Monday, May 6, 2013

Fortune In A Jar: When A Face Cream Costs As Much As A Car

[As published on HERE]

Last year, when skincare brand Cle de Peau announced that they were going to launch a $13,000 cream, the beauty industry practically exploded in an uncontrollable furore. While die-hard collectors raced to get their hands on one of the three coveted jars (yes, they only made three jars of the cream, La Crème, which was housed in a handcrafted 30-layer crystal jar encircled by platinum rings), there were also a huge number of people who were, simply, like us, utterly baffled by the price.
RM45,000 for a jar of face cream? We could buy a car with that money!
Collector’s editions aside, the ‘normal’ La Crème also comes with an extravagant price tag of $750 (approximately RM2,300). This got us wondering – what makes these beauty products so expensive? What’s the phenomenon behind the ‘fortune in a jar’ concept?
In this exclusive insight into what goes on behind the scenes, Emmagem talks to a few of the beauty industry’s undisputed leaders to find out more.
The Painstaking Process Of Creating A Miracle Cream
A 500ml jar of Crème de La Mer costs RM6,100 (but you can also get the 30ml one for a less wallet-pinching price of RM550, phew!), but I have met so many people who rave about the creamy moisturiser’s abilities to completely transform problematic skin into complete flawlessness. One friend who suffered from serious acne got her complexion cleared up with the Crème, while another renowned makeup artist swears by La Mer’s products to prep the skin. “It gives my clients’ skin an incredible glow!” he says.
What sets Crème de La Mer apart from other moisturisers is its Miracle Broth, made from Pacific sea kelp which to this day continues to be hand-harvested at specific times of the year off the Pacific coast following in La Mer founder Dr. Max Huber’s legacy. The sea kelp is collected when the water temperatures are cool and nutrient rich. Only fronds that reach the surface of the water are harvested to protect this renewable resource.

(Clockwise from top): Collecting the kelp, hand-filling the jars, the famed sea kelp
Once harvested, the sea kelp is shipped on dry ice overnight to The Max Huber Research Labs on the east coast and combined with other ingredients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, lecithin, Vitamins C, E and B 12, along with oils of citrus, eucalyptus, wheat germ, alfalfa and sunflower. These ingredients then go through a 3-4 month biofermentation process utilizing light and sound energies. They journey from individual components to a nutrient-rich Miracle Broth, which helps provide skin the energy to renew itself, making all the difference between a good moisturiser and a great one. Because of the time-intensive and intricate process that goes into making each jar, only small quantities of Crème de la Mer can be produced at a time.
The Cutting-Edge Technology Inspired By The Medical Industry
With women becoming more well-informed by the day, it’s no longer about slinging around a handbag full of cash for the world to see. “Luxury isn’t just about price anymore – it’s about brands that are authentic and meaningful with an intrinsic value, in contrast to brands in the mass category. Luxury products are purchased because they provide an experience, deliver measurable results thanks to the high quality ingredients, and offer a “feel good” factor,” says Laura Nicholson, Swiss line Education & Retail Development Manager.
High concentrations of active ingredients, breakthrough technology as well as the research and development that go into the making of the product justify the extravagant price tag. Serums are typically the most expensive products within a skincare line.
Swiss line has been known to be at the frontier of paramedical science and has been launching products that incorporate ingredient that pushes boundaries in delivering results.  Its latest launch, the Cell Shock 360 Anti-Wrinkle Serum Triple Collagen Complex (RM699 for 30ml) incorporates a unique collagen boosting peptide which helps stimulate collagen production.
The Precious Ingredients Derived From Nature’s Most Expensive Sources
For French brand Ingrid Millet, luxury is a keyword that has become its mantra throughout the years. Not only do the products contain precious ingredients like diamond, gold, caviar and saffron, but presentation-wise, they do not disappoint either. Often encased in gold, they believe that the presentation and feel of the products also set them apart from other mass-marketed brands in the industry.
Its AbsoluCaviar range, which contains luxurious ingredients like gold complex, pearl extract, diamonds and caviar to turn back the hands of time, will set you back by at least RM5,000 for a set of three products, but for the woman who has more than enough money to make the world go round, it’s just a small sum towards a long-term investment.

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