I've tried La Mer on and off throughout the years, and waited about a decade (!) to write this review. My reasons for not buying into the hype:
If you're old enough to remember when La Mer was re-released by EL, there was an in-depth article in the NY Times or LA Times (i can't recall exactly --and this was way before Google existed), that detailed the whole process of trying to replicate Max Huber's formula. Remember, he died and left the "recipe" which EL chemists were left trying to decipher based on his messy crib notes, which involved adding vibrations to the mixing tank, playing classical music to the "broth", etc, etc. After much trial and error, EL chemists finally "got it right" (or did they?) and voila -- mass production began.
However, just like "Mom's chicken soup", simply duplicating a formula is not bound to guarantee exact results. How many times have you tried to match a recipe only to never have it taste as good as the real thing? Of course it helps if Mom or the original chef guides you step-by-step -- much easier, right?
But here is the key point: Huber wasn't alive to guide anyone through the replication process. Worse yet, his notes were like chicken scratch.
Just like the "love" element to a homemade batch of cookies or soup, synergistically there was something more that Huber added to garner miraculous results for his original cream. I truly believe that there was something special about Huber's formula; he was known to give some kind of vibrational TLC to each handcrafted, small batch. But like with any family-held secret recipe, there is always something missing when you try to do it yourself--or worse yet, scale it up industrially for the global market.
Other key factors:
I have met wealthy, older people (women *and* men) who have used Huber's original formula and they acknowledge that EL's version is not the same. (Hang out at enough NYC charity/gallery events for the moneyed Bergdorf's crowd and eventually you'll meet some eccentric characters too.)
I've met people who worked for the La Mer brand, and their skin is totally normal or average. These women have easy access to tubs of this product and with these high expectations, you'd think they'd be the walking fountain of youth, with miraculously baby-smooth skin that makes them look 20 years younger. Nope. Look at the La Mer SA's at the counter. Inspect their skin carefully. Is it smooth, bright, luminous? More often than not, i have met La Mer SA's with average skin, or even sagging, wrinkled skin. Not a good testimony.
As for La Mer's purported "healing" power -- if this product truly "healed" skin or did something so great, where are the clinical trials and quantitative data to support it? Surely the Estee Lauder corporation can afford it, as they do with so many of their other products like Advanced Night Repair, Idealist, etc ---undergone rigorous testing and clinicals (i.e. 28% reduction in fine lines, 57% increase in hydration, 88% improvement in spots, etc). Guess what? There are NO quantitative claims with Creme de la Mer at all. Hmm.
What's left? An amazing story, which EL cleverly bought the rights to. When you spend the $$$ for a jar of La Mer, that's what you're getting. But that's part of the allure --- believing in legend is enough to trigger the placebo effect, and for some people it's enough to get great results.
I'm not saying this cream is bad - it moisturizes well and provides emolliency to support the skin barrier function. Those are the results i had.
i've been using la mer for many years and i've searched high and low for another moisturizer because of the astronomical price but whenever i switch, i always keep coming back.
i have very dry skin that is prone to redness, inflammation and flaking but la mer keeps my skin soft and smooth all day. other moisturizers (and i only buy name brand) work well but mid-day, my face feels tight and dry.
i also find that when my skin freaks out and gets sensitive, i put a bit of this cream on and it goes away. who knows if the "magic broth" is true but it makes my skin feel soft and smooth so i'll keep buying this (and continue searching for a less expensive alternative in the mean time)
I've been using Creme de la Mer as for about 1 year.
For those who say it is not worth the $ and claim German Nivea is a dupe, I respectfully disagree; it has some similarities, but definitively NOT the same. CDLM emulsifies when warmed up between your fingers - Nivea barely does. It also stays a bit tacky and is harder to apply. I find CDLM is healing vs Nivea which acts more like a barrier cream.
I like German Nivea, but for other purposes. It was a staple in our home growing up in Europe, however I use it in the traditional way - for the odd rough spots on the body or as a hand/foot cream at night.
When my skin is dry, peeling or raw, CDLM fixes it in 2 days max; usually overnight. No other cream, serum or oil has been able to do that. I find it very soothing/healing after an IPL photofacials or after a chemical peel. During the colder months I use it nightly over my eye cream.
I highly recommend this only if you have dry skin or a compromised barrier. I don't buy into it preventing wrinkles, but it sure is a moisture boost! The only reason I do not give it 5 stars is the price, especially with the recent increase
I started using La Mer 12 years ago after trying a sample. As I swam daily in salt water and chlorine, my skin needed serious moisture and La Mer provides it. It is expensive, however it's been worth it as my skin looks and feels better now than it did 12 years ago. Growing up in a seaside town in Australia, my skin has a lot of sun damage and La Mer has helped my skin counteract this damage. I bought some for my sister as a present, and she's now hooked, too.
Let me add my voice to the chorus of praise for this product! I am in my 50s with combo-problem-hypersensitive crazy bi-polar like skin and this stuff stopped all this chaos in about a month's worth of use.
I don't believe marketing upfront and probably would have skipped ever trying this -I've used expensive stuff before with moderate results BUT received the mid-sized jar as a gift!
I use this nightly - after a good wash with Estee Lauder's pink Soft Wash in the tube (gets all the makeup off!) - I can honestly report fine lines around the eyes almost gone - scar on forehead there ever since I was 25 - almost gone - lines above my lips - gone!
Texture is very rich and thick - but melts into the skin rather quickly leaving a nice glow - not a grandma cold cream nightmare!
Yes! It is hideously expensive! -but wow, it is soooo nice to wake up and not look like spleck! in the morning mirror.
It's quite interesting to read some of the reviews of this product...what a range of opinions! Someone hates the old style jar and wants a pump style package. Another hates the pump and thinks it will make you use up the product faster! I have the moisturizer in the jar, and the rejuvenating product in a pump bottle, and I like both just fine. I have no trouble getting just the amount I want from either one. And someone said the recommendation to rub it between two fingers is bad because your fingers absorb most of it. Um, no...your fingers may absorb a tiny amount the first dab, but then no more, as they can't keep on and on absorbing!
Also someone said she was told this was just repackaged Nivea products. La Mer is a subsidiary of Estee Lauder (who, I have read, follows the exact production of the "miracle broth" as the inventor devised) and has nothing to do with nivea. It's not all a big plot to fool us, haha!
Okay, I am 67 years old and haven't always taken the best care of my skin, thought it has been forgiving, thank goodness. But I totally agree with the person who said that it's silly for people in their teens and twenties to lay out the big bucks for these products...the cream was invented by a physicist who had his face damaged in an explosion...it's for skin in need of extraordianry care! I didn't start using it till I was past 65. But it's such an excellent product that I'm willing to work it in to my budget as long as I can. I'm no longer trying to look young and beautiful, I just want my skin to be moisturized in a healthy and comfortable way. La Mer does that and more...helps minimize wrinkles and big pores and redness. It's the best thing that ever happened to my face!
First, I'll start by stating that this moisturizer is ridiculously expensive and feels good at first but then I start to get dry/flaky skin on my forehead and I thought it couldn't possibly be this moisturizer but once I stopped using it for a bit the dryness went away....definitely not a coincidence. I've switched to the Garnier Gel Cream for summer and my face has never looked better....save your money ladies!!!
I never thought that I will be writing a review about this product. My husband bought me a mall La Mer creme jar last christmas along with other goodies and i just put it away being skeptical. I recently used Cerave PM for night cream, and in 2 days I had fine red bumps on my face (furious since I am not the type that breaks out easily). Desperate I reached out for this cream and applied it one night (just one night!) and the next morning my face calmed down, fine red bumps were gone! This is an amazing product.
The only reason I don't give this a 5 is its high price. But honestly, for me it's worth it. It's very thick so a little bit goes a long way. I don't need to use it every night, and I usually only use it in the winter. I've tried drugstore substitutes, like Nivea, but there's nothing else so gentle AND effective, moisturizing without being oily. What really sold me on it was when I once got a really bad skin reaction to using retinol plus a random Korean serum - I think it may have had alpha hydroxy acids in it? Whatever the exact combo, it basically gave me a chemical peel. I'd never seen my skin like that - It was red, angry, peeling, irritated and crazy painful. It hurt even when I wasn't touching it. Creme de la mer was the ONLY thing that soothed it and brought it back to normal. I don't know how much it does for wrinkle prevention but it does leave my skin super soft and creamy-looking.
Way too expensive, it does do a great job I will give it that but ugh the fragrance from it irritated my nose A LOT I kept sneezing from it, it annoyed me more than anything. I got compliments that my skin looked nice but it was not worth the irritation. felt like my nose was going to start bleeding from all the sneezing I did. if it had a different fragrance that was not as strong or maybe no fragrance at all I would buy it but for now NO