Creme De La Mer

by La Mer  
Price:
$155 - 1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:
11/26/2014
Jar Packaging:
Yes
Tested On Animals:
Yes

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.

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.

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

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.

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
Page of 1
  1. Shelly F.
    Reviewed on Friday, December 05, 2014
    • Results
      1 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Value
      1 / 4
    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?? :)

  2. Machell G.
    Reviewed on Saturday, November 01, 2014
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Value
      1 / 4
    • Results
      1 / 4
    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!

  3. REDbus
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    • Value
      3 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    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.

  4. Ruth E
    Reviewed on Monday, October 20, 2014
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    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.

  5. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, October 07, 2014
    • Results
      1 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Value
      1 / 4
    #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.

  6. Anne, SF
    Reviewed on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    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.

  7. Pat
    Reviewed on Thursday, April 17, 2014
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    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...

  8. Victoria M
    Reviewed on Saturday, April 12, 2014
    • Value
      1 / 4
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    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.

  9. John C
    Reviewed on Saturday, February 15, 2014
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Recommend
      2 / 4
    • Value
      1 / 4
    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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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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