Very few beauty products can claim to have withstood the test of time and survived changes in consumer tastes and needs. One such skincare staple—at least to its devotees who can afford it—is Crème de la Mer, the luxurious moisturizer that’s marking its 50th anniversary.
The origin of Crème de la Mer is probably familiar to many now: the story says that a physicist named Max Huber concocted the healing potion after sustaining severe burns from a laboratory accident.
He set his sights on the sea kelp, a nutrient- and essential-minerals-rich marine plant, combining the algae extract with other natural ingredients like lime tea extract, an antioxidant. This concoction underwent a process called biofermentation. It took 12 long years and a reported 6,000 experiments for Dr. Huber to arrive at what would later be known as the “Miracle Broth.”
When Dr. Huber died, his children sold his formula to Estée Lauder, but it took the scientists of the French beauty giant years to replicate Dr. Huber’s process. It turns out that blasting light and sound waves at the Miracle Broth was key, as these were said to affect chemical reactions, thereby intensifying its potency.
Today, Crème de la Mer is still one of the most coveted cosmetic products in the market, its notoriety owed to its eye-popping price tag: A 60-ml pot of this precious cream costs P16,400. In fact, its price often—and perhaps somewhat unfairly—overshadows testaments to its efficacy.
Crème de la Mer’s claim is that it can revive the driest skin conditions. It’s said to improve firmness, zap lines and diminish the appearance of pores.
The original rich crème texture has since spawned other consistencies with varying finishes, though its maker maintains each is just as effective: the Moisturizing Soft Cream and Moisturizing Gel Cream in similar opal jars as the original, and Moisturizing Lotion and Oil Absorbing Lotion in pump bottles ideal for travel. The opal jars are still filled by hand to this day, purportedly to maintain the cream’s delicate balance.
For its 50th year, the original Crème de la Mer will be available in a limited-edition 60-ml collector’s jar, a brushed amber gold bearing the signature of Huber’s very first jar. It will also come in a 500-ml jar for P112,000. It will be available beginning Sept. 22 at La Mer counters in Rustan’s Makati, Rustan’s Shangri-La and Rustan’s Cebu.