We’ve heard about the miraculous powers of the sea, and no other brand does a better job of harnessing its healing properties than La Mer. Does its latest Moisturizing Soft Cream live up to the hype? Read our review below.
- An all-season wonder
- This $22 Seaweed Night Cream Is the Affordable La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream Copycat
- Opinion: Is Crème de la Mer worth it?
- The Ingredients
- “I swear by it, it totally works!”
- My Opinion
- A Look Inside Mario Badescu’s Seaweed Night Cream
- Behind the Brand
- The Story on Seaweed
- Bladderwrack Extract
- Review Recap
- The 4 Best Crème de la Mer Dupes
- La Mer Créme De La Mer: $170.00
- Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment: $69.00
- Biossance 100% Squalane Oil: $58.00
- Tatcha The Water Cream: $68.00
- Kopari Coconut Melt: $38.00
- Son and Park Beauty Water: $30.00
- SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Mist: $179.00
- Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil: $105.00
- Peter Thomas Roth 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner: $40.00
- Deesse Premium LED Mask: $450.00
- 1. Weleda Skin Food
- 2. Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream
- 3. The Seaweed Bath Co. Marine Night Therapy
- What are the Best Creme de La Mer Alternatives?
- Best Natural Moisturizer Alternative to La Mer
- Tips for Using Weleda’s “Skin Food”
An all-season wonder
We’ve heard about the miraculous powers of the sea, and no other brand does a better job of harnessing its healing properties than La Mer. Does its latest Moisturizing Soft Cream live up to the hype? Read our review below.
Almost every woman has heard of Creme de la Mer, which is the result of hope, perseverance and ultimate luxury. Now the Moisturizing Soft Cream, which is a new formula with the benefits of the Creme but with a noticeably lightweight feel, has made its debut.
What it promises
The cream promises advanced absorption with a new technology and also a skin strengthening component as well as a huge improvement in moisture. The formula also promises increased radiance using lightweight spheres, and a deeply penetrating moisture (from the top to the deeper layers). The Moisturizing Soft Creme also contains the brand’s well-known Miracle Broth, which has long since been known to heal skin and help it regenerate and transform itself. The new formula also promises clarity. For skin that is prone to irritation or redness, the formula promises calmness and relief.
How it held up
There’s no question that some women who purchase the Moisturizing Soft Cream want a more lightweight version of the standard La Mer cream (which is a bit too rich for my taste, and is generally something I’d recommend for drier skin types). And now, the Moisturizing Soft Cream has answered the prayers of many women who have combination skin or just want a lightweight option but with the same properties of the original Creme de la Mer.
Thanks to the latest breakthrough in La Mer’s scientific lab, the moisturizing spheres are the ones that create that truly lightweight feel. The spheres are created from two phases: the first is a lipid phase which consists of protective emollients responsible for the smooth, lightweight texture in the cream, and the second is an aqueous phase containing Miracle Broth and Lime Tea.
The key results? The small spheres penetrate the deep layers of the skin and are absorbed from top to toe. This revolutionary formula is what makes this moisturizing cream both lightweight and hydrating at the same time.
The bottom line: We felt that our skin’s hydration levels visibly improved without feeling heavy and thick as we typically felt with the original Creme de la Mer. The Moisturizing Soft Cream is apropos for combination skin types and for the warmer summer months too when you need something a bit more fine and lightweight.
With the price point being similar to that of the original La Mer cream ($275 for 2 ounces), the Soft Cream is one to opt for if you really need it. It’s not quite as light as the Moisturizing Gel Cream, which is best suited for warmer weather, but it sits comfortably in the middle and is actually perfect for all seasons.
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This $22 Seaweed Night Cream Is the Affordable La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream Copycat
Algae is kind of a big deal in skin care. Entire lines-e.g. La Mer and Algenist-have been founded around its benefits. Why? It hydrates and firms and protects skin against environmental damage. Those anti-aging benefits typically come at a high price, but you don’t have to resort to shelling out to get in on marine-based skin care. Mario Badescu makes a $22 seaweed night cream that’s gained a reputation as the best dupe for La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream.
To be clear, this isn’t an identical ingredient list, made-in-the-same-lab scenario. La Mer’s notorious cream contains the brand’s “miracle broth,” a combination of kelp, calcium, magnesium, potassium, lecithin, iron, vitamins C, E, and B12, and citrus, eucalyptus, wheat germ, and alfalfa, and sunflower oils that’s fermented over the course of three to four months. While the Mario Badescu product isn’t quite so stacked, it shares the soft cream’s hero ingredient: seaweed extract. That tradeoff comes with a nice $153 difference in price. (And FWIW, Khloé Kardashian uses products from both brands.)
Besides seaweed extract, the Mario Badescu moisturizer also contains collagen and elastin, two proteins in the skin that break down with aging. In addition, it has sodium hyaluronate, a salt derived from hyaluronic acid that holds 1,000 times its weight in water. The oil-free formula is best suited for combination, oily, or sensitive skin, according to the brand. (Related: The Best Anti-Aging Moisturizers to Use Every Morning)
At least one customer who’s tried out both thinks the two are worthy of comparison. “This product is AMAZING,” reads one Amazon review titled ‘HEAVEN IN A CONTAINER.’ “By far the best facial moisturizer I have ever used. I previously used La Mer which broke the bank at $175 a container. This product works just as well if not better.”
If you want to put it to the test for yourself, secure a jar from Amazon, Ulta, Nordstrom, or Sephora.
- By Renee Cherry @reneejcherry
Opinion: Is Crème de la Mer worth it?
To start, here’s a look at the full ingredient list:
Algae (Seaweed) Extract, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Powder, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal, Sodium Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Magnesium Sulfate, Paraffin, Tocopheryl Succinate, Niacin, Water, Beta-Carotene, Decyl Oleate, Aluminum Distearate, Octyldodecanol, Citric Acid, Cyanocobalamin, Magnesium Stearate, Panthenol, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Sodium Benzoate, Alcohol Denat., Fragrance.
Seaweed (algae) Extract
We know that ingredients are listed from the most amount of the product to the least on the ingredient deck. Anything below the 1% mark can be listed in any order. Among the 37 ingredients on this list, the first ingredient is seaweed (algae) extract. The brand claims it’s a super fancy smancy fermented seaweed that is only harvested twice a year to create its “miracle broth.” While it does have some wonderful anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying benefits, it’s surprisingly highly comedogenic. So if you have skin that is prone to acne, clogged pores or blackheads this cream may not be suitable for your skin. I will also note it is not a very expensive or rare ingredient and is found in all kinds of items from food to beauty products regardless of the harvesting process.
Some meh ingredients
In my opinion, petroleum, mineral oil, and paraffin wax when used in skincare are just meh. These ingredients don’t do much for the skin besides forming an occlusive barrier on the skin. I will also add these are all very inexpensive ingredients used in a very expensive formula. For example, a 400-pound/7,168 ounce drum of mineral oil cost roughly $346.
Fragrance, so much synthetic fragrance. While it’s listed last on the ingredient deck, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a low percentage. A little known tidbit, any ingredient below 1% can be rearranged by the brand in any order within that 1% range. This makes it seem as if certain non-desirable ingredients are lower concentrations while more desirable ingredients are higher up and more towards the middle of the ingredient list. It’s a completely pointless ingredient that is only there to “enhance” the user experience and/or cover the smell of chemicals that aren’t appealing. It is a known skin irritant and the #1 cause of contact dermatitis according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It’s also been shown to mimic estrogen, cause hormonal imbalances and trigger asthma/allergies.
Decyl Oleate is a fatty acid emollient ingredient, however, it can be pore-clogging. Lanolin alcohol (basically sheep skin oil) is highly comedogenic for the skin and an animal-derived ingredient if that is of importance to you. Speaking of animals, La Mer is not cruelty-free
There are also several potential fragrance allergens like Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral. While these ingredients are technically “natural”, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are skin-friendly or can’t cause a reaction.
“I swear by it, it totally works!”
Let’s understand how the skin operates and why some people see it as “working.” You put anything on the skin that is highly occlusive and anything underneath will be locked in and natural oil trying to come out will be trapped. Sure, this may not be a bad thing for an extremely dry skin type, but for most, it can be clogging. Not to mention you’d get the same effect with a rich night cream from the drugstore for under $10. I also think this is a bit of a placebo effect.
So back to the question I receive all the time. What do I think about this cream as a consumer, a holistic esthetician and product developer?
Ingredient wise, this is a pretty basic moisturizer formula and it doesn’t contain anything exceptional or unique. This essentially is an extremely expensive barrier cream full of inexpensive ingredients. Seaweed extract, petroleum, mineral oil, a few essential oils and vitamins plus, numerous thickening agents and preservatives do not warrant that price.
I think what is mainly being sold here is exclusivity, luxury and people like seeing that fancy expensive face cream on their bathroom counter. In my opinion, it’s a very outdated formula, it may have been an advancement for the 1970s when it was developed. Nowadays there are plenty of formulas that are much more beneficial to the skin and have a significantly less expensive price tag. Simply it’s not worth the price for the ingredients you receive. Skin wise, in the entire formula I think there are a handful of beneficial ingredients, however, the rest is fluff, fillers and pore-clogging ingredients. Plus, if you find value in using clean skin-friendly formulas along with being cruelty-free, this is definitely not one of them.
So, there you have it, I’m not convinced. There are better formulated moisturizers out there!
A Look Inside Mario Badescu’s Seaweed Night Cream
It may seem straight at first, but seaweed can actually be an amazing ingredient for your overall health. Not only does it contain impressive health benefits if ingested orally, it also has quite a few beautify properties. The constantly innovative brand, Mario Badescu, has taken this marine miracle and transformed it into a set of seaweed inspired products, all of which are suited for all skin care types. So in this Mario Badescu review, we’re looking into the brand itself, as well as this interesting range to give you an idea of what the formula has to over
What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2019?
Behind the Brand
Seaweed, caviar, buttermilk, strawberries, bee pollen, all of these seemingly strange skin care ingredients have come to the forefront of one or more of Mario Badescu’s products. The brand has consistently created new and innovative products geared towards specific skin types for over 40 years and continues to offer some of the most sought after skincare ingredients.
Their formulas are simple, yet effective. Like the company’s entire philosophy, the products within the seaweed line, as well as others, rely solely on the efficacy of the ingredients present in order to create transformative results.
The Story on Seaweed
Within the seaweed range from Mario Badescu, there are three main products which include a cleanser, toner and night cream. The result is a three step skin care routine that effectively cleanses your skin without stripping, while also giving some additional mineral and antioxidant benefits.
Seaweed Night Cream
As probably the most well known product in the range, the Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream is a perfect all-around moisturizer. It hydrates without leaving behind any greasy or sticky residue, thanks to the oil-free formula. Despite the name, this night cream is actually a lightweight gel that glides onto the skin and sinks in quickly. Additionally, this product also contains collagen and elastin, making it especially suited for those with mature skin or skin tone issues that they’d like to address.
Seaweed Cleansing Soap
Moving onto their cleanser, the Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Soap is a non-stripping cleanser. Despite the connotation, this ‘soap’ is actually very gentle, and especially suited for dry and combination skin type. While this formula is gentle, it also offers just a touch of mechanical exfoliation. Small seaweed grains offer a natural exfoliating treatment that buffs away dead skin cells, making this a great two in one product.
Seaweed Cleansing Lotion
And finally, the Mario Badescu Cleansing Lotion is a great option for a multi-functional toner. The Bladderwrack extract and aloe vera serve as hydrators, while witch hazel gentle cleanses the skin of impurities. Unlike some astringent toners, this cleansing lotion won’t overdry the area. As a general note for those with oily skin, this is the only product in the seaweed line that is indicated as being most effective for combination, dry and sensitive skin types, since it is more of a hydrating toner.
The star ingredient behind this three step system is bladderwrack extract, also known as brown seaweed. Taken orally, this nutrient rich ingredient has been shown to improve digestive issues and thyroid disorders. Applied topically, this extract has been revered for its ability to soothe multiple skin concerns, including dry patches, rashes and itchiness.
Furthermore, bladderwrack extract has a whole host of additional benefits for all skin types. For example, oily, acne prone skin types can look forward to several anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties including redness reduction, blemish prevention, pore detoxification, calming hydration. Additionally, dry and mature skin types can take advantage of bladderwrack extracts more anti-aging properties, which include improve elasticity, more even skin tone, better skin texture and overall firmness.
Looking at all of the benefits that seaweed can have on the skin, it’s no surprise why this range is so well-reviewed. On Ulta’s website, they currently have a 4.5 out of 5 rating on all three of the products available, with hundreds of reviews for each. Some of the most common effects that reviews noticed were quick absorption, intense moisturization, lasting power and smooth application.
While there aren’t many negative reviews to see with these products, there were a few individuals with oilier skin that felt that this moisturizer was too heavy for them to use. So if you do have a very oily skin type, you may want to keep that in mind.
But, if you’re looking for an easy, three step routine without any fuss and frills, this could be a great place to start. We love seeing brands that bring innovative ingredients into the mainstream discussion. Have you tried any products from this range? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Let me get a little shout out if you’re on the east coast! Yay snowy weather aka OMG I can’t believe my skin is this dry. Phew that irritating flaky area between my brows and patchy cheeks are so in this season.
Let me get another shout out if you have dry skin!
I battle my dry skin with Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream.
An oil free night cream enriched with Seaweed, Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid to soften and hydrate skin.
Hyaluronic Acid is so my best friend! That’s why I love this moisturizer. I use it in the evening and it manages to maintain and keep my skin hydrated for an entire day after use. Love!
For a while I was using this as my daily night cream but I now only use it in the case of major dry skin emergencies since it isn’t anti-aging, damn, but if it was? I’d be a happy camper!
Formula is super thick and looks like a foaming cleanser with a fresh seaweed scent. I honestly don’t dig the scent but once on the smell quickly goes away so I can cope through it. It’s not unpleasant at all but simply not my thing.
I only recommend this for people who have severe dry skin as this is an intense moisturizer. A little dab will go far in easing rough, dry areas and you’ll wake up with instantly smoother more hydrated skin. A week of nightly use and you’ll find your skin improves dramatically so much so that you might even experience an oily day mid-Winter, ah, a miracle!
A little pot is $20 which will easily last you through the year since the formula is potent enough to be used in tiny doses. Do not, I repeat do not leave the house with this on your face as a day cream as it’s way too rich to do so. Keep it to nightly use only.
It absorbs fairly badly and it definitely feels like you have a heavier, richer moisturizer on your face however you’ll be thankful for the formula come morning as skin feels and looks noticeably hydrated.
- Those suffering dry, patchy areas on their face.
- Anyone with drier skin that needs serious help.
- Those suffering from dry, tired Winter skin in need of an intense moisturizer!
- Those with oily, normal, or combination skin (dry skin types ONLY here).
- Those not comfortable with a moisturizer that doesn’t absorb well and feels a bit too rich.
- Those who want anti-aging ingredients in their night cream!
This is a fantastic moisturizer if you can get passed the richer formula. The formula not only hydrates and smooths skin but allows your skin to retain more moisture thanks to the Hyaluronic Acid in the mix so you can apply in the evening and rest assured that your skin will feel smooth all day. The downfall for me is the lack of anti-aging ingredients but the plus side is how nourishing the overall cream is.
Those with super dry skin should experience it for themselves.
Anyone every try it?
Available from www.mariobadescu.com
The 4 Best Crème de la Mer Dupes
In the pantheon of luxury, cult-favorite beauty products, Crème de la Mer ranks pretty high as a coveted beauty product. Why? It’s known as the crown jewel of moisturizers, calming the roughest, most chapped skin overnight. Sea-sourced ingredients, like seaweed extract, infuse the skin with some major hydration. Plus, it smells amazing. The only catch? It’s got a price tag of $325 for a 2-ounce jar. So you can imagine the amount of research the internet has put into finding the best Crème de la Mer dupes. Trust me — people have gone deep into finding similar products for cheaper prices.
And truthfully, there are a lot of pretty decent alternatives out there that don’t cost the same as a pair of designer shoes. Plenty of brands have created similar formulas that are much more wallet-friendly — and are great options to play around with if you’re looking for a similar affect to Crème de la Mer.
Just a note on a lot of these products (and, as a matter of fact, Crème de la Mer itself). These formulas tend to be intensely hydrating, and might not be appropriate for folks who have sensitive or acne-prone skin. But if you’re especially dry? Slather on.
Ahead, find the internet’s best options for Crème de la Mer dupes. Good skin care doesn’t have to break the bank — and these buys are absolute proof.
1. A Budget Buy That’s Amber Rose-Approved
In an interview with Refinery29, Amber Rose sang her praises for Crème de la Mer — but recognizes that it’s pricey. She suggests, however, that if you can’t buy la Mer, that Nivea Moisturizing Creme is a close second. And she isn’t wrong. While Nivea doesn’t contain the algae and acids that la Mer touts as its workhorses, the ingredients lists between the two are very similar. Nivea is a perfect option for folks who don’t need all the bells and whistles of la Mer, like the lactic acid and alpha hydroxy acid. Instead, it just works as an intense moisturizer. It’s also fantastic for your hands, feet, and elbows — places you’d never want to so slather la Mer on. And at $10 for a 13-ounce tin, you can afford to rub this stuff in anywhere you’d like.
Seaweed is one of the core ingredients in la Mer, but that isn’t the only formula it shows up in. Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream utilizes the star ingredient with similar effects. While the seaweed in la Mer’s formula is fermented to create lactic acid, the seaweed in this formula softens and nourishes. This night cream also contains collagen to plump, elastin to promote firmness and elasticity, and sodium hyaluronate to help maintain your skin’s natural hydration levels. Overnight, your skin looks dewier and softer. And at $22 for a 1-ounce jar, this stuff is just a fraction of the cost of Crème de la Mer.
3. A Heavy Cream For Seriously Dry Skin
If you’re looking to pull out the stops when it comes to hydration, look no further than Weleda Skin Food. This is literally an all-in-one product, giving you serious hydration from your hair down to your toes. You can use it as a moisturizer, or apply a thick amount as a face mask. If you warm the stuff up in your hands, you can smooth it through your hair for extra hydration. Or you can tap a little bit along your cheekbones for highlight, giving you a similar glow to la Mer. This formula is also certified natural and free of synthetic preservatives, fragrances, colorants, and mineral oils. La Mer may be extra luxurious, but this is a bottle that gets all of your beauty needs done.
4. A Moisturizer Packed With AHAs
One of the main reasons people love la Mer is because of its ability to make your skin glow. But Ponds Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream provides that same glow at drugstore prices. Like la Mer, this moisturizer contains both AHAs and collagen, offering up a plumping, hydrating sensation that is instantly recognizable in your skin. In two weeks, customers saw an improvement in the fine lines of their skin and noticed an overall improvement in texture and tone. And while this moisturizer is intensely hydrating, it’s not as dense of a cream as la Mer — so folks with more combination skin might be able to reap the benefits without breaking out. In fact, the formula is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, but just make sure to patch test before slathering it from your forehead to chest.
Elite Daily may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Elite Daily’s editorial and sales departments.
La Mer Créme De La Mer: $170.00
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From La Mer’s miracle cream to Kopari’s cult favorite Coconut Melt, this year has taken a huge step forward in luxury skincare. Many women are finally realizing the importance of skincare by dialing back from spending on makeup and putting their money towards quality skincare products – after all, what good is a face full of makeup if the canvas is subpar?
Although I’m a huge advocate of the 10-step Korean skincare regimen as well as affordable beauty products, I wanted to play the devil’s advocate and dive into the world of luxury skincare. So that you don’t have to, I spent a whopping $481.66 on the top 10 most popular beauty products of 2017 just to see if they were worth the splurge.
Well, were they? Keep reading to see my verdict as well as affordable alternatives for each one. You’ll thank me later.
More Beauty and Skincare Posts:
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- 12 Dupes For the Most Popular Skincare Products of 2019
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La Mer Créme De La Mer: $170.00 (1 oz)
Dupe – Nivea Creme (German): $13.95 (400 ml)
An interesting backstory of the La Mer company: Supposedly some aerospace scientist burned himself at his lab while making rockets and spent 12 years developing a miracle cream made of kelp to heal his burn wounds. From that, Créme De La Mer was born. The story sounds unusual: how did an aerospace scientist break into the beauty industry? Why did he spend over a decade playing with kelp?
Cremé De La Mer is a super popular luxury beauty favorite and many women swear by it. But would you pay $170 for an ounce? If this thing really could heal burns from an explosion over a decade old, I seriously wonder how come more people don’t know about it. I really wonder.
Dupe: There are tons of articles online comparing Nivea Creme to Créme De La Mer. Some people say it’s pretty much the same thing, minus the magic kelp. Admittedly, Nivea Creme isn’t a mirror dupe of La Mer, but it has the same consistency and moisturizes just as well as Créme De La Mer does (not to mention you get a HUGE tub for $14). Even celebrities like Kate Winslet, Joan Collins and Alison Steadman swear by it, and they look pretty great to me. Another pro: it’s much faster to put on compared to Créme De La Mer’s tedious application process. Make sure to pick up the German version, as the formulation is much more different than the US version.
If you don’t believe me, check out this article on DailyMail.com where they ran tests over several days using 3D imaging and a face scanner to measure the results of La Mer’s Créme De La Mer vs. Nivea Creme. It’s pretty legit.
Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment: $69.00
Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment: $69.00 (1.7 oz)
Dupe – Freeman Charcoal and Black Sugar Mask: $4.29 (6 oz)
The Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment has been around for a few years now, but the hype never stopped. This clay mask claims to lighten dark spots, reduce the look of large pores and eliminate acne while revealing your smoothest skin. Although I can personally say that the mask works great, I still don’t think it’s worth almost $70 for a tiny 1.7 oz jar.
Dupe: If you want a good charcoal mud mask that draws out impurities and reduces the oiliness of your skin, pick up Freeman’s Charcoal and Black Sugar Mask. It’s less than $5 and contains not just detoxifying charcoal and kaolin clay but also has a blend of fruit acids which helps to gently exfoliate, just like Glamglow’s, except much less drying.
RELATED POST – BANISH ACNE SCARS: PRODUCT REVIEW + MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE WITH ACNE
Aside from Freeman, there are other amazing charcoal masks out there: try the L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask if you want another drugstore mask. If you’re into Korean beauty, the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask fizzes and bubbles on your face and makes your skin squeaky clean. Lastly, if you want something a little on the higher-end of the spectrum, the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask is an amazing mask you can find at Sephora, but still under $30 for 3.4 oz – that’s twice the size of the Glamglow 1.7 oz and less than half the price.
Biossance 100% Squalane Oil: $58.00
Biossance 100% Squalane Oil: $58.00 (3.3 oz)
Dupe – The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane: $7.90 (30 ml)
Ah, squalane. Not to be confused with squalene, which got a bad rap for being molecularly unstable and particularly dangerous in vaccines, squalane is a naturally occurring fat-soluble antioxidant found in our skin that protects against environmental stressors. Cosmetic squalane is usually harvested from shark liver, as it isn’t as abundant in plants.
Using pure squalane oil helps to lock in moisture and hydrate skin, making it a perfect anti-aging oil when considering its antioxidant properties. The most popular squalane oil on the market, Biossance 100% Squalane Oil, is harvested from sugar cane. This supposedly makes it more precious than shark-derived squalane, as the collection process is much more tedious (I’m also assuming this is why the price tag is so steep). Other than that, I can’t justify almost $60 for a little over 3 oz of serum.
Dupe: The Ordinary’s Squalane is also 100% pure and derived from sustainable plant sources. The best part? It’s only $7.90 for 30 ml. I highly suggest you check out The Ordinary‘s other products, as everything is science-based and doesn’t rely on fluffy marketing ploys. This brand is honest, straightforward, and more than fairly-priced. I dig it.
If you want a squalene oil to throw into your Amazon basket, try out the Timeless 100% Pure Squalane. It’s made from olives and only $11.35 for 60ml.
Tatcha The Water Cream: $68.00
Tatcha The Water Cream (1.7 oz): $68.00 (1.7 oz)
Dupe – Make P:rem Hydrate me. Micro Tension Cream: $29.99 (2.19 oz)
People who like The Water Cream enjoy a lightweight but hydrating moisturizer. This kind of formula is a godsend for not just dry skin but oily skin as well since it provides proper moisture without feeling weighed down. It’s also a great moisturizer for sensitive skin since it contains soothing Japanese botanicals, which honestly just sounds like an expensive marketing ploy. Oh, and let’s not forget that it contains 24k gold.
Dupe: If you could care less about cute packaging and the idea that you’re slathering gold on your face, Make P:rem’s Hydrate Me Micro Tension Cream is another lightweight but deeply hydrating moisturizer that is less than half the price of Tatcha. It’s also suitable for sensitive skin since it’s paraben-free, dye-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, and formaldehyde-free. This formula also contains botanical extracts and antioxidants, so you get all the anti-aging and rejuvenating effects that The Water Cream would provide.
You can get it on Amazon or pick it up at your local Target.
Kopari Coconut Melt: $38.00
Kopari Coconut Melt: $38.00 (7 oz)
Parachute Naturalz 100% Organic Virgin Coconut Oil: $8.99 (12 oz)
You’ve probably seen tons of Instagram influencers tote this multitasking “miracle product” around. It works as a facial moisturizer, makeup remover, body lotion, hair serum, cuticle softener, shaving oil and just about anything else. Sounds perfect, right? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news: Kopari Melt is just virgin coconut oil in a cute frosted glass tub. You’re paying almost $40 for a jar of coconut oil dubbed as “coconut melt” that you can get at a health foods store. You can do better.
Dupe: It’s true, not all coconut oils are the same. If you want coconut oil that’s as high-quality as Kopari’s Coconut Melt, make sure to 1) get one in a glass jar, not a plastic jar (plastic chemicals can be absorbed into the oil – especially when warmed up during shipping, whether it’s to the store or to your house), 2) look for unrefined, cold-pressed and organic, 3) get one that is made in the Phillippines. A good option you can get on Amazon is Parachute Naturalz 100% Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. You can get 16 oz for just $8.99. Oh, and you can use it for cooking too.
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If you’re looking for other options, Spectrum carries another great quality coconut oil that’s $6.99 for 14 oz. Supposedly Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil is the #1 internationally selling coconut oil as well, but just make sure to get the glass jar.
Son and Park Beauty Water: $30.00
Son and Park Beauty Water: $30.00 (11.49 oz)
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water: $6.49 (13.5 oz)
Micellar cleansing waters have broken new ground this year in the skincare industry: these gentle pH-balanced formulas are made of tiny oil molecules suspended in soft water, which helps to remove makeup without drying out the skin. The result? Balanced and cleansed skin.
You may have seen the most popular micellar waters like Son and Park Beauty Water ($30) or Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution ($31.99) get tons of praise… but are they really worth it?
Dupe: I’m all for micellar waters and gentle cleansing methods, but Garnier’s SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water gets the job done at a much cheaper price. A huge 13.5 oz bottle is only $6.49, and you can choose between the original formula, mattifying formula (for oily skin), or the formula for stubborn waterproof makeup.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Mist: $179.00
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Mist: $179.00 (5.4 oz)
Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive: $24.00 (5.4oz)
SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence is one of the holy grail staples of Asian skincare – it’s like the Chanel of Japanese skincare. After using toner and before your serums and moisturizer, applying this essence will prepare your skin for the next step while refining your skin and making it brighter. Although it delivers incredible results thanks to it’s unique “Pitera” blend, an ingredient that apparently works voodoo and makes you look like you’re 12 again, it’s crazy that this small bottle is $21 short of $200.
Dupe: Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive is a wildly popular dupe for SK-II’s overpriced essence, and although it’s nowhere near expensive as SK-II, it doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. The First Treatment Essence contains 80% fermented yeast extract, which pretty much does the same magic as SK-II’s Pitera – it just doesn’t sound as nice. Let’s be honest, fermented yeast doesn’t exactly sound as alluring as Pitera.
RELATED POST – 6 BUDGET-FRIENDLY ESSENTIAL OILS AND 5 DIY RECIPES TO BOOST YOUR SKINCARE REGIMEN
Grab a bottle of Missha and just close your eyes as you apply it or turn the bottle so you can’t see the label – I mean, the bottle even looks the same. You seriously will not regret getting this miracle essence.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil: $105.00
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil: $105.00 (1 oz)
The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane: $6.70 (30 ml)
Retinol oils have taken wind in comparison to cream-based retinols, as oils are much more suitable for hydration and anti-aging purposes. Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil is an ultra-popular oil that claims you will wake up with luminous skin overnight with smaller pores, less wrinkles and redness, and only smooth, bright skin.
Dupe: The Ordinary did it again with another incredible product at an incredible price. Their most popular retinol product, The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane is a comparable retinol oil blend (that’s only $6.70) to Sunday Riley’s crazy expensive $100+ oil. And if 1% is too harsh for you, they have a retinol line featuring different percentages.
Peter Thomas Roth 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner: $40.00
Peter Thomas Roth 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner: $40.00 (5 oz)
Pixi SkinTreats Glow Tonic: $15.00 (3.4 oz)
If you have oily, congested or even acne-prone skin, glycolic acid toners are perfect for you. Glycolic toners are a 2-in-1 product that can reduce oiliness while gently exfoliating the skin with glycolic acid without overdrying. In fact, glycolic acid works well to reduce fine lines too.
Peter Thomas Roth is popular for their acid-based products, and their 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner is said to work miracles on all skin types.
Dupe: I personally feel that 8% is a bit too harsh to be used on a daily basis; however, most people will probably use it daily, leading to potential sensitivity and reactions. A safer and more affordable solution is Pixi SkinTreats Glow Tonic. At only $15, it does the same thing as Peter Thomas Roth’s and is much more gentle with a 5% glycolic acid formula.
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Deesse Premium LED Mask: $450.00
Deesee Premium LED Mask: $450.00
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask: $25.00
Have you seen the Kardashians use these crazy masks on Snapchat? LED light therapy has been around for a long time now, but the technology is finally being brought home, making treatments much cheaper. LED lights have the ability to penetrate deeply into the dermis – red lights can stimulate collagen production, making it perfect for anti-aging benefits, while blue lights can destroy acne-causing bacteria.
These treatments do work – I used to do these treatments on my own clients (disclaimer: I’m a California licensed esthetician). However, it does take several sessions for it to prove effective long-term. Being able to do these treatments at home can save tons of money!
Deesee’s Korean LED mask normally goes for anywhere between $1,800 – $2,500 and is used by celebrity estheticians like Shani Darden. Although you can catch it on Amazon for $450, it’s still extremely overpriced for your average Jane (and FYI, you need a transformer to use it, since it’s from Korea).
Dupe: The Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask is only $25.00 and does the job! It truly does dry up acne after repeated usage.
FYI: Neutrogena was a little shady about this product, as it comes with an “Activator” which is really just a plug-in remote control with a power button. After 30 uses, it no longer works and you have to buy a new one. It’s a terrible business practice that results in more electronic waste, buuuut if you read the customer reviews you’ll see a few people learned how to solder it and make it work past 30 uses.
Now that you’ve seen them all, what do you think? Would you pay full price for these luxury skincare products, or would you be willing to try out these affordable alternatives? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter below for more affordable beauty.
More Beauty and Skincare Posts:
- My Drugstore Skincare Secret Weapon: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
- How to Curl or Straighten Hair With a Flat Iron + My Favorite Flat iron Under $50
- DIY Sheet Masks: Make Your Own For 10 Cents
- 5 Benefits of Sunscreen Besides the Obvious (& 9 Budget-Friendly Sunscreens)
- 12 Dupes For the Most Popular Skincare Products of 2019
Creme De La Mer is one of those iconic products in the beauty industry everyone’s heard of. It is legendary, and the very definition of a cult product, and is often claimed to be a “miracle broth” that miraculously somehow helps in anti-aging. Despite its outrageously high price, or perhaps because of it, the buzz around this product is high – celebrities are said to use it, lots of blog reviews can be found raving about it, and those who spend the money on it claim that it definitely does work. It is the one and only Creme De La Mer, after all, and it is so unique that nothing can come close to it, and there aren’t any products like it – or are there?
Creme De La Mer: A legendary product, with legendary hype (Source)
You guys know that I get pretty skeptical of such claims. It has been said that the humble ol’ Nivea Creme is a dupe for Creme De La Mer – but of course, if you search the Internets, you’ll find people saying that they don’t see a difference between the two, and you’ll also find tons of people who say that the La Mer version is still much better, and the plain ol’ Nivea can’t compare.
So with that said and done, let’s examine the Creme de La Mer more closely, and find out what exactly is in this “miracle broth”. From there, we can figure out how the product works, and then, see if there are any dupes for it, or if not dupes, perhaps similar products. And the only way to begin this process is to get down and dirty with the Creme De La Mer ingredients list!
The Original Creme De La Mer: What exactly is inside?
So, we start off by looking at the Creme De La Mer ingredients, naturally. So much has been said about how amazing the product is, so I’m just going to cut to the chase. What is in this product to so many people fawn and obsess over?
Creme De La Mer: Basically formulated like an occlusive moisturizer (Source)
Algae Extract, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petroleum Jelly, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Extract, Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Magnesium Sulfate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Sweet Almond Protein, Sodium Gluconate, Potassium Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Paraffin, Tocopheryl Succinate, Niacin, Beta-Carotene, Decyl Oleate, Aluminum Distearate, Octyldodecanol, Citric Acid, Cyanocobalamin, Magnesium Stearate, Panthenol, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Alcohol Denat, Fragrance
The ingredients list for this product can throw some people off at first because of the variety of plant extracts in the product, and not all of them add to its functionality. I know that some people love them, especially with the increasing preference for “natural” products, but for the most part, the effect of plant extracts on skin is often dubious, especially when presented in jar packaging, where any potential anti-oxidant effects may be lost with exposure to light and air. So when we are looking at possible dupes for a product like La Mer, it’s worth considering whether the plant extracts are actually functional ingredients, or just there for the marketing.
In the case of La Mer, the main plant extract is Seaweed (Algae) Extract, with a bunch of other plant extracts, being present only in what is probably very small amounts. But the science behind the benefits of seaweed extract are more tenuous than the company’s own marketing suggests. There is some evidence that an extract of Fucus vesiculosus, is a type of seaweed, might cause a decrease in skin thickness (which the authors then suggest might be useful for anti-aging purposes because “the thickness normally increases and the elasticity usually decreases with age”). There is also some evidence that Algae Extract could have anti-inflammatory properties, and that the extract of the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum, may have anti-oxidant benefits. Both of these are useful for skin, but such benefits, particularly the anti-oxidant properties, could quickly be lost if the product is packaged in a jar. So in short — seaweed extract may have some benefits by its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and ability to decrease skin thickness, but much of this benefit is lost in a jar packaging, which leads us to conclude that the workhorse ingredients behind the product’s ability to function have to be something else other than seaweed extract.
So if that exotic Seaweed Extract isn’t the one giving all those miraculous anti-aging benefits, then what in the product makes it work? The ingredients which do have stronger science behind them, and are probably the workhorse ingredients, are unfortunately, the more unsexy ones: Mineral Oil(Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Microcrystalline Wax, and Lanolin Alcohol, which are either occlusives and emollients (like Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Lanolin Alcohol), or humectants (like Glycerin) or other functional ingredients like emulsifiers (Isohexadecane, Microcrystalline Wax).
All of these ingredients are great to have in skincare – occlusives help to form a barrier on the skin to prevent water loss from the skin, emollients help the skin feel smooth, and humectants draw water into the skin. Emulsifiers help by preventing the product from separating – after all, this is a mix of water-based ingredients and oil-based ingredients. But, none of these ingredients really warrant a lot of hype about the product being a “miracle broth”, and certainly none of them are particularly special or rare, either — in fact, quite a number of them are found commonly in drugstore products, as we shall soon see.
So how do we evaluate our dupes, then?
From looking at the ingredients list, we can quite confidently conclude that:
1. The whole marketing spiel about Creme De La Mer being a “miracle broth” that has major anti-aging benefits due to the magical Algae Extract is just that – marketing-speak, because although it could help in decreasing skin thickness and have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, it’s likely that when packaged in a jar, the benefits from the Seaweed Extract will be rendered useless.
2. The ingredients that instead do the job and form the bulk of the product are instead a bunch of occlusives (Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Lanolin Alcohol), or humectants (like Glycerin).
3. The formula of Creme De La Mer is quite occlusive-heavy. This can be seen by how far up the ingredients lists the occlusives are, as well as the fact that most of the key ingredients are occlusives. So the Creme De La mer is pretty heavy on the occlusives, and not so much on the humectants.
So when looking at possible dupes or similar products, what should we look at? Ideally, to get the closest possible dupes, in terms of product function, we would want:
1. Very similar functional ingredients, like the Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Lanolin Alcohol, and Glycerin.
2. Products with stronger occlusive and emollient properties, just like Creme De La Mer.
And with that, let’s start our survey of potential dupes!
Creme De La Mer Dupe #1: Nivea Creme
Of course I had to take a look at this first, given Nivea Creme’s fame for being an alternative to the Creme De La Mer. Of course, on its own, it’s also much-loved as a cheap but very efficient moisturizer. There are two versions of the product, a US Version and a European Version.
Nivea Creme: An occlusive moisturizer long famous as a Creme De La Mer dupe (Source)
Ingredients (US Version):
Water, Mineral Oil, Petroleum Jelly, Glycerin, Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Paraffin, Panthenol, Alcohol, Magnesium Sulfate, Decyl Oleate, Octyldodecanol, Aluminum Stearate, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone
Ingredients (European Version):
(from Paula’s Choice) Aqua, Paraffinum Liquidum, Cera Microcrystallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Glycerin, Lanolin Alcohol, Paraffin, Panthenol, Decyl Oleate, Octyldodecanol, Alumnium Stearate, Citric Acid, Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Stearate, Parfum, Limonene, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellol, Linalool, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Cinnamyl Alcohol
I know some people may prefer one specific formulation of Nivea over the other, and certainly if you search the Interwebs there are people who are convinced that one version is somehow absolutely better than the other. But either way, both versions aren’t that different from each other in terms of formulation, and both versions are pretty good alternatives for the Creme de La Mer. Both have the main occlusives and emollients (Mineral Oil, Lanolin Alcohol), humectants (Glycerin), and emulsifier (Microcrystalline Wax). So the functional ingredients are pretty similar!
The main difference between the two formulas is that the US version has Petrolatum (another occlusive, and found in the La Mer), and Alcohol (which can dry skin out in large amounts, but doesn’t appear to be in the product in significant amounts, and in any case, is found in the midst of an otherwise very heavy, thick product). Both formulas also appear to be quite heavy on the occlusives, like the La Mer Creme, and there is a minor but beneficial ingredient, Panthenol, that appears in both the La Mer and Nivea Cremes. So yes, the Nivea Creme does live up to its reputation for being a good alternative to the La Mer version.
Creme De La Mer Dupe #2: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Aquaphor Healing Ointment is another popular drugstore product in its own right. It’s cheap, easily available at drugstores, and is often recommended as an ointment for sensitive skin. It also has a surprisingly short ingredients list.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment: An simple, occlusive, non-irritating moisturizer (Source)
Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol
Again, there are definitely similar occlusives (Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Lanolin Alcohol) and humectants (Glycerin), as well as the minor ingredient Panthenol. And like the original La Mer Creme, this is also a pretty occlusive formulation, which is heavy on the occlusives and less so on the humectants. So yes, this is also a pretty good Creme De La Mer alternative as well.
In fact, the simplicity of this formula, without the plant extracts and other secondary ingredients, means that ironically this might actually be better for sensitive skin than the Creme De La Mer product is, particularly for those people who might have skin that does not react well to plant extracts or fragrance ingredients. The La Mer product does have a bunch of such ingredients, like Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, and Citronellol, which are citrus extracts with a nice fragrance, but can be irritating for some skin types. So ironically, although Creme De La Mer is sold as a product that heals the skin and has anti-aging benefits, it can actually be irritating to skin instead! This perhaps is the most stripped down of all the La Mer alternatives and is a good choice for sensitive skin.
Creme De La Mer Dupe #3: Curel Intensive Healing Cream
Curel Intensive Healing Cream is another cheap drugstore basic that is a dry skin favourite. Let’s check out the ingredients for Curel Intensive Healing Cream.
Curel Intensive Healing Cream: An occlusive moisturizer suitable for dry skin (Source)
Water, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Glycerin, Microcrystalline Wax, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Paraffin, Dimethicone, Cetyl PG Hydroxyethyl Palmitamide, Magnesium Stearate, Isopropyl Myristate, Magnesium Sulfate, Glyceryl Oleate, Ethoxydiglycol, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Butylene Glycol, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Propylparaben
Again, there are similarities in functional ingredients like the occlusives (Mineral Oil, Petrolatum), humectants (Glycerin), and emulsifiers (Microcrystalline Wax), and the formula is also quite heavy on the emollients too. The skinfeel and texture of the product might differ somewhat from the La Mer, but functionally, when you look at the main ingredients, this is also a pretty reasonable alternative.
The Conclusion: Not just one, but three similar products, all at cheaper price points!
So there you have it – we have not just one, but three products, all with similar key occlusive and humectant ingredients, and all at a cheaper price point! These may not be a 100% exact dupe of the La Mer Creme, and for those who are used to the scent/texture/packaging of Creme De La Mer, they may find that the drugstore versions could have a different texture and scent, and certainly the psychology of using an expensive product can lead consumers into thinking that a more pricey product is better just because it is more expensive, even if the cheaper product is identical. So it doesn’t surprise me that for some people, a substitute for Creme De La Mer is unthinkable. But for the rest of us who are looking for a product that functions much like the Creme De La Mer, all of these three products are good choices, with very similar functional ingredients, and at much cheaper price points!
Everyone’s preferences may vary, but if I had to recommend one, my favourite out of all four products is probably the Aquaphor, just because it has the simplest formulation sans any irritating ingredients or fragrances, and thus is least likely to cause any skin sensitivities to flare up. But either way, if you choose any of the three La Mer dupes, you’re choosing a good occlusive moisturizer with basically the same key ingredients as Creme De La Mer. It just goes to show that as far as skincare goes, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get an effective, well-formulated product!
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a skincare guru who hasn’t used or at least name-dropped Creme de La Mer. The highly coveted moisturizer is a celebrity favorite known for its ability to heal and hydrate the skin with next-level potency. So much so, that those who can’t get a jar of their own will go as far as tracking down alternatives. But ultimately, there’s no replicating the luxe brand’s proprietary “miracle broth,” a potent anti-irritant that helps calm the look of redness and other signs of inflammation.
While the product’s efficacy is not contested, the steep price tag often is. So why this product so expensive? Well, it starts with the biannual kelp harvest off of Vancouver Island. Sea Kelp is the star ingredient in the cream, and the process includes fermenting the kelp for months using specific pulsed light.
While it does contain a slew of all-star ingredients, you’re undoubtedly also paying for brand prestige. In fact, La Mer has amassed millions of loyal followers who happily buy it on a regular basis without thinking twice about the $125+ price tag. But if you’re simply not willing to drop the big bucks on this cult classic, we’ve rounded up some strikingly similar products that may rival La Mer’s skincare offerings, but without the high-end cost.
This story was originally published on Spy.com. This is e-commerce content. If you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story we may receive a small commission of the sale.
1. Weleda Skin Food
Weleda Skin Food is a unique, ultra-rich, whole-body cream that deeply hydrates, restores and protects skin with nourishing plant oils and extracts. Sometimes referred to as a “natural La Mer,” this product feeds the skin with the same intense nourishment and hydration and utilizes anti-inflammatory extracts of organic calendula flowers that gently nourish and care for parched skin.
2. Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream
Mario Badescu’s Seaweed Night Cream hydrates skin while sleeping. Elastin, collagen and hyaluronic acid work to nourish dehydrated skin and calm irritation. The main ingredient, bladderwrack, is a type of seaweed that softens and nourishes skin to achieve smooth, dewy, younger-looking skin overnight.
3. The Seaweed Bath Co. Marine Night Therapy
The Seaweed Bath Co.’s Restoring Marine Night Therapy uses a proprietary formula with Vitamin B3 and 3 varieties of seaweed to naturally detox, restore and protect skins’ protective moisture barrier. These ingredients, in conjunction with their Marine Tri-Peptide ingredient, will support the skin’s natural collagen production and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The detoxifying and restorative powers of seaweed are what powers this product and make it another great dupe for Creme de La Mer.
What are the Best Creme de La Mer Alternatives?
There are good things, and then there are legends. Tommy Girl was a good fragrance, but Chanel No. 5 is legendary. Too Faced Better than Sex mascara is fun, but DiorShow is legendary.
And when it comes to creams, nothing is more legendary in our generation than Creme de la Mer. The first-line choice of many celebrities and well-to-do women, Creme de La Mer has that Rolex-esque association of being resonant with “the best.”
Yet, when it comes to ingredients, Creme de La Mer really isn’t all that spectacular. (There, I said it; my full review of it is here). But like a golden Tiffany bracelet, it doesn’t matter that what Creme de La Mer is made of isn’t all that different from its competitors. The prestige of Creme de La Mer will live on.
Yet, for women who want the best products that actually perform the best, I have three alternatives. (And, yes, if you have a flair for the fancy, you can always keep that jar of Creme de La Mer out on the counter…)
1.) MDSUN Super Intensive Moisturizer
MDSUN Super Intensive Moisturizer is the best moisturizer I have ever tried to date. I’m not kidding. This product contains higher concentrations of more impressive ingredients than I’ve ever seen in one place.
One of the major ingredients in MDSUN Super Intensive Moisturizer is panthenol. Several studies done on mice show that panthenol increases collagen production from cell fibroblasts. Panthenol helps other ingredients penetrate the skin more effectively, so they work better. Panthenol is also a humectant moisturizer — which means that it draws in moisture from the environment (International Journal of Cosmetic Science). But because panthenol pulls moisture not only down from the environment but also up from the lower levels of skin, it’s beneficial to use them in combination with other moisturizing ingredients, which MDSUN Super Intensive Moisturizer does.
Another great ingredient to combine with panthenol is niacinamide. In a study on 30-60 year old women, a combination of panthenol and niacinamide (as found in MDSUN Super Intensive Moisturizer) improved signs of aging, such as hyperpigmentation and redness (Indian Journal of Dermatology). But niacinamide has merits of its own; according to Bissett et. al., niacinamide reduces fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness. Further, according to a 2005 study by Draelos et. al., niacinamide may help alleviate some of the symptoms of rosacea by increasing hydration and barrier function of the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of the skin), and may have some anti-tumor characteristics as well. And finally, in a 1995 study by Takozaki et. al., niacinamide may keep your breakouts at bay! It has been reported that a 4% topical niacinamide treatment applied twice daily may help to treat acne by reducing inflammation with similar efficacy to 1% clindamycin gel.
MDSUN Super Intensive Moisturizer has a lot of merits, and it’s rich, creamy, but absorbable texture is one of them. It’s best for a multitude of skin types, except for the most oily. I highly recommend this product — I have been applying it morning and night after vitamin CE and retinoid serums, and I cannot say enough great things about it. The sun spots from my honeymoon are fading; my skin is soft and glowing; and I’m getting carded regularly again, even though I’m about to hit another thirtysomething birthday next month. Boom. It’s the absolute best for age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, and a loss in skin hydration. Not kidding.
Ingredients in MDSUN Super Intensive Moisturizer: Panthenol, Gluconolactone, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, and Ceramide
*Ingredients are subject to change at the manufacturer’s discretion. For the most complete and up-to-date information, refer to the product packaging.
2.) SK-II R.N.A. Power
I don’t actually like SK-II R.N.A. Power for the reasons that SK-II wants you to. The company claims that SK-II R.N.A. Power will, and I quote, “Improves multiple signs of aging, giving you a new level of firmness from multiple angles… After one jar, fine lines appear less defined.”
For me, it’s not so much about implying it may improve contours of the face as it is (you guessed it) the combination of proven ingredients in high concentrations. There’s our good friend niacinamide. There’s panthenol. There’s vitamin E, olive oil, and a trace amount of palmitoyl pentapeptide-4.
And there’s also yeast, in the form of Galactomyces ferment filtrate, which SK-II calls Pitera. In the past, I’ve been skeptical of SK-II and its marketing claims around Galactomyces ferment filtrate, which you can read here. However, there is research demonstrating that yeast is an excellent source of peptides, proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids, as documented in the journal Household and Personal Products Industry — and while proteins are often too large to fit through the skin and carbs and nucleic acids don’t have much substantial backing, it’s the peptides and amino acids that make all of the difference.
Years ago, I never believed peptides or amino acids did much in skin care. After all, peptides are too large to fit through the skin, and I just looked at amino acids like components of proteins that probably didn’t do much other than hydrate.
But it turns out I was wrong. Topically-applied peptides have functions ranging from the temporary skin-freezing effects of argireline to the skin-firming effects of Matrixyl. Topically-applied amino acids have also been found to do all of the following and more:
- Fight fine lines and wrinkles (European Journal of Dermatology, 2013);
- Hydrate (Journal of Peptide Science, 2012);
- Promote wound healing (JPEN, 2014);
- Prevent infections (PLoS Pathogens, 2008);
- Boost protein synthesis within the skin (Minerva Pediatrica, 2014).
There is also evidence that Galactomyces ferment filtrate may increase the production of hyaluronan – a component found in the skin’s extracellular matrix. Since hyaluronan synthesis normally slows with age, this is considered to be a unique way to address the problem of aging. It’s interesting, because I didn’t believe that this actually was a thing when I was younger. But the more people understand about hyaluronan-protein-collagen complexes, the more research that emerges to support their use.
Overall, SK-II R.N.A. Power is a great choice if you have normal to dry skin, and are concerned about a loss of skin firmness, plumpness, and hydration. It may also help improve the appearance of sunspots and skin sallowing as well.
Ingredients in SK-II R.N.A. Power: Water, Glycerin, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Isohexadecane, Niacinamide, Isopropyl Isostearate, Butylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dimethiconol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Methylparaben, PEG-100 Stearate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polysorbate 80, Stearic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Sodium PEG-7 Olive Oil Carboxylate, Ethylparaben, Sorbitan Oleate, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Acanthopanax Senticosus (Eleuthero) Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Cynara Scolymus (Artichoke) Leaf Extract, Polyquaternium-7, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Methylsilanol Tri-PEG-8 Glyceryl Cocoate, Methicone, CI 77891, CI 77492.
3.) 37 Extreme Actives
When 37 Extreme Actives first came out, I will admit I was pretty critical of it for being potentially irritating, and for having ATP and amino acids, which I didn’t believe did much in the skin. (This article has me evolving in a lot of ways, it seems…)
While it is true you may not want to apply a product with 37 self-proclaimed “extreme” actives to your skin if you have particularly sensitive skin, it also is a great product because it has a lot of ingredients that are proven to work in peer-reviewed, independent research studies. It also is sensational because it is stabilized. According to Dr. Jeannette Graf, M.D., the antioxidants in 37 Extreme Actives® have reportedly been found to be stable for up to six months (InStyle magazine, September 2011). This is an amazing finding, since most antioxidants go kaput after moderate exposure to heat, light, or air. The key here is the large number of antioxidants must be synergistically enhancing one another, donating and receiving electrons simultaneously, resulting in a stable composition. Furthermore, we do not yet know every specific pathway in which different antioxidants work, so putting so many tremendous antioxidants in one place is insurance you have all of your antioxidant pathways covered.
Of all the ingredients in 37 Extreme Actives®, I think the ergothionene and the glucosamine are two of the rarest, and two of my favorites. In a 2007 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, L-ergothioneine was found to be more protective from free radicals than idebenone, with far less risk of skin irritation. It is also difficult to find; the only other skin care products I know of with L-ergothionene is Remergent Skin Clarifying Skin Brightener and NEOVA Total DNA Repair.
That said, I think 37 Extreme Actives® is a great option for those who are experiencing signs of aging at an ever-increasing rate.
Key active ingredients in 37 Extreme Actives:
If you are searching for Creme de La Mer alternatives that actually work, I highly recommend MDSUN Super Intensive Moisturizer, SK-II R.N.A. Power and 37 Extreme Actives.
Looking for the best skin care? FutureDerm is committed to having its customers find — and create — the best skin care for their individual skin type, concern, and based on your ingredient preferences. Learn more by visiting the FutureDerm shop!
Best Natural Moisturizer Alternative to La Mer
In analyzing the ingredients listed above, the first thing you may notice is how La Mer’s ingredient list is nearly TWICE as long as Weleda’s Skin Food. Common sense tells us that the more ingredients ~ the more potential that one or more could be irritants for your skin. Next, we notice that the #1 ingredient in Creme de la Mer is “Seaweed Algae,” which is missing in Skin Food. And yet, if you look at the thousands of reviews on Amazon for “Skin Food,” which is overwhelmingly rated 5 stars ~ this doesn’t seem to affect its efficacy.
I won’t go into every single ingredient on each list, but the fact that the #2 ingredient in Creme de la Mer is mineral oil, does not bode well: mineral oil is a well-known skin irritant, as are many of the “benzyl” & “methyl”-prefixed words on their ingredient list.
Tips for Using Weleda’s “Skin Food”
Top Tips for Using “Skin Food” by Weleda: The main complaint about “Skin Food” is that it has a very thick, rich consistency (which can be hard to spread). This thickness means that a little goes a LONG way, so use a very small amount to start. To make the product go on more smoothly (& make it last longer), add 2 drops of jojoba oil when applying it to your skin. Jojoba has a near-identical PH level to your skin, making it safe for all skin types. And finally, use “Skin Food” as your nighttime moisturizer ~ not for day. Because it’s so rich, it can make skin appear greasy, so save it for nighttime only.
Weleda’s “Skin Food” comes in a body cream as well, & travel sizes.