Beauty Reviews

Review: 2 expensive serums to blow your year-end bonus on

They cost a pretty penny but do they actually make you look better?

These skincare serums cost a substantial part of your salary. One costs $1,890 and the other is $578.

If you want to know whether to blow your year-end bonus on either of them, read on for our detailed review.


La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Night Elixir, $1,890 for 20ml.



What it’s supposed to do:
A skincare concentrate that works overnight to reawaken and transform skin by morning. It addresses four functions essential to the skin’s regeneration: nutrition, respiration, detoxification and immunity. The formula boasts amino acids, nucleotides and sugars necessary for skin cells to renew itself and protect its DNA.

The bottle is very futuristic looking and heavy, made of plexiglass with a purple core that houses the concentrate. It feels really luxurious to hold and open, with a magnetic closure cap. The dropper applicator is the most premium one I’ve ever seen with a metallic silver and purple finish. It works so well too, dispensing the elixir cleanly and lets you control the amount well too.

Initial application:
It is an off white coloured serum that you can tell immediately is rich and nourishing to skin, thanks to its viscous texture. When you drop a dollop onto skin, it doesn’t spread like liquid but stays on the skin until you massage it in. It feels creamy when you spread it on, and there is an instant sensation of comfort. Incredibly, after massaging it on, it feels lightweight on skin too, while leaving it feeling ultra smooth, naturally radiant and pampered. The subtle floral scent lingers for about an hour on my skin.

The verdict:
After applying it the first night, the next morning, skin looks visibly well rested and felt smoother to the touch. It has such a plush texture and feels so good on the skin, you will actually want to apply it every night.

With a week of use, my unpredictable skin became well behaved. Uneven skin tone, enlarged pores and dullness were significantly reduced such that I needed less makeup coverage. Skin felt overall nourished and healthier too. This elixir is exorbitantly pricey though, at a staggering $90+ per milliliter, it’s probably one for a huge skincare splurge.


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Albion Excia Embeage Le Serum, $548 for 40ml. (available from 1 Jan)



What it’s supposed to do:
The Embeage Excia range focuses on treating biological aging by reportedly awakening the longevity gene in skin cells, triggering skin revitalisation as it suppresses the ageing genes. One of its key ingredients is Bio Snow Algae which reportedly regenerates dermal tissue in 6 hours, making skin supple with increased elasticity.

Clean lines in a classic dark blue bottle with a clear, faceted plastic cap. This is probably one of the chicest plastic bottles I’ve come across. It is also pretty weighty, not insignificant and light. When you press the nozzle, the mechanism is smooth.

Initial application:
One pump dispenses a pea-sized amount of the creamy serum. You’ll need two or three pumps for your entire face. It feels like a lightweight cream but penetrates in seconds when you massage it in. Skin feels plump and supple and it has a creamy, pleasant scent that makes you feel like you’re really nourishing your skin.

The verdict:
In the daytime, this doubles as a serum and a moisturiser as it is rich enough for my combination oily skin. I can skip my moisturising cream. It keeps my skin comfortable and balanced. At night, I layer on a night cream, as I sleep in an air-conditioned room and need the extra hydration.

My skin improved gradually over two weeks of use. The fine lines around my mouth and on my forehead diminished, skin was more supple and didn’t feel tight after cleansing as it usually does. I feel like it firmed up my skin and helped to give me more defined facial contours too, so I have been diligently massaging it on my face and neck in upward motions.

It is pretty pricey, at about $13 a millilitre but is an effective overall anti-ageing serum, and a plus point is that I don’t have to use another moisturiser on top of it, in the daytime.