Is there a face cream less expensive than Creme de la Mer but substantially similar?
February 3, 2006 11:42 PM   Subscribe

I love the luxurious face cream, Creme de la Mer, but the price breaks my bank; is there an affordable cream comparable to it?

When I say comparable, I mean a substantially similar face cream that makes your skin look and feel just as hydrated and nourished. While I feel Creme de la Mer is worth the money, I am unable to afford it! (Who can, anyways?)
posted by orangeshoe to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps Philosophy's Hope in a Jar?
posted by Firas at 5:49 AM on February 4, 2006

I've never used a 110 dollar face cream, but my cousin and my mother recently purchased Hope in a Jar and I tried it out. It did feel extremely nice and noticeably different on my skin. (When I say different, I mean smoother and nicer than my already Dove moisturized skin.) It had a very faint scent of cold cream.
posted by xyzzy at 6:26 AM on February 4, 2006

Pure jojoba oil is the best moisturizer I've ever found. I thought La Mer smelled funny.
posted by padraigin at 9:02 AM on February 4, 2006

This is Paula Begoun's take on Creme de la Mer (she's a consumer advocate for cosmetics):

"My favorite example of this type of claim is Estee Lauder Creme de la Mer. Quite a story accompanies this very costly little cream ($165 for 2 ounces)! It was created by Max Huber, a NASA aerospace physicist, supposedly to take care of burns he received in an accident... The reality is that this very basic, and I mean really basic, cream doesn't contain anything particularly extraordinary or unique, unless you want to believe that seaweed extract (sort of like seaweed tea) can somehow be worth this much money, or that it can in some way heal burns and scars. According to Susan Brawley, professor of plant biology at the University of Maine, "seaweed extract isn't a rare, exotic, or expensive ingredient. Seaweed extract is readily available and used in everything from cosmetics to food products and medical applications." Creme de la Mer contains mostly seaweed extract, mineral oil, petrolatum (similar to Vaseline), glycerin, waxlike thickening agents, plant oils, plant seeds, minerals, vitamins, more thickeners, and preservatives. How expensive can it be to stick some seaweed and vitamins in a cosmetic? According to the cosmetics chemists I've interviewed, it costs pennies, not hundreds of dollars..." (source link, quote is near the bottom; another link on La Mer from her site)

Given that information, it doesn't sound like there's anything in it you couldn't find less expensively in another product; but I've never used Creme de la Mer myself so I can't say I know personally that there is or is not a substantial difference in how it feels and works. I have read that Kiehl's Cryste Marine Firming Cream is supposed to be quite similar; it too has algae in it. It's $45 for a 1.7 oz. jar; it's also available as a complimentary sample when you purchase something else on the Kiehl's website, so it wouldn't cost much to try it. Begoun's pick for a rich moisturizer is Dove's Essential Nutrients Night Cream, but the ingredients are not similar (no algae or seaweed I don't think). Still, for the (drugstore) price it might be worth a try.
posted by Melinika at 9:44 AM on February 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

I go the fancy-pants dematologist in my area (where all the rich ladies get their Botox), and he has flatly said Purpose by Johnson and Johnson, Dove, as mentioned above, or Cetaphil as being all you really need.
ting Serum (the pink jelly).
But I do know people who swear by Wexler's Regenreating Serum. Still pricey, though.
posted by oflinkey at 10:33 AM on February 4, 2006

Oops. Sorry. Should read: But I do know people who swear by Wexler's Regenerating Serum (the pink jelly).
posted by oflinkey at 10:34 AM on February 4, 2006

I am an enormous fan of Clinique's Dramatically Different (the yellow lotion). Oil-based, so do beware if you're acne-prone, but I've found that just using a bit when you need it can get you through the winter with your skin remaining blissfully oblivious to the fact that the air's been dry for 4 months. And it's maybe 20 bucks a jar.

Seconds on the Cetaphil, too.
posted by catesbie at 11:55 AM on February 4, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the input. I, too, like Clinique and Dove products (which are the types of products I would typically use). And I understand there is a lot of "hype" behind Creme de la Mer, but I have tried it, and I really like it. It feels like my skin is firmer and more taut when I use it. Also, I love it as a base to my foundation. But I will look into some of the suggestions thus far.
posted by orangeshoe at 12:14 PM on February 4, 2006

I highly recommend you check out the product reviews pages at MakeUpAlley (discovered through another AskMe thread). You have to register to see the reviews but it's worth it, the single most comprehensive site I've found on skin care, hair products, make up, etc. and all based on consumer reviews.

People who use Creme de la Mer there also recommended:
- L'Occitane's Immortelle Essential lotion
- Serious Skin Care's Olive Oil moisturizer
- Weleda's Skin Food
- Origin's Make A Difference cream
posted by cali at 2:58 PM on February 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

I bogart my Mom's La Mer sometimes and really love it. Kiehls version was fair imo. Best alternative, though a wee bit heavier, is Ultra Rich Face Cream (25% shea butter) by L'Occitane
posted by vronsky at 3:27 PM on February 4, 2006

CeraVe is sorta similar to Cetaphil, but I like it better.
posted by spilon at 8:47 PM on February 4, 2006

You could always go the Nip/Tuck route and use semen...

Seriously though, eBay seems to have some good volume deals... $320 for 22 ounces?
posted by disillusioned at 10:40 PM on February 4, 2006

Okay, um... For 2.2 ounces. Oops.

Yeah, might as well go with my first suggestion...
posted by disillusioned at 10:55 PM on February 4, 2006

Try . I get stuff from them all the time. They have a duplicate Creme de la Mer which is almost an exact copy. I've used both and the duplicate is a fraction of the price and gets the same results.
posted by EXISTENTIALMOO at 9:33 AM on March 6, 2006

For some reason my link didn't show up. Here it is again,
posted by EXISTENTIALMOO at 9:34 AM on March 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

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