In the beauty world there are products which have achieved cult favorite status, like Egyptian Magic Cream and Maelove Glow Maker. And then there are products which have entered the stratosphere to become legends, such as Crème de la Mer. It’s a celebrity favorite, whose fans include Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, and Kate Moss, just to name a few.
But is Crème de la Mer really worth the hype? To answer this question, we’re going to evaluate the product formulation details, including what ingredients are used and in what concentrations. We’ll also review a few more of the most popular La Mer products, and we’ll share some La Mer reviews so that you can get a better idea of what customers really think about these products.
What Are The Top 10 Most Popular La Mer Skin Care Products?
Crème de la Mer is the La Mer moisturizer that started it all, but the brand has created a collection of skin care products that include additional moisturizers, serums, lotions, eye products, lip products, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular La Mer skin care products.
Crème de la Mer
Crème de la Mer is a rich facial cream that promises to help heal dryness, promote soft and supple skin, and visibly soften lines and wrinkles. At $190 for just one ounce, this cream better do all of that and file our taxes!
After taking a look at the key ingredients, we can say that Crème de la Mer is formulated to help with dryness due to the inclusion of occlusive emollients like mineral oil, petrolatum, and sesame seed oil.
Petrolatum (aka Vaseline) is what gives Crème de la Mer its thick texture, but it’s this ingredient that causes the cream to sit on top of your skin. Since Crème de la Mer doesn’t absorb, it can feel heavy and a tad greasy on the skin. Needless to say, this isn’t the best moisturizer to wear underneath makeup.
Like all La Mer products, one of Crème de la Mer’s key ingredients is the brand’s proprietary Miracle Broth (we’ll give you all the details on Miracle Broth in the Key Ingredients section below).
Lime extract is another key ingredient in Crème de la Mer. Lime is a citrus fruit with volatile compounds that are skin sensitizers and photosensitizers. Not to mention the formula is packed with additional fragrance ingredients that have the potential to cause skin sensitivity.
Bottom Line: Crème de la Mer is a favorite among customers and even celebrities, but in our opinion it’s not worth the hype since the formula is very basic and due to the inclusion of fragrance.
La Mer The Concentrate
Another La Mer product that is quite popular despite its rather unimpressive formula is The Concentrate. Instead of using water as a base, the ingredient cyclopentasiloxane (a type of silicone) is the base of La Mer The Concentrate. The formula includes high concentrations of several more silicones, as well as glycerin (a humectant) and algae extract.
The silicones in this serum will help the skin to immediately feel soft and smooth while also temporarily blurring the look of lines and wrinkles. They also help to increase the skin’s hydration. But at a price of $200 for just a half ounce, we expected more than a bottle full of silicones.
The formula contains low concentrations of botanical extracts that may provide some benefits. But then there are some botanical extracts — like eucalyptus oil, lime peel extract, and lavender oil — that have the potential to cause irritation due to the volatile fragrance components.
Bottom Line: La Mer The Concentrate is a lackluster formula that mostly consists of silicones, glycerin, and algae extract — not worth the hefty price tag in our opinion!
La Mer The Treatment Lotion
The Treatment Lotion is a hydrating lotion that’s meant to be used after cleansing, but before your serum and moisturizer, in order to prep skin for the rest of your regimen. The formula does contain quite a few hydrating ingredients, including algae extract and humectants like glycerin and sucrose (sugar).
The rest of the formula is very similar to other La Mer products, with ingredients like sesame seed oil, alfalfa powder, sunflower seed cake, eucalyptus oil, and (unfortunately) many fragrance ingredients.
Bottom Line: While we don’t think The Treatment Lotion is a necessity, it could be a good option if you have dehydrated skin and you’d like to draw moisture into your skin before applying your serum and moisturizer. However, there are many other products that provide the same hydrating benefits without the added fragrance, such as Formulyst Hyaluronic Boosting Serum and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid + B5.
La Mer The Regenerating Serum
The Regenerating Serum has an extensive formula consisting of a variety of ingredients that are claimed to rapidly diminish the look of lines and wrinkles. Now when we say extensive, we aren’t exaggerating; the formula contains more than 90 ingredients!
But is more always better? Not necessarily, especially considering they have to be using low concentrations of each ingredient in order to include so many in one formula.
Looking at the beginning of the ingredient list (the highest concentration ingredients), The Regenerating Serum includes water, algae extract, dimethicone, and several more silicones and synthetic emollients.
Bottom Line: Another La Mer product filled with silicones, which help your skin to feel and look very soft and smooth. They also help to temporarily blur lines and wrinkles, making you think the serum is working.
This La Mer cream for dry skin has a very similar formula to Crème de la Mer, with key ingredients like algae extract, silicones, and petrolatum.
The main difference between The Moisturizing Soft Cream and Crème de la Mer is the softer, less thick texture. Even though it’s not as thick as Crème de la Mer, The Moisturizing Soft Cream is still ideal for those with combination or dry skin types.
And when we say ideal, we mean if you’re set on purchasing a product from La Mer. In our opinion, there are other brands that produce similar moisturizing products for a fraction of the price, such as Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer.
Bottom Line: Another La Mer cream for dry skin that is very similar to Crème de la Mer, but “softer” and not as thick.
La Mer The Eye Concentrate
This La Mer eye cream contains many of the same key ingredients as other La Mer products, including seaweed extract, dimethicone, glycerin, and synthetic emollients.
Unfortunately, there are high concentrations of ingredients that have the potential to cause skin irritation, including eucalyptus oil, lime peel extract, and several more. And we know this is a problem based on the number of La Mer reviews for The Eye Concentrate from customers who experienced reactions like redness, swelling, burning, and irritation after using this product.
For example, one review says, “I used it a few times but it seemed very irritating. My under eyes were swollen and sore.”
And a similar review says, “It causes my eyelids and under eye area to become dry, flaky, swollen and sensitive to the touch.”
Bottom Line: This La Mer eye cream is packed with fragrance ingredients that have the potential to cause skin irritation and other adverse reactions.
La Mer The Renewal Oil
A facial oil with a long list of ingredients, with the highest concentration ingredients being meadowfoam seed oil, dimethicone, caprylic/capric triglyceride, water, trisiloxane, sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil.
These are beneficial ingredients that will help the skin to feel soft and smooth. The fatty acids in meadowfoam seed oil, sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil will also help to strengthen the skin barrier.
But you probably know by now that if you look at the end of the ingredient list, you’ll find a handful of irritating fragrance ingredients, as well as dyes (Yellow 5 and 6).
Bottom Line: La Mer The Renewal Oil contains a good mix of botanical oils and emollients, but the fragrance in this formula may lead to irritation.
La Mer The Hydrating Illuminator
A highlighter with a universal shade that can be worn alone or under makeup to brighten and enhance the complexion. The formula includes the minerals mica and titanium dioxide to reflect light from the face, creating the illusion of a smoother, softer, and more radiant skin tone.
Additional key ingredients include silicones, synthetic emollients, jojoba seed oil, shea butter, seaweed extract, glycerin, sesame seed oil, and many more botanical extracts. And don’t forget the added fragrance, which you’ll find in nearly all La Mer skin care products.
Bottom Line: Mica and titanium dioxide are commonly used in highlighters, and there’s no doubt you can find a product with these ingredients for a fraction of the cost of this La Mer highlighter, such as Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream.
La Mer Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation
This La Mer foundation is available in 28 shades and offers buildable coverage to refine the look of skin and smooth imperfections. The formula also provides broad spectrum SPF 20 protection thanks to the sunscreen ingredients octinoxate and titanium dioxide.
Additional key ingredients in this La Mer foundation include silicones, seaweed extract, sesame seed oil, and many more botanical extracts. Of course, the brand felt the need to add fragrance to this foundation. Want to know the worst part? The added fragrance doesn’t even smell good!
Many reviews for this La Mer foundation comment on the unpleasant smell of the formula. For example, one review says, “I love the way the foundation looks and covers lines, but the smell is not pleasant”. And another reviewer shares, “It’s very runny, but the worst part is the smell. Yuck, yuck, yuck.”
Bottom Line: It’s great that this La Mer foundation provides broad spectrum SPF 20 protection while offering buildable coverage, but we wish the brand would leave out the fragrance.
La Mer The Cleansing Foam
A gentle cleansing foam that is said to draw out impurities and excess oil, leaving you with a bright, fresh, healthy-looking complexion. Like most cleansers, the key ingredients in this formula are surfactants.
A surfactant molecule contains one end that is hydrophilic (attracted to water) and one end that is lipophilic (attracted to oil). This allows surfactants to attract and suspend oils, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away.
Additional key ingredients include glycerin, seaweed extract, sesame seed oil, and many more botanical extracts.
Bottom Line: A basic foaming cleanser that uses surfactants to clean the skin.
What is The Best La Mer Cream?
While we weren’t particularly impressed with any of the La Mer cream formulations, we would have to say that out of all of them, Crème de la Mer is the best. The high concentrations of seaweed extract, mineral oil, and petrolatum (aka vaseline) will help to keep your skin moisturized. Although, as you’ll learn below, there’s a good chance you can find a face cream with similar ingredients as Crème de la Mer for a fraction of the cost.
Does Crème de la Mer Really Work?
At $345 for a 2 ounce jar of Crème de la Mer, you’d hope that this La Mer cream would give you flawless skin, right? While the formulation does contain moisturizing ingredients, we don’t think that Crème de la Mer is a miracle skin care product.
And we aren’t the only ones. In an article published on the Daily Mail, cosmetic chemist Will Buchanan examined the ingredients in Crème de la Mer, and he deduced he could create a similar product for about $13 using mineral oil, petrolatum, glycerin, and eucalyptus leaf oil.
In 2013, the Daily Mail had a writer use Nivea on one side of her face, and Crème de la Mer on the other for 30 days. Her skin was examined at the beginning and end of the 30 days at a clinic using the Visia, which measures wrinkles, sun damage, redness and pore size. Guess which side had more improvement at the end of the month, in terms of hydration and reduction of redness? The side that had been treated with Nivea.
What Are The Key Ingredients in La Mer Skin Care Products?
One thing we noticed about La Mer skin care products is that the product formulations are all very similar, with key ingredients like seaweed extract, silicones, and sesame seed oil. Let’s take a closer look at how these ingredients will affect your skin.
Miracle Broth: Is It Really A Miracle?
All La Mer skin care products contain the brand’s proprietary “Miracle Broth”. This ingredient was created by physicist Dr. Max Huber. When Dr. Huber suffered burns in a lab accident, he looked to the sea for a solution. After twelve years of research and 6,000 experiments, Miracle Broth was born.
Miracle Broth contains hand-harvested sea kelp, nutrients, and minerals. While these ingredients may not seem like anything out of the ordinary, the brand claims the key to their power is in the natural fermentation process. Fermentation can boost the power and efficacy of individual ingredients, which enables them to work synergistically. According to La Mer, the Miracle Broth empowers the five facets of healing: moisture, regeneration, soothing, smoothing, and radiance.
While Miracle Broth sounds great in theory, there’s no research to prove that it provides any of these benefits.
Silicones: Silky Smooth Skin And Temporary Anti-Aging Effects
Many of the La Mer products contain high concentrations of silicones. The main function of silicones in skin care is to improve a product’s spreadability while imparting a silky, smooth skin feel. Silicones also help to improve moisture retention in the skin.
But like we mentioned above, the film that silicones form on the skin helps to temporarily blur lines and wrinkles. This may trick you into thinking that the product is working, but really these effects will disappear once you wash off the product.
Sesame Seed Oil: Unsaturated Fatty Acids are Unstable
Most of the La Mer products — including Crème de la Mer — contain a high concentration of sesame seed oil. This oil is composed of several different fatty acids, but mostly contains oleic acid and linoleic acid.
Oleic acid is an omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid that functions as a penetration enhancer by disturbing the skin barrier.
Linoleic acid is an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). Unfortunately, PUFAs are very unstable and prone to oxidation, which means they easily go rancid and can lead to the generation of free radicals that can damage our cells and lead to signs of aging.
So even though La Mer products are claimed to reduce signs of aging, they may actually cause skin aging due to the high concentration of sesame seed oil in these formulations.
Fragrance: Not Doing Your Skin Any Good!
You may have noticed when we introduced the most popular La Mer skin care products above that all the products contain synthetic fragrance ingredients. The use of synthetic fragrance ingredients can be a problem because the brand can use a proprietary blend of chemicals to create the fragrance, and they do not have to disclose which chemicals they use on the label. They are allowed to list this blend as “Fragrance (Parfum)” on the ingredient list.
A 2018 study by Women’s Voices for the Earth discovered that in over 3,000 chemicals reportedly used for fragrances, 1,242 were chemicals of concern – and that included at least 7 possible carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents.
Plus, fragrance ingredients have the potential to cause skin sensitivity, resulting in side effects like redness, swelling, burning, and irritation.
Where to Buy La Mer Skin Care Products?
La Mer skin care products are sold on the brand’s website, third party ecommerce websites such as Amazon and Sephora, and at select stores and spas. La Mer has a store locator on their website so you can find a store that sells La Mer products near you.
Due to the high cost of the La Mer products, it may be a good idea to avoid third party sellers since there is great incentive for unscrupulous individuals to create counterfeit versions of the products.
What is The La Mer Return Policy?
The La Mer return policy states, “If for any reason you are not happy with your purchase on LaMer.com, you may return the unused portion to us for a refund or exchange. Our Online Experts will be happy to help you find a product to better suit your needs—or refund your purchase price—and we’ll cover the return postage.”
Is La Mer Cruelty Free?
La Mer is not cruelty free. La Mer is owned by Estée Lauder, a company that tests on animals. While Estée Lauder does not conduct animal testing on their products or ingredients, they do test on animals when required to do so by law (such as in China).
Are La Mer Products Vegan?
La Mer is not vegan because some products contain beeswax.
La Mer Reviews
La Mer reviews on the brand’s website are mostly very positive. Crème de la Mer has received an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars after more than 4,000 customer reviews.
There are many positive reviews for Crème de la Mer that mention how it does help to moisturize, brighten, and reduce signs of aging.
For example, one review says, “I love this La Mer cream. I have used so many other ones but nothing really made an impact in such a short time like this one. Everyone has been saying my face looks glowing. I noticed that it had a positive impact on the wrinkles, too. Definitely recommend it!”
And then there are La Mer reviews from customers who recognize that Crème de la Mer simply isn’t worth the price.
For example, one review says, “This has lime extract in it, something way too acidic for a moisturizer. And on top of that it’s SUPER pricey. Honestly there are so many other moisturizers that are so much better and cheaper. I wouldn’t use this if someone gave it to me for free. Just because something is expensive and has a brand name in a foreign language doesn’t mean it’s good.”
Overall, we don’t recommend La Mer products for many reasons, and we don’t believe these products are worth the money.
- Many positive La Mer reviews
- Very high cost
- Product formulations mostly consist of silicones and synthetic emollients
- All products contain synthetic fragrance ingredients
- La Mer is not cruelty free
- There’s no evidence proving the benefits of Miracle Broth
What Are Some Alternatives to La Mer Products?
Since we don’t recommend La Mer products, you may be wondering what options you have when it comes to finding high-quality skin care products that work. One brand we recommend is Formulyst because they believe in long-term skin care treatments rather than short-term cover-ups.
For example, their Pro-Collagen Serum is specifically formulated for aging skin that has experienced a loss of collagen. The formula contains a highly concentrated mix of peptides and proteins, derived from seaweed, wheat, and soy, to help tackle signs of aging.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skincare products.