The Concentrate

by La Mer  
Price:
$310 - 1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:
9/23/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

The Concentrate is, first and foremost, not worth even a fraction of its price. All you’re getting is a nonaqueous product containing mostly silicones, seaweed extract, glycerin, film-forming agents, and several plant extracts, some of which (lime, lavender, and basil extracts, and also eucalyptus oil) are irritating to skin. The formula is rounded out by trace amounts of minerals and some additional plant extracts, but none of these, and definitely not in the amounts used here, are particularly helpful for skin, be it wrinkled or not. Seaweed (also known as algae) extract has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but it is not the magical elixir of youth La Mer makes it out to be, nor is it expensive to include in skin-care products. Bulk liquid seaweed extract costs an average of $1.50 per liter, and the amount used in this product barely amounts to a teaspoon, despite being the second ingredient listed. Like all silicone-based serums, this product will leave skin feeling incredibly smooth and silky. But knowing you can achieve this same feeling with other products that cost $250 less than La Mer’s version (and that still have beneficial antioxidants) is a sobering fact, to say the least! The eucalyptus oil makes this too irritating for all skin types, and overall this serum pales in comparison to those from other Lauder-owned lines, all of which cost considerably less.

Designed for fragile, post-trauma skin on the face and body, The Concentrate complements skin's own natural healing process. Miraculously, the appearance of scarring resulting from surgery and burns is noticeably improved. Irritation and redness caused by chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments are visibly diminished. This revolutionary treatment infuses skin with an unprecedented concentration of the original Miracle Broth found in Crème de la Mer. Immediately, skin's sensitivities and redness are soothed. La Mer's exclusive Lime Tea helps protect skin from a wide range of external insults, giving it the ability to focus energy on repair. This exclusive blend helps damaged skin renew and rebuild its appearance. Special barrier repair ingredients act as lipid "cellular cement" to help strengthen vulnerable skin. The Miracle Broth, Lime Tea, marine and plant extracts are suspended together within a breathable barrier to slowly and optimally deliver their vital energies. Feelings of tight or taut skin, often associated with scars, are miraculously relieved, increasing skin's flexibility. Suppleness and smoothness are greatly restored. The result is a fresh surface. Huber's vision is renewed as skin's appearance takes on a new life. La Mer's scientists recommend using The Concentrate in tandem with Crème de la Mer to seal in its vital, skin-renewing benefits. Clinical studies have shown visible results after 8 weeks.

Cyclopentasiloxane, Seaweed (Algae) Extract, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Isononyl Isononanoate, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Helichrysum Arenarium (Everlasting) Extract, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Lipids, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Sea Whip Extract, 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, Tocopheryl Succinate, Niacin, Yeast Extract, Cholesterol, Linoleic Acid, Tetraacetylphytosphingosine, Lavandula Hybrida (Lavandin), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol

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.

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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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