At a time when other skincare companies were making products that sold for between US$5 and US$10, American entrepreneur Estée Lauder launched the Re-Nutriv cream that came with a US$115 price tag (the equivalent of US$1,000 today) in 1956. It came with some of the world's costliest ingredients and promised to keep women looking younger, fresher and more lovely than they ever dreamt possible. The recipe for this luxurious creme was shrouded under such a veil of secrecy that only one other employee knew the 26 ingredients that went inside. So iconic was this price tag that there was even a classic advertisment featuring model Phyllis Connor, posing the questions as to what could make a cream cost that much.
Sixty years on, it may no longer be the most expensive skincare product that one can buy, but the brand has continued Miss Lauder's commitment to packing only the best ingredients into Re-Nutriv. In mid-November, it will launch the Ultimate Lift Regenerating Youth collection comprising of a rich Crème, a lighter Crème Gelee, a Serum and an Eye Crème in Singapore.
At the cornerstone of this collection is the Floralixir Dew, a blend of extracts from two flowers — the Himalayan Gentian and Brasil Everlasting – that are known for their abilities to withstand bitterly cold temperatures. It is this unique floral concoction that makes the Ultimate Lift Regenerating Youth Collection distinct from the other products within the Re-Nutriv line, says Dr Nadine Pernodet, vice-president of global research and development (skin biology and bioactives) at The Estée Lauder Companies."Skin cells lose their connection with each other over time, which speeds up skin aging. The Floralixir Dew helps to connect all the skin cells back together and improve the overall skin health," said Dr Pernodet during an interview with Buro 24/7 Singapore.
Consider this a twice-daily, three-step ritual to achieving lifted, firmer and radiant skin. Start off with the Serum, then follow up with either the Crème or Crème Gelee, depending on whether you prefer or richer or lighter texture, and finish off with the eye cream. The launch event held at the Neue Galerie in New York City was also a night of reminiscing, as Ronald Lauder shared anecdotes of watching his mother, father and uncle turn their idea of a luxurious cream into a reality. "My mother and uncle worked on a product that he'd been working on. It was a product that had huge cost of goods because he used things that had never been used before. Two years later, they came up with the cream and at that time my father was the one who used to mix the creams — my mother didn't have the patience. They came up with the name Nutrition, but my mother said it was a lousy name, let's call it Re-Nutriv," said Mr Lauder while also pointing out that his mother was labelled crazy for attaching such a steep price to her formula.
On the late Estée Lauder's attitude towards beauty, he said: "My mother always believed in making the best products we can. An editor once asked her 'Why should I spend so much on a cream?' My mother looked at her and asked 'How much did you spend on that dress?'. The dress was $115... she then replied 'You would spend $115 on a dress that you'd wear only once in a while, but you won't spend $115 on your face that you'll wear every day?'" It's perhaps this sharp business acumen and knowledge of what women wanted, needed — and would pay for — that has propelled the brand to its long-lasting success.
$194-$450. Available at Estée Lauder Boutiques and counters from Mid-November.