I'm sure many beauty junkies have heard of the legendary Crème de la Mer that has gathered a cult following around the world. The Rolls-Royce of moisturizers and the Secret lies in the Miracle Broth, which is a nutrient-rich blend of sea kelp with an array of vitamins and minerals. Formulated by NASA scientist Dr Max Huber to clear up burns he suffered in a laboratory explosion, Crème de la Mer was born after some 12 years and thousands of experiments later.

The creme itself is thick with a pleasant scent that isn't overpowering. Start off with a small amount and rub it between your palms or fingers. The heat generated from the rubbing will liquidfy the product which activates the Broth and releases its key ingredients.

Earlier this year I headed to the LA MER counter, hoping to find out more about the product. One jar cost about $250++ and I'm not prepared to splash out that sum of money without any proper sampling. I was promptly served by a BA and enquired about the original Crème and Gel de la Mer, an alternative for those with oily skin.

The BA applied the Crème on the back of my hand and no doubt it is moisturizing, I told myself not to be impulsive as more consideration has to be taken account. The gel version on the other hand was a temptation altogether - it is light and refreshing compared to the creme and sinks in faster. As this absorbs into the skin faster, you can save the hassle and omit the "Broth Brewing" step.

Here comes the rant - Some may know I'm apprehensive when asking for samples unless I am really interested in purchasing. At that time I really couldn't decide between the two products and decided to ask for samples. The BA quickly changed her attitude to a slightly hostile tone and told me that she had ran out of samples as they come in "limited stocks." I was told the next shipment will arrive the week after and promised to contact me after jotting down my particulars.

2 weeks came and went like tumbleweeds. I decided to ring up the same counter and was told there was no record of me on the waiting list and that prompted me to write an email with no reply. By the time I wrote a second one -this time a complaint-, it was a month after the counter visit and my patience was running thin. Guess what? They replied the next day and even offered me a pathetic sachet of the Creme. Although they have a dedicated base of consumers, but what about new and sincerely- interested customers? How do you expect them to fork out $200++ without trying it first, especially in this current economy?! Tsk!

Nonetheless, I was sickened by their poor customer service and decided to PURCHASE the sample over the Net. It cost me around S$35 for a minature version that is the size of Milo's paw! (TωT) But thankfully, it can last up to 2 months.

One thing that irks me is not the time-consuming "brewing" process, but how much of this expensive product can go to waste. When the creme eventually liquidfies, there is plenty of the product still sticking to my palm after application. I personally felt CDLM is more suitable for those with dry skin, for it leaves a filmsy feel no matter how long I've tried to pat the product into my face. Looking at the top 4 ingredients - Seaweed extract, mineral oil, petrolatum and glycerin, mineral oil and petrolatum are what make the formula extremely sticky.

There have been numerous concerns with the inclusion of mineral oil in CDLM. The truth is it merely acts as a barrier on the skin that prevents moisture loss. Joseph DiNardo did a study that was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, he found out that the cosmetic grade of mineral oil used in beauty products is not comedogenic aka it does not cause acne.

However for a creme this expensive and doesn't have consistent reviews, I do not recommend for those who have acne-prone or sensitive skin. There's no clearing up of acne nor do I feel my pores tightened and diminishing of fine lines. Also, the theory of Dr Huber using the creme to clear up his burn scars didn't apply the same results to mine caused by acne. Not even the slightest.

To combat with the stickiness, I tried using MAC Fix+ to soften the skin and allow for better product penetration. Yes I know glycerin exists in both products but using it externally does help but doesn't solve the problem. These days I use the AQUALABEL Aqua Enhancer to infuse the rich properties into the deep layers of the skin with the help of its Aqua Synergy ability. Lastly to absorb the last bit of that sticky feeling, I use SANA Skincare Powder which does a good job of keeping my skin matte.

Being in an air-conditioned room dries out the skin, and as mentioned that the creme is suitable with such skin type, I used this logic by applying at night but the stubborn product refused to budge! I probably will not purchase this in full jar size, but am considering the gel version instead... Yay or Nay?
There are constant comparisons between the Rolls-Royce and the German Nivea Creme because their formulas are nearly identical. Both have that same light floral scent, and are thick and rich in consistency. But Nivea is slightly stickier, and doesn't melt between your palms let alone on your face. It leaves you looking like a grease ball so I tend to use an amount the size of my pinkie to apply on my face.
Appearance-wise, CDLM has a matte look whereas Nivea resemblances whipped oil cream which isn't appealing at all. The latter is a cheaper alternative, costing at a mere S$2(price defers so don't quote me on that). Despite the oiliness, it hydrates my body really well without feeling like you've just stepped out of a busy Chinese kitchen.

This has been a long-winded entry, 3 days in the making. Hope you had fun reading.

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  • Dee
  • The Nivea creme is indeed super hydrating and I only apply it on my drier, peeling areas during the winter. It does the deed for me, so I find no reason for me to purchase La Mer just because of the hype. That BA sounds like a real B.
  • It just hit me last night after typing the entry that I paid $35 for a sample! D: I could have gotten that eyeliner I wanted from Stila!

    AtelierGal 於 2010/08/19 09:00 回覆

  • sesame
  • Creme de la Mer is quite something. I tried a jar of it some years ago and it did leave a nice glowy feeling. But I agree with you; it's better for those with dry skin. I won't use it again now especially since I've become acne prone. It's also not suitable for those with sensitive skin. The gel version is lighter for that purpose.

    I liked their serum back then. Used about 2 - 3 bottles and it was really something. But after that, no money to sustain the purchases. Ha.
  • La Mer is so over-hyped and price-y yet stingy with their samples. Do you see that same glowy effect with the gel version? What's the purpose of the serum? Hopefully I can get it cheaper when I go on holiday end of the year.

    AtelierGal 於 2010/08/19 16:13 回覆

  • stella
  • used a jar way back, did nothing for my then-problematic oily-combi skin; read a lot about it online and seems like a ymmv thing. dry skins seem to benefit the most, but then again, i'm wont to think that dry skin would benefit from any rich moisturizers. shrug
  • At least it didn't break out your skin. I think it is a waste of money especially for dry skin because you need more than the recommended amount to apply for your whole face, right?

    AtelierGal 於 2010/08/19 18:05 回覆

  • sesame
  • Not sure about the gel version cos I didn't try. My colleague loves it though cos the cream version broke her out.

    Oh I forgot to mention; La Mer SA in States is even worst! So snooty, can die!
  • Seriously? Apparently the ones in UK are generous with samples...for regular customers. T-T

    AtelierGal 於 2010/08/20 10:43 回覆