Skin-Care Tips

The ‘La Mer Massage’ Will Help You Get the Most Out of So Many Moisturizers

Photo: Getty Images/ anon-tae
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In the realm of classic moisturizers, Crème de la Mer is perhaps the most beloved. As a beauty editor, I’ve been fortunate enough to try many of its subsequent ‘spinoff’ products (face oil, eye cream, etc.); admittedly, though, I have yet to try the crème that started the craze. Recently, however, I did try the "Crème de la Mer ritual"—which feels like the next best thing.

As legend (er, the brand) has it, the technique “activates” the Miracle Broth—the hero ingredient and raison d'etre for La Mer as a whole—thereby unleashing the full power of the Crème. While I’m not entirely convinced by the “activating” verbiage, the ritual as a whole does have a lot to offer from both a sensorial standpoint and a dermatological standpoint, says Geeta Yadav, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. What’s more, the technique is compatible with any creamy moisturizer, La Mer or otherwise, so you needn’t spend a pretty penny to experience the benefits.

Below, a breakdown of the Crème de la Mer technique— including what it is, what it does, and how it may help you get the most out of any wintertime moisturizer.

What is the La Mer technique?

Using any thick, rich moisturizing face cream, follow the steps below. Here’s a video link, too.

  1. Scoop a tiny bit of product between two fingers.
  2. “Warm the Crème for a few seconds by smoothing it between the fingertips,” as per the brand’s website. (This is said to “activate” the Miracle Broth.)
  3. Rub between fingers until the product has changed from milky white to translucent.
  4. Once the cream has turned clear, “gently press into face and neck,” the brand advises, “taking care not to massage.”

Benefits of the La Mer Technique

1. Increases spreadability

Ultra-rich moisturizing creams are a gift to dry skin, but they also have a tendency to feel thick, occlusive, and stubborn when it comes to spreading them out. The La Mer technique can alleviate this issue. By “warming up skin cream in your hands,” Dr. Yadav explains, moisturizing cream can “spread across the skin more easily.” Think about cold, hard butter vs. warm, soft butter.

2. Facilitates product penetration

In addition to thinning it out, warming moisturizing cream in your hands “facilitates its ability to penetrate the skin,” Dr. Yadav explains, namely, “by ‘melting’ it into one’s complexion rather than having it sit on top of the skin.”

3. Heightens sensorial experience

If you’ve cleansed with cold cream or moisturized with an ultra-rich cream, you’ve experienced the specific sensation of chilliness that comes from slapping the stuff on your face. While refreshing in warmer months, it’s much less so in the dead of winter (which, of course, is prime-time for super-thick creams). Warming face cream in your hands before you apply tamps down on iciness for a more pleasant experience overall. Incidentally, check out this lotion warmer, which can transform your body lotion experience into a similarly luxurious treat.

4. Prevents tugging 

Recall how the La Mer technique advises “gentle pressing” instead of “massaging” the moisturizer into your skin. According to Dr. Yadav, this is sage advice: “Pressing a formula into the skin is one of the most effective methods of [skin-care product] application,” she notes, as “it pushes the ingredients in rather than smearing them around.”

Additionally, gentle pressing can help stave off wrinkles; wrinkles that, according to Dr. Yadav, can be exacerbated by rubbing and tugging the skin, particularly in delicate areas (e.g. around the eyes). Pressing your product, on the other hand, “prevents tugging of delicate skin,” Dr. Yadev confirms. Moreover, pressing “minimizes irritation that could be caused by more forceful application like rubbing,” Dr. Yadav adds, “which is especially important for those with easily sensitized skin.”

Try the La Mer massage with these moisturizers


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For more tips on keeping your skin hydrated during the winter months, check out the video below. 

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