with Kakadu plum, which is 100x richer in vitamin C than oranges, this antioxidant powerhouse serum brightens while plumping and hydrating. Plus, the mushroom extracts add a healthy dose of richness. A few drops go a long way to transforming your skin.

Three Ships Dew Drops Mushroom Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum, $35

Klur Unseasonal Kind Lipid Replenishment Oil

Klur’s luxe oils are a must-have for reparative skincare. To build your skin health back up, this carefully curated antioxidant blend of squalene, Coq10, and vitamins C and E work in synergy to mimic your skin’s natural protection mechanisms. It then becomes easier for your skin to absorb and use its plant nutrient formula to repair and energize itself. This gradually strengthens your skin by preserving and replenishing its vitality.

Klur Unseasonal Kind Lipid Replenishment Oil, $90

Sunday Riley A High-Dose Retinoid Serum

This retinol serum offers a miracle-working treatment without the intimidating side effects of vitamin A. It pairs a retinol blend with the antioxidant CoQ10 to soothe retinol sensitivity while neutralizing free radicals and renewing the appearance of aging or UV exposure.

Sunday Riley A High-Dose Retinoid Serum, $85

Evolve Organic Beauty Bio-Retinol Gold Mask

Retinol doesn’t have to be scary—especially if you find the right products to introduce it into your routine. Rich in plant extracts and antioxidants, plus hydrating agents and vitamin E, this gorgeous gold-flecked mask is your new favorite skin renewal treatment.

Evolve Organic Beauty Bio-Retinol Gold Mask, $34

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30

This antioxidant-rich blend of sunscreen and serum is the cherry on top of a free radical-fighting routine. Its unique complex helps repair your skin’s DNA and UV protection mechanism, while vitamins E and B5 shield against environmental damage.

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30, $42