Crème de la Mer… the brow-furrowing truth | Mail Online

Worth the money? Creme de la Mer is an expensive choice for a face cream


It’s worth repeating – always read the ingredients list! - 

Worth the money? Creme de la Mer is an expensive choice for a face cream

For years, it’s been one of the world’s most talked about and sought-after anti-ageing creams.

Women around the world swear by its powers and are happy to splash out £530 for just 250ml of this potent elixir.

In these circles of well-heeled and image-conscious women, Crème de la Mer is more than just a face cream – it’s virtually a religion.

It is stocked only in the most exclusive department stores, and these women seem happy to pay whatever it costs in their bid to halt the ageing process.

But what would they say if they knew that the ingredients in their £530 pot of cream cost – as the Daily Mail discovered – no more than £25?

After a month-long investigation into the iconic beauty cream, cosmetic chemist Will Buchanan, who has spent years creating topical treatments for skin and hair, was able to deduce that of the hundreds of thousands of pounds spent each year on the cream, no more than about 5 per cent is accounted for by the ingredients.

Creme de la Mer – the name literally means ‘cream of the sea’ – have done their best to shroud their product in a veil of mystery. The company’s website not only refers to a ‘heritage’ that is ‘inspired by the sea’, but also devotes entire sections to what it calls ‘The Miracle’ and ‘The Secret.’

In fact, the cream is actually a very simple and ordinary cosmetic formula. Under European law, every cosmetic and toiletry product must display a full list of ingredients, in descending order of weight. 

Using the ingredients listed on a pot of Crème de la Mer, alongside his knowledge of product formulations, Will Buchanan was able to suggest how much of each ingredient was likely to be in a jar. He then sourced prices for all the individual components.

Some of the ingredients, such as petrolatum (the contents of Vaseline), glycerine and eucalyptus leaf oil are widely available from beauty supply websites.

Other chemicals need to be bought in bulk directly from industrial chemical suppliers.

According to Will’s calculations, recreating 100ml of a copycat Crème de la Mer cream from readily available ingredients is likely to cost no more than £9.71. A 100ml pot of Crème de la Mer retails for £160.

‘This is a variation on a basic water-in-oil formula,’ says Will. ‘What I’ve done is, of course, only an estimate. To give the benefit of the doubt, I’ve been very generous in my pricing of the sea kelp, which is the main ingredient.

‘Ultimately, of course, only the manufacturers know exactly what the recipe is, and how much their ingredients cost.’ 

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