This is the first of these posts. I’m trying to play around with what’s going on this site and this ‘challenge’ kind of interested me. So based ONLY on the ingredients list I’m going to search for less expensive alternatives to luxury brands. So why not start big and go for the hit to everyone’s wallet: La Mer. I’m not going to do this based on feel and smell. Honestly for skincare that’s pretty ridiculous since you really need a 3week – 6-month wear test to see if something actually acts as a dupe. But what I can do is break down the ingredients list and find another product or combination of products with a similar ingredient breakdown, similar list order, and similar purpose.
Coming in at a whacking $345 for 1 ounce, La Mer’s The Regenerating Serum has a hefty price tag few can actually afford, myself included. For a size comparison, 1 ounce is the size of most foundations. It’s not a lot. If using this according to directions, I’d estimate 3-6 months of use, reality for most is probably closer to 9. 70% of $345 gives me a target total cost of $103.50.
Water\Aqua\Eau, Algae (Seaweed) Extract, Dimethicone, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Caprylic/Capric/Myristic/Stearic Triglyceride, Polysilicone-11, Peg-8 Dimethicone, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Peel Extract, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’s Wort) Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Powder, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal, Sodium Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Tocopheryl Succinate, Niacin, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Juice, Bupleurum Falcatum Root Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Extract, Narcissus Tazetta Bulb Extract, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Laureth-4, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Micrococcus Lysate, Whey Protein\Lactis Protein\Proteine Du Petit-Lait, Tartaric Acid, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Laureth-23, Butylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Sucrose, Coenzyme A, Acetyl Glucosamine, Caffeine, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Linoleic Acid, Tetraacetylphytosphingosine, Alcaligenes Polysaccharides, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Pentylene Glycol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Peg-8, Sorbitol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Eryngium Maritimum Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Cyclodextrin, Maltodextrin, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Glycosaminoglycans, Gold, Tourmaline, Linolenic Acid, Silica, Ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol Manganese Chloride, Disodium Edta, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Green 5 (Ci 61570).
This is a laundry list of the who’s who of skincare ingredients right now and some ingredients that have zero clinically proven effects. The first two ingredients are water. Seaweed extract simply means seaweed tea. Seaweed tea contains a lot of vitamins, but it’s basically water. We then enter the world of emollients from dimethicone to PEG-10 Dimethicone. Lots of anti-inflammatories followed by an insane amount of plant extracts and fungal extracts, gluconates (sugar acids and very mild exfoliants), B-complex vitamins, protein sources and we finish with more emollients and humectants with a sprinkling of preservatives and fragrances.
But Gold and Tourmaline are in here. <– Serves absolutely zero skincare purpose besides making this thing appear shimmery and justify some $$$ on that price tag.
So breaking all of this down should actually be easy to find a dupe because none of these plant extracts are rare or hard to find and everything else is really common in skincare. Since LaMer is a European based company lets start our dupes there but we’re going to have to swing into K-beauty.
Dupe 1: Clarin’s Double Serum + Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence
Double Serum Ingredients
Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Isononyl Isononanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, PPG-3 Myristyl Ether, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Dipsacus Sylvestris Extract, Butylene Glycol, Parfum/Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Propanediol, Tromethamine, Silybum Marianum Seed Oil, Carbomer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Escin, Cheno – Podium Quinoa Seed Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Squalane, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Leontopodium Alpinum Extract, Xanthan Gum, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Caramel, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Kalanchoe Pinnata Leaf Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Myrothamnus Flabellifolia Leaf/Stem Extract, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Maltodextrin, Orthosiphon Stamineus Extract, Hedychium Coronarium Root Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Leaf Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Jania Rubens Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Engelhardtia Chrysolepis Leaf Extract, CI 14700/Red 4, Callicarpa Japonica Fruit Extract.
Secret Key Starting Treatment Serum
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Dipropylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Extract, Acorus Gramineus Root/Stem Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Adenosine
Double Serum has a boatload of plant extracts but lacking the fungal filtrates found in the LaMer products. At $89.00 for 1 ounce, we’re closer to that affordable for all. To introduce the fungal filtrate you add Secret Key Starting Essense. On YesStyle.com it’s $23.80. The final price for this dupe is $112.80. That’s a 67% reduction and should last about 3 months. That’s close but not quite.
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Dupe 2: Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer + Secret Key Starting Treatment Essense
Juice Beauty proprietary blend of fruit stem cells: apple buds, grape buds & lemon leaf.
Pyrus malus (organic apple juice/jus de pomme bio)*, vitis vinifera (organic white grape juice/jus de raisin blanc bio)*, citrus medica limonum (organic lemon juice/jus de citron bio)*, aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice/jus d’aloès bio)*, caprylic/capric triglyceride†, simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba seed oil/huile de graines de jojoba bio)*, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate†, stearic acid, glycerin†, helianthus annuus (organic sunflower seed oil/huile de graines de tournesol bio)*, ethylhexyl palmitate†, xanthan gum, butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter/beurre de karaté bio)*, malus domestica (apple fruit cell culture extract/extrait de culture cellulaire de pomme), vitis vinifera (grape fruit cell extract/extrait de cellule de raisin), citrus medica limonum (lemon leaf cell extract/extrait de cellule des feuilles de citron), tocopherol (Vitamin E/vitamine E), oenothera biennis (organic evening primrose/huile d’onagre bio)*, linum usitatissimum (organic linseed oil/huile de lin bio)*, borago officinalis (organic borage seed oil/huile de graines de bourrache bio)*, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, ethylhexylglycerin†, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (Vitamin C/vitamine C), panthenol (Vitamin B5/vitamine B5), allantoin, citrus reticulata (mandarin oil/huile de mandarine), litsea cubeba (may chang oil/huile de chang mai), cinnamomum camphora (ho wood oil/huile de camphre).
All those plant extracts so it’s going to have plenty of anti-oxidant and several good anti-inflammatories present in LaMer’s serum but again missing the fungal filtrates in LaMer, so again add Secret Key’s Starting Essense: $93.80. This one is missing the protein sources found in LaMer; however, I haven’t seen a lot of evidence to suggest our skin really benefits from having protein in skincare. We’re below $103.50 but I have one more up my sleeve.
Dupe 3: Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream + Secret Key Starting Treatment Essense + Neogen Dermatology Real Cica Pads
Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream Ingredients -$34
Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Dipentaerythrityl Hexa C5-9 Acid Esters, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Hydrogenated Lecithin, C14-28 Alkyl Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Adenosine, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Argania Spinosa kernel Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ceramide NP, Trehalose, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Cucurbitaceae (Gourd) Extract, Orchid Extract, Honey Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Phytosphingosine, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Citrate/Lactate/Linoleate/Oleate, Fragrance
Neogen Dermatology Real Cica Pad – $20
Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Dipropylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid, Madecassoside, Lactobionic Acid, Gluconolactone, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Octyldodecanol, Ceramide NP(Ceramide 3), Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Allantoin, Betaine, Panthenol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tromethamine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum, Propanediol, Diglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Disodium EDTA
So this Combo is all of $77.80. We have our mild exfoliant in the Cica Pad, plant-based anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant complex + vitamin complex in the dynasty cream, and fungal filtrate in the essense. Check, check, check and check. The Cica Pad is going to be a much stronger exfoliant than the sugar acids in LaMer but that’s ok. Everyone needs an exfoliant every now and then.
To be honest, LaMer is fun and it’s a great status symbol to have on your skincare wall, but I’m having a hard time justifying $345 for a serum. That’s at least $1000 – $1200 per year for a serum.
Do you have another luxury dupe??? Not gonna lie this was fun. Super hard but I’ve gone through about 100 products ingredient list so far. Next up might be a $250 serum from France.