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If Fluide De La Mer is anything to go by, I've cracked the code of Miracle Broth. (For those of you who have somehow been blissfully unaware of the super-expensive La Mer brand, it has a ridiculous origination myth: aersospace physicist burns himself in the lab and decides to make a cream; 6,000 experiments later La Mer is born with its mysterious Miracle Broth).
The latest in the La Mer line, Fluide De La Mer The SPF 30 UV Protecting Fluid ($70), was launched a few weeks ago. Not content with secretive soupy stuff, La Mer's marketing people have come up with gemstones that "absorb light energy, transforming it into beneficial green light to enhance anti-oxidant activity", plus "photonic spheres" to capture light and divert it away from the skin, and "smart seaweeds".
Perhaps the reason that they came up with this nonsense is due to the fact that Miracle Broth is not much more than a crock of silicone. In fact, there are 11 different silicones in La Mer Fluide. Which, by my count, is about 11 too many. There are also plenty of emulsifiers, emollients and other fillers, with names like prehistoric birds (such as dipentaerythrityl tri-polyhydroxystearate).
The magical gemstones are, in fact, tourmaline. This is believed to vitalize the skin, making it appear more radiant and youthful, because when tourmaline crystals warm as they are rubbed onto skin, they become positively charged on one end and negatively charged on the other. As Copley wrote in her tourmaline investigation, there is no hard science to back any of this up.
To be fair, La Mer isn't completely off base with claims about 'smart seaweeds'. Laminaria ochroleuca is an alga that has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation of the skin, according to one study (actually, the only study on this seaweed and what it might do for skin that I could find). Crithmum maritimum is sea fennel and French researchers have pronounced it a “valuable source of antioxidants, particularly chlorogenic acid”.
Of the 65 ingredients listed, only 12 could be said to improve the skin. In addition to the smart seaweeds, I am generously including: panthenine (vitamin B), yeast extract, aloe, bamboo, Tasmanian kelp, kakadu, pomegranate, vitamin C, vitamin E and willowbark. That's it.
What a con.