White Caviar Illuminating Serum
It is astounding that La Prairie charges this much a product that's mostly water, glycerin, and alcohol. This serum is a shocking waste of money! And imagine, alcohol, which causes irritation, dryness, and free-radical damage (not to mention collagen breakdown, which makes wrinkles worse), being the third ingredient in a product claiming to make your skin look and act younger! See More Info to learn about the problems alcohol presents for your skin.
What's particularly disappointing is that there are some excellent anti-aging ingredients in this serum, but all of them are listed after the alcohol, so it's all for naught. On balance, there's an impressive, generous mix of antioxidants, anti-irritants, skin-identical ingredients, and emollients in a lotion-style serum that has a soft silky texture. The form of vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside) included has some research indicating it can help fade brown spots, but the inflammation from the alcohol and the irritating plant extracts in this serum isn't worth the tradeoff, especially not when there are effective options that don't contain irritating ingredients (see our Best Skin-Lightening Products list). This could've been a great product, albeit with a ludicrous price tag, but as is, this is ludicrous from both viewpoints: price and quality.
- Contains an impressive range of anti-aging ingredients.
- Form of vitamin C this contains may help lighten dark spots.
- The amount of alcohol puts skin at risk for irritation and largely negates the benefits from the good ingredients.
- Contains fragrant plants and fragrance ingredients that compound the irritation from the alcohol.
Irritation from Alcohol: Alcohol causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In, "Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
Why Irritation is a Problem for All Skin Types:rritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Dark spots and uneven coloring can give your skin an aged look beyond its years. This potent anti-pigmentation serum interrupts the cycle that creates age spots, stopping discoloration before it begins. As existing spots fade, the skin takes on a new brightness. The benefits don't stop with illumination. Firmness, hydration and anti-oxidant protection are increased leading to softer, smoother, more even-toned skin. This lightweight fluid may be added under any moisturizer to help prevent future discoloration and keep your skin looking its flawless best.
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.