I’m unsure of the exact date, but I remember the emotion the first time I didn’t recognize my face in the mirror. I returned from a vacation in Las Vegas, and it looked like I’d aged 10 years. I was dehydrated, I told myself. I was in a desert, after all. But as the mornings where I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror kept coming, I knew drinking more water wouldn’t be enough to tackle my dry and maturing skin.
For context, I am very fortunate. I don’t have deep crevices or age lines and haven’t struggled significantly with acne since high school; soap and water have mostly been enough to clean my skin. In my late 30s, I adopted products like Kiehl’s, Fresh Rose, and Osea to cleanse and hydrate, and had gone to enough facials to learn that my skin, although healthy, was experiencing sun damage and dehydration.
I was 40 when I began taking everyone’s advice about sunblock, water, and higher-end moisturizing products. I was also 40 when some friends started sneaking away for Botox treatments and fillers. I understand how deeply personal deciding whether or not to have Botox or any other anti-aging treatment can be. I have yet to make that choice, but one day soon, I might want to. For now, I’ve decided to try products that promise results.
In the last year, I have tried La Mer’s skincare line exclusively. As a feminist who grew up in a working-class family, trying this product took me through many emotions. Botox is less expensive. Am I really this vain? Do I need this type of skincare? Is it going to work?
Yes, with a caveat. Being vain, defined as excessive pride in one’s appearance, is not what I experience when I don’t recognize my face in the mirror. Identity is complex and involves both an inner world and an outward appearance. My identity as a Latina female is just as complicated as any other’s at this age. How does youth ideation play into my identity, now at 43? The short answer is that age defines me because my stories define me. I love being 43. I don’t love feeling like I’m looking at a stranger in the mirror. So no, I am not that vain. I can think of the skin on my face as any other aging organ. I want to treat it as well as my gut health or my heart health.
That said, getting past the idea of vanity was much easier than justifying the La Mer price point.
I wish I had started keeping records of my spending on skincare products in my thirties. However, even without the accounting, when I first looked at La Mer as a skincare product option, sticker shock hit me so hard that I gave the counter lady at Neiman Marcus a sharp side-eye. How can this jar of cream cost $500 for 3.4 ounces? How does La Mer’s renewal oil cost $270 for one fluid ounce? Does it renew? Will a specialist be coming to my house to apply the product? Does it come with smart technology and application videos? You get it. My brain couldn’t compute the cost.
This week, my phone sent me a memory/photo of the first La Mer product I ever seriously considered buying. I took the shot in 2022 for reference and research. After all, if I were going to spend roughly $600 to buy a La Mer product, I would need to justify it.
On my product one-year-versary, I have compiled a listicle of La Mer product pros and cons so that you can consider this skincare line before buying it. Spoiler alert: The only con is the price.
First, here are the products I’ve used for a year:
• La Mer, The Tonic Face Toner $95, 6.8 Oz
• La Mer, Renewal Face Oil, $270 1Fl Oz
• La Mer La Crème de la Mer, Moisturizer Cream, $570 3.4fl Oz
• La Mer, The Lifting Eye Serum, $300
• La Mer, The Cleansing Foam, 4.2 Oz
Surprisingly, I spent less on skincare this year than in previous years because I shopped less. With skincare products in the past, I would try them for a few months, and if I felt terrible about them, I rarely repurchased them. I also only bought part of the line of any one brand. Here’s the thing, if I were going to invest $570 in the cream, then the oil would only help make that investment more worthwhile. You’ll notice that the La Mer cleansing foam and toner come in the same price range you would spend with other mid-level products, like Fresh Rose and C.E.O. Glow.
Because of that, I want to focus this listicle on the La Mer products that feel more like investments.
Pro: It lasts.
The $570 jar (or 3.4 Oz) of La Creme de la Mar, Moisturizer Cream, lasted an entire year. That comes to $50 a month! When I used Fresh Rose products, for instance, I was spending $50-$80 monthly or every other month.
La Creme lasted a year because I used a small dab of the creme and a small amount of the renewal oil every time. This combination of La Creme and Renewal Oil makes the product feel like a silky cream that flows effortlessly throughout the entire surface of my face and neck. The products work great by themselves — but extraordinarily together.
Pro: It works.
The renewal oil renews. I can’t explain how (I’m a writer, not a scientist) but after a quick shower in the late afternoon, I only needed a small amount of oil to feel like I had done my entire morning/night routine. It’s lightweight and leaves a glow on my face, unlike products in lower price ranges. I’d go with the Renewal oil if you only invest in one La Mer product.
Pro: A little goes a long way.
The Eye Concentrate lasted eight months (I bought two 2-ounce jars in a year), and I only applied it at night before bed. The concentrate is just that – a concentrated product. With the packages of this brand, you get a small wand with a measure at the end. This tool was a good indicator of how much I should apply. I like to touch the concentrate with the wand and then tap down on my eyes 2-3 times. I don’t rub the product on my skin. I let it sit. Tapping the product down keeps more of it where I want it.
Pro: The goodie bags.
Retailers like Neiman Marcus will give you a one-ounce size La Creme and a 0.5-ounce sample of the eye concentrate just for purchasing any other La Mer product. These gift bags come in handy for overnight trips, and they helped me stay consistent with my skincare routine.
Pro: Fact-filled facials.
Shops like Nordstrom have La Mer facials available for folks who want to learn more from La Mer reps. I had an appointment at the La Mer counter for this article and it felt like I had a facial in the middle of the mall. Outstanding.
Pro: Money motivates.
What is the best way to get yourself to complete a five-step night skin routine? Spend real money on your skincare products. I did, and it helped get me to take the extra step to remove makeup and apply silk-like products, even when I was too tired.
If you’re anything like me, wondering if you can find a product that might help you postpone Botox or fillers, then trying an investment like La Mer is a good call. After a year, I’m all out of product, and yes, I’ll be buying it all again.
Note: This is an honest review. Olga Rosales Salinas was not paid by La Mer to write this review.
Olga Rosales Salinas is a content writer and freelancer who produces poetry, short stories, and essays. Her debut collection of poetry and prose, La Llorona, benefits The Rosales Sisters’ Scholarship, a scholarship that she co-founded for first-generation or immigrant students on the central coast of California, where Olga and her five sisters grew up. Olga is passionate about all of her creative endeavors, including motherhood, mental health, fitness, writing, and wife life. Learn more about Olga at www.OlgaRS.com.
Olga Rosales Salinas
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