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Creme La Mer - The Mystic of Crème la Mer

cream kelp process huber

Crème la Mer (or Crème de la Mer) is a product that is surrounded by mystery regarding its effectiveness. There is also a bit of controversy as to whether it merits its hefty price.

Crème la Mer was originally developed in the 1970’s by Dr. Max Huber, an aerospace physicist who worked for NASA. Dr. Huber was involved in an accident when a routine experiment exploded and left his face and hands severely injured. He sought to heal his chemical burns and though it took him 12 years and about 6,000 experiments; he developed and perfected Crème la Mer and what is called the “Miracle Broth”, the main ingredient in the cream.

Miracle Broth is made from sea kelp, magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamins E, B12 and C, potassium and lecithin. In addition oils from wheat germ, alfalfa, sunflowers, citrus fruits, and the eucalyptus are used. The process is time consuming. Dr. Huber used bio-fermentation which is a natural chemical process that broke down the kelp and allowed him to make more concentrated versions of the active ingredients it contained. Though his lab was on the east coast; he used kelp from the ocean off the California coastline that was only harvested twice a year when at its peak vitamin and mineral concentration levels. The bio-fermentation process of the kelp took three-four months.

During the bio-fermentation process, Dr. Huber used sonochemistry. He recorded the sounds of the sea kelp fermenting and later played the recordings to new batches of fermenting kelp. In each batch of crème, a tiny amount of the previous batch was added so that each batch contained a trace of the original crème. Each jar of Crème la Mer was hand filled.

When Dr. Huber began making this cream, he had no intentions of selling it; however, when others saw how it helped him, they wanted to use the cream as well. He began to sell jars of the cream and it quickly became a global product. After his death, Dr. Huber’s daughter sold the company to Estee Lauder in 1996. Estee Lauder kept the original manufacturing process and to this day continue to manufacture Crème la Mer in the fashion of its original maker, down to filling the jars by hand.

The Miracle Broth in Crème la Mer is activated by rubbing a pea size amount between the fingertips. The rubbing warms the cream and reduces it to a clear liquid. The liquid is then patted onto the clean, dry skin of the face and neck. Recommended use is twice daily. The cream claims to reduce redness and irritation of the skin, and makes it smoother and firmer. Aging lines and pores become less visible.

The moisturizing cream is sold exclusively in high-end department stores such as Saks, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus and most recently through online retailers; selling for about USD$100 per ounce. Reviews by consumers on the effectiveness of the cream are mixed. Celebrities such as Marcia Cross and Jennifer Lopez acknowledge regular use of the product.

Other manufacturers of skin care products and professional reviewers of such products challenge the claims made by Crème la Mer regarding its effectiveness. Many say that the moisturizing cream does not work any better, though not any worse either, than other less expensive brands of moisturizing cream. They cite the fact that Crème la Mer has not gone through any scientific studies to support their claims. In the absence of studies on a large scale with peer reviews and double-blind clinical trials; the cream does not warrant such a costly retail price.

Crème la Mer is a luxury product made in artisanal fashion. Crème de la Mer means literally “Crème of the Sea” and with the intensive and time consuming process to bring the cream to market; perhaps the cost is justified. Consumers who swear by it certainly believe it is worth every penny.

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