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Apple’s Macbook Air: from $1,188. Plump and firm skin: priceless. Which explains why beauty junkies are willing to fork out a good portion of their salaries for palm-sized jars of anti-ageing potions. Some are made with precious ingredients (like the rare sea plant extract in Estee Lauder Re-nutriv Re-creation Face Creme and Night Serum, which can only be harvested over a few months in a year), while others took over a decade to develop. Most are backed by legions of fans who swear by their skin rejuvenating properties – demand for some of these creams is so high that there’s sometimes a month-long waiting list.

As Adeline Wee, assistant public relations manager at Estee Lauder, puts it, these creams are meant for women “who are concerned with visible signs of ageing and want only the best, most exclusive skincare ritual.” So if you’re looking for something more lavish than a no-frills moisturiser, consider these opulent options.

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La Mer Creme de la Mer, $3,100.

Originally created for burn victims, this cream is now hailed as a multitasking must-have that hydrates, lightens scars and softens skin. The main ingredient, sea kelp, may not sound impressive, but it has enough nutrients and essential minerals to support an entire ecosystem. At La Mer, the sea kelp goes through a four-month-long bio-fermentation process, during which light and sound energy is used to reportedly intensify its skin-rejuvenating properties. Just knowing that 6,000 experiments and 12 years went into its making makes this cream worth every cent.

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La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare, $1,710.

The key to supple skin is a well-hydrated epidermis. Unfortunately, factors such as UV damage can break down the skin’s moisture barrier, making skin more vulnerable to problems such as fine lines and dryness. This cream has negatively charged platinum, an expensive precious metal that the brand claims can maintain the skin’s moisture barrier and prevent moisture loss. In addition, the cream is packed with a plethora of peptides, vitamins and antioxidants that reportedly prevent free-radical damage and dullness. This restores plumpness and radiance to the complexion and reverses sun damage in no time.

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Cle de Peau Beaute Synactif Intensive Cream, $1,800.

This indulgent concoction incorporates technologies from Shiseido’s (Cle de Peau’s parent company) best-selling products – think 4MSK, a brightening amino acid in Shiseido’s White Lucent range, and gambir, a skin-firming ingredient in Shiseido’s Revital range. The cream also has Macc-PD, an ingredient found exclusively in Cle de Peau Beaute’s Synactif range. Macc-PD is said to strengthen the skin’s lymphatic system and improve detoxification for a youthful looking complexion. The cream has a velvety texture and sinks into skin immediately without leaving an oily residue. After a week’s use, my skin felt softer and my complexion looked brighter.

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Kanebo Impress Granmula Cream B, $1,800.

This cream is enriched with bisamin, carnitin and magnolignan – botanical active ingredients that the brand spent a decade developing and perfecting – which reportedly promote skin cell renewal, help inhibit melanin production and repair skin. It also has a cocktail of over 20 botanical extracts (hence its soothing aroma). The cream, which promises firmer, brighter skin, moisturises without leaving a sticky finish. Use it before bed, and you’ll wake up with radiant skin the next morning.

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Estee Lauder Re-nutriv Re-creation Face Creme and Night Serum (sold as a set), $1,560.

This duo is chock-full of good-for-skin ingredients such as the brand’s patented Glacial Bioextract and a rare sea plant extract that can be harvested only several months a year. Inspired by the waters beneath an Antarctic glacier, Glacial Bioextract takes 10 days to cultivate and develop, and is said to offer a whole host of benefits. Among other things, it boosts hydration levels and elastin production as well as prevents irritation from pollution and dust. Thanks to evening primrose oil and karanja oil, the night serum has the texture of a silky, dry oil. Both products help to plump and hydrate skin for a younger-looking complexion.

This story was first published in Her World magazine, November 2014 issue.