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.