$900 face creams?


What Price Beauty?


If money is no object, then what’s wrong with a $30,000 custom-made fragrance?


$900 for day and night crème

 Estée Lauder pretty much started the luxury skincare craze back in 1958 with its first version of Re-Nutriv, which cost $110 back when most skin creams averaged $10. That would seem a bargain today, given that its new Re-Nutriv Re-Creation Day Creme SPF15 and Re-Creation Night Crème, bought as a set, costs $900 (1.7-oz jars). It’s loaded, the company says, with calcium, vital trace minerals, deep-sea water, Japanese brown algae, avocado oil, and something called Boswellian extract, among other myriad ingredients. “Why do you spend so much for a Picasso?” Lauder would ask. “This is the best crème in the world.”


WORTH THE EXPENSE? “A lot of the ingredients, like calcium and vitamin C, are good for your skin, but you can consume them in everyday foods,” says Dr. Athena Kaporis from Westchester Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Center in Mount Kisco. “You can improve the quality of your skin with plenty of less expensive over-the-counter topical treatments.” Her recommendation: C E Ferulic Serum by SkinCeuticals ($128/1 oz).


$30,000 for perfume



How would you like a custom-blended fragrance from the House of Creed (www.creed in Paris? That is, if you are one of the three discerning clients selected annually from the thousands who request one. Sixth-generation master perfumer Olivier Creed will hand-select roses from Bulgaria, tea essences from China, sandalwood from India, to create a lifetime supply of a scent that is uniquely yours.


WORTH THE EXPENSE? Marian Bendeth, owner of Sixth Scents, a Toronto-based company that consults with fragrance companies around the world, says: “No perfume will smell the same on someone else as it does on you. Build a 'wardrobe' of scents that work with your chemistry—and save yourself a bundle.”



$525 for “light-emitting” cream

La Prairie's new Cellular Radiance Cream (1.7-ounce jar) has, the company claims, “tapped the light-emitting energy and metaphysical properties of liquid-quartz crystal to transmit youthfulness by releasing light to help alter the appearance of the skin…enhanced by a Pythoestrogen complex that combines wild yam, red clover, black cohosh, and soybean extracts.”


WORTH THE EXPENSE? Dr. Joseph J. Sozio, a cosmetic and laser surgeon at SkinCentre Advanced Medical Aesthetics in Hartsdale, says: “There are two things that can negatively affect your skin that you can control: smoking and sun exposure. Don’t smoke, limit sun exposure, and wear sunscreen—it’s a much more cost-effective approach to skin care!”




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