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Creme De La Mer

Creme De La Mer Review

is a Solution for:
Dry Skin, Fine Lines, Wrinkles
Reviewed by Marta June 9, 2013 44 Comments

Pros

Minerals including copper

Cons

The fermentation process had better be good because there is nothing remarkable about the ingredients
Drying to the skin due to petroleum derived ingredients and irritants

You have to hand it to Creme De La Mer ($155/1oz), it has maintained cult status for a decade (it celebrates its tenth birthday this year). I (sheepishly) admit that I was one of the first people to fall for the hype and bought (what was then one of the expensive face creams on the planet) a pot from Harrods. I also bought La Mer's eye cream. Even La Mer claims that it doesn't know how its miracle cream works. Perhaps that's because it doesn't. At least not for me.

La Mer's birthday prompted me to try to find out more about La Mer's secret sauce (another thing that the company does very well is to keep Creme De La Mer's ingredients off the internet). A few months ago, I found the ingredients for La Mer Fluide and the only thing impressive about it was the number of silicones, 11 at my count. For the past decade, La Mer has been remarkably consistent about messaging the "Miracle Broth", a scientist devised concoction of seaweed and minerals that have been fermented for three months.

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The fermentation process had better be good because there is nothing remarkable about the ingredients. After seaweed extract, there is glycerin from mineral oil (not vegetable) and probably the reason why I recall finding La Mer really drying.  Other petroleum-derived ingredients are the emollient isohexadecane and microcrystaline wax. I am not quite sure what to make of alfalfa. I looked at in L'Oreal's Dermo-Expertise Collagen Remodeler and I couldn't find much more about this common fodder for cows than it may be a milder (non-irritating) alternative to retinol exfoliants

The most impressive ingredients are an array of soluble minerals including copper, potassium, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Calcium and zinc are critical to the health of skin. Magnesium stimulates the skin to ensure that healthy elasticity is maintained and moisture levels remain normal and copper is a potent wound healer. In fact, all of these are in the, much superior (in my view) Dermophisiologique range called Mineral, which also packs in other antiagers such as glucosaminoglycans and gingko biloba.  Both La Mer and Dermophisiologique stock up on vitamins, although La Mer has added cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).

Some folks report breakouts when using Creme De La Mer. This may be due to the lanolin alcohol, which is highly comedogenic. Methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone are also irritants.

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  • May 1, 2017

    by Anna C

    mineral oil is good for wooden boards, not for human body
    I would not try even if you paid me

  • March 24, 2016

    by mabel

    I'm looking at my jar of Crème de la Mer and it does contain petroleum! Listed right after mineral oil. Would someone else look at their jar and verify this.

  • March 15, 2016

    by Bobbie


    Creme de la Mer is my SAVIOUR! If I abandon it for a time - 'cause I'm getting low - my skin texture coarsens and begins to look fatigued.Last night, scraping the bottom of my almost empty jar ( new supply ordered online ) I'm almost experiencing anxiety! Gently I press onto my face
    and this a.m. I rejoiced! Worth every $$$. Guess it's just the recipe for me!

  • February 20, 2016

    by Helen

    What is it that makes your products outrageously expensive? I checked with some dermatologists that tell me no product can go deep into the skin to make that big of a difference. INJECTED fillers, collagen can but only through needle injections, not creams or serums.
    So, why are your products so expensive? I can't afford them, why bother with samples, when the products to buy are not affordable to the average working woman? Non justifiable on fixed incomes, shame.

  • December 12, 2014

    by Robyn

    My experience with LaMer has been nothing but positive. I have been using it for 14 years. I am 42 years old. I use the Original Cream in the winter and the Gel in the summer. I have oily skin prone to chin breakouts and occasional cystic acne which I used Accutane for in my early 20's. I have a few acne scars and melasma which came after giving birth to my children. Despite these things people tell me my skin is beautiful and youthful. I am always shocked by the number of compliments I receive on how youthful my skin is and honestly I have very few wrinkles. My skin glows when I use LaMer, my makeup goes on smoothly and my skin doesn't look greasy halfway through the day. The light scent and feel of the LaMer is lovely and doesn't aggravate my numerous allergies and sensitive nose.

    I have tried other products, high end and drug store trying to save money and I am always sorry as my skin objects by breaking out or becoming dry and lifeless. Yes it is more expensive initially than other moisturizers, however even the smallest jar at 85.00/.5oz lasts me 3 months. $28.00/month... Sometimes I spend that on lattes each week. Easily worth it.

  • July 27, 2014

    by Tracy

    Hi Lindsay
    I'm very interested in your review as i have been using Lamer for few years, it's quite good but a little thick for my skin. Could you please tell me where to buy the bio fermented sea kelp? I really wanna try it. Thanks

  • June 9, 2014

    by Lindsay

    Even 10 years ago when I was in my early 20's I decided I needed to try this miracle cream. I have always been a little obsessive when it comes to taking care of my skin. The one image that has stuck in my mind all these years was a friend's mom. Her skin looked like leather from using tanning beds and laying in the sun to much that of a woman in her late 30's looked so old. So at 10 years old I decided I would never look like that! I'm pretty sure I was the only 10 year old that had my morning (which of course included sunscreen) skincare routine and nighttime skincare routine. My mom humored me, I was using drug store products so it wasn't crazy expensive. I remember the look on her face when I wanted eye cream, I had to wait until I was in
    high school.
    Once I was in my 20's I had my routine down but wanted to try this 'fabulous' Creme La Mer. Lucky enough my friend worked at a highed skincare store so I got some free samples. The creme was lovely, a little heavy for my skin but I liked it. I used it mostly for nignt cream. Now that I'm in my 30's and the pain of spending $155 for 1 oz of cream I went on the hunt. The first thing on my agenda was the ingredient list. What made it so special. As the article says above, a lot of silicone. What grabbed my eye was the seaweed. With that knowledge I went to see my sister the esthetician and the 2 of us decided the only thing that makes it special is...dun, dun dun, Bio fermented Sea Kelp. Sea vegetables are good for you in general but they are magic on your skin. The next part was easy, go through my products and pick a good cream to add my bio fermented sea kelp to I have quite a few products but fornthe first time I tried something I picked up in the UK called Bioderma Atoderm Cream (you can get it in the states from Amazon). That first night I did my whole night routine then mixed a small amount of biofermented sea kelp in with my moisturizer. It felt amazing! Not heavy like Creme La Mer does. I did the same routine for 2 weeks and my skin hadn't ever looked so good! The next 2 weeks I changed my cream to Embryouisse Lait-Creme Concentrate, it has a simular texture to La Mer. Again it was amazing! And how much fora 4 oz bottle of Sea Kelp Bioferment you ask? $15 and it lasts about 3 months. What I really like about 'making your own La Mer' if that's what you want to call it is its customizable. I have dry skin so I like a more emollient cream. If your oily just use your oil free moistrizer and your bio fermented sea kelp. You can use it however you want. As a serum, add it to a homemade mask or exfoliater or just do what I do and add it to your night time moisturizer. No more $155 on a ounce of face cream!

  • June 6, 2014

    by Wendy

    I have been using the original Crème de la Mer for 10 years, and my skin looks amazing. I've often tried other products for months at a time, but always come back to La Mer. I respectfully disagree with the opinion that the cream doesn't penetrate the skin and simply sits atop it. I've used brands from La Prairie to Chantecaille to La Roche Posay, and price definitely isn't a factor for me when rating how well a product works. This is one of the few products that actually absorbs well into my sensitive skin. Many times I've used products that sit atop my skin and take forever to rinse off when I wash my face (La Prairie, for example).

    I've realized over the years that there is a general dislike of this brand by many for seemingly unknown reasons, often relegated to ingredients. I would like to know the ingredients in all the products they use. I personally think people judge it without having genuinely used the line of products, as well as the fact that Estée Lauder purchased the brand. My skin has a tendency to be red and inflamed (Irish with rosacea, and the combination of La Mer's The Concentrate and original Crème de la Met are the only things that have solved my skincare woes. No more topical medications or endlessly buying other products. I highly recommend using the products in the line along with the cream to give it a fair chance.

  • May 21, 2014

    by Jasmine

    Well, I too was hoping. After realizing that mineral oil is one of the first few ingredients now I understand. Mineral oil actually coats the skin and prevents nutrients from absorbing. This is why I felt so "dry" after application. I'm shocked that petroleum even made it's way into such a high end cream. I thought that was skin "101." My esthetician told me never to use creams with petroleum. They're cheap, moisture inhibiting, and pore clogging.

    $385 bucks my ass La Mer! God it figures.

  • April 6, 2014

    by Danielle

    I couldn't be happier with my skin thanks to La Mer. I have sensitive to dry skin and it leaves a fresh glow to my face. I had some scarring due to a bad break out on my chin from about 3 months ago. It was embarrassing and left my skin very uneven, making it hard to cover with foundation. I did my research and bought the La Mer moisturizing creme. I swear my chin looked brand new after just 3 days of use. I haven't found anything else out there that gets me as many compliments on my skin as La Mer.

  • February 9, 2014

    by suzy

    Creme de la Mer is like manna for my skin.

    I don't care what's in it, not in, or whether anyone knows why it works.

    For my skin it works like heaven!

    NOTHING else ever calmed down my rosacea - Creme de la Mer calms it down.

    NOTHING else ever calmed down my contact dermatitis - Creme de la Mer calms it down.

    There is nothing else I have ever used, including things right from the dermatologist, that heal my skin problems the way Creme de la Mer does.

    That does not mean it works for everyone, or that is can do "everything" for your skin. Obviously, no one product can.

    But for my very sensitive, very temperamental, rosacea and dermatitis prone skin, Creme de la Mer cleared up things that had hounded me for years - in weeks or even just days.

    I think it must have this effect for a lot of people and that is why it has such as strong following, despite the high price tag!

  • December 27, 2013

    by Linda

    Well, I really wanted this to be the "magic elixir of youth" I've been searching for, alas, it was not. Not for me, that is. My friend works in a department store for LaMer. She looks better than she's looked in years, and swears it is all due to LaMer. So, I conned her out of enough samples to last a couple of months, and, sadly, I still have my same, old, wrinkled face. My takeaway is that it may, indeed, work for some, but not for moi. OR, it takes longer than 2 months to show results. At any rate, I'm not likely to fork over my hard-earned cash for something that has't shown at least some improvement.

  • November 30, 2013

    by Divina

    I have been using la mer off & on for 7 yrs. Haven't figured out why it works, there are ingredients in it that I'd never put on my skin, yet I always go back to it because my skin never looks better. It gives such a glow that I no longer use foundation, just wear it alone. That seaweed broth it contains must really be miraculous.!
    I have mature skin, no work done and no wrinkles just La Mer.

  • November 24, 2013

    by Marta

    Siri, all the ingredients are listed on the Creme de la Mer's packaging

  • November 23, 2013

    by Siri

    Hi. What is your source for the ingredients you've listed in the miracle broth?
    Thanks.

  • October 18, 2013

    by Rich

    Mineral oil has been found to form free radicals in the presence of UV radiation. It was discovered by scientists looking into the UV protective qualities of caffeine, they had mixed caffeine into a cream base containing mineral oil.

  • August 3, 2013

    by Sárá

    I swear mineral oil is thought to be a carcinogen, i.e; is thought to cause cancer. It might just be when consumed, but it's still worth noting! I could never bring myself to spend that much money on a moisturiser.

    themadhatterspalace.blogspot.co.uk

  • March 29, 2013

    by denise

    I too try to find the first 3 to 4 ingredients of cosmetics. I am in my late 50's and vaseline has worked great for me. I have LaMer and after learing Lauder owns it, it's so disappointing. Good for Lauder and their Product Marketing Department!

  • January 29, 2013

    by Jenny

    I used Vaseline under my eyes before bedtime....I also put a little Vaseline mix with my foundation and it works like magic. I am not cheap at all, I try expensive creams but Vaseline works better than anything I ever used. I'm 48 years old and don,t have crowfeet or wrinkles in my forehead.

  • January 26, 2013

    by Gina

    The best you can do to hydrate your skin is drink 2liters of water every day. Not soda, not wine, not coffee. Water and more water. Not one day a week, not 2 days a week. Every single day of your life. It will make the difference when you are 50+ and there is no cream on earth that can beat that. Just find out if you are actually drinking your beauty-quantity of water a day, and stop hunting silly creams.

    Beauty comes from the inside and not from the outside!

  • March 6, 2012

    by Heather in Westlake village CA

    I'm an Aesthician and the second main ingriedient in La Mer Cream is mineral oil which is probably one of the worst things you could ever use! it blocks oxygen from entering the skin and coats of thin layer clogging your pores which doesn't let water obsorb. by to mention also the mineral oil is the distillation of crude oil or what's left over after making gasoline....so u might wanna re think that posh skin care cream! :)

  • February 8, 2012

    by Tamoira

    i am not into simple product hype in any form and certainly do not want to be involved on any cult-ish movement but, creme de la mer has been truly the best product for me and my extremely sensitive skin. i was fearing i may be on prescription creams for the dryness and even cracking of my skin that occurs in the dry/cold months here in tokyo (i am originally from canada), forever, but now i am using the de la mer facial cleanser and creme. going on 6 mos. and i feel like i am living in a dream. i am super satisfied. at first the price bothered me, but wanting to buy de la mer keeps me from buying other junk, and i no longer waste money on trying to find a product that works for me. guess some products work for some, others for others - happy-hunting!

  • August 23, 2010

    by Danielle

    Eh girls, there are no miracles of anykind if you are getting old and think you are ugly nothing will make you 20 and beautiful again!

    But think this way you are not ugly even if you do have wrinkles, you do have more than girls who have 20, you have experience now and wisdom and impossible to get from the youngters!

    Sorry! Some cream depending of your type of skin will work better but no need to bad mouth here of any brand! Companies spend lots of money on research and all companies are good for certain type of skin problems but none are miracles! You need to accept the fact that you are aging and the best thing is move, eat well and check this site I lost 10lbs easy and no diet at all just following some good senses they talk about and I even drink red wine! www.thefrenchweightloss.com

  • December 19, 2009

    by Sigridur Olafsdottir

    Hi, I am always very scepticle when prices go extremely high, the best eye gel I have ever used and now for 15 years is the Arovita Eye and Lip Gel from DARPHIN - a french brand and I think the best way to keep the moistur inside the skin is to use products with essential oils. The oils penetrate the skin easily since their molicular size is so small and they are able to bind the moisturing chemicals with them and carry them inside the skin and slowly the skin becomes saturated.Different essentianl or aromatic oils have different effects on skin. Chamomile calming, Rose balancing, Niaouli purifying as they are all at some extent, etc.

  • December 15, 2009

    by lisa

    Are you certain the ingredients in La Mer Fluide are the same as the Creme? I have used La Mer and will tell you this: I had an outbreak of dermatitis the skin fold between my mouth and nose. None of the prescriptions my derm (who is a very esteemed doctor )gave me worked. A friend told me La Mer works on scars so I thought, why not? The dermatitis disappeared after a week. It did hydrate my skin and you have to pat it on, rather than rub it in. I don't know if it's all hyper or not, but it certainly helped me.

  • December 11, 2009

    by Susan

    Barbara,
    Max didn't sell his product to Estee Lauder. Max's heirs sold it to EL after Max's death.

  • December 11, 2009

    by Susan

    Ah, I believe I deserve to sample the sample, as I seem to be the only person knowledgeable of the Creme de la Mer story. Max was the scientist responsible for the original Creme de la Mer. His creme truly was healing and regenerating. [I know this because he was alive and well when I first began working with another fine line (at the time), La Prairie, at I. Magnin in San Francisco.] The anecdotal stories of Max's creme were phenomenal, one of which included my friend, the parfumier at I. Magnin who wore clown make-up to a party for her toddler nephew. Poor Colleen had sensitive skin and the skin on her face was inflamed within two hours of putting on the clown make-up. Quickly she washed her face clean and then applied Creme de la Mer. Within an hour her skin eruption had subsided. She attributed this wonderful relief to the creme.
    Why am I making such a hoopla over all of this? Because when Estee Lauder Co. purchased Creme de la Mer (early 1990s) after Max's death from his heirs, the formula was revamped. La Mer was removed from store shelves for 3-6 months and then reintroduced. I was on a waiting list to purchase the new cream. I plunked down my $150 (remember, 1990s)and took my boxed container home to examine the ingredients list (I think I might have been the only person on earth to do so). Suffice it to say, I still can recall my heart dropping to read the major ingredient to be mineral oil. Max never used mineral oil. I returned the creme the next day without having opened the box.
    Who cares?....I do when I think of the exceedingly wonderful product Max the scientist created (Max used years of research to develop his cream and he poured his heart and knowledge into it) as compared to the gunk Estee Lauder Co. turned it into. (Every skincare/makeup line this company buys is turned into junky gunk.)
    Please know this was the best product on the market available at the time....
    In Max's memory.

  • December 10, 2009

    by aerwin

    Thanks Marta! Can't wait to see what you find out!

  • December 10, 2009

    by Sameera

    Hi Marta,

    Thank you for shedding light on this subject. It baffles me why so many people drop so much money on this product, yet it's basically fancy Nivea with marine extracts. I've tried a sample and found it to be pretty worthless; my skin felt heavy and coated, and after I washed it off, my face felt really dry (due to the high amount of mineral oil, I'm sure!)

    I would love to try Dermophisiologique’s Mineral Defensive Cream as a better alternative! I live in a dry, cold climate and am always looking for a good moisturizer with anti-aging and repairative properties. I've tried so many moisturizing products and am still having trouble finding one that I love. I definitely appreciate your interest in Mineral Defensive Cream, as you pay so much attention to using and recommending products that contain ingredients that are actually good for you (what a novel idea!). I would love to try this product and promise an in-depth review!

  • December 10, 2009

    by marta

    Aerwin, that's a great question. Marine extracts are this season's new black and we need to get past the hype. Give us a few days to do some sleuthing.

  • December 10, 2009

    by Sydney

    I am anxious to give Dermophisiologique a try! I am a 44 year old product junkie and though I have managed to keep wrinkles mostly at bay, I've not been able to settle in on a product line that I am 100% happy with. (And yes, I've tried Creme de la Mer and was less than impressed!)

  • December 10, 2009

    by Barbara Lytle

    I started using La Mer when it was first invented and the creator was advertising in magazines. Was really disappointed when he sold to Lauder and didn't grandfather those of us who were using the product from the beginnning. Would love to try Mineral Defensive Cream to see how it compares.

  • December 10, 2009

    by michlny

    Even though I rarely fall for the marketing hype...I'd love to try this. I am so skeptical that I am dying to be proven wrong. I'd love something to ease the definition of my laugh lines!! I eat tons of seaweed, let's see if it helps topically as well!!

  • December 10, 2009

    by aerwin

    Is seaweed extract a viable anti aging ingredient? How about algae extract? Just curious . I was reading an article about some celeb's anti aging " secrets' and some seem to be jumping on that train.

  • December 9, 2009

    by Elyse

    I've always been a bit skeptical - yet interested - of all the hype (complete with breathless endorsement by Oprah..) surrounding La Mer. However, as curious as I've been, I could never see ponying up that much money to actually try it - especially since I heard that Estee Lauder changed the "secret" formula after they purchased the company. I'd really love to try Dermophisiologique's Mineral Defensive Cream and hereby, promise to write an unbiased review.

  • December 9, 2009

    by Junko

    Diana ~ 53 & back to school....all I have to say is, you GO GIRL ! (in my opinion, you deserve the cream)

  • December 9, 2009

    by Diana

    I'm so in need of this cream. I will be 53 in a few months and since I've returned to school I don't have a budget for my beloved luxury products any longer and I'm beginning to look like the crypt-keeper! Help!

  • December 9, 2009

    by Suzette

    I have been looking for a miracle cream for years. A friend told me about Creme De La Mer eye & face cream, so I set out on a mission to find samples of this miracle. I must admit it's all but impossible to find, but I did. I used it for 1 week and stopped, my eyes burned and my skin was very very dry. I went back to using Peter Thomas Roth. I would love to try Dermophisiologique a try and review it.

  • December 9, 2009

    by Trinh

    I would like to try the Dermophisiologique's Mineral Defensive Cream. I just turned 29 a month ago. I don't have deep wrinkles but do have fine lines and blotchy skintone. Would love to erase or lessen those lines so that turning 30 would not be so painful =) And of course, I'll write a review.

  • December 9, 2009

    by Amanda

    I am the ultimate miracle cream hunter. It wasn't so long ago that I discovered my first wrinkles on my forehead along with those dreaded squinting lines. Since this discovery, I’ve been nothing short of severely obsessed with finding a miracle to help fade or reverse the fine lines I currently have and ward off future character lines. I have at least 10 different creams and serums, all supposedly higher end. I’ve spent over $500 just in the last couple of months and to my disappointment, I have noticed no difference in my wrinkles but I do have a complexion that is much more clogged and congested. I would be delighted to sample and write a review for Dermophisiologique with high hopes of finding something that might actually do what it claims.

  • December 9, 2009

    by Chris

    I'd love to give the Mineral Defensive Cream a try. I've been having excellent results with the Cellbone products, but my neck seems to be sensitive to just about every product I try. I'd love to see if this would be milder on my neck and help to get rid of the few lines that are creeping in!

  • December 9, 2009

    by Leslie

    I would love to give the Dermophisiologique (I'm not going to even try to pronounce that out loud!) Mineral Defensive Cream a try. About a year ago I started to see a few fine lines around my eyes and on my forehead and have been actively looking for something to erase them - or at least to keep them from multiplying. I've greatly expanded on my regimen of only cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, but have yet to find anything that really works on those fine lines.

  • December 9, 2009

    by Angela

    . . . and I forgot to add that I would love to try Dermaphisiologique's Mineral Sructura Cream and write a review. I'm still on the prowl for something to strengthen the skin on my sagging neck. I'm excited about this line and ordered the Optyma Eye Cream which should be arriving any day.

  • December 9, 2009

    by Angela

    Marta,

    This reminds of the story of Estee Lauder. When she first started her cosmetics line it didn't sell well, so she simply raised the prices thereby making women believe it was better than it was, because, of course, high price = value. That appears to be the case with La Mer. It amazes me that this marketing ploy still works considering all the information that we, as consumers, now have at our disposal.

    Thanks for bringing to light the worthlessness of so many high-end products as well as introducing me to some wonderful products I might not have found on my own.

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