La Prairie

Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 300.00
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Brand Overview

When you look at the label for this pricey cream, you might wonder what exactly makes this different from the other anti-aging moisturizers sold by La Prairie. According to the company's website, this one harnesses the power of "Swiss Cellular Ice Crystal" technology. La Prairie claims that taking the extracts from flowers able to survive in the harsh environment of the Swiss Alps (as if that's the only harsh environment in the world) and putting them in this formula will infuse your skin with the same sort of environmental resilience these flowers exhibit in their natural habitat. Is anyone else besides us gagging at this nonsense, and at the ridiculous price tag?!

Suffice it to say, how any plant survives in unfavorable and harsh weather conditions doesn't have anything to do with your skin, not in any way, shape, or form. For example, many plants thrive in direct sunlight, but if you were to apply those kinds of plant extracts on your skin and then expose it to sunlight without sunscreen, your skin would still get seriously damaged. In short, these types of claims are marketing foolishness, having nothing at all to do with real science or skin benefits.

Marketing mythology aside, this cream does feature an array of beneficial ingredients, including emollients, antioxidants, amino acids, and skin-identical ingredients. While they aren't going to magically transform your skin, they are definitely capable of making your skin look and feel younger.

Unfortunately, La Prairie also included some not-so-good ingredients, most notably horsetail extract. It does have some antioxidant properties, but it also has a high tannin, alkaloid, and nicotine content, which can be irritating and can constrict skin (Source: www.herbmed.org). While this constricting effect might make it feel like your skin is getting "firmer," it's absolutely not what you need in a moisturizer that's supposed to be soothing!

Another issue is the packaging. All the great antioxidants and amino acids packed into this formula will soon lose their effectiveness because this moisturizer comes in a jar, which exposes them to light and air. See More Info for details on why jar packaging is a bad idea for this kind of product.

Overall, when you're spending this much money (or any amount of money for that matter), you should be getting the most state-of-the-art product in the best packaging possible (and with realistic claims, too). As it stands, most of the benefits of this moisturizer will be wasted soon after opening.

One other issue worth mentioning is the small amount of fragrance ingredients. Although we suspect the risk of irritation is minimal, their inclusion, along with a much greater amount of horsetail extract, increases the odds of your skin having a sensitized reaction.

  • Contains a good mix of emollients, antioxidants, amino acids, and skin-identical ingredients.
  • Contains horsetail extract, which can be irritating and constrict skin.
  • Packaged in a jar, so the beneficial ingredients will break down as they're exposed to light and air.
  • Absurdly overpriced for what you get.
More Info:

The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: Yes

This glistening moisture rich cream melts instantly into your skin, immediately helping to restore its youthful appearance. The Swiss Ice Crystal Complex works to fortify your skins resilience, using natures survival secrets to help it adapt to lifes ever-increasing aging assaults. Biotechnology merges with nature as plant stem cells help renew the look of firmness and smooth the appearance of wrinkles, keeping you looking younger, longer.

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glycoproteins, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Quisetum Arvenese (Horsetail) Extract, Soluble Collagen, Chitosan, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Lysine HCL, Theronine, Arginine, Histidine, Serine, Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, Tryptophan, Folic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Lipids, Rubus Idaeus Leaf Cell Culture, Psilanthus Bengalensis Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Pentapeptide-34 Trifuoroacetate, Malca Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Plantago Lanceolata Leaf Extract, Artemisia Umbrelliformis Extract, Silica, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicae, Lecithin, Lactic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Lactobacillus Ferment, Tocopherol, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Maltodextrin, Isomalt, Citric Acid, Propanediol, Tin Oxide, Sodium Phosphate, Glucose, Sodium Hydroxide, Isohexadecane, PEG-8, Glycine, Polysorbate 80, Sorbitan Tristearate, Pentylene Glycol, Carbomer, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum) Linalool, Benzyl Alcohol, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Amyl Cinnamal, Hexyl Cinnimal, Evernia Furfuracea (Treemoss) Extract, Benzyl Benzoate, Geraniol, Butyphenyl Methylpropional, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexyglycerin, Titanium Dioxide.

La Prairie At-A-Glance

Strengths: Most of the makeup categories present at least one good, though needlessly expensive, option.

Weaknesses: Very expensive; overreliance on jar packaging; many products contain a potentially irritating amount of astringent horsetail extract; no effective skin-lightening options; poor options for anyone dealing with blemishes (though La Prairie is concerned primarily with selling wrinkle creams anyway).

La Prairie has been at the forefront in the introduction of expensive anti-aging products for more than three decades. Many of the products in this originally Swiss skin-care line are called "cellular treatment." After a while, it all starts sounding silly. The attempt to align these products with the concept of being able to affect skin at the cellular level is over the top, although when it comes to making the ordinary sound extraordinary, La Prairie excels.

Assuming your skin could improve with these products, the prices alone might cause premature aging! So what do the women who can safely afford these products get for their money? The prestige of knowing they can afford them, period. High-priced skin-care lines attract women who think that the dollars they spend will buy them something special that most other women can't afford. To some extent, they're right: most women can't afford these products. Yet anyone who reads and understands the ingredient lists would find that price doesn't reliably translate into having better skin. What you're really getting from this line is a barrage of look-younger-now claims not backed up by one shred of substantiated scientific evidence, and a group of unimpressive formulations.

A particularly egregious error appears in the number of La Prairie moisturizers (and my goodness, does this company love moisturizers!) that arrive in jar packaging. La Prairie is in-the-know about the importance of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients for skin, yet almost all of their products that contain such ingredients ignore their vulnerability to oxidation. Containers like these ensure that these products will deteriorate shortly after you begin using them. Considering the premium prices, that is an almost unforgivable offense. At least the company gets their facial sunscreen right by including sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients. However, it's interesting to find that a visit to the La Prairie counter involves a lot more discussion about their moisturizers, ampoules, and other "treatment" products, while all the time you know that the only reliable antiwrinkle product everyone needs to use is sunscreen.

For more information about La Prairie, owned by Beiersdorf, call (800) 821-5718 or visit www.laprairie.com.

La Prairie Makeup

The brief makeup section in La Prairie's catalog poses the question "Consider the number of hours a day you wear makeup. Shouldn't the foundation you wear be an extension of your treatment program?" Well, calling most of La Prairie's skin-care products a "treatment" is a bit of a joke as what they seem to mean by "treatment benefit" has to do with the company's Cellular Complex, but that isn't complex in the least. This complex is primarily glycoproteins. Although it's true that glycoproteins are an integral part of the skin's intercellular matrix, they are far from the only element skin needs to look and feel its best. Functioning primarily as water-binding agents, glycoproteins won't firm, lift, or rejuvenate skin cells in the manner La Prairie would like you to believe. Further, of the makeup products below, only the ultra-pricey foundations contain a significant amount of this complex, and they have drawbacks of their own.Overall, La Prairie's makeup leaves much to be desired, especially given the high to ludicrous prices for what amount to ordinary cosmetics. A few of the products have supple, silky textures, but the expense is hard to justify when similar items are available for substantially less from so many other lines. Many of the products below earned happy face ratings, but keep in mind that you do not have to acquiesce to La Prairie's prices to beautify your face.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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