Monday, April 23, 2007

Desperation & Duty-Free

She had a tub of La Mer cream sitting on the side of the basin. That the tub was not in her en-suite (which would have made sense), but in one of the main bathrooms, could have meant that it was there to impress. However, as the little spatula was there as well, I naturally took it as an open invitation to liberally apply it.

(Note To Readers: If you also wish to try your hostess’s La Mer, it would pay to do so when she is not going to be around. It has a distinctive perfume, which will instantly give away what one has done. Interesting that I only appear to feel guilt about my actions, when there is a chance of being caught out).

Some items are worth the expense – cheap lipsticks wear off in moments, a decent foundation a must. Nailpolish is variable; I have found that Chanel nailpolish chips as quickly as the modestly priced Revlon range (but Orly is good). With cosmetics, the results are immediate, and evaluating that a $60 lipstick is infinitely better than a $20 one takes no more experimentation than a single application.

However, having read Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me , by Paula Begoun, a few years ago, I am deeply suspicious of high-end beauty products. Is there any real difference between a $20 moisturiser, and one five times the price? It’s a dilemma.

The main purpose of moisturisers is to fend off the signs of aging, which is a long term process, thus one never really knows if the product is doing its job. If one reaches one’s twilight years (which, in beauty terms, is forty), riddled with wrinkles, one wouldn’t know whether to blame the product, one’s genes, or one’s misspent youth. I fear the ravages of all three, so tend to err on the side of caution, and buy Clarins and Dr Hauschka; brands cheap enough that one doesn’t feel like one is buying into a manipulative beauty myth, but with good reputations, so that one hopes they actually work.

However, $400 for 60 mls of La Mer cream? It claims to possess Miracle Broth™, which sounds like an appalling load of cock. I couldn’t believe that it is that good. Surely, the price is designed to cover the putrid stench of desperation, turning fear of aging into a status symbol.

And then I tried it.

It was fabulously thick; the adjective ‘creamy’ is insufficient. My skin, which I always thought (thanks to rigorous care), rather good, was glowing with a previously unimagined splendour. I would say it was now softer than a baby’s bottom, but I have never touched a baby’s bottom, so wouldn’t know.

Filling in time at Heathrow, I commenced the mandatory duty-free shopping. I spotted a La Mer stand.

"Mr Smith," I said, "I would like to buy some face cream."
"Of course," he replied, obligingly. I pointed to a large vat of the splendorous baby-bottom formula. However, at the sight of the price (£2,700), his eyes bulged in an unhealthy fashion, so I quickly changed the subject, and bought a Lulu Guinness umbrella, and some YSL lipsticks instead.

What a meanie. Just as well Smith & Caughey’s stocks La Mer.

Addendum: I have discovered that Paula Begoun has her own website, Cosmetics Cop. Of this product, she writes, "It turns out that Creme de la Mer was, and still is, almost exclusively water, thickening agents, and some algae." Ms Begoun refers to the cream as possessing a "...range of hocus-pocus ingredients." So, put your credit cards away, ladies. It sounds like you could get the same thing for $10 from the supermarket.


Cactus Kate said...

At that price I would want the cream to cause orgasm just by rubbing it on your face!

Nony said...

Cactus, I have some 'cream' that will have the desired effect. Let me know when you will be in Sydney next for a demonstration.

Mrs Smith said...

It appears that the manufacturers of this cream promise so much, but deliver so little. The outcome, one of grave disappointment and dissatisfaction. One assumes that the same goes for Nony's 'cream' as well.