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10 things you didn’t know about La Mer

We all know La Mer’s skincare is iconic, but do you know what actually makes La Mer moisturisers so special and desirable?

Name a beauty product that’s as well-known, revered and unique as Crème de la Mer​.

It’s virtually impossible! The weighty glass tub of luxuriously thick, velvety cream is a household name – not because every household has one, but because it has established a reputation as the ultimate care for skin. 

But the iconic cream and the four other equally-impressive moisturisers in La Mer’s stable, including glow-boosting new-gen The Moisturising Soft Cream, have a lesser-known backstory and a number of surprising details about the careful and considered way each is formulated, that fills the blanks about why it is considered the pinnacle of skincare.

1. It was purpose designed for skin repair 

To deliver such beautiful results (the moisturisers are known for delivering a soft, plump and glowing complexion) each product contains La Mer’s transformative hero ingredient. 

Now known as ‘Miracle Broth’, it’s a unique fermented sea kelp extract that was originally developed by aerospace physicist Dr. Max Huber in the 1950s, after he sustained a burn in a lab experiment. 

Huber subsequently experimented over a number of years combining extracts of the nutrient-rich and abundant kelp found in the ocean near his Californian home, with other natural and botanical ingredients, fermenting them into a concentrated formula. Reportedly trying around 6000 experiments over 12 years, he finally landed on a version that significantly improved the look of his skin. 

2. Each batch is serenaded

Part of that experimentation involved looking into more unique ways to make the resulting skin cream more effective. Dr Huber used his science and physics background to deduce that exposing the Miracle Broth formula to light and sound energy – now known as sonochemistry – improved its results. He famously played the formulas sound recordings while the fermentation process was taking place, over three to four months. The process is said to be more active when exposed to the sound waves. 

3. Each batch maintains a seamless link to the original

La Mer remains faithful to that extensive and detailed formula and process today as the fermentation transforms ingredients into micronutrients that the skin can more readily recognise and receive. Each time a batch is created, it is also infused with drops from the one that came before it, creating a timeless link to that original batch.

4. It contains hand-harvested algae

In 2021 Miracle Broth is still a sea-inspired powerhouse now created using kelp sourced off the coast of Vancouver. Macrocystis pyrifera, or Giant Sea Kelp, is one of the fastest growing plants in the world that has peak growth rates of 2ft a day, hence Dr Huber’s interest in its regeneration abilities. The kelp is now carefully hand harvested to protect its sustainability, ensuring the health and regeneration of the kelp is protected for generations to come. 

5. It’s also powered with skin-boosting ‘Lime Tea’ antioxidants

It’s not only Miracle Broth that makes La Mer skincare so effective. Dr Huber was also responsible for the genesis of another key ingredient in the moisturisers. Now called Lime Tea, Dr Huber created an extraction from the peel of the citrus fruit after realising the protective potential of the powerful antioxidants found within, ahead of his time. 

Antioxidants are now well known to help skin defend itself against daily stressors and encourage healthy renewal. Legend says Dr Huber’s original recipe was a solution of lime rinds and 100-proof vodka, although alcohol is no longer used. It now involves a one-month slow-extraction process.

6. Each jar is hand-filled

Each of the brand’s weighty signature opal glass jars is hand-filled in a temperature-controlled room within eight hours of each formula’s completion to ensure a fresh, potent and effective product. 

7. There’s a formula for every occasion, season or destination

Each La Mer moisturiser contains the precious ingredients mentioned above, along with other advanced hydration-boosting elements that encourage skin’s natural renewal, soothe irritation, protect from environmental pollution and maintain a balance that minimises the effects of ageing.

Given the way we care for skin each day can be dependent on its evolving condition thanks to variables like lifestyle, location, hormones and habits, La Mer now has five moisturiser options to suit those needs and texture preferences. 

Not to be missed, the newest, The Moisturizing Soft Cream, has a lightweight and modern texture that quickly delivers on glow! It works using Miracle Broth-infused moisturising spheres that help renew skin’s barrier – essential in the colder months – for a naturally vibrant radiance.

The original, Crème de la Mer is a decadently rich cream that’s perfect for complexion-taxing environments like travel or indoor heating and brings very dry skin back to life.

The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream has a fresh cooling gel feel that quickly freshens and soothes skin that’s oilier or feeling the heat and is great for hot, humid environments or after working out or exercise.

When you want to control shine or keep your makeup in place The Moisturizing Matte Lotion gives skin a smooth, healthy-looking matte finish and it is great for guys too.

Sheer and light, The Moisturizing Soft Lotion absorbs quickly so it is perfect under makeup and keeps skin nourished and hydrated all day. Plus, the pump format is easy to carry with you.

8. It’s a celebrity favourite

Being constantly in the public eye can be a challenge for many A-list celebrities and as such they seek out the top skincare and aesthetic treatments available. Often on their ‘must-have’ lists? La Mer moisturisers. Beyonce, Blake Lively, Kim Kardashian, Kate Hudson and plenty more are said to be fans.

9. La Mer continues to honour its connection to the sea

Referring to the sea as its muse, La Mer as a brand holds deep respect for our oceans and the part they play in sustaining our existence, as well as nurturing the kelp extract in its formulas. As such, it has retained a long-held commitment to marine conservation efforts, having donated US$5.7 million over 15 years and helped support the protection of 16 million miles of unique marine habitats across the globe.

In 2017 it formalised this commitment with the establishment of the La Mer Blue Heart Oceans Fund and has since backed conservation efforts in The Azores, Grenada, the East China sea and the planting of 30,000 mangroves in the Caribbean.

The fund also works with ambassadors including environmentalist, explorer, and filmmaker, Philippe Cousteau, marine biologist and policy expert Dr Ayana Johnson and wildlife photojournalist Thomas Peschak to help spread information around the current challenges and investigate ideas that will have a positive impact.

Each year La Mer also releases a special ‘Blue Heart’ edition of Crème de la Mer​ to raise awareness for the significant conservation initiative.

10. An ongoing commitment to sustainability

As part of a wider commitment to environmental sustainability La Mer has committed to ensuring over 75% of its packaging will be recycled, recyclable, reusable, refillable or recoverable by 2025.

To learn more about La Mer’s iconic skincare visit Lamer.co.nz

STYLE Promotion

What are upcycled perfumes? 

Sustainable perfumes made with upcycled ingredients are key to the future of the fragrance industry. 

As sustainability goals in the beauty and personal care industry advance, new possibilities are being uncovered for raw materials that once would have been waste.

One area in particular making strides is the fragrance business, with the use of upcycled ingredients being explored by the world’s biggest fragrance houses.

Given the scarcity of certain precious natural ingredients necessary to create perfumes traditionally and the large amounts of these ingredients needed, looking for alternatives has become a top priority. 

Givaudan, one of the world’s largest flavour and fragrance manufacturers, and supplier to many of the most familiar perfumes on department store shelves, has been working on the idea for several years. One of its approaches involves extracting the olfactive components from rose petals a second time after they have already been processed. Instead of being discarded they offer a new product, with a markedly different – but still desirable – scent profile. 

Another, a cedarwood extract, is made from sawdust collected as a by-product of the furniture industry. Its first round of processing results in cedarwood oil, its second, a new aromatic ingredient for perfume use.

Perfumes with upcycled ingredients: Etat Libre D’Orange’s I Am Trash ; Issey Miyake A Drop d’Issey; Thierry Mugler Angel Nova Refillable EDP;  The Nue Co’s Forest Lungs 

These ingredients are beginning to reach the shelves in new perfumes, including in those by Mugler, Etat Libre d’Orange and The Nue, with more to come this year. 

LMR Naturals, the naturals division of fellow global fragrance ingredients supplier IFF, has also developed a number of new options using upcycled materials, including harvest byproducts such as seeds, spent extraction material such as pulp and side streams from processing facilities, such as wastewater.

Among the results: new scents created from turmeric leaves traditionally discarded in production of the root for food and supplements, and by reusing the traditionally discarded wastewater from cinnamon bark distillation.

The approach is also being extended into beauty products in other areas, with nutrient rich active ingredients being diverted for use in skin and haircare. 

Vetivyne by Givaudan is a repairing and moisturising, anti-aging ingredient for skin care that is made from a water-soluble extract from exhausted vetiver roots, a by-product of the extraction procedure used to produce vetiver oil for fragrances.

Swiss cosmetics ingredient developer brand Rahn offers a skin-renewing active called Reforcyl-Aion, made from the waste of pumpkin seeds pressed for their oil. 

And in the UK University of Leeds scientists lead by Dr Richard Blackburn and Professor Chris Rayner devised a purple hair shampoo – commonly used for balancing brassy tones in blonde hair – using blackcurrant fruit waste used in the production of Ribena. It is sold under the brand Dr. Craft. 

Of course the process of upcycling is not entirely new to the beauty industry, long established in  other products we’re more familiar with, such as discarded coffee grounds from our beloved beverage consumption used in body and face scrubs, and lanolin extracted from wool during its washing and processing for the textile industry and used in skincare products.