A Beauty Director’s Face-Lifting Secret

When I was a teenager, my best friend and I had a theory of aging based on our mothers’ faces: You either pool. meaning your features slowly slide downward towards your neck, or you mummify, meaning that your facial contours stay intact, but your skin surface crinkles up like an elephant knee. Of course, the truth of the matter is that we will all, to some degree or another, both pool and mummify (known more scientifically as vertical and horizontal aging), even though some of us might be more prone to one than the other. So, what’s to be done?

Over the course of nearly 15 years as a beauty editor, I have slathered on more purportedly age-reversing—or at least age-arresting—lotions and potions than the average human, and I have learned this: There are things that topical beauty products can do (many quite impressive), and there are things that, try as they might, they cannot do. Regular application of a good retinol, for example, will erase fine lines (goodbye, mummy!). A potent Vitamin C serum can absolutely deliver overall brightness and glow. There are also countless creams that effectively moisturize, depuff, diminish redness, and improve the overall health of the skin. But of any elixir promising to lift that which has begun to sag, I am supremely skeptical. Why? Well, let’s just say that what goes up must come down—and what has gone down very rarely comes back up… at least, not without some serious dermatological (or surgical) intervention. So, it is with some surprise and much delight that I can report that I can confirm the existence of a firming product that truly lives up to its claims: La Prairie Skin Caviar Harmony L’Extrait.


Credit: La Prairie

La Prairie products have impressed me with their gravity-defying prowess before. The Skin Caviar Eye Lift, for me, is nothing short of miraculous: not only does it smooth crinkly tissue-paper lines and deflate lugubrious bags under the eyes, it also tackles the much-more-difficult-to-address upper lid sag. When I run out of it, I notice very quickly that my eyes look baggier and more weary; as though extra skin is beginning to descend from the region just below my eyebrows like a Shar Pei, so I use it religiously. The Skin Caviar Harmony L’Extrait works similar magic on the rest of my face.

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At $820, the Extract is not, by any means, inexpensive. But know this: you need very little to see results, so one vial should last a very long time, and it is equipped with an elegant pipette dispenser that measures out each “dose” accurately so that you won’t go overboard. The consistency is silky—almost, dare I say, slimy, but not in a negative way—and just a drop glides across skin like water. As someone with a terror of encroaching jowls, I apply L’Extrait primarily to my neck and lower face, sweeping it on with an upward motion prior to moisturizer, and it is a real pleasure to use. It sinks in quickly and imparts an immediate, if slight, tensing effect, providing a happy flash of instant gratification. But as with any product worthy of a hefty price tag, the true benefits of L’Extrait are long-term, and I have seen my skin grow firmer and bouncier—and my jawline decidedly more defined—with continued use.

The secret sauce, according to La Prairie, involves an innovative complex of caviar-derived peptides that address ligaments in the hypodermis—in other words, the network of vertical pillars that keep skin architecture intact. The gel-texture, micro-fluidic formulation combines oil and water-based elements which, when mixed on the skin, penetrate deeply and effectively to restructure from within while also flooding the complexion with hydration. La Prairie introduced its first Skin Caviar product in 1987, and it’s no exaggeration to say that L’Extrait performs like 35 years of scientific research and expertise in a bottle.

Oh, and about that bottle: it is a beauty. The Bauhaus-inspired cobalt blue glass vial looks like an objet d’art, and although I am typically not one to let my skincare stray from the medicine cabinet, I keep Skin Caviar Harmony L’Extrait on display. My lower face may be destined to go a little soft—giving another meaning to term “gene pool”—but I feel confident than I have the most elegant, and effective, weapon in my skincare arsenal. Why not show it off?

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