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 7 of the best (and most expensive) skin creams

The idea of smothering my face and décolletage with a $900 cream seems both irresistible and immoral. Yet for those who demand the finest in fashion, food or even home accessories, why would a cheap cream do?
At the pointy end of the skincare market, money buys not just lanolin or glycerin but the most exotic of ingredients – from truffle extract and South Sea pearls to green caviar algae and 24-carat gold – along with the promise of, if not eternal youth, at least a longer taste of it.
This is skincare to go with Bollinger or Moët, tickets to the opera, and a cute little getaway villa in Provence. Ingredients not only smell sweet but promise to drench the skin with moisture, promote cellular longevity and restore radiance. The packaging is sleek and luxurious, the kind of wrapping that could hold a rare pink diamond or Cinderella's glass slipper, perhaps.
While some dermatologists say Sorbolene does just as well and others raise an eyebrow at the creams' scientific claims, why deny users an excuse to splash out? In short, what is being pedalled here is not simply fewer wrinkles or a firmer jowl but the entire, self-indulgent experience.


Crème de la Mer is one of the best-known creams in the luxury market.
Crème de la Mer is one of the best-known creams in the luxury market.
So dream a little with our pick of creams, some teetering over the $400 price mark and others inching towards $1000 a jar.

1. Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultra Diamond Transformative Energy Crème

The wonder ingredient is black diamond truffle extract paired with "advanced youth-sustaining and lifting technologies". Oh, we want it and we want it now! Over time, Estee Lauder promises, your skin will "radiate with a more contoured, profoundly younger look". The truffles, from southwest France, have been shown in in-vitro tests to "stimulate skin vitality". Throw in refined 24-carat gold and South Sea pearls and you have a bestseller. $495 for 50ml

2. BABOR SeaCreation The Cream

As the name suggests, this contains extracts of two micro-organisms obtained from the deep sea, as well as green caviar algae. Together, they are designed to give the skin a nutrient boost that improves firmness and structure, says BABOR. While you slather on the rich oceanic mix, you can also feel good about saving the world: to protect the waterways, BABOR now has the active ingredients optimised in a scientifically monitored seawater environment. $861 for 50ml


Lancome Absolue L'Extrait Concentrate has scents of Earl Grey, white musk, iris and sandalwood.
Lancome Absolue L'Extrait Concentrate has scents of Earl Grey, white musk, iris and sandalwood.

3. Crème de la Mer

One of the best-known creams in the luxury market, Crème de la Mer was conceived by aerospace physicist Dr Max Huber after he suffered severe chemical burns. Twelve years and 6000 experiments later, he perfected the crème that would help give skin "a dramatically smoother appearance". At its heart is a patented "miracle broth" containing sea kelp, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, lecithin, Vitamins C, E and B12, and oils of citrus, eucalyptus, wheat germ, alfalfa and sunflower – all bio-fermented for a special anti-ageing kick. $440 for 60ml

4. Lancome Absolue L'Extrait Concentrate

Inspired by nature, perfected by science, Absolue L'Extrait "embodies the perfect union between sensoriality and performance", says Lancome. Its secret, apparently, is an extremely high percentage of humectants cleverly combined with an emulsified gel texture. The sensory experience is enhanced by scents of Earl Grey, white musk, iris and sandalwood. $550 for 30ml


La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare makes bold claims for efficacy.
La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare makes bold claims for efficacy.

5. La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare

This potion's potency is based on colloidal platinum, which La Prairie says enhances the absorption of beneficial ingredients, creates a protective buffer zone from environmental stressors, and renders free radicals harmless. $890 for 30ml

6. Chantecaille Bio Lifting Cream +

The claim: 10 million plant stem cells in just one jar. According to MECCA Cosmetica, women love this bestseller because it plumps, hydrates and, in short, makes your skin look younger. $495 for 50ml

7. Sisleya L'Intégral Anti-Âge

This premium brand launched its anti-age formula, now a worldwide bestseller, as long ago as 1999. The current product has been relaunched following laboratory research designed to tackle skin enemies such as stress, poor diet and overexposure to the sun and smoking, it says. Ingredients include essential oils, a yeast and soy protein complex, Persian acacia extract and natural tocopherols, all working hard to justify the price. The scent of lavender and marjoram add olfactory appeal. $550 for 50ml

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