If you've flipped open just about any beauty magazine in the last decade, there's a good chance you've seen a (seemingly) poreless celebrity proclaim that their secret to perfect skin is La Mer's Crème de la Mer, the moisturizer that's arguably more iconic than The Beatles. Its origins are the stuff of mythic proportions: German rocket scientist Max Huber allegedly spent 12 years and 6,000 experiments perfecting the Crème de la Mer formula, which he claimed healed the burns he suffered during a lab accident, before releasing it to the public in 1965.
After finally mastering the cream's "Miracle Broth," essentially the cream's fermented base that takes three months to make (and involves playing specific sounds at specific frequencies to "activate" the elixir), Huber began selling jars for $85 an ounce and sharing samples with the elite. Pretty soon, word spread. Everyone from a true believer countess to skin-care fanatics swore by the rejuvenating cream. Huber was such a champion of his product, people say he even ate it and dabbed it in his eye—he claimed it was good for digestion and that its healing properties could help with eyesight (these claims have not been proven, FYI).
Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream
Several years after Huber’s death in 1992, Estée Lauder purchased the brand and, after some trial and error (and coaching from Huber’s daughter), replicated the product to a T. To this day, the cream has a dedicated following and is a medicine cabinet staple (if you can afford the $325 price tag for the 2 oz. jar).
I Wanted To See for Myself if Crème De La Mer Is Actually Worth the Hype
What supposedly sets La Mer apart from many other skin-care products (and what warrants its price) is the aforementioned long and complex fermentation process and its use of high-quality seaweed extract (the latter gives it its name, which translates to "The Cream of the Sea"). The full list of ingredients for Crème de la Mer can be found here. The special formula is said to firm and smooth over wrinkles and fine lines, erase pores, and even heal scarring and discoloration. I decided to use the cream every night for a full week to see if it improved my complexion. Or did anything at all.
As someone who used Crème de la Mer very sparingly prior to this experiment, I already knew applying it in the morning was personally a no-go. Unless you have dry or perhaps mature skin, this formula will feel very, very heavy. In fact, you're instructed to rub the cream between your fingers to stimulate (with the heat from your skin) the Miracle Broth and thin out the consistency before applying—even so, it still goes on thick, and you really have to rub it in to not leave a white cast. However, this was the perfect cream to use at night. My face felt and looked hydrated, and its dewiness reached a Krispy Kreme glazed donut level.
I have oily-combo skin and break out easily if I use products that are too dense or greasy, so this was one factor I kept in mind while assessing the product. Other skin-care KPIs I had for Crème de la Mer? I wanted to see if it could even out my skin tone, make me look more alive, and perhaps work its seaweed sorcery under my eyes. To isolate the cream's purported miraculous effects, I decided to use the cream solo, so without a toner or serum, both of which I'd normally apply at night.
The day after my first application (Day 1), I woke up to a brighter complexion—a promising start so far. By Day 4, my skin looked a lot more even, and it notably felt softer and smoother. The week of my experiment, I caught a bad head cold and was non-stop rubbing my temples and coating my face with Vick's VapoRub. I worried I'd start breaking out, but I didn't spot a single blemish. Could it be the magic of La Mer? It's possible. Even after three nights of tossing and turning, I woke up looking more refreshed than you'd think. (You couldn't fool my coffee pot, though.)
After a full week of using Crème de la Mer nightly, my skin, without a doubt, looked its best. I woke up on Day 7 and it appeared like I had already applied skin tint and some highlighter for a casual glow. My face was brighter, completely clear, more even, and my pores seemed tinier. While the cream couldn't erase the bags under my eyes completely, their presence looked subdued, which was all I could ask for. Let's just say, I could post a "#IWokeUpLikeThis" Instagram Story in earnest if I wanted.
Above all, applying La Mer every night had forced me to slow my routine down a little bit, as a I deliberately warmed up the cream with my fingertips and used a facial roller (this one's my fave) to really let the potion sink in. The fragrance is also supremely calming (kind of like a powdery floral scent that's uniquely La Mer), so that also elevated the experience.
Now, the million dollar (okay, $95-$2,745) question: Is Crème de la Mer worth it? For me, it's definitely still a luxury investment and not a "must-have." I have other facial creams a fraction of the cost that are still great. However! Once my jar runs out (which I'll try to strategically time with either my birthday or the holidays), I'll most likely buy another. My bathroom shelf will just feel too empty without it.
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