11.26.2014
22
41
Creme De La Mer
Rating
1 fl. oz. for $155
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime)
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Crème De La Mer is the original product created by aerospace physicist Max Huber, as described in the brand summary for La Mer. As enticing as this dramatic story sounds, the reality is that this very basic cream doesn’t contain anything particularly extraordinary or unique, unless you want to believe that seaweed extract (sort of like seaweed tea) can in some way heal burns and scars, but there is no research to support that claim. Even if it could, burns and scars don’t have much to do with wrinkling, and this product is now being sold as a wrinkle cream.

According to Susan Brawley, professor of plant biology at the University of Maine, “Seaweed extract isn’t a rare, exotic, or expensive ingredient. Seaweed extract is readily available and [is] used in everything from cosmetics to food products and medical applications.” So why then is this product so expensive?

The price really is shocking considering that Crème de la Mer contains mostly seaweed extract, mineral oil, Vaseline, glycerin, wax-like thickening agents, lime extract, plant oils, plant seeds, minerals, vitamins, more thickeners, and preservatives. This rather standard moisturizer also contains some good antioxidants, but the jar packaging won’t keep them stable during use. This also contains a skin-stressing amount of eucalyptus oil, as well as Kathon CG, a preservative that is recommended for use only in rinse-off products. Consumers who have a “steadfast devotion” to this product are not only wasting their money but also hurting their skin.

A good moisturizer doesn’t need to cost a fortune or come in fancy packaging with legions of hype to really work. You’ll find affordable, research-backed options on our Best Moisturizers list on Beautypedia.

Claims

The original miracle, borne from Dr. Huber's quest to heal his own skin's scarred appearance. This ultrarich cream transforms skin on contact and soothes sensitivities. It helps heal even the driest complexions and dramatically renews skin's appearance. Skin in any state will benefit from this nourishing treatment, but it is especially suited to very dry complexions. To this day, each opal jar is filled by hand to maintain its delicate balance.

Ingredients

Seaweed (Algae) Extract, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Extract, Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Magnesium Sulfate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal, Sodium Gluconate, Potassium Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Paraffin, Tocopheryl Succinate, Niacin, Beta-Carotene, Decyl Oleate, Aluminum Distearate, Octyldodecanol, Citric Acid, Cyanocobalamin, Magnesium Stearate, Panthenol, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Alcohol Denat., Fragrance

Brand Overview

La Mer At-A-Glance

Strengths:  Effective cleansers; a supremely good powder; the makeup brushes.

Weaknesses: Outlandish claims; ultra-pricey; several products contain irritants, including eucalyptus oil and lime; no AHA or BHA products; jar packaging weakens some of the anti-aging ingredients; the skincare tends to do more harm than good.

The original Creme De La Mer was launched by Estee Lauder as a miracle product for wrinkles based on research from Max Huber, an aerospace physicist. How does space technology relate to wrinkles? Well, it doesn't, although it may lend an air of expertise (if you can do rocket science, the assumption is you can do anything). Huber at one time suffered severe chemical burns in an accident. Then, according to the Max Huber Laboratories, after 12 years and 6,000 experiments, he came up with a special cream. The company refers to its key element as "miracle broth," and it's said to take months to concoct and ferment. In this case, the process that goes into making La Mer products gets as much talk as the product itself. So be prepared for formulary information that sounds a lot like alchemy.

Huber's experiments took place over 30 years ago. Given that none of his self-experimentation was ever documented or published, there is no way to know what Huber was using before, what was unique about this formula, or what went wrong with the 5,999 or so other experiments that preceded the final discovery. It turns out that the original Creme De La Mer was, and still is, almost exclusively algae, mineral oil, Vaseline, thickening agents, and lime extract. Not very exciting stuff, but most of it will make dry skin look and feel better, although the jar packaging doesn't provide much hope for the algae. The notion that anything in this product can be a miracle for burns—or any aspect of skin care—is strictly folklore and has nothing to do with rocket science or even cosmetic chemistry for that matter.

Given the cult status the original Creme De La Mer enjoys, it's hardly surprising that Lauder has spun an entire skin-care line out of a product that was initially sold as the be-all and end-all antiwrinkle solution (in jar packaging, no less, which would have the effect of rendering the algae—the cornerstone of the product—unstable). In the world of skin care, if one product sells well, then other related products that carry the same name will experience increased sales, too. With today's expanded range of La Mer products, Estee Lauder has added a slew of hocus-pocus ingredients to the continuing list of concoctions that were never in Huber's original formula. So much for the credibility of that mythic story, because it obviously wasn’t good enough to be repeated.

These supplementary products contain malachite, a range of other minerals, diamond powder, something called "declustered" water, and another semiprecious stone, tourmaline (which is now being downplayed in favor of the semiprecious stone du jour, malachite). It's almost too outlandish to even begin explaining, but the declustered water deserves some elucidation. Before reading on, keep in mind that if these products were the ultimate for the Estee Lauder company, why are they still selling all those other anti-aging products in the dozen or so other lines they own and retail just around the cosmetics counter next door?

Supposedly, the La Mer products are worth the money because most of them contain declustered water. Declustered water is water manufactured to have smaller ions, which supposedly makes the water penetrate the skin better. There is no proof that this synthetic water does what the company claims, but even if the water could penetrate better, is that better for skin? There is definitely research indicating that too much water in the skin can make it plump, but that could also prevent cell turnover and renewal, and inhibit the skin's immune response. Either way, skin likes taking on water—it plumps to a thousand times its normal size just from taking a bath—and it doesn't need special water to help the process along, nor would that be good for skin in the long run. Moreover, if the declustered water were indeed capable of carrying La Mer's miracle broth further into skin, that would only make matters worse because some of the components in this broth are documented irritants.

Other gimmicky ingredients La Mer products contain are fish cartilage, algae (explained in the Creme De La Mer review), and the rarefied blue algae, which La Mer claims can "biologically lift" skin due to its nutrient-dense nature. While all of these may have some water-binding properties, the fiction that any of them could have an impact on wrinkles is not substantiated in any published scientific study.

For more information about La Mer, owned by Estee Lauder, call (866) 850-9400 or visit www.cremedelamer.com.

La Mer Makeup

Sold as Skincolor, La Mer's small but tidy makeup collection carries over the major miracle claims that their flawed skin-care products espouse. If you stop by the counter to explore these products, you'll hear all about their powers to "transform the complexion" with a special blue algae ferment and optical-diffusing gemstones (a concept Aveda and Estee Lauder also play up, but not to the extent La Mer does). We wouldn't count on algae or gemstones for any amount of transformation, especially given the small amounts of each included in the cosmetic products below. What you will find are two foundations with excellent sunscreen and a few more skin-care perks than are typically seen in liquid makeup. Does that make them worth the money? Not from my perspective, because you can find similar products that perform just as well. However, if you're already sold on La Mer, most of the items below won't disappoint and the shade selection is mostly impressive. Still, for the money, your face won't look any better than if you had applied makeup that's available at a fraction of this cost.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
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06.16.2015
It works!

I've used this cream for 8 years. During this 8 years, I ventured out to other expensive creams, such as Sisley, Chanel, Lancome to name a few, which are also suppose to give me the "placebo effect" according to Paula. None of them worked as well and I always had to go back to La Mer. I think Paula needs to a understand "Placebo effect" cannot last for years and years. When customers tell you they have used sth. for 8 or 10 years and are seeing results,it indicates that product actually works.

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Reviewed by
Vivian Z.
06.17.2015
Beautypedia Team Response

Hello there!  Thanks for your feedback -- we're happy you've found a product that you love!  Also, the Paula’s Choice Research Team no longer reviews products for Beautypedia, and while The Beautypedia Team is still a part of Paula’s Choice Skincare, what’s new—and you may not yet have known—is that now we have two teams working independently to bring you the best quality reviews, products, and  research-supported expert advice you know and love. One team is dedicated to Beautypedia and product reviews from other brands; the other is dedicated to Paula’s Choice skincare and its unique combination of expertly formulated products and advice on a wide range of beauty-related topics.

—Admin
06.09.2015
Andrea

I love Cream de La Mer. But I am always looking for a less expensive product. If anyone can recommend one I will try it!

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Anonymous
06.06.2015
Love

I'm 54uzing for 18 years and results are perfect skin no surgery needed ??popole who don't like never use for long o don't know haw the best

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Reviewed by
Margot t
05.27.2015
Biologique P50 & La Mer = Perfection

Well, I wanted to find another creme instead of the original La Mer but my skin just doesn't look the same without it. I had a terrible "acid" burn (used too much Ammonium Lactate on top of my P50, which really is "crack for your skin") and thankfully found a bit of La Mer I hadn't used up. My face was beet red all day and burned very badly but after applying La Mer it looks and feel perfect again. Wish I wouldn't use a jar a month but worth it. in conjunction with P50 it's like a mini Botox.

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Reviewed by
J.
05.07.2015
shocked that I'm a fan

I'm completely on board with Paula and her philosophy, and use her products. She's saved me a ton of money. However, this cream is very good. It's good because it moisturizes so well and yet is not greasy. If you press it into your skin like they instruct it completely has changed the way my skin looks. Hydrated, plump, just very well moisturized BUT not greasy. They price is nuts, I know, but to find this in another product is tough. Most highly moisturizing creams are very greasy.

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Reviewed by
Julie
04.23.2015
Soothing Not Irritating

Creme De La Mer is the only cream I have consistently used for many, many years. I'm 36 & my skin is plump &wrinkle free. I always get carded. I have very sensitive, combo skin. It moisturizes and also soothes my skin fr using tretinoin. I experimented w/tons of luxury brands to drugstore brands only to deal w/burning, zits& regret fr trying most. I don't like other Estée Lauder made "la mer" stuff. Also use Olay serums, D.Gross serums, PTR turbo toner & serum. Will try PC-hope I can add it!!!!

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Reviewed by
Mel R
04.21.2015
Perhaps try the product you're reviewing?

Yes, it's expensive. I'm 50 and have used it off and on for many years. If I could afford to, I'd use it daily forever. I get that the ingredients may "seem" to be pedestrian (seaweed extract) but whatever they are doing to the final product gives my luminous, plumped skin like nothing else. It's especially forgiving to post- Retin A skin and helps the red skin heal faster. As will all products, I will continue to do my own research. I suspect companies are paying for favorable reviews here.

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Reviewed by
Lisa
04.21.2015
Beautypedia Team Response

No companies are paying for favorable reviews. We can appreciate your results from this product, as it contains some great ingredients for dry skin. But that doesn't change the problems jar packaging presents, it doesn't change the irritating ingredients and the risk they have for your skin, and also doesn't change the placebo effect many consumers experience with hyper-expensive products. We convince ourselves the pricey products work because we don't want to admit we fell for the claims and allure. Just as we don't need to smoke a cigarette to know its harmful to the body, we don't need to apply this moisturizer to know it could irritate skin. The published research is there to show us the way!

—Admin
04.11.2015
Love this product

I live in a desert and this product is great

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Anonymous
03.17.2015
Creme De La-MAZING!

I can't explain it. It's still the best. LOVE IT!

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Reviewed by
Dustin L.
03.06.2015
Consistently amazing.

I hate that this creme works so well, but it does...*sigh*. I want to say that it doesn't work, and it's just overpriced hype, but the few times that I've stopped using it, I've noticed a stark difference in my skin. I love the original creme as well as the moisturizing lotion, and while I've educated myself and found (and use) some AMAZING new products via this website, I have to keep at least one of these incorporated into my routine. Nothing works like them.

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Reviewed by
Mick
03.05.2015
Sorry I Ever Stopped Using This!

I used La Mer under/around my eyes & on my neck for 15+ years until I ran out about 1.5 years ago & decided to try less $ cream due to reviews like this! BAD decision!! I take excellent care of my skin, avoid the sun like the plague, & never had the slightest under eye wrinkles, crows feet, or crepe-ish skin on my neck until now & I just turned 49! I'm stunned that these areas have literally fallen apart in such short time. I know we age, but this is just ridiculous. Going back to La Mer now.

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Reviewed by
At P
02.17.2015
you are aging very well

50 years old I went to the emergency room of a very good Hospital in L.A. for a belly problem and the doctor when saw me he was thinking I was a student from UCLA pregnant! I told the doctor "please look at my age!". So the M.D. stunned told me: " you are aging very well for your age". I use to drink aloe juice and I put a small amount of La Mer cream on my face+neck. Creme de la Mer works very well! Plus in USA is NOT SO EXPENSIVE comparate to other creams + treatments. Before price was $100.-.

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Reviewed by
Job Patience
12.23.2014
Tired of hearing it...

I am 60 and I use the Concentrate & the Moisturizer. Yes, it is ridiculously expensive. No, I cannot really afford it. It feels amazing on my dry, sensitive, sun damaged skin. I also love how it smells and my skin looks pretty fabulous. If it does not work for you, use something else.

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Reviewed by
Susan M
12.05.2014
Unbelievable!

It seems those who believe this product is better for their skin than gold don't understand that you can't always feel irritation taking place, and that it may take awhile for those effects to be visible. I'll bet if cream that contained pure gold were available they'd max out their Visa cards to get it and slather it on for some 24k irritation!! (Remember the girl in "Goldfinger?? :)

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Reviewed by
Shelly F.
11.01.2014
What a waste of money--feel like a fool!

I spent big $ many years on LaMer. Saw NO improvement in my skin, but completely believed the hype. When looking for more affordable, highly effective skin care not tested on animals, stumbled upon the PC website. Was initially ANGRY that she gave LaMer such poor reviews, but kept reading &reflecting on my experiences with LaMer & various cosmeceuticals, & decided to give PC products a try. Ive been using for 6+ months & my skin's NEVER looked better. Am 55 & was recently carded to buy wine!

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Reviewed by
Machell G.
10.21.2014
Somethings just work better, so they sell

Customers are not all gullible. I didn't believe it first either but when I tried it myself, nothing calms and moisturizes my skin better in the winter. I've tried Skin Recovery line and it's nice too, but I still wake up feeling dry in the morning in winter. La Mer makes my face look very radiant and truly keep it moisturized all night long.

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Reviewed by
REDbus
10.20.2014
Nothing else works

I 'like' the other products in this line but absolutely have to have the mositurizer. I agree with the comments that it's basic ingredients are run of mill but nothing else works for my mature skin. Even plain vaseline doesn't keep the mositure in. I don't know what it is or why it works and I've tried plenty of other moisturizers - even the copy cat creme de la mer and after all, who wants to spend $$ if they don't have to??, but none measures up.

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Reviewed by
Ruth E
10.07.2014
#eww

Unless you believe that seaweed extract is a magical potion made by Zeus himself, this is an absolute waste of money, time, and everything else. It's literally a jar (and jar packaging is a no no) of super basic ingredients. Like the review stated "Seaweed extract isn’t a rare, exotic, or expensive ingredient" and mineral oil is also quite a cheap basic moisturizing agent, you can get better results from Cerave or every other moisturizer with the "best" rating.

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
06.17.2014
La Mer for peaches and Cream Complexion

I don't really care what you say, this is by far the most effective cream I use. It does not purport itself a wrinkle cream, it claims to be a moisturizer, which it is. Whatever is in it leaves my skin dewy, pink, plump and beautiful. I have oily skin and don't use a lot of moisturizing creams but when I need my skin to look radiant, this is the only thing I can count on, time after time after time. I know it works b/c I see the difference after not using it, and then using it. THE BEST.

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Reviewed by
Anne, SF
04.17.2014
Pinna

I love the lamer moisturizer, serums and skin care... Love love love... I feel like it's improved my skin tremendously.. I have very dry skin and have used several moisturizers and nothing has helped me but lamer.. I highly recommend this product...

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Reviewed by
Pat
04.12.2014
Feeling Foolish

I bought this on the advice of my sister without consulting Beautipedia. She, like me, does not like fragrance in her face products and her skin is easily irritated.. She raved about how soothing this crème was and I got out my credit card. It has a smell reminiscent of Pond's Cold Crème and is nothing special. I think of myself as a savvy consumer, but not in this case.

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Reviewed by
Victoria M
02.15.2014
Don't waste your money!

I bought this product after seeing the media hype. After buying the full range of products (cleanser, serum, moisturiser, scrub) I saw no physical improvement in my skin. The product did not irritate my skin, however for the hundreds of dollars I spent, I did not see any improvements. I used these products for 1 years intermittently hoping to see miracles, however, saw nothing.

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Reviewed by
John C
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