(Review) Dissecting the $475 Serum: La Prairie Cellular Power Infusion

Two weeks ago, I hit a serious skin rut. I slogged bravely through my Christmas-stress breakouts only to be rewarded with three more months of winter – not a happy thought. Even more shocking: This happens every year, and I’m always shocked by how long and dreary winter in the Northeast is. You might think I would have wised up by now and headed for Georgia, but you’d be wrong. I had zits, wrinkles, flakes, and serious jones for a sunny locale. I think I would have done anything, or paid any price to make my skin woes go away.
Anything, you say? This month La Prairie debuted the Cadillac of beauty treatments. La Prairie Cellular Power Infusion looks just as sleek and quality driven as its metaphorical counterpart, and is just as pricey, at $475 for a month’s worth of the serum. The kit comes with four vials of serum, and the lucky user twists the bottom of each vial as she’s ready to use it, or at the beginning of each week.

As the bottom of the vial makes a full turn, a small compartment opens inside the vial and releases an active ingredient that spreads through the clear serum, turning it all a pleasing shade of blue. Four isn’t a randomly chosen number for the vials; once activated, the newly-blue serum will hold its potency for seven days, at which time, the user will have emptied that vial, and moved on to activate the next.

As for what’s in those vials, La Prairie says that it’s using peptides and cutting-edge molecules to affect change on a cellular level. I hunted down an ingredient list, because inquiring minds want to know what they’re slathering all over their faces. The pricey remedy contains a Skin Renewal Peptide, which helps skin stem cells help themselves by producing new cells. The Tissue Guidance Matrix helps these nascent cells fit in alongside aging cells. The Phyto Stem Cell Extract, actually another name for stem cells from Swiss red grapes, steps up and lends the formula the power to product all these new cells from the same stressors that aged our old cells. Swiss snow algae make an appearance, since it’s a hardy life-form that survives stressful sub-zero conditions; the La Prairie team wanted to harness that resilience by including the algae in the cocktail. The serum helps skin to better itself, be it clearing up from a breakout or smoothing out fine lines.

 La Prairie Cellular Power Infusion
I tried one vial of the Cellular Power Infusion. In seven days, I saw my unhappy skin depart, to be replaced by a stranger’s bumpless, lineless dermis. I talked to a La Prairie rep about where this serum fits in a regular regimen, and she told me it’s meant for use one month out of every three, and that it just slides seamlessly into any skincare routine. The Infusion gets applied morning and night, and can be followed with a regular anti-aging serum, moisturizer, sunscreen, and even retinol.

The ingredient list may sound like a mouthful of high-tech buzzwords, but I could argue with the proof in my mirror. I’ve found very few products that deliver so well on their promises. The big question is, would I pay their asking price for a full month’s supply? To get a vial of promises kept, do we really have to part with such a large part of our paychecks?
The answers are a no (for now) and a maybe. Right now, as grateful as I am to be shaken out of my skin coma, I think I’ll just have to suffer the next set of skin blahs as it comes. That answer of no might change. It seems to me that disposable income and wrinkles usually increase together, so I might head to the La Prairie counter at some future date with my wallet in hand. Maybe we do really have to shell out for an effective product. I’d gladly trade all the times a $12 ‘bargain’ product has disappointed me for a single serum that actually does what it says it’s going to do.
I just read my last paragraph, and it sounds kind of wishy-washy as a recommendation. Let me bottom-line it: This is a good product. More and more, I’ve confronted the reality that everything in life boils down to three categories: Non-Negotiable, Nice to Have, and Everything Else. If you find top-notch skincare is a must-have, then La Prairie’s latest offering is worth much more than just as second look.

Tell us, have you ever spent more then $300 on a skincare product? Did you think it was worth it?

– Katharine McKenzie

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