Cellular 3-Minute Peel
1.4 fl. oz. for $215
Last Updated:03.31.2015
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Cellular 3-Minute Peel justifies its price by claiming to use professional-strength AHAs and BHA, and stating that it works without irritating skin. First, professional-strength hydroxy acids are typically used in concentrations of 20% and up, such as for facial peels. The amount of lactic acid in this product is likely around 5%, which does not distinguish this product from other 5% AHA options available at the drugstore. As far as working without irritating skin, that’s not possible. This product has a pH of 2.9, which means the lactic acid will exfoliate skin. The addition of a small amount of glycolic acid and an even smaller amount of salicylic acid likely brings the total amount of exfoliating ingredients to about 7%, which is still not what any dermatologist or aesthetician would consider “professional strength,” that is in the realm of 15% to 30%. Although this product will exfoliate skin, it needs more than three minutes to do a thorough job, and the price is just insulting for what is easily exchanged for far less pricy options that are just as if not more effective.


Leaves skin silky and velvety smooth, more even-toned and visibly less lined. Without irritating the skin, employs professional strength AHAs, BHAs and Salicylic Acid. Retexturizes skin by speeding fresh, young cells to the surface. Moisturizes and protects skin from moisture loss.


Water, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Lactic Acid, Polysorbate 40, Glycolic Acid, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Polyglyceryl-3 Laurate, PEG-8/SMDI Copolymer, Hexylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Malic Acid, Glycoproteins, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Sucrose, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glucose, Fructose, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium Lauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl Phosphates, Butylene Glycol, Dextrin, Urea, Polyquaternium-7, Alanine, Fragrance, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Linalool, Citronellol, Hydroxycitronellal, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Methylparaben, Titanium Dioxide

Brand Overview

La Prairie At-A-Glance

Strengths: Most of the makeup categories present at least one good, though needlessly expensive, option.

Weaknesses: Very expensive; overreliance on jar packaging; many products contain a potentially irritating amount of astringent horsetail extract; no effective skin-lightening options; poor options for anyone dealing with blemishes (though La Prairie is concerned primarily with selling wrinkle creams anyway).

La Prairie has been at the forefront in the introduction of expensive anti-aging products for more than three decades. Many of the products in this originally Swiss skin-care line are called "cellular treatment." After a while, it all starts sounding silly. The attempt to align these products with the concept of being able to affect skin at the cellular level is over the top, although when it comes to making the ordinary sound extraordinary, La Prairie excels.

Assuming your skin could improve with these products, the prices alone might cause premature aging! So what do the women who can safely afford these products get for their money? The prestige of knowing they can afford them, period. High-priced skin-care lines attract women who think that the dollars they spend will buy them something special that most other women can't afford. To some extent, they're right: most women can't afford these products. Yet anyone who reads and understands the ingredient lists would find that price doesn't reliably translate into having better skin. What you're really getting from this line is a barrage of look-younger-now claims not backed up by one shred of substantiated scientific evidence, and a group of unimpressive formulations.

A particularly egregious error appears in the number of La Prairie moisturizers (and my goodness, does this company love moisturizers!) that arrive in jar packaging. La Prairie is in-the-know about the importance of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients for skin, yet almost all of their products that contain such ingredients ignore their vulnerability to oxidation. Containers like these ensure that these products will deteriorate shortly after you begin using them. Considering the premium prices, that is an almost unforgivable offense. At least the company gets their facial sunscreen right by including sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients. However, it's interesting to find that a visit to the La Prairie counter involves a lot more discussion about their moisturizers, ampoules, and other "treatment" products, while all the time you know that the only reliable antiwrinkle product everyone needs to use is sunscreen.

For more information about La Prairie, owned by Beiersdorf, call (800) 821-5718 or visit www.laprairie.com.

La Prairie Makeup

The brief makeup section in La Prairie's catalog poses the question "Consider the number of hours a day you wear makeup. Shouldn't the foundation you wear be an extension of your treatment program?" Well, calling most of La Prairie's skin-care products a "treatment" is a bit of a joke as what they seem to mean by "treatment benefit" has to do with the company's Cellular Complex, but that isn't complex in the least. This complex is primarily glycoproteins. Although it's true that glycoproteins are an integral part of the skin's intercellular matrix, they are far from the only element skin needs to look and feel its best. Functioning primarily as water-binding agents, glycoproteins won't firm, lift, or rejuvenate skin cells in the manner La Prairie would like you to believe. Further, of the makeup products below, only the ultra-pricey foundations contain a significant amount of this complex, and they have drawbacks of their own.Overall, La Prairie's makeup leaves much to be desired, especially given the high to ludicrous prices for what amount to ordinary cosmetics. A few of the products have supple, silky textures, but the expense is hard to justify when similar items are available for substantially less from so many other lines. Many of the products below earned happy face ratings, but keep in mind that you do not have to acquiesce to La Prairie's prices to beautify your face.

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
Summary of Member Comments
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good but take care

This product, as said before by other reviewers, is really effective and probably the best peeling mask in the market, despite its hefty price. However, you must go gently into this powerful mask. Depending on your skin, don't use it more than once a week, or even better, twice a month. And don't leave it, EVER, more than 5' on. It is NOT true that can only be effective being left on the skin longer time than recommended by the brand. It could be totally counter-productive. Love your skin!

Reviewed by
This is the readl deal! It is the most potent over-the-counter AHA peel on the market!

This is by far THE most potent and effective AHA/BHA peel that I have ever used, and I have been using glycolic acid products since they first started appearing on the market in the very early '90s. One warning: do not leave it on for more than 3 minutes (which is why it is called the "3 minute peel") or else your skin will slightly burn and turn red, as mine did the first time I used it it and left it on for 5 minutes! Leave it on for 3 minutes, rinse thoroughly, and watch your skin glow! AAA+

Reviewed by
It's actually worth the price

I never EVER spend this much on skin care. If Im going to spend a ton, I'll get a professional facial. But I tried this stuff and wow. It beats my $70 dermatologist peel hands down. I've got normal to mildly sensitive skin & it tingled, but didnt come anywhere near being painful or burning my skin. For $130 (check websites, not just the L.P. store) I get a weekly facial that makes my skin visibly better in 15 mins (I dont think 3 mins is enough). The jar lasts awhile since you only use a little.

Reviewed by
this product scared me

For buying some laprairie products the sales lady gave me a facial with laprairie products including the peel. It was stinging quite badly and gave me a scare. She comforted me that it would go away the same day and my skin would be better. She gave a lot of laprairie's soothing anti-redness testers. I'm going to go with my gut and not buy the peel. Although I found that the anti-redness stuff makes sunburn redness diminish substantially overnight when I'm on holiday.

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