Remember when Kanika Batra-Matheson’s $10,000 “glass skin” routine went viral earlier this year? “You can actually see the caviar in this,” she says in a video, holding La Prairie’s Skin Caviar Eye Lift serum ($555). “It’s an eye lift without any surgery.”
So instead of the doctor’s office, I went to the Swiss Alps with La Prairie to uncover the science behind its products (and to attend Art Basel Switzerland to celebrate the brand’s collaboration with designer Sabine Marcelis, who created an installation at the fair inspired by the brand’s cobalt-blue packaging).
In 1931, Swiss doctor Paul Niehans became one of the pioneers in the field of longevity at Clinique La Prairie. His research showed that caring for aging cells enhances the body’s natural defense, making it better at handling diseases and injuries. This led to an exclusive treatment at the clinic for the elite. His quest for discovering longevity secrets led to developing anti-aging skin care. This inspired his invention of La Prairie’s Skin Caviar Collection, one of the brand’s most historical ranges, including the Skin Caviar Luxe Cream ($595). La Prairie became the first brand to apply this research to skin care.
Yes, you read that right: $595. But does it deliver? I put it to the test.
What’s in the La Prairie caviar cream?
Years of science and research. But explaining that science is where things get tricky. Its Exclusive Cellular Complex has remained a top secret for decades. “It’s only made in two different labs, and we have a very specific and complex fermentation process,” says La Prairie’s global brand-development director, William Haëntjens.
Earlier this year, Swiss scientists discovered an additional benefit in caviar beyond its culinary appeal: its ability to jump-start the skin’s metabolism. A 2020 study confirms this finding with research that shows that docosahexaenoic acid found in caviar extract targets collagen and ceramide production in skin cells. And according to a 2018 study, ceramides are able to reduce dermatitis, eczema, redness, and more, making them an ideal ingredient for those with sensitive skin. La Prairie has responded by patenting a process that biologically transforms natural caviar into Caviar Micro-Nutrients, a confidential blend of over 300 nutrients that is said to collaboratively boost the skin’s metabolism. Among the nutrients is an active ingredient, alpha hydroxy acid, which gently exfoliates and smooths skin texture.
Is it a facelift in a bottle?
I tried it over the course of four weeks and can say it’s the cashmere of creams, plush and silky, leaving behind a subtle glow without greasiness. Initially, the luxuriously rich and velvety texture felt intimidating. As someone with oily, acne-prone skin, I questioned whether the cream’s consistency would be too heavy for my skin type. Surprisingly, a small scoop applied across my face proved more than sufficient for my skin.
While I don’t deal with wrinkles or fine lines yet, my skin falls victim to New York’s winter air and pollution, causing it to look dry and dull. After the first week, I instantly noticed how much brighter and healthier my skin looked. Have you ever woken up with scaly, rough dry patches? Same. But after applying this moisturizer, my cheeks feel bouncy and supple — not parched at all.
A staple in my routine, I can attest that the hydration lasts for hours on end, significantly enhancing the elasticity of my skin. I still reach for this cream the night before a big event, especially when I’m going to be photographed. I find it too rich to apply twice a day. For my skin, it works best at night; in the mornings, I prefer a more lightweight, airy moisturizer.
Is it worth the splurge?
If $595 aligns with your beauty budget, it’s worth it — results, sensorial experience, and opulent packaging. But if caviar skin care isn’t on your beauty wish list, just savor it on your plate instead.