It’s said that the human body is made of stardust. That’s not just Neil DeGrasse Tyson being poetic; scientists say that humans and the galaxy share about 97 percent of the same kinds of atoms, among them carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur.
Platinum also has roots in the cosmos. Two years ago, astronomers discovered that the merging of two neutron stars resulted in the birth of heavy elements and metals, including platinum.
You can’t bottle stardust, but that hasn’t stopped beauty brands from trying. La Prairie, the Swiss luxury brand that once released a caviar-based line, has released an entire range based on platinum. The precious metal helps the brand’s skin-care peptides perform better, according to La Prairie’s Dr. Jacqueline Hill, director of strategic innovation and science.
In La Prairie’s Platinum Rare Cellular Life Lotion, the platinum “boosts fibroblasts to produce more collagen,” Hill explains — which results in healthier-looking skin. Dermatologists also believe that platinum can behave like an antioxidant, helping to block free-radical damage. A 2015 study suggests that platinum nanocolloid has potential as an antioxidant supplement.
Unsurprisingly, platinum-based beauty products aren’t cheap. The Rare Life lotion comes at a cool $655, though the brand believes no sum is too much to pay for good skin care. Says La Prairie president and CEO Patrick Rasquinet, “We don’t think about cost. We can’t create, if we do. Cost cannot be part of the process.” And there’s actually a passionate base of platinum fans who feel the same way. La Prairie’s PR people tell me about mothers who buy the entire range for their daughters. One woman in Canada reconstructed her vanity to replicate the amethyst tones of the platinum La Prairie counter.
I can see why the line is beloved. Some luxury brands equate rich creams with rich texture, making their creams heavy and oily, but this isn’t that. And the product doesn’t take a Goldschläger approach: There are no metal flakes floating in the formula. The platinum lotion comes from an elegant, almost K-beauty–inspired approach to skin care. It’s a combination essence-meets-lotion, acting like a hydrating toner that you apply before your serum or moisturizer.
I tried a sample of the rarefied lotion for a few nights. It comes in a heavy, magnetized container that you tip over to release a few drops at a time (all the better to remind us of how precious it is). It feels silky and glides over the skin smoothly without making it feel too wet. It has a rich, lady-who-uses-Aspen-as-a-verb smell. There’s the tiniest bit of subtle shimmer in it that makes your face glow. And if I had a rich mom or relative, I would absolutely let them buy this for me.