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Creme De La Mer – Worth the Hype and Price?


Creme De La Mer has never been a budget skin treatment. It is a formulation “born from the sea” that devotees and the La Mer marketing and PR messaging, believe “has the power to transform the skin”. Creme De La Mer is a The Miracle Broth™ is the cornerstone of La Mer. This luxury skincare product that contains is nutrient rich which the makers say immerses skin with moisture, calms sensitive skin and restores radiance. There is also a specific method of application to ensure all those nutrients reach into the skin.

Creme De La Mer regular packaging
Creme De La Mer regular packaging

Firstly, I’ll just make a quick comment on the regular packaging. I don’t think the packaging would inspire me to part with $445 for 100ml or the bulk buy for 500ml of $2,960 from David Jones. Compared to other prestige offerings from Dior, Chanel, Lancome and Shiseido, who all have luxury skincare face cremes that are up there ($500 and up), but their packaging is much more luxurious and sits front and centre of the dressing table.

Creme La Mer, in my opinion, doesn’t look terribly high-end. It has kept its original packaging over the years and whilst iconic, it doesn’t do it for me. While other brands have moved into luxurious pots, Creme De La Mer has kept the same white jar with an ordinary lid. As a designer, it doesn’t appeal to me nor inspires me to invest in what appears to be a dated formulation.

creme de la mer packaging – box and container
creme de la mer packaging – box and container

What’s Beneath the Lid?

So let’s look inside. La Mer has a very minimal website with a pretty page. There is buckets of white space with gorgeous photography of about 6 active ingredients of La Mer listed. The site is sketchy in detail. I can’t see any scientific studies or references to research.

After a fair bit of hunting, I finally found the list of ingredients online. Ingredient listings go from largest quantity to smallest. I just don’t see anything here to justify the lofty price tag. Honestly, I really wanted to find a miracle but was disappointed by the tired and basic list of a formulation that hasn’t moved with the times or technological advances since the 1970’s.

Seaweed (Algae) Extract, Mineral oil, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Extract, Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Sesame Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Magnesium Sulfate, Sesame Seed, Medicago sativa (alfalfa) seed powder, Helianthus Annuus (sunflower) Seedcake, Prunus amygdules Dulcis (sweet almond) seed meal, Sodium Gluconate, Potassium Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Paraffin, Tocopheryl succinate, Niacin, Beta-carotene, Decyl oleate, Aluminium di stearate, Octyldodecanol, Citric acid, Cyanocobalamin, Magnesium stearate, Panthenol, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Benzyl salicylate, Citral, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Alcohol Denat, Fragrance (Parfum).

Mineral Oil and Nutrient Absorption

Note on nutrient delivery: the second ingredient listed in Creme de La Mer’s ingredient listing is mineral oil. Mineral Oil not the criminal that many “natural” ranges say it is, but that’s not the point here. Because of the size of the molecules of mineral oil, it cannot penetrate the skin and logic would say it would form a barrier, preventing the active ingredients fro being absorbed. I could be wrong but I’m just putting it out there. Thus, no matter how much of the fermented kelp Miracle Broth you throw on your face, it cannot get through the barrier of mineral oil. I’m no scientist though and happy to see studies disproving this.

The Miracle Broth™ is the corner stone of La Mer as a luxury skincare product
The Miracle Broth™ is the cornerstone of La Mer as a luxury skincare product

What is the key marketing message?

At the heart of the La Mer ethos is the “The Miracle Broth™” which, from what I can ascertain is a fermented sea kelp. How this works on the skin isn’t backed up by any scientific studies that I could locate. None of the ingredients (which must be listed by law in Australia) is particularly revolutionary or beyond those found in chemist/drugstore brands.

I Want To Believe the Hype about Luxury Skincare

I buy luxury skincare because it inspires me to use it and take care of my skin. Chemist/drugstore brands can be great, but the plastic packaging sitting on my dressing table doesn’t make me want to apply religiously.

The brand has luxury skincare “show-off” value when your friends visit and see La Mer on your bathroom shelf, but that’s about the only benefit I can see. Paying AUD$445 for an outdated formulation seems excessive, in light of the ingredient listing. As far as luxury skincare products go, I’d rather a version with a great formulation such as the Dior Prestige, which it’s stunning glass and gold pot or the Immortelle Divine Creme By L’Occitane.

Creme De La Mer Luxury Skincare Reviews:

Because of its cult status, I wanted to share some reviews from a variety of makeup/beauty websites:

One last link, where a scientist compared Nivea with La Mer, which has surprising (or maybe no so when you look at La Mer’s ingredients) results.


This elixir of youth is out of my realistic budget. I’d actually rather spend it on Botox or Dysport, which I know will fend off aging, at least for 3-4 months, and use a moderately priced but effective luxury skincare cream such as the L’Occitane Creme Divine which is $147, 20% of the price of La Me and more effective and just as luxurious.

Creme De La Mer is available from David Jones for $445 for 50ml.

Read more about La Mer.

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(1) Comment

  1. Johanna says:

    Have you tried the cream? I always think the proof is in the sample. I would have never purchased loccitane’s divine cream if the sample didn’t blow me away. I would love to know how the two compare after usage. To me currently there’s no brand that competes with the effects the divine cream has on my skin, but I like to keep my eyes open…

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