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Cult 51: The Anti-Aging Cream with a Waitlist

Cult 51
May 29, 2014 Reviewed by Marta 4 Comments

Billed as the world’s most expensive anti-aging cream with a waitlist of 5,000 women, the UK’s Cult 51 cream has been getting plenty of (uncritical) press. I was tipped off by a Truth In Aging community member from London who urged me to take a look at what claims to be the first skincare product with “3D effects.” My BS barometer was edging into the red zone.

The Daily Mail helpfully points out that the cost of Cult 51 is Sterling 94,000 per metric tonne. Since even the most extravagant among us buy by the jar, I was more interested to note that 1.6oz costs about $215. Cult 51 is a long way from the world’s most expensive anti-aging cream.

So now I know that I could conceivably afford Cult 51, is it worth my Euros? Well, there are certainly some good ingredients here — although none are really standouts. There’s also some mediocre ones and some bad ones. But first, the good.

Apearing high up on the list is sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a form of vitamin C considered gentle and stable as it waits to convert into ascorbic acid once it is absorbed into the skin. There’s peach kernel oil and aloe juice, while butcher’s broom extract may help with broken capillaries, as might horse chestnut extract. Green tea and pomegranate serve as antioxidants. Hydrolyzed yeast protein controls sebum and contains the antioxidant beta glucan, however, there isn’t much research on its topical effects on skin. Sodium hyaluronate is a respectable moisturizer and walnut seed oil is a good source of vitamin B5 and helpful for treating acne.

Cult 51’s closest thing to a cutting edge anti-aging ingredient is dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate. This is marketed under the name of Syn-ake and is one of those expression line inhibitors (with a twist that it is supposed to mimic the action of snake venom). This isn’t really my favorite peptide, as I tend to prefer ones that encourage things — such as the production of collagen - rather than inhibit them. Lurking near the end of the ingredient list is pentapeptide-25. I haven’t been able to find any information on this peptide.

There are plenty of ingredients that don’t bring benefits at all, such as dimethicone, a silicone that doesn’t do more than give superficial slip, and sodium polyacrylate, a water absorbing polymer (you might be interested to know it is used in fake snow). And there are some ingredients that one might prefer to avoid, such as trideceth-6, a surfactant that is a controversial PEG and can be contaminated and absorbed by the skin, or propylene glycol, an irritant derived from petrolatum. Then, there are a few harsh preservatives like sodium benzoate, which has the potential to adversely react with vitamin C, and methylisothiazolinone, a known neurotoxin.

Cult 51’s marketing folk claim that there are 51 positive effects from using Cult 51. I haven’t tried this night cream, but from looking at its contents, Cult 51 just doesn’t seem to add up.

Marta Wohrle is an anti-aging skin care and beauty expert and the founder/CEO of Truth In Aging. Marta is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind anti-aging product claims.

  • July 10, 2018

    by Gina

    I’ve been using the night cream for a month now in an attempt to minimize my large forehead and cheek sun marks. It works. I don’t see them anymore and I’ve had them for years. I’m a real person and just wanted to share that with readers.

  • January 4, 2018

    by Bente

    I was initially curious about this cream but when reading ingredients I saw it contains the notorious preservative methylisothiazolinone. This is causing a huge amount of people bad allergic reactions. A lot has been written about it and watchdog on BBC had a program dedicated to this issue. As a result many of the big cosmetic giants have stopped the use of this in their products.

  • May 24, 2017

    by DAVID

    Thanks for a very informative article. Regarding the 'problem' ingredients:


    This ingredient is an emulsifier. Basically creams are created by blending oily substances and water into a cream. The way to get them to do this is to use emulsifiers. This is approved as safe to use in cosmetics.

    Despite the many fears regarding PEGs, a study published in the Toxicology Journal in 2005 it was concluded that: "PEGs of a wide molecular weight range are safe for use in cosmetics."

    Propylene glycol:

    Is not an irritant at the correct level. Yes it is derived from petrolatum, however is safe to use. This is not a direct addition but comes as an inclusion in various active ingredients and so overall has a content in the product of less than 0.4%

    Sodium benzoate:

    Whilst Sodium Benzoate is in the product it comes as a trace element in a few of the active ingredients and as such you will find it at a level of around 0.0004%.


    There has recently come to light quite a bank of evidence showing that increasing numbers of people are becoming sensitised to this ingredient and, as a result, Cult 51 insisted all ingredient suppliers removed this; as of something like May 2016 all production has been free of this ingredient.

  • November 4, 2014

    by Genny

    Thanks Martha for once again giving us factual, truthful information that is backed up by scientific data, and common sense. One of the many reasons way I can not stay away from the Truth in Aging web site for long. Now the big question.... What are the best replacements instead of the Cult 51?

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