Creme de la mer – is it worth the money?
Would you pay nearly £120 for a 30ml pot of a moisturising cream ? Or about $125?
Is it worth it?
Most of your are probably shaking your head and screaming “no way”!
Well, this is what the owners of creme de la mer are asking for.
And in this article, we will dissect creme de la mer and i will give you my verdict whether you should buy it or leave it on the shelf.
Creme de la mer is a French moisturising cream which has the tag of the “most expensive moisturiser in the world”.
Creme de la mer was created by a gentleman by the name of Max Hauber.
He was a bit of a mad scientist, and he was severely burnt during his work. As a result he began a quest to create a wonderful healing cream that he could use on himself, because he was so dissatisfied with the available treatments for his burns.
Today the creme de la mer brand is part of the Estée Lauder empire and it remains a cult product among the Hollywood elite.
How are we going to decide if creme de la mer is worth the price ?
Well, I personally consider the VALUE a product brings and I weigh that against the price.
I have no problem paying the price if the product justifies it with the value it brings.
Some people will be adamant that no moisturiser should cost £120, no matter how good. Unless it has gold dust sprinkled on it !
But I tend to disagree.
So in this review of creme de la mer I am going to take 2 factors into account:
1) quality of the ingredients and the scientific evidence behind them.
2) user feedback
Ingredients of Creme de la mer
Here is the ingredient list for creme de la mer
- Seaweed (Algae) Extract
- Mineral oil Glycerin
- 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 amygdulus dulcis (sweet almond) seed meal
- Sodium Gluconate
- Potassium Gluconate
- Copper Gluconate
- Calcium Gluconate
- Magnesium Gluconate
- Zinc Gluconate
- Tocopheryl succinate
- Decyl oleate
- Aluminium distearate
- Citric acid
- Magnesium stearate
- Benzyl salicylate
- Alcohol Denat.
- Fragrance (Parfum)
The main ingredient of creme de la mer is seaweed.
How do we know this ?
Well, because if you look at the creme de la mer label it is the first product that is listed. And by law, manufacturers have to list the most common ingredient in the product first in this way. In Europe and the USA anyway.
So what does seaweed do ?
Well it claims to be an antioxidant.
Are antioxidant’s creme de la mer’s secret weapon?
Antioxidants cleanse the body of harmful waste products called free radicals..
Our body produces these naturally, because our body is a living organisms which produces waste like any other living organism.
If these free radicals are left to roam the body they can cause severe damage to all the body’s tissues, including the skin.
In particular, free radicals can breakdown Elastin in the skin.
Elastin is the skin component responsible for maintaining skin elasticity. Naturally as we age the elastin levels decline and the skin starts to sag and appear more wrinkly. And a huge part of this is due to the long term impact of free radicals on elastin.
So if we can reduce the level free radicals we have a better chance of enjoying a more elastic and more youthful looking skin, for longer.
Another component of the skin which free radicals damage is collagen.
Collagen is a tough but malleable tissue which sits in the deeper layers of the skin. It acts as one of the foundations which supports the skin.
And just as with elastin, collagen plays a crucial rule in keeping the skin looking youthful. So the longer you can keep collagen at an optimal level the better.
Creme de la mer benefits for Eczema and dry skin
The second most common ingredient in creme de la mer is mineral oil.
This sounds a lot more sophisticated than it actually is. Mineral oil is simply the thick black sludge that is a by-product of crude oil production. When used on the skin it provides a thick barrier that prevents loss of moisture. So we can safely speculate creme de la mer would be an excellent choice for people with eczema and dry skin conditions.
Eczema is a skin condition which results in dry and itchy skin. If not managed properly, eczema can lead to serious complications such as infections. The key to treating eczema is to restore the barrier function of the skin by “locking in” moisture. And the creme de la mer mineral oil would be ideal for that.
It is also probably why creme de la mer is such a thick creme.
Mineral oil is actually a very cheap ingredient so if we were looking around the ingredient list trying to justify the creme de la mere price, this would not be it !!
Even the third most common ingredient in creme de la mer, petrolatum, is very cheap. So that doesn’t justify the price tag of creme de la mer either. It is present in many moisturisers which are considerably cheaper than creme de la mer.
What about crem de la mere’s “miracle broth”?
I think this is where the creme de la mere magic is at.
As well as the common ingredients which we highlighted above, creme de la mer claims its “miracle broth” is at the heart of the product’s benefits for skin.
So what exactly is in the miracle broth?
Well let’s have a look at the ingredient :
An essential mineral for healthy bones and teeth but what purpose does it serve for skin?
Well, most of the calcium in the skin is found in the epidermis, which is among the top layers of the skin.
It is thought that calcium regulates how fast the skin turns over. Remember, skin is continuously regenerating as old skin is shed and is replaced by new skin. A skin low in calcium tends to be dull, brittle and dry.
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in creme de mer. And although it has enormous benefits for many organs in the body, such as the heart and kidneys; the skin is relatively less affected by fluctuations in potassium levels. No doubt it plays a role in maintaining healthy skin but I wouldn’t say it is a significant role.
Magnesium has enormous benefits for the body.
But just like with potassium, its impact on skin is relatively low. Magnesium is thought to contribute to cardiovascular health and it is also thought to help with endocrine health, preventing conditions such as diabetes.
If it plays a role in skin health it is probably more in a support role rather than a leading one.
I think most of us are familiar with main role of iron in the body.
It maintains optimal levels of haemoglobin, which is the molecule in the body that carries oxygen.
Without iron the individual is at risk of anaemia. And this has an impact on the appearance of the skin.
In an anaemic person, skin appears pale and dull, and this is actually one of the tell tale signs of anaemia.
Normally we obtain almost all of our iron from diet. Absorbing iron through the skin is a fairly novel and unusual idea. But with the right expertise, it may be possible.
Lechitin is a well known emollient used in many skincare products.
An emollient is a substance that locks in or gives moisture to the skin, which can potentially alleviate conditions such as eczema and other dry skin conditions..
VItamin C is a powerful antioxidant which is crucial for maintaining youth and vitality of the skin.
It prevents the build up of toxic molecules called free radicals by mopping them up. This preserves crucial skin components such elastin and collagen.
It is quite difficult formulating vitamin C for skin use because it is not a stable chemical.
It tends to react with moisture and oxygen easily, causing hydrolysis and oxidation. Both processes render the vitamin C inactive and can potentially lead to microbial growth.
To avoid these problems, the manufacturing process has to be done with precision and expertise, and having been around for over 70 years, you would hope creme de la mer makers have this nailed down.
Vitamin E is another wonderful and proven antioxidant found in creme de la mer. Just like vitamin C it helps in maintaining youthfulness of the skin, but it is also a wonderful moisturiser.
Vitamin B12 has excellent benefits for the skin. It prevents dullness and it is thought to help in skin healing, for example after minor injuries.
In more recent years, it has emerged that vitamin b12 can help with uneven skin tones, resulting either from injuries or from idiopathic skin conditions such as vitiligo.
I suspect the people who will find most benefit from b12 in skincare are those with uneven skin tone, as this is a problem with few options in terms of available treatments. So creme de la mer might be an excellent options for these people.
– Essential oil of eucalyptus
Essential oils have varied benefits for the body.
But as far as the skin is concerned, their main benefit is their bactericidal activity. This means that they inhibit bacterial growth.
All of us have bacteria living naturally on our skin. For the majority of the time they cause us no problems. But in certain skin conditions, such as acne, they can cause infections. So by keeping their numbers to a minimum we avoid any potential for skin infections to pop up.
-alfalfa seed powder
Alfalfa seed powder comes from the alfalfa flower.
It is commonly added to oriental sandwiches and soups, and it is revered for its health benefits. Studies have shown that it can combat two of the most common health ailments in the west, cancer and diabetes.
As for its skin benefits, it is a great source of vitamin c , which is a fantastic antioxidant. It is also full of other antioxidants.
Sunflower seedcake is an excellent skin emollient. It is rich in fatty acids such as linoleic acid.
It’s rich fatty acid content gives it the ability to penetrate the skin layers, which is a tough challenge for most skin emollients. This gives it excellent absorption profile.
Some studies have shown sunflower seeds have anti- inflammatory properties which is excellent news for eczema and dermatitis sufferers.
Inflammation features heavily in eczema, which is why the skin in eczema patients often appears red and angry. So if you can reduce skin inflammation you are likely to minimise frequency and severity of eczema flare ups.
There is no doubt that these ingredients have excellent benefit for the skin and indeed for the whole body. They are a mix of antioxidants and moisturisers. But only if they can be well absorbed across the skin layers.
The skin is a very tough organ to penetrate. It is primarily there to protect and its design reflects this objective.
It is built like a defensive wall made of brick upon brick and layer upon layer. Each layer has a slightly different chemical composition too.
So any molecule wishing to penetrate this fortress must be the right size and have the right chemical composition.
So the question is, how well does the miracle broth in creme de la mer get absorbed across the skin?
I suppose the proof will be in the use and the results, because we have no conclusive data on this.
3 cheap alternatives to Creme De La Mer
Let’s face it, not all of us can blow $120 on a moisturizer!
So here are 3 cheap and extremely effective moisturizers as an alternative to creme de la mer.
- Aveeno Cream
Based on oatmeal, this moisturizer has a slightly more runny consistent than the typical emollient ensuring brilliant penetration of the skin. And best of all its based on natural ingredients.
Recommended frequently by dermatologists, this amazon favourite packs Ceramides and Hyaluronic acid. The intense hydration of Hyaluronic acid is a must for those who are serious about improving their skin. CeraVe comes in at a wallet-friendly $14 per pack.
3. Korean snail cream
This is slightly more left field but a brilliant alternative nevertheless. The slim from snails has been used for decades in the korean Peninsula to hydrate and rejuvenate the skin.
It is slightly more expensive than the other two alternatives above but still hugely cheaper than Creme De La mer.
Is it worth buying creme de la mer?
Creme de la mer is not expensive because it contains a ground breaking miracle ingredient that isn’t found anywhere else, because it doesn’t.
But its “miracle broth” contains nutrients that are very rarely found in any other skin moisturiser. Things like vitamin B12 and magnesium; are unheard of in preparations for the skin.
You also have to bear in mind, this is a 70 year old brand. They have had 70 years to perfect and fine tune their formula.
Because of these very unusual ingredients, i have a hunch, and it’s only a hunch because i have no evidence for this, that creme de la mer would be excellent for people with chronic skin conditions such as eczema.
Finally, to answer the original question in this article,
i think EVERYONE should try creme de la mer at least once in their lifetime.
Everyone should embrace its history and charm at least once.
Everyone should be able to say:
“I once paid £$120 for a cream!”
I hope you enjoyed the article.
Please share and comment
If you used Creme de la mer, please share your feelings in the comments section below. In particular tell us about it’s smell, and texture – the things which we cannot tell by looking at the label. And most importantly tell us if it made a difference to your skin.