(Trial Run)

This $440 Essence Actually Minimized My Dark Under Eye Bags

But is it worth the price tag?

by Natasha Marsh
Originally Published: 
La Prairie white caviar essence extraordinaire
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In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, our writer is trying out La Prairie’s White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire,

“I can tell you take care of your skin by its natural glow,” Taylor Worden, esthetician, facialist and founder of Taylor Worden Skin told me a few weeks ago at my Hydrafacial. I credit my natural glow to my gentle 3-step morning skin care routine: cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen; my water intake (a gallon a day) and genetics (my parents rarely had acne growing up.) However, my routine is not always foolproof. When mask mandates, lack of sleep, stress, and on-the-go travel enter my schedule, it robs my complexion of its radiance — turning my glowing skin to dull and lackluster.

That’s why I leapt at the chance to try La Prairie’s new White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire, which was designed to enhance the skin’s glowing luminosity. As part of The White Caviar Collection, inspired by the pure light, unique to Montreux in Switzerland — La Prairie’s home — the Essence Extraordinaire is the newest product in the brand’s repertoire. Launched on March 15, the gel-to-water essence promises to protect the skin from pollution and oxidative stress, while improving the luminosity of the skin, among many other benefits. But at a $440 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 tested the pricey formula for a month (the average amount of time to test a skin care product). Here’s what happened.

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Fast Facts

  • Price: $440
  • Best for: All skin types; creating a glowing luminous and firm complexion
  • Your rating: 4/5
  • Brand: La Prairie is a formula-driven Swiss brand known for its collections featuring luxury ingredients like gold and caviar in their skin care products. La Prairie’s mission is to empower women to hold time in their hands.
  • What we like: Immediate glow and plumpness

About My Skin: Normal, But Reactive When Under Stress

For the majority of the year my skin falls into the normal to dry category. It’s typically dry around my forehead when I am testing ample curly hair care products, and my cheeks and lip area when the temperature drops below 30 degrees. My natural glow is easier to see in the summer and spring when humidity levels are on my side, and then gradually fade in the winter or when my skin is under stress (pollution, travel, and lack of sleep).

The Details On White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire

In line with La Prairie’s mission to empower women to hold time in their hands, White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire was established to embody the magical encounter of light and water on the Swiss lake. “We were inspired by the glimmering luminosity found on the shores of Lac Léman, where the Clinique La Prairie was established, light and water meet in a way that is unique to Switzerland,” shares Greg Prodromides, chief marketing officer at La Prairie.

As the first essence in the White Caviar collection, I was curious why the brand decided this was a must-have product. “White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire was designed to be the first step to exceptional light,” Prodromides tells me via email. “Applied AM and PM, it improves the absorption of White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion and White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire.”

As for the benefits, La Prairie conducted a clinical study for eight weeks and discovered that the essence successfully reduces the appearance of brown spots, visibly improves the skin’s ability to reflect light, and improves skin luminosity. According to the brand, 70 percent of panelists reported the appearance of their brown spots were reduced, 76 percent noticed their skin better reflected light, and 81 percent claimed their skin was more luminous.

Courtesy of La Prairie

“White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire provides a dual effect of plumping and smoothing the skin surface,” Dr. Jacqueline Hill, global director of strategic innovation and science tells TZR. “It also improves skin tone evenness and densifies the collagen network.” By immediately moisturizing the skin, it creates a plump and smooth surface that amplifies light reflection. “In the long term, its active ingredients work to improve epidermal renewal and densify the dermal collagen network.”

A Star Quality Ingredient List

There are four main hero ingredients in the essence: cellular complex, encapsulated lumidose, caviar extract, and caviar water.

The cellular complex targets essential cells and components of the extracellular matrix for a rejuvenated appearance. Lumidose is the most potent inhibitor of human tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for melanin formation. “Lumidose decreases the synthesis of the brown pigment melanin by reducing light-absorbing age spots,” Dr. Hill tells TZR.

For White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire, La Prairie uses “encapsulated lumidose, which is based on a double encapsulation delivery system made up of intelligent disk-shaped structures, which are in turn enclosed in an outer sphere,” shares Dr. Daniel Stangl, director of innovation at La Prairie. “The intelligent structures can recognize and respond to the different environments of the skin, which enables them to target specific skin layers, making treatments more effective.”

The Swiss Golden Caviar Extract is a concentrated extract of caviar from Acipenser gueldenstaedtii. “This caviar extract is rich in lipids such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, as well as sugars, amino acids and minerals,” Dr. Stangl tells TZR. This caviar enhances collagen production in fibroblasts and therefore densifies the collagen network in the dermis — increasing light reflection back to the skin surface.

And lastly, the Swiss Golden Caviar Water is obtained by steam distillation from caviar and contains the most volatile and delicate components of caviar. In tandem, all four hero ingredients reduce light-absorbing age spots and increase skin luminosity.

My skin after using the La Prairie Essence.Natasha Marsh

The Bottle-In-Bottle Packaging

Similar to previous skin care products that the brand has produced, White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire was developed to transmit pure luxury. The sleek silver airless-pump and bottle-in-bottle technology is inspired by the contemporary codes of the Bauhaus school, leading to their sculptural, minimalist, and understated aesthetic, explains Prodromides.

The bottle-in-bottle feature protects the formula from light, therefore preserving its optimal efficacy. While the lustrous silver pump mimics the application of a lotion, dispensing the right dose for every use. And finally, the silver cap aligns with the entire White Caviar collection with the beaded ring trim, arguably the biggest icon of the assortment.

My Results & Why I Recommend

When I first opened the shiny silver box I was in awe of the beautiful packaging and was excited to display it on my vanity. The actual gel-to-water formula is quite thin and will never feel heavy on the skin. It goes on like a serum and dries to a smooth finish without feeling sticky or overly wet. When first applied, I quickly saw my sink soak in the formula — leaving me with a plump and fresh-feeling complexion. Formulated with Rosa Damascena flower extract, it possesses a light scent that is subtle, clean, and floral.

Courtesy of La Prairie

The brand recommends applying White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire day and night, before White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion, Crème Extraordinaire and Eye Extraordinaire. Although I only had the pleasure of testing the essence, I am rather pleased with my results.

I used the essence twice a day and found the formula to be light and airy while sinking into my skin very quickly. It leaves no residue behind and leaves my skin feeling velvety-soft. After testing the product for a month, I’ve noticed the dark spots underneath my eyes (a problem area for years) have visibly decreased. No matter how expensive a product was or the hero ingredients it used, nothing has effectively treated my under eye bags as well as White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire. The dark spots under both my eyes have significantly faded and my skin’s texture and color looks more even than ever before.

As for my previous lackluster, travel-every-weekend skin, that has all been remarkably reversed too. After incorporating this essence into my routine, I’ve found my skin holds hydration better and glows on its own; even as I expose it to environmental stressors (pollution, debris, dirt) and travel.

Final Thoughts

Sure, there are a plethora of illuminating skin care products and ingredients in drugstores and specialty beauty supplies but with the lumidose hero ingredient, White Caviar Essence Extraordinaire really does stand out from the rest.

And, yes, at $440 a bottle, this is an expensive investment but beyond worth it if you can splurge. Not to mention the airless pump does a great job at protecting the ingredients to ensure formula stability and efficaciousness with each use — allowing the product to remain potent until the last drop.

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