The Story Behind La Mer’s Legendary Face Cream

The Story Behind La Mer’s Legendary Face Cream

The History, Production, and Benefits of Crème de la Mer

Few products (let alone cosmetic brands) have reached the legendary cult status of La Mer’s Crème de la Mer. Endorsed by celebrities like Beyonce, J Lo, Kim Kardashian, Kate Hudson, and even The Rock—as well as thousands of positive online reviews—Crème de la Mer is the gold standard synonymous with quality and luxury.


Developed in the 1960s, this “miracle cream” still maintains a spot at the top of many dermatologists’ must-have lists. But the real questions remain: Is it worth the hype, and is it worth the price tag?


It all started in the 1950s when Dr. Max Huber, an aerospace physicist, suffered severe burns to his face during a lab explosion. In an attempt to restore his scarred skin, he turned to the ocean near his home off the coast of San Diego.


Instinctively aware of the healing powers of the sea, Huber made use of Giant Sea Kelp for its unique self-regenerating benefits. Twelve years of research and 6,000 experiments later, Huber created La Mer’s signature “Miracle Broth” in 1965.


While the entire recipe for this “broth” isn’t public knowledge, we do know about some of Huber’s pioneered process. It starts with harvesting sea kelp.


The kelp is collected twice a year, coinciding with the tides off the coastline of Vancouver Island. Today, the kelp is gathered by hand in an effort to maintain sustainability. It then undergoes a three-month fermentation process in a fish tank.


In another step in Huber’s fermentative process, the broth is exposed to pulsating sound waves through vibrating copper plates and light energy, supposedly to intensify the activity and potency of the broth. This is a tradition Estee Lauder, which purchased the rights to the broth following Huber’s death in the 1990s, still adheres to by playing his original recordings during the fermentation.


Each time more Miracle Broth is created, it is infused with drops from the previous batch, forever connecting it to Huber’s original formulation. In all, it is a three to four-month process that’s been refined and well-kept for decades.


Every jar of Crème de la Mer is hand-filled within an eight-hour window of the completion in a temperature-controlled room. This suspends the ingredients to keep the cream fresh and maximize the skin-nourishing benefits.


In addition to the cell-renewing Miracle Broth, this moisturizer is also infused with sesame, sunflower, and eucalyptus oils. These essential oils have antioxidative properties and relieve inflammation while preventing UV. The eucalyptus oil also combats various bacteria strains and stops the spread of acne breakouts.


Another key ingredient is glycerin. Glycerin is a hydrating ingredient that helps the skin retain moisture to relieve dryness and that “tight” skin feeling.


Lime tea concentrate is also slow-extracted by hand over a one-month process to unlock antioxidants from the lime’s outermost peel. These potent nutrients help neutralize free radicals, which protects the skin from pollution and other environmental stressors. It also provides the skin with brightening, tone-evening vitamin C and hydrating, smoothing vitamin E.


Because this cream is so hydrating, it plumps the skin to minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles. This creates a smoother and firmer look and feel. It also uplifts the skin while adding a radiant glow for a healthy, vibrant, and youthful complexion.


Realizing the healing energy of the sea and the protective potential of antioxidants ahead of his time, Huber was able to completely heal his burns with no trace of scarring. He is credited as a pioneer in merging science and skincare and as one of the first to use fermentation in a modern beauty product.


For questions, concerns, or article ideas, feel free to reach out to our eCosmetics Beauty Editor directly at