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Thursday, 30 April 2009

Creme de bullshite

It must be big news because The Husband mentioned it last night. 'Apparently there's this face cream by Boots that actually works' he said, stuffing chicken into his own face. It's called Protect and Perfect and not Le Creme de Beaute or Perfectione de Bollocks because as we all know, anti-ageing creams with french names work better, especially when modelled by fifteen year olds. But an english name is just the first surprise. The second is, the stuff seems to work. Dermatologists have given this stuff a grudging thumbs up because in a clinical study of 60 people (whoop-dee-do) 43% said it made their skin look better. As a result there has been a veritable bison like stampede to Boots. Zoe Williams makes the point that it's a bit pathetic really. We've been fed this line for years and years and the fact that out of 60 people, less than half thought it made their skin look a bit better is seen as some sort of dermatological breakthrough is pretty daft. After all, the dermatologists as opposed to the skin care companies have been saying, WEAR SUNBLOCK for years. That's what works. But here's the reason why such a fuss is being made of a fairly simple cream. Because most of the time, the information about very expensive anti-ageing creams is as I'm sure you know, a smoke and mirrors combination of PR, and utter shite. Take Creme de Mer, the most expensive face cream in the world, at £135 a 2oz pot. You may well spit out your coffee in horrified shock. Yes £135. And what do you get for your money? Why, the genius behind it, one Max Huber, who said he developed it from Pacific seaweed, as a NASA scientist to treat burns.

Ok. Except that as several dermatologists pointed out, if Creme de Mer treated burns so effectively, why wasn't it being used in hospitals? The manufacturers had no answer for this. Furthermore, when Time magazine conducted an investigation into Max Huber they found there was no record of him ever being employed by NASA. Time also conducted a scientific analysis of the ingredients in Creme de Mer. And found that the levels of the active ingredient of seaweed derivative or whatever was negligible, barely detectable. The concluded that 'creme de mer is a nice moisturiser' but that was it. A nice moisturiser? Selling at £135 a pot?

No wonder a cream tested on 60 people which makes you look marginally better is being hyped as a miracle. Personally, I'm just going to keep slapping on the sunblock.


Helen P said...

Do you know what? I love Aldi's moisturizer and Boots cucumber dooda, both of which cost less than £2 a pot. The remaining £132 I like to spend on a night out with the hubby.

Robert said...

Another thing - to continue to have the benefits of this cream, you have to continue to use it. For the rest of your life. Otherwise you return to your proper age (in appearance).

Proper money spinner!

Jane said...

Helen - you are a wise woman. Robert - yep - the second you stop using the stuff your face melts. Like Dracula!!!

I know a dermatologist and his advice is this. I quote:

"Just wear fucking sunblock for fuck sake. Drink lots of water. Don't smoke. Try not to get drunk too often. Don't crash diet. And be born with good genes. Er . . that's it."

Penny said...

The beauty editor on Observer Woman mag (I read it by mistake once, while hungover) took a reader to task for asking for recommendations for a body lotion costing less than a fiver. Apparently the idea that your skin is only worth £4 is offensive to all right-minded people. Personally I'm with Helen, keep the skincare cheap, spend the rest on books.

Jane said...

Thanks for your comment Penny. You're right of course and that's another point - the editors are all in league with the beauty companies because L'Oreal, Lancome et al provide so much money in advertising. Personally I always check out what real consumers say about a product on

Elle said...

What does 'work' even mean? Nothing is going to prevent the inevitable.

I agree with you, Jane. Slap on the sunblock and do it gracefully. And if you're like me, buy the products because you like them, not because you believe they can perform magic... Leave that to Siegfried and Roy.