Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Banished to the Beauty Graveyard: Creme de la Mer (La Mer Moisturizing Cream)

Yeah, that’s right. I am banishing the celebrity cult-favorite  Creme de la Mer (La Mer Moisturizing Cream) $275 to the bowels of the beauty graveyard after it sat on my shelf for more than a year (simply because I didn’t have the heart to throw away such an expensive product).  Like other idiots out there, I figured if J-Lo can fill a swimming pool with the amount of La Mer she uses yearly and Maria Carey allegedly uses it on her babies’ bottoms, then it must be a miracle cream. I don’t remember what specifically made me pull the ‘idiot tax’ trigger and fork out almost $300 for a cream, but I assume it was at a Gift-with-Purchase event during the dreadfully cold winter months in NYC when I was fed up waking up to dry irritated patchy skin every morning.

I mean let’s face it — if I’m in a Gift-with-Purchase environment, very little is restraining me from making bad decisions.  I’m pretty sure I bought this during a Saks GwP event and gloriously justified my purchase with the cheesy bag full of samples I got for blowing over $250.  I’m getting angry with myself even as I type this recollection of stupidity.  I’m telling you I’m like a gambling addict with a handful of chips in a casino or an alcoholic at an open bar when it come to GwP events. You would think at some point I would just learn to avoid them!  (I have suggested Beauty Addicts Anonymous but our disease simply isn’t being taken seriously)

My Dreadful Results

So given Creme de La Mer’s reputation you can imagine my shock and dismay when after 4 nights of applying the insanely expensive cream my face was covered with welt-like pimples, yucky whiteheads, and mine fields of ugly blackheads. It was so bad I didn’t leave the house for 2 days. (Yes, I’m vain but I seriously thought small children may be frightened if they saw me pass them on the street)

The Ugly Truth

Obviously after treating my war-torn face I immediately looked up the ingredients to find out what could have possibly attacked my face so violently.  It didn’t take a skin detective to figure out the culprit — Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum) is the 2nd listed ingredient!

Here’s what my online medical sources say about Mineral Oil:

WHAT IS IT? An extremely cheap & common petroleum derivative (refined crude oil petrochemical) which is found in 98% of skincare products sold in the US.

HEALTH RISK: Petrochemicals contain neurotoxins which damage the nervous system. Mineral oil forms a film on the surface of your skin that can not be absorbed, thereby blocking the pores and the skin’s natural respiration. It traps dirt and bacteria and blocks the absorption of vitamins/minerals/botanicals that may be in a product. John Hopkins University named mineral oil in cosmetics and moisturizers as the number two cause of aging (first being direct exposure to sun). It may also cause allergic reactions and dryness, as well as promote acne and other skin disorders.

Then, I found that British publication The Daily Mail did an exposé on Creme de La Mer in 2010 that showed according to a cosmetic chemist, the creme’s ingredients cost less than 5% of its total cost. Ouch! To make matters worse, the queen of cosmetics Paula Begoun slammed Creme de La Mer in the article:

Paula Begoun, a beauty expert who is renowned for her in-depth research of cosmetic products and their ingredients, reviews thousands of products – and she is scathing in her assessment of Crème de la Mer

‘It’s just a really dated formula,’ she says. ‘Something straight out of the Seventies. 

‘Product formulations have become much more sophisticated since then. Estee Lauder itself has gone on to develop skincare that is far better than Crème de la Mer, and doesn’t cost as much.’

Needless to say I felt like a total asshole after reading all this research. Perhaps instead of trusting skincare recommendations from US Weekly, next time I’ll actually do a little homework before making such an investment. With that… I banish Creme de la Mer to the dreaded Beauty Graveyard, never to haunt my vanity again!


Janna Posted by Tags , ,

16 Responses to “Banished to the Beauty Graveyard: Creme de la Mer (La Mer Moisturizing Cream)”

  1. February 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm, Nicki said:

    I am so glad you wrote this! I applaud. I have been an esthetician for twenty years and out of all of the La Mer users never have I seen, with my own eyes, any improvement. They still love it and are hooked! My advice. Dump it and spend your money else where!


    • February 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm, janna said:

      Yeah!! Thanks for reading, Nicki! You know I only speak the truth here on Beauty Binge. Where are you an esthetician?


  2. February 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm, Simone said:

    I don’t understand your (non) action. If after using it a few days, if it made you break out, why didn’t you just return it to the store? You would have gotten a full refund.

    I like La Mer before the Estee Lauder Co bought it and changed the formula.


    • February 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm, janna said:

      Good question. The answer is because I’m a chicken shit. Have you ever tried to return a beauty product to Saks? They are a huge pain. I tried to exchange a Tom Ford lipstick for another color and they wouldn’t let me without a hard copy of my receipt. I didn’t feel like enduring the embarrassment and frustration. Sad excuse, but the truth. And I have heard the original formula was hand mixed and a completely different product. Thanks for calling me out, by the way!


  3. February 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm, Danae said:

    I am really glad you wrote this, as I had recently seen this product highly recommended elsewhere and was contemplating taking the $300 plunge… However, I trust you more.


    • February 20, 2013 at 12:12 am, janna said:

      Thanks Danae. I’ve got your back!


  4. February 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm, Gina said:

    Thanks for the info on La Mer. I have only had one jar of it in my lifetime and since then I always felt I was missing out not having it…so expensive!! I am now cured of my “La Mer Envy”.


  5. January 11, 2014 at 8:02 am, Heather said:

    I am now cured of my Creme de la Mer envy. Thank you very much. It was the one thing that I would have LOVED to try, even with occasional ezcema flare ups. No more. Thank you for your candour.


    • January 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm, janna said:

      Awww… Thank you so much for reading! You can always count on my candor. 😉 Let me know if you need other suggestions…


  6. July 04, 2014 at 6:13 am, Holly said:

    I have purchased obscene amounts of this cream, not that I can afford to but I suffer with pustular psoriasis and this is the only product I have ever found to help. Within a few days of applying this my flared up red scaly skin looks less angry and more flexible. I understand it’s extremely expensive but please if you don’t like it give your honest opinion but don’t force others to feel the same without trying it as it may well help. I don’t use it for vanity I use it for sanity! Psoriasis is very painful/annoying to live with and can drive a person mad!


  7. October 01, 2014 at 8:18 am, GPVD said:

    My wife has been using La Mer for 2 years now. It was only after a year that one could really see the results. If you folk think its a magic potion after a few applications, well I’m afraid no cream will ever work for you. It’s like a diet, you either commit and see the results over time, or you do it for a few weeks, and dont notice any results then blame the diet…

    You think people who have the most fab looking skin, look the way they do cause of a miracle – 3 application product? No, they do the sme routines every day, when they rise and when they go to bed. They treat their skins with respect. Helloooooo!!!


  8. October 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm, Kelly said:

    I have been using La Mer for over three months. The main reason for me to use it is the dark spots on my skin. They are not only dark but also raised and when irritated they got bigger. Because of them I could not wear make up, but make-up makes them look horrifying. They look like moles, but the doctor said that they are not moles, and there is very little he can do about them.

    My dermatologist is one of the best voted by the doctors of the city, but he said it is a common skin condition, there is nothing he can do except freezing and removing them, and that is going to scar and leaving a terrible dark spot on my skin. They are not sun spots, because I have them under my arm pit.

    I have tried almost every skin care product, none of them helped. Ever since I started to try La Mer, after 1 month, I noticed that some of the biggest raised spots started to peel off. After two months, the other raised or unraised black spots started to level off, develop scabs on top, and then peel off.

    It sounds scary, but it works for me. Comparing with the other option I have, freezing, it is working really well, and comparatively, might be even cheaper, since insurance does not cover these.

    I am planning for using it for over 1 or 2 years, because I can’t afford it for that long. But I am quite sure giving the current rate, all my problems will all be solved before that.


  9. April 07, 2015 at 10:31 pm, heather donald said:

    Quick, send it to 2962 Snowmist trail, Madison Wi, 53719… I will pay delivery!!!


  10. April 10, 2015 at 3:45 am, Nalini Kannigan said:

    Hi, I’ve been using Creme De La Mer for 16 years now. I swear by its miraculous healing properties. Being a very rich miracle broth I’m pretty certain not all skin types will absorb it without repercussions. So the only conclusion is that this Miracle Cream is only suited for certain skin types. I have two daughters who also break out in pimples due to its very rich texture but here’s the irony, they would use La Mer to spot treat scars left by acne. And it works like a dream. Sounds strange but it’s true. I hope my contribution will assist someone out there. Nalini Kannigan.


  11. April 25, 2017 at 10:51 am, Angie said:

    I am so glad I found someone else having an reaction after using Creme de La Mer. My face is having a terrible reaction now: red and swollen after 3 days of using this product. I am glad someone is speaking out about it. This teaches me to do my research before making an investment. I will try to return it to store tomorrow!


  12. June 29, 2017 at 9:25 pm, Mariela said:

    I bought La mer and returned it after it burned my face after I applied it. I will never use la mer creme again as it caused my face to turn extremely red seconds after application.


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