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Kristen breaks the bank at La Prairie

For the longest time, I read about La Prairie's Skin Caviar Concealer Foundation SPF 15, but couldn't bring myself to buy it. La Prairie has some of the most expensive skin care and makeup on the market and I wasn't just dying to break the bank. I stayed far, far away from the counter in Neiman Marcus in the Houston Galleria because I had a feeling I’d like it... and have to buy it, and I wasn't in a big hurry to spend $165 on foundation. I had problems spending that kind of money on jeans, much less something that went on my face. So, here I was walking around on the newly remodeled cosmetics floor and just stopped by just to try the foundation. I had a friend with me who was pretty cheap, so I figured that would help me out if I lacked restraint. The makeup artist, Mei Chan (who is definitely one of the best I've come across), told me the Skin Caviar Foundation was perfect for my combination skin and to have a seat. She took off my foundation and prepped my face with the Cellular Normalizing Serum and the Fluide Hydrant SPF 15, then applied the Caviar Foundation in Sand Beige, which was a spectacularly perfect match for me. This foundation also has an awesome concealer tucked away in the cap ; you just flip the top and there it is. Mei started to apply the Cellular Treatment Foundation Powder Finish, which is a pressed powder, to set my foundation, and I freaked because I've never found a foundation powder that works well as a setting powder. No offense to Mac Studio Fix lovers, but I'd just bought that two weeks before and my face stayed a cakey, splotchy mess, so I wasn't too excited about trying this one. Mei insisted it was different and proceeded to apply it with a big, fluffy brush. To complete my look, she applied Cellular Radiance Creme Blush in Honey Glow and Cellular Luxe Lip Color in Rose Bronze. When I looked in the mirror, I was amazed to say the least. My skin looked healthy, even and absolutely beautiful. My skin is definitely not perfect, with redness around my nose and chin, large pores and acne pits from overzealous pimple popping as a teenager, so I've got stuff to hide. My cheap friend told me I looked amazing and that I needed to buy it all. As with any new product that will go on my face, I really like to get a sample first to make sure it won't drive my face crazy. Thankfully Mei and the salesperson, Leila knew that I wasn't going to buy anything that day. They let me go with some generous samples and I promised I'd be back to buy it if I had no problems.

About two weeks later, I was at the dentist's office and the hygienist was really "in my face," because she was cleaning my teeth, and she asked me what I was using on my skin because it looked fabulous. That was all I needed to hear, so I went back and bought the foundation and powder. La Prairie's products are quite pricey, so I figured I'd start off with those two first since my focus was on my skin looking great. The foundation has an awesome texture that blends flawlessly and you only need a pea-size amount for your whole face, so it lasts forever. I've had my 1 ounce bottle since last February and it is still just under half full (and I wear it every day to work and sometimes on weekends if we go somewhere), so I can justify the cost because it's really not that far off from buying my other foundation at $40 a bottle every 3-4 months. The foundation powder is not cakey or thick at all and it is perfect to carry with you for touch-ups since it is a pressed powder compact. The key to this stuff is applying it with a big fluffy brush to set your foundation and not with the sponge. It really looks like I just have perfect skin with this stuff and that's what I paid dearly for. The cream blush is the best I've tried and is so easy to apply because of its slippery texture. I am a powder blush fan and would actually buy this stuff at $70 a pop. The lipstick was very moisturizing and velvety smooth and lasted for hours. I definitely will be buying the Fluide Hydrant SPF 15 because it is the perfect daytime moisturizer to go under this foundation. It is so good that I can actually skip the primer, which is something I don't ever do without. And the smell is just wonderful! The only problem I had with any of the products was the Cellular Normalizing Serum. It felt so great on my skin, but after a few days I realized it was causing some whiteheads on my nose. When I returned to buy the foundation and powder, Mei and Leila sent me packing with tons of skin care samples and I had some good experiences with those, too. Read on….

Cellular Retexurizing Booster (The Retexturizer) ($160)
When I first tried this, I wasn't too sure if I liked it, but kept on using it. I am glad I did because after about a month of using it everyday, I can tell the difference in my skin. It is clearer and my pores don't seem so congested. My skin has an overall evenness now. It is a very mild acting surface exfoliator to slough off surface cells. If you're looking for a non-irritating exfoliant, this may be for you. I received a lot of sample packets and you only need a tiny bit for your whole face, so this 1 ounce bottle should last a long time.

Anti-Aging Complex ($195)
My husband and I were passing through Neiman's one day after I'd bought the foundation and Mei recognized me and we chatted about the new Ant-Aging Complex. Since I had a full face of makeup on, I told her to put it on my husband. My hubby, 7 years older than me at 30, with deep forehead lines and crows feet (likely because of me!), was a little apprehensive but he was a good sport. He let Mei put it on him and let me tell you, he is a skeptic turned into a believer. My husband doesn't buy into the "youth in a bottle" mentality, but I think he changed his mind that day. His forehead wrinkles looked smoother immediately and he even commented on it (and he won't give anyone or anything props if it is not deserved), which was probably due to the skin plumping ingredients in it. His skin looked great for many hours after that, too. It is chock full of stuff I can't pronounce as well as ingredients that everyone knows, like vitamins K, A, C and E and white tea extract. Later that night over dinner, still marveling over my husband's skin, he asked how much it was. I typically don't like to share that information because I don't want him to freak out about how much something costs unless he comments on how good something looks. So I was honest, and he told me to buy it when I ran out of what I was currently using and we could share. Awwwww!

Cellular Moisturizer SPF 15 for Face (The Smart Cream) ($150)
This is a thicker cream designed for dry skin, but I found that it worked great on my combination skin. With ingredients to fight aging, smooth and soothe skin and provide great moisture, this is a great all-purpose cream. I used it in the morning when I ran out of the other moisturizer and it also worked great as a prepping moisturizer. I also used it at night before bed and woke up with super-soft smooth skin. I am surprised that this works so well for me since it is an intensive hydrator, but I like it so much that I just use a bit of it and get just what I need.

All in all, I think I am in love with La Prairie's products, especially their cosmetics line. I must admit that I thought to myself, "What in the world would a skin care company know about making great cosmetics?" Boy, was I wrong and I am glad I was. I can't begin to tell you how many people comment on my skin, not my foundation. And if they knew what was under the foundation, they'd be surprised. I also like that the cosmetics are infused with the ingredients from their famous and fabulous skin care line. Even my 44 year-old sister bought the Cellular Radiance Foundation for $225 and she loves it and she gets compliments on her skin, too. I like the idea of my makeup working for me in other ways than just to make me look pretty - they are helping me at another level.

You can check out La Prairie at neimanmarcus.com, Nordstrom.com and laprairie.com.

If you live near Houston, you should go meet Mei and Leila. I will always remember their hospitality the first time I went, because I made it clear that I didn't want to buy anything that day, and Mei happily went to work on me anyway. She did a GREAT job, too.

- Kristen
find out about this reviewer and more about the panel...

Posted January 4, 2007

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