I Tried An $850 Skin Care Serum Made With Actual Gold

But is it worth dropping serious coin?

by Natasha Marsh
Natasha Marsh
Natasha Marsh & La Prairie serum

Aside from an airplane ticket, it’s not often that I spend over $400 on anything, let alone skin care. I already know that there is no shortage of quality products that are available at my local drugstore — that’s why my eyebrows kind of raised when I was introduced to the La Prairie’s Pure Gold Radiance Concentrate Serum, priced at $850. Could a serum that is basically the cost of my rent ever deliver the kind of jaw-dropping results that would make someone with an average-sized budget spend that kind of money? Well, knowing La Prairie, the brand would certainly make a strong case to budget elsewhere.

Inspired by the beauty and grace of the golden hour in the crown of the Swiss Alps — La Prairie’s home — it promises to help restructure the appearance of the skin by rejuvenating it and taking out the inflammation, even out your skin tone, among many other benefits. But at an $850 dollar price point, is it worth the money and does it actually produce results worthy of the cost? I was determined to find out for myself, so I set out to test the pricey formula for a month (which is the average amount of time you need to try a skin care product to see if it works for you). Here’s what happened.

But First, What Does The Gold Do?

So, obviously the buzziest ingredient here is the added gold — but is that in and of itself a worthwhile additive to skin care? Gold has high anti-inflammatory properties and can stimulate the cells, nerves, and veins in your body — leading to improved blood circulation and an increase in the metabolism of skin cells. By reducing skin inflammation, it helps correct skin tone and is what’s responsible for the illuminating skin results in this serum, due to its reflective properties to both infrared and regular light.

The electrons in gold absorb energy-rich blue light and reflect complementary yellow light as a warm tone, similar to that found in radiant skin. Some studies even show that gold nanoparticles can help with elasticity and hydration, making gold the hero ingredient in La Prairie’s Pure Gold Radiance Concentrate Serum.

Sure, iron activates certain enzymes needed to produce collagen (the main protein responsible for skin elasticity), and platinum allows the actives to survive in skin long enough to be effective; but the anti-inflammatory properties in gold also help to slow premature aging and minimize wrinkles, while enhancing and brightening complexion — a double win.

As for the other ingredients in the serum, the brand keeps much of that info under wraps, so if you’re the type of person who absolutely has to consult the label, this might be a con for you. I, however, decided to dive into using it anyway.

La Prairie

Incorporating The Serum Into My Skin Care Routine

For the first two weeks of use, I applied the gold serum in the mornings only, directly after washing my face with a cleanser, and then following with SPF. I started by warming the serum in my fingers and then applied it in a circular motion to my forehead, nose, cheeks, and jawline.

After the very first use, I could immediately feel the difference in my skin. Unlike other serums that take a while to work into the skin, require more than the recommended amount of pumps, or leave your skin tacky, this slightly oily serum glides on as soft as a fluffy pillow, melting into my skin with ease. The gold flakes in the serum provides me with a subtle shimmer which I found perfect for morning and early afternoon Zoom calls, but without it ever looking too glittery.

After the two weeks, I could see some of the dehydration I have on my cheeks and chin start to diminish. And since the brand recommends using it morning and evening, I eventually decided to follow suit (even though that means you’re flying through the formula even faster). After that, I wasn’t the only one who noticed how luminous my skin looked — I applied the serum after an evening hot yoga and spin class and a fellow yogi watched, stunned at how instant my cheeks went from flushed and rosy to hydrated, smooth, and glowy as soon as the product sunk in. This serum really is that good, and the effects are pretty much instantaneous — a major bonus since a lot of skin care products need ample time to see the effects.

So Is It Worth The Price?

According to the brand literature, this serum is, “the most transformative step you can take for your skin,” and I’m happy to report that the results that I experienced are, in fact, transformative. This small (1.1 ounces) but mighty gold serum gets better and better the more times you use it, meaning the results become more and more apparent. My skin is noticeably more smooth and the uneven texture on my forehead that occasionally pops up after using too many curl creams (which can leave a film that clogs pores), has completely vanished. The long-term effects — hydration, even skin tone, and radiant, smooth skin — are unmatched.

Plus, the bottle is completely refillable, pleasing my eco-friendly persona. The precious glass vials contain the formula and the metal casting and cap were designed to be kept and replaced by new ones post-use. And considering how gorgeous the gold packaging is, it’s nice to be able to keep it in rotation and on display in my bathroom cabinet.

If you can afford the cost, this serum really does work overtime to replenish skin inside and out, with plenty of hydration and a natural golden glow. Only you can really decide if it’s within your budget to buy it. If not, you can still find products that can make your skin glowy and healthy, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed testing this product, and will use it to the very last drop.

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