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Fiercely loving something can lead you to do some pretty crazy things—like blindly shelling out cash for a product that's seemed to miraculously turn your life around. Creme de la Mer is guilty as charged, turning legions of women into believers who will scrimp and save in some areas (say, lunch money) in order to use the luxe lotion. Plenty of factors go into the price tag though, including esteemed science and a harvest routine that echoes the time-intensive practices of centuries ago. In celebration of the brand's fifth cream, launched this September, La Mer shared some of its secrets.

An Artisanal Harvest

The kelp touted on the brand's jars and bottles isn't just any old seaweed scooped up from the ocean. Rather, it's hand-harvested from a special region in Canada's British Columbia (where much of the Twilight franchise was filmed, natch). Workers collect only the sections that float on the surface of the water, known as blades, which avoids harming or killing the kelp. Compared to many post-Industrial Revolution operations, La Mer still relies on a picturesque scene: a pair of workers decked in rubber coveralls to protect against the misty air, calmly pulling long, emerald green strands into an anchored boat.

A Long Fermentation

Creating a batch of La Mer is no quick thing, and a lengthy fermentation process is used (much like the time that goes into creating pricy bottles of wine). Though the company guards its secrets closely, you can be sure it takes more than a year to perfect and get ready for use.

Wave Therapy

Any recipe worth its salt, whether in the kitchen or the beauty lab, has been honed and perfected for years. The original man behind La Mer, aerospace physicist Dr. Max Huber, first started working on a cream that would help heal burns he sustained in a lab accident. After a dedicated ten years, he finally perfected the concoction. With the recipe stored exclusively in his head, the exact combination of this and that was lost when he passed away, and the then-Estée Lauder owned company set out to re-create it. Scientist and VP of Research and Development, Andy Bevacqua, started working to replicate the formula found in unmarked plastic jugs in Huber's laboratory. A near perfect match later, Bevacqua was still looking for the missing piece when he decided to try the wave-therapy mentioned in notes from Huber's process. Thinking the light- and-sound-therapy should have no real impact on the fermentation process, Bevacqua and team were thrilled to learn it was the magic missing piece.

While there's no arguing that Creme de la Mer is more of an investment than the bottles available on your drugstore shelves, women around the world argue it's a price tag worth paying. Skincare-fiends who have fretted that the the original formula is too thick will be happy to learn that La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream fills the void for a lighter potion perfect for day or not. Shop it here.

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