Luxurious Beauty Behind the Dollars and Scents

Writer Kate O’Brien | October 9, 2013

Aside from the selling power behind a luxury brand or celebrity spokesperson, cutting-edge ingredients and impressive packaging are the main contributors to the whopping prices of some skin treatments, creams and fragrances. And although devotees will attest that these pricey products really do work, does it all really make sense?

Anti-ageing skincare costs, and the world’s most expensive set of facials just might be Biologique Recherche’s Haute Couture treatments. Spearheaded by Dr Philippe Allouche, head of creation of all Biologique Recherche formulas, the six-month series of facials and customised product prescription took four years to create, costs roughly US$15,000 and has a six-month waiting list.

Staying true to the essence of haute couture, Dr Allouche flies in to initiate every client onto their anti-ageing journey by performing a precise dermo-cosmetic evaluation, visual analysis, photographs and very extensive measurements to determine the skin’s hydration and sebum ratios, the extent of water loss, skin elasticity and firmness and the depth of wrinkles. The Biologique Recherche Haute Couture pack is then customised to individual client needs in Dr Allouche’s Paris laboratory and each month, a new pack is dispatched to the UK, Russia, US, Hong Kong or China – key markets for this exclusive programme. Regular facials with a Biologique Recherche- trained therapist ensure optimal skin functionality and haute couture benefits. Six months later, the doctor returns to complete his measured assessments and deliver his measured finishing touches to newly restored skin.

Dr Allouche attests that reconditioning the skin is the ultimate goal. “I want to bring back functionality to the skin,” he adds. “The products in the Haute Couture programme are formulated from a collection of over 60 targeted active ingredients to achieve the right response to specific problems for all skin concerns. This is no miracle.”

When it comes to costly creams, Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido set a new world record last year with their limited-edition Clé de Peau Beauté face cream celebrating the 30th anniversary of its luxury product line. At US$13,300 for a single 50-gram jar, this high-performance moisturiser is five times more expensive than gold, and the most expensive beauty cream on the planet. Just three jars were sold at the company’s flagship store in Tokyo, each with its own unique serial number and encased in handmade jars adorned with 30 layers of crystal. Those who yearn for the cream’s anti-ageing benefits and a more modest price point can still buy the same La Crème formula in less decadent packaging for US$593 per 30ml.

Paying loftier prices can be the norm for devout fragrance lovers