Thursday, August 28, 2008

Product Review: La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream

I swear the more I see of southern Californian women, the more I moisturize. It's like the attack of the Leather Zombies out here. I swear our waitress the other night could have been carved out of beef jerky. So I give you another night cream review: La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream. This one really could give the reigning champ, Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +, a run for its money. (That's foreshadowing, just so you know.)

Cellular Night Repair Cream is part of La Prairie's "The Swiss Moisture Care - Face" Collection. La Prairie's website describes its Cellular Night Repair Cream like this:

  • Enhances natural skin repair for face, neck and décolleté
  • Protects against accelerated skin aging
  • Skin looks repaired, rejuvenated and replenished
Of course, La Prairie's website can't be bothered to contain ingredient lists. No. That would make this too easy. Running La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream through The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database was a challenge, but what am I if not up for a challenge? I emailed La Prairie's customer service for the ingredients and this is what I found. (Click here for the full ingredients list as I copied and pasted it from the email from La Prairie's customer service into Skin Deep.) Skin Deep gives it a whopping 8, which falls into the high hazard category.

To put La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream's 8 in perspective, please recall from the post in which I first explored Skin Deep that a similar product, Fresh Repair and Restore Face Balm, scored a 7, while Seikisho Mask White and Method Hand Wash Refill Sweet Water both scored 5s. Clinique's repairwear intensive night cream received the best score yet, a 2, which is an even better score than the reigning champion Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +, which scored a 3.

I applied La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream, after using Clinique's 3-Step Skin Care System, avoiding the immediate eye area, exactly like every other product I've tested for you, Gentle Reader. Applying La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream was very similar to my experience with Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +, even more so than my experience with Clinique's repairwear intensive night cream. I had to apply multiple dabs to cover my face and neck. Unlike Clinique's repairwear intensive night cream, La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair did not feel like a layer coating my skin. It soaked into my skin almost like Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +. La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream didn't cause my skin to do anything odd, as opposed to Fresh Repair and Restore Face Balm, which made my skin wish it were on another face. La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream's smell was not quite as strong as Fresh Repair and Restore Face Balm, but the fragrance wasn't nearly as mild as Clinique's repairwear intensive night cream, not to mention Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +. La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream has more of a fancy grandmother smell, whereas Fresh Repair and Restore Face Balm has more of a lemon fresh toxic waste dump smell. I wonder if both of these products dumped their not so endearing fragrances how much lower their toxicity would be?

Due to their similarities, I actually did a half-face runoff between La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream and Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +. La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream actually felt a little more present than Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +. Though I thought I thoroughly covered the left side of my face with Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +, it almost felt like I hadn't put anything on at all, which is certainly a vast improvement over feeling coated, but it almost felt insufficient. Maybe it needs to be translucent black like Seikisho Mask White so you can tell when you've applied it completely. That might cause pillow staining though, this being night cream and not a mask. After an hour or two an independent cheek softness tester determined that the right cheek, which had been covered with La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream, was the softest. And I have to agree. While Kiehl's Abyssine Cream + had no negative side effects, I wonder if it had any effect at all. La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream had no negative side effects (that I could feel) and did seem to make my skin a little softer to the touch.

I think La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream might have even decreased the appearance of what few lines I have more so than Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +. Not that I have a lot of lines to compare. And I wonder if I sleep more on one side or the other and if that has any effect on lines. My Russian aesthetician in D.C. was convinced her eyebrows grew differently because she slept on one side more frequently than the other. Who am I to doubt a Russian's knowledge of female facial hair? Anywhoodle, maybe all the chemicals in La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream caused my skin to swell up enough to make my crows feet disappear.

At Neiman Marcus, my source for all these fabulous free samples (well, technically gifts with full-priced purchases - all the links in this paragraph go to their respective pages on Neiman's website), La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream costs a whopping $200 for a 1.7 oz. jar or $117.65 per ounce, which even puts Fresh Repair and Restore Face Balm ($95 for 1 oz.) to shame. Mind you, if I'm going to pay almost $100 per ounce I'd be willing to pay the extra $22.65 for a product that doesn't feel like a chemical spill took place on my face. But for the money, I think Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +, which costs $32 for 1.7 fl. oz., or $18.82 per ounce, is a much better buy.

So this leads me to a conundrum. Do I recommend the possibly effective but definitely toxic, more expensive, and smelly La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream? Or the possibly ineffective but definitely less toxic, least expensive, and unsmelly Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +? I mean, if you're just going for moisture and don't really care about the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, then Kiehl's Abyssine Cream + is clearly the winner. But if you want your wrinkles to promptly disappear, toxicity and frugality be damned, then La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream is for you. As I'm not so worried about the appearance of lines and wrinkles, so much as I am concerned about the future onset thereof, and I'm a big fan of lower toxicity, I think I'll stick with Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +. I'll save the remainder of my La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream for the night before some big photo op.

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Rebecca said...

Have you ever tried Creme de la Mer? It always seems to get mentioned as the best moisturizer, but I don't know if it's just good marketing or if it's really good.

I've been using Oil of Olay because it was recommended by my dermatologist. I use it in the morning though and not as a night cream. I have other prescription stuff (Metrolotion) for rosacea that I use at night and my dermatologist said it should have plenty of moisturizer in there for me. So, I haven't investigated the world of moisturizers much.

I keep reading that you should start anti wrinkle stuff before you really have wrinkles, but again, are they just trying to get me to spend money? My skin is so sensitive that I hesitate to use anything.

Terri said...

Yeah, I always use oil of olay, but you lived with me so you know I don't at all take care of my skin.

Then again, maybe that's the trick. No one can believe that I'm 34. Everyone seems to think I'm 25 or something (which I attribute to my attitude. :)

So how is Oil of Olay? Good, bad, indifferent? Toxic?

Sarah said...

Dear Rebecca,
I've never tried Creme de la Mer.

You linked to Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer SPF 30 - Sensitive Skin, so that's what I looked up. Here is the link to what Skin Deep has to say about it. It gives it a 2 overall, but that seems to factor in its excellent sun protection. Like the toxicity might be a 3, because there's a yellow dot. Still, that's quite good for anything with 30 SPF.

Day moisturizers are indeed a whole different issue, which I hope to address in later posts.

I couldn't find Metrolotion on Skin Deep. You can run in through their database if you have the ingredients.

Yes, I too have read about the anti-wrinkle fight being won prior to actually seeing wrinkles. I think you are fighting that battle quite effectively (a) by using a day moisturizer with SPF 30 and (b) by using a night moisturizer at all. And if your Metrolotion contains a topical retinoid, that's also the number one doctor recommended wrinkle fighter, so you can't do much more than you're already doing. And your mom's side of the family seems to be fairly wrinkle free, so you've got a good shot at being completely unraisinlike for the duration of your existence.

Dear Terri,
I don't think you're wrong about not taking care of your skin causing you to look younger. Washing your face with hot water actually does more damage to your face than not washing it at all. And your body's natural oils, if they're naturally well balanced and not overstimulated by overtreatment for acne, are the perfect moisturizer.

Which Oil of Olay do you use, Terri?

Hmm . . . in my renewed quest for a day moisturizer, maybe I should look into this Oil of Olay stuff.

Echo said...

Nice review.... would certainly like to try your beauty products.

Terri said...

I have used various Olay products. I'm currently using their "original" hydrating creme, but it doesn't have UV protection. I've also had good luck with the Daily Defense moisturizer (which does have sunscreen).

Aha! Laziness works!

Of course my youthful beauty could also have something to do with the amount I sleep. :)