In my time that I’ve been blogging, I have shared my thoughts about many iconic products from various brands. But one very iconic product has thus far escaped scrutiny – Crème de La Mer. Not for want of trying. I was one of the early customers at the La Mer counter when it first opened in Malaysia. Armed with a small pay check, but high hopes, I indulged in the luxurious Crème de la Mer cream. The original. The cream that started it all. For a long time, that was all the brand carried – the Creme de La Mer. I didn’t stick to it for long eventually (small pay check remember?) but despite detractors, I rather liked the crème, a jar of which lasts a surprisingly long time, and back then, worked for me. But this was long before I started writing.
La Mer as a brand tends to bring forth 2 reactions. First, bug-eyed awe at the price-tag. It is the same sort of jaw-dropping awe I stifle when I step into an Hermes store and casually enquire about an item. Second, scepticism. The products are pricey, do they work? Are they worth the price tag?
So, you’d be lying if you didn’t experience one or the other of these reactions, when I show you the new La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream, and share a little about my experience with La Mer moisturisers as a whole. There are 5 different textures in the La Mer moisturiser wardrobe to suit different skin types and preferences, and over the years, I’ve actually tried them all! LOL!
At the heart of the La Mer brand lies the Miracle Broth™ ferment that is found in all products under the brand. Nutrient-rich sea kelp is transformed over 3-4 months in a bio-fermentation process with other ingredients. This mixture is subject to pulsating light and sound energy during the fermentation process to mimic the sun and rhythm of waves. The result is the Miracle Broth™, that boosts skin energy, and giving skin a healthy glow. In many ways, it is this Miracle Broth™ that edges La Mer products ahead of, and differentiates them from their contemporaries.
La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream
The new La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream boasts a gel-cream formula, that promises to hydrate, nourish and cool down the surface of your skin, while strengthening your skin’s protective barrier. Like all La Mer products, it contains their signature Miracle Broth ferment. In this formula, they have encapsulated the Miracle Broth and oils in a kelp gel capsule to deliver the moisture to your skin.
What makes the La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream different is the texture. This one is targeted at those who want to use a La Mer cream, but prefer a lighter textured moisturiser, without all the hassle of warming up and patting on.
Personally, I find the texture pleasant. The formula is not a gel. It is a slightly opaque gel-cream. A lightweight cream, that has the water-like texture of a gel. It therefore feels heavier than a gel, if you are used to that sort of texture. On my dry skin, this La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream quite literally sinks right in. My skin doesn’t feel oily or greasy, nor is there any residue. It’s all gone once I apply it to my skin.
Initially, I was quite nonplussed. How was this supposed to be beneficial for me? I like having that bit of oil on my skin. However, in the interest of experimentation, I persevered using this, but only in the day. Despite my best efforts, the La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream is not a product I could use in my evening routine, as I need something far heavier then.
Confusingly however, I noticed that despite my skin soaking up the La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream like a sponge, like a sponge, it remained feeling dry to the touch on the surface, but moist within. My skin still looked moisturised, and felt comfortable. It was hydrated, any fine lines appeared softened, my makeup stayed on well without cracking, and my skin felt supple. It just felt drier to the touch, and that I think, is something I was not used to.
In terms of performance however, I will have to say that I was quite surprised, and quite impressed that I wasn’t a dried out husk in the time I was using this. I doled out some samples to various members of my family for them to tell me what they thought of this La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream, and much to my surprise, the feedback was the same as mine. It sinks right into the skin. But it does moisturize. Just not in the way we’re used to feeling.
To aid my comfort, I’d blend in 2-3 drops of The Renewal Oil for use in the day. This combination, I feel, elevates the product efficacy. The surface of my skin feels more comfortable, my skin remains hydrated and supple, and it feels (and looks) better. That said however, I have always been a huge fan of The Renewal Oil, and I honestly can’t say if it’s the oil that’s doing the heavy lifting. But it works, as a combination, on my drier skin, and will work for someone who doesn’t like heavy creams but needs the moisture.
But what really sold me on The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream, was when I took it with me on a 2-week vacation. I was away in rather mercurial Spring weather. My vacation started out rather warm, and later cooled down rather drastically. Along the way, both I and my travel partner came down with a cold, and rubbed our noses raw.
Yet, I returned from my vacation with well moisturised skin, no dryness, no breakouts, and no flaky skin around my nose. The cream I had with me was this La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream. On warmer days, it kept my skin well moisturised, without being heavy or oily. I wore minimal makeup, and it stayed on with a smooth, natural finish.
On cooler days, and despite the wind whipping through our hair and against our skin, my skin remained plumped and hydrated. Makeup stayed on well on my skin, without cracking. My skin was not noticeably drier nor did it feel uncomfortable. When I return home from cooler weather, my skin sometimes feels tighter. This time, it transitioned back to tropical weather without any problems.
More interestingly, when we were rubbing our noses raw from our cold, the Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream not only soothed our skin, it kept flaky skin at bay. I let my friend use it when her skin started to get flaky, and it took care of that problem in no time at all, restoring the condition of her skin. While we felt sick, at least our skin remained flake-free. She was so sold on it, she’s now contemplating getting her own tub!
In dry plane air, I slathered this cream on after cleansing my skin, and it kept my skin protected. Granted I could have done better with something a little heavier, but it kept my skin moisturized enough that I did not suffer parchment dry skin.
To say I was surprised at how effective this Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream was in weather like that, is an understatement. I expected to need a heavier cream, but it seemed to hold its own. I was a little ambivalent about this at first, but having spent almost 2 months with it, it’s shown me that it can hold its own in the moisture department, whatever the weather throws at me. Not many creams have been able to do that.
I’d like to think that on its own, this La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream will sit better on someone who has skin that is just tending to dry. A combination type skin, or more dehydrated skin – skin that feels oily on the surface but is dehydrated within. With drier skin like mine, I should be looking at The Moisturizing Soft Cream or the Crème de la Mer, for greater comfort. But if you have drier skin like mine, but prefer lighter textured moisturisers, I can safely tell you, from personal experience, that this cream will serve you just as well.
Best for: Combination skin tending to dry, Oily but dehydrated skin, Anyone who prefers a light textured moisturiser that still delivers on the moisture
La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream
This one is the original cream, and truthfully, the one that receives the most flack and criticism… and praise. This is the one you either love or hate, or love to hate. This was the one I first used more than 20 years ago. The product is a thick cream, that you must warm up in the palm of your hand, before patting onto your skin.
This is the trick – patting, not swiping. The warming mechanism “activates” the product, but what I think it really does, is break down the cream, so it becomes lighter, and feels more comfortable when applied on skin. I warm up every product I use today, since the day I started using the Crème, and I swear, it makes it better to apply, and to absorb.
For me, this is a skin saviour in very cold, dry winter weather, when my skin lapped up the Crème and begged for more. I had a little pot with me on my last winter holiday many years ago, and it truly saved my skin. I even dabbed it on my lips, and it stopped it from cracking. This was back in the day before I discovered facial oils, and no one else in my party understood why I wasn’t moaning about cracked lips and wind-burnt dry skin. My little secret was the Crème de la Mer that I made sure I kept out of reach of everyone else.
The Crème de la Mer is also the product that is used in the La Mer facials that I frequent. I usually suck it up and buy a facial package, and use it over a year. My La Mer facials always leaves my skin glowing, and plumped and really, it’s either their awesome facial massage, or this cream.
That said, the Crème is the one moisturiser that still contains mineral oil, which I much prefer that it doesn’t. This, I believe, is also what gets this product a lot of flack. It works, but it could be better.
Best for: Dry or more matured skin, Cold dry weather, but needs to be warmed up before patting onto skin
Swatches of all 5 La Mer Moisturisers to show texture
La Mer Moisturising Soft Cream
Perhaps you like the Crème, but the thought of warming up product is “wasteful” or too much of a hassle. Enter the Moisturising Soft Cream. Back when I was first trying La Mer creams again, after many years out in the cold, I was introduced to the Moisturising Soft Cream.
This has a light, cream texture, but doesn’t need warming up. This, for most, is the one most people appreciate best, because it works like a cream that we’re more used to using. Personally, I wasn’t too into this cream, because for some reason, it never quite felt like it was giving my skin sufficient moisture. My sister, who is a Crème user, feels the same and avoids this version like the plague. My friend however, swears by this cream, which she has been using for years. So really, opinions can be really polarizing with this one LOL!
Best for: Normal to dry skin
La Mer Moisturising Soft Lotion
Think Soft Cream but lighter, and in a pump bottle. Interestingly, back in the day when I was first introduced to La Mer and before I bought the Crème, I was suggested the Lotion. However, they didn’t tell me then that I didn’t have to warm it up, unlike the Crème. Well, you don’t. Not with the same vigour as with the Crème, and you can apply it as normal. Imagine my consternation back then, trying to warm up a lotion that would almost melt into the palm of my hands.
When I had younger, more oily skin, I actually quite liked this one as a moisturiser. It was comfortable. But now, years later and with drier skin, I found this one too light for me, when I tried it about 2 years ago. In terms of texture, it feels very much like the new Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream, but heavier in texture, yet without that deep-down moisture that I get with the Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream. It is however, more portable, and a little more affordable.
Best for: Combination skin
La Mer Moisturising Matte Lotion
I have had this one for over a year, and I actually prefer this one to the Moisturising Soft Lotion or even the Moisturising Soft Cream! While the idea of a Matte lotion put me off for a while (I have dry skin generally) I eventually had a go, and I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised. The Moisturising Matte Lotion and the new Moisturising Cool Gel Cream are the 2 creams from La Mer that are formulated without petroleum products in them, which tells me it can be done, and hopefully, we’ll see that trickle down effect.
While this is targeted at those who have oily skin types, and it offers a “matte” finish, I find that it isn’t as matte as the name implies. I still find that for the day, it offers me enough moisture, without any right or uncomfortable feeling that “matte” products often do. It actually feels quite comfortable, especially in our heat and humidity. Texture-wise however, I do find it a little heavier than the new Moisturising Cool Gel Cream, so ultimately, for those of a combination or more oily skin type, it will depend on the finish and formula that best sits on your skin that you are comfortable with.
Best for: Combination to oily skin, or for those who prefer a less dewy finish to the skin
La Mer moisturisers are very polarizing, I find. As I’ve said above, they are either products you love, or hate or love to hate. An obvious downside of course, is the pricetag, as you would well be aware. Creams don’t have to be expensive to be good, is a common lament. I can agree with this.
But interestingly, I feel like the sticker shock isn’t as great today as it was when it was first launched. There are many other brands today, with creams that are about as expensive, if not more so.
The other gripe is that it is quite a basic moisturiser, in that it primarily acts as a skin moisturiser without too many active ingredients that do other things. Your actives are left to your serums to do their job (and La Mer has a decent selection of serums too). I personally feel that they could do without mineral oil, but that will be for the formulators to work out.
And finally, scepticism. Is it worth it? That, I’m afraid, is something you’d know best for yourself, as we all have different perceptions of worth. To my family and friends who swear by their La Mer creams, it is. They just make sure to buy smart – when there are year-end promotions or when they travel ;)
Have you tried any of the La Mer creams or have any thoughts on them?
My journey with La Mer creams has been rather turbulent, to be honest. I first tried them about 20 years ago. But up to about 10 years ago, I’d find myself experiencing minor breakouts from using the La Mer creams in various formulas. A lot has changed in 10 years, and I think my skin has too. For one, I haven’t been breaking out either from using this La Mer Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream or the Matte Moisturizing Lotion that I tried before this. I also don’t break out after my La Mer facials, where I know the Crème is used in very generous quantities in the facial massage. In fact, the Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream quite impressed me during my recent 2 month experience with it. However, I don’t know if my wallet likes that change very much LOL! :P
PRICE: RM1320 for the 60ml tub – Tubs comes in 2 sizes 30ml and 60ml, Lotions in bottles come in just 1 size
WHERE TO BUY: La Mer counters, La Mer stores
This post is written in collaboration with and sponsored by La Mer Malaysia