Friday, August 1, 2008

Creme de la Mer: Miracle in a Jar or Not?

Yesterday marked the end of my first month as a blogger of My Makeup Blog. Without your encouragement, I would not be still writing here so a big "THANK YOU!" goes to all of you!

Creme de la Mer (CDLM) is probably the most coveted product in this beauty world. You turn left and you hear J.Lo talk about it, you turn right and you hear Kimora Lee Simmons rave about it, you look up and you see Sarah Jessica Parker praise it, and you look down you notice Jessica and Ashley Simpson chime about it. Ever since I heard of it, I just wanted to give it a try as it may solve my problems (mainly zits and enlarged pores).

This creme was created by Dr. Max Huber, an aerospace physicist, after a horrible experiment happened that caused him some chemical burns on his face. The miracle in his creme is called the Miracle Broth which is created through a fermentation process that takes 3-4 months to complete. The story sounds really amazing to me and after I saw such a long list of prominent celebrity followers, I just wanted to add my name in there too, not like I'm a celeb or anything, I just wanted to try!

As I am a scientist-in-training who loves to read the ingredient list, I realized why CDLM is the way it is from the look at the first 5 ingredients:
Top 5 ingredients are: Seaweed extract, mineral oil, petrolatum, glycerin, and isohexadecane.
Usually, the top 5 ingredients in your skincare product takes about 60-90% of the volume of your product. From the first 4 ingredients, we can see this CDLM is not a water-base creme as Aqua (or water) is not listed as one of the main ingredients. In fact, it is a petroleum-base creme. This type of creme has its own advantage of not needing a lot of preservatives such as the parabens. And CDLM is true to its words: it does not contain any parabens!

  • Mineral oil or liquid petrolatum is the by-product of petroleum distillation to produce gasoline. In this distillation process, all the products and by-products are mineral oil, petrolatum jelly (aka Vaseline), tar (to patch up the roofs, driveways, and build roads),... All the petroleum by-products are used one way or another and mineral oil is actually quite abundant and cheap. Baby oil is made out of mineral oil with some fragrance and maybe color added.
  • Petrolatum is what Tyra uses on her eyes as an eye cream. It is a fancy name for your tub o' Vaseline. So it's also cheap and available.
  • Glycerin is a humectant, and like the other two: is also cheap and available.
  • Isohexadecane: if you remember your organic chemistry 101, it is an alkane or a single-bonded hydrocarbon. The IUPAC name for this compound is heptamethylnonane for those who are interested. Therefore, this compound is highly branched and highly hydrophobic.
  • So how about its first ingredient, seaweed extract?It is unclear to me if the seaweed extract is in solid or liquid form. However, further down on the ingredient list has microcrystalline wax which is an emulsifier so I think this seaweed extract is in a liquid form. But there's no Aqua (water) in the list so what kind of solvent is it extracted to? Thin air?
From the first 5 ingredients, it is clear that this cream is very heavy as most of the components are hydrophilic compounds (petrolatum, mineral oil, and isohexadecane). It also has a humectant (glycerin) and some seaweed extract. Further down in the list, there are some other plant-base oils but they are not as abundant.

So do you see the problem here? It is a very heavy cream. Whoever said that it is an excellent moisturizer is correct because the hydrophilic compounds really seal the moisture to your skin and you will definitely wake up with a very moist face. However, mineral oil and petrolatum make the creme very sticky, so you have to use a certain technique to liquefy the creme before applying to your face. I found out this is a waste because most times regardless how much I rub, there is plenty of products sticking to my palm.

I thought it would be a “miracle crème” that solves all my skin problems but I was wrong. At first, it gave me this very soothing feeling upon application. But then as days went by, I noticed some zits popping up in areas that I applied CDLM a bit heavier (because I wanted to heal them!) I stopped using it and everything came back to normal. But the moment I started using CDLM again, zits came back!

So I do not recommend this creme for those who have acne prone and sensitive skin. This creme is expensive and does not always deliver. If you want some seaweed extracts in your life, eat some sushi. It'll do some good to your skin and fill up your stomach as well. For mineral oil, petrolatum, and glycerin, just go to your drug store and look for a bottle of baby oil, a jar of Vaseline, and a bottle of pure glycerin. Those three will not cost you more than $10. You can mix them and rub them all over your body, although I do not recommend this practice.

Creme de la Mer: $125 USD for 1 oz, $220 USD for 2 oz, $1350 USD for 16.5 oz. It did not work any miracles on me but gave me more zits. So I saved up my money and got myself some sushi and Olay face lotion. This time my face is happy and I'm happy too.

Last but not least, my experience is mine and I just want to share with you. If you've used it and love it, by all means continue using it. However, if you're on the fence of buying and have sensitive and/or acne-prone skin, I suggest you to keep your money in your pocket and find something that's less thick and expensive.

Those are my 2 cents. I hope you enjoy it. If you've used La Mer and want to share your own experience, please share by commenting. If you just want to dish, dish anyways.

Take care and have fun. TGIF everyone!
Your Makeup Blogger

P.S: one related post since I mentioned Tyra Banks on my frugal beauty tips entry.


  1. Thanks for this. I go back and forth when I think about buying it and not buying it. I'll keep all this info in mind! And id love to trade links, I'll add you to my blog roll, feel free to do the same, dear.

  2. Hi Jaimie,

    If you want to try, just sweet talk the SA into getting you a sample first just to try. Then you can go from there but from my own experience, CDLM is not all that. I'm going to add you to my blog roll, thanks!

  3. Great review of the product, I've been tempted to use it.

    And in reply to your comment; No, I haven't yet. My mom wanted to take me but we didn't find time to watch Kung Fu Panda yet. ]:

  4. Hi Jaci,

    Thanks a lot! Again, just get the sample to try first. If it's suitable then you can think of buying. But CDLM is just so expensive, I think some of the drugstore face cremes are better.

    Your cupcakes are so cute!

  5. haha, so funny. your review made me lol. loved it.

    I was seriously tempted by CDLM, but I had a sneaking suspiscion it might now work for my sensitive skin, and your review confirmed my suspicions. At $1000/pound, cdlm is a seroius investment. I might consider it when I am *significantly* older...and hopefully less broke :P


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