Cult Favorite: Crème de la Mer

Beauty-savvy people from celebrities to royalty have been clamoring over this rich facial cream for decades. The story of Crème de la Mer is familiar to those who willingly (though some of us, begrudgingly) shell out $160 an ounce for the original facial formula: Aerospace physicist Max Huber suffered severe chemical burns to his face after an experiment went awry. Over the next dozen years, Huber performed 6,000 trials to find a facial treatment that would heal his skin and reduce the appearance of scars. The cream he ultimately developed was a blend of kelp, vitamins, minerals, and essential oils, fermented together for three to four months into a concoction dubbed “Miracle Broth.” Cosmetic giant Estee Lauder acquired Crème de la Mer in 1995 and claims it has preserved the recipe for the original miracle broth, while expanding the lineup to include various consistencies of the cream, as well as serums, cleansers, sunscreens, toners and more. Label readers like myself are often skeptical about this cream because it contains mineral oil and petrolatum (i.e. petroleum jelly), which are both typically shunned as non-premium ingredients. However, for my skin, which runs on the dry side, nothing works better. My face drinks in the moisture, and when worn under makeup, leaves a beautiful dewy glow that’s not too shiny. I’ve never broken out, and my skin texture just seems to look better. Because of the price, I don’t wear it every day, but save it for special occasions. The recommended application is to emulsify a small dollop of CDLM in the palm of your hand and pat it gently on your face (avoid rubbing it in). Also keep in mind that Crème de la Mer doesn’t contain sunscreen. So if you’re going to wear it during the day, you’ll have to add SPF on top. Those with normal or oiler skin might want to try the lighter formulations of Crème de La Mer, like the soft cream, gel cream, or the lotion, though I’ve tried these other variations, and my skin doesn’t respond to them like the original. I’m not necessarily a fan of the other products in the lineup, such as the cleansers and toners, but they work fine, and are nice to try in sample versions or as gifts with purchase. I just wouldn’t fork over the dough for the full-sized products. But as for the original Crème de La Mer, I’m hooked for life.

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