La Prairie’s new $1540 elixir packs both beauty and substance

If there’s one skincare product that really turns back the clock, the Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir is it.

By Janice O'leary 10/09/2018

La Prairie has long distinguished itself as one of the highest quality skincare brands in the luxury marketplace, and its ultra-premium Platinum Rare collection has become the gold standard. Joining that line is the company’s latest rejuvenating unguent, the Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir ($1540). If there is any one skincare product that is essential for the over-40 face, it’s this shimmery serum. I already rue the day my dropper runs dry.

The catchy phrase used by La Prairie is “one drop at night, newborn skin by morning.” Ironically, the hyperbole isn’t in the “newborn skin” part of the phrase, but rather the promise that it takes “one drop” – though I suppose that really depends on your definition of a drop. I’ve been using a few tiny drops each night for six weeks and have noticed that my skin feels smoother and looks dewier and plumper in the morning. But most dramatic are the changes to the elevens at my brow and the crinkles beside my eyes; they appear much reduced, as they were 10 years ago when they were first making themselves known. I am impressed by how swift and effective this serum is.

It should be no surprise that La Prairie knows what it’s doing, having been at the cutting edge of cellular rejuvenation research since 1931 (when Dr. Paul Niehans first launched Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland). Niehans created the brand’s proprietary complex which is still at the core of its formulas today. The Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir contains the highest concentration of that compound, providing benefits such as protection against oxidation and inflammation (both of which age skin), as well as encouraging cell proliferation. However, the new elixir goes beyond that with the inclusion of the same goodies that are in the rest of the Platinum line, including hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and calming ingredients. “The elixir is like a Rolls-Royce,” says La Prairie’s Director of Innovation, Dr. Daniel Stangl. “All the best stuff is in there.”

“Vitamin C is essential to collagen synthesis, and both C and E are antioxidants that combat UV exposure,” says Dr. Mary Sheu, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Dermatology and Cosmetic Center. “And hyaluronic acid binds to water molecules, moisturising the skin. We produce more when we’re younger. It’s what keeps skin looking plump.”

The serum was designed for evening use because “skin is in survival mode all day,” says Stangl. “At night, molecules of elastin are rebuilding and stem cells also build new cells.” Sleep is the best time for repairing skin health, just as it is essential for promoting overall health.

Clinical studies showed immediate results after one use, but the real benefits kicked in at four weeks, says Stangl. Then, participants saw a refined texture and softened wrinkles. At eight weeks, study participants reported yet another increase in these benefits. Eight weeks is, sadly, about how long the 20 ml vial of the serum lasts.

One of my favourite aspects of the new product is its delicate scent of mimosa, jasmine, orange blossom, and a touch of narcissus.

The vessel containing the elixir is as beautiful as the precious liquid within. Amethyst coloured and faceted like a gemstone with a magnetic top, it’s an elegant complement to a vanity. Even the dropper’s squishy top is shaped like a gem. Exterior beauty aside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts – and this inside is full of a well-researched substance that provides real results, fast.

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