Is It Worth the $140 Price Tag?

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After nearly a decade as a beauty writer and testing hundreds of skin-care products, I can honestly say that I’ve never met a toner I’ve loved enough to consistently keep in my skin-care routine. Don’t tell my dermatologist, but I often forgo this step, skipping straight to my serums and moisturizers after I cleanse. At least, that was until I got my hands on the new La Mer Resurfacing Treatment ($140), which hit shelves earlier this summer.

You don’t need to be a beauty buff to know La Mer. The legacy French skin-care brand is best known for its iconic Créme De La Mer, which retails for, ahem, $380 for a jar. Still, derms and aestheticians swear by it for its renowned healing and rejuvenating benefits; even our former skeptical commerce director fell in love with it after sampling it for a story.

Now, the brand has a slightly cheaper product that promises similar claims to its creamy predecessor. La Mer Resurfacing Treatment has been dubbed an instant “facial in a bottle” thanks to its multifaceted formula that literally does all of the things to your skin, including exfoliation, hydration, and brightening. Unlike other toners I’ve tried, I love it because it creates the perfect base for the rest of your skin-care regimen, especially if you have dry skin and need to layer different replenishing formulas to achieve enough nourishment. But is it worth the hefty $140 price tag? More on that below.

How it works

The La Mer Resurfacing Treatment is a toner formula that you apply morning and night after washing your face. It’s designed to be a multi-tasker that promotes cellular turnover and provide all of the magical things that happen to the skin when it’s effectively hydrated (think: softening, clarifying, and glowing).

La Mer The Resurfacing Treatment review

La Mer The Resurfacing Treatment — $140.00

Key ingredients: glycolic acid, glycerin, algae extract

Size: 3.4 oz


  • Provides lightweight hydration.
  • Multitasking
  • Light, botanical scent
  • Glowy, dewy finish
  • Expensive
  • It’s recommended to limit sun exposure while using it

This mega-moisture comes from a burst of glycerin and algae extract that lock hydration into the skin, which is a total godsend for those of us (hi, me!) with constantly dehydrated complexions. There’s also glycolic acid, a powerful exfoliator, to scrub away dead skill cells and overall grossness. The formula itself features a low pH level to help encourage a more balanced microbiome on the skin’s surface while clarifying pores. Bonus: It all comes in the most beautiful glass bottle that looks so stunning on your #shelfie, too.

My review

As I mentioned, I don’t usually use a toner in my skin-care routine. I like things simplified as much as possible and, unless a formula wows me, I won’t add the extra step. However, this La Mer toner has completely changed my mind about the power of toning. I love how gently yet effectively the Resurfacing Treatment sloughs away dry, dead skin while also providing plenty of lightweight, fast-absorbing hydration. Other toners I’ve used feel hydrating in the moment but quickly dry out and leave skin thirstier than before—not this one. My skin fully drinks it up and stays glowy and nourished long after it’s been applied, even without a cream on top.

I incorporated this skin-care treatment into my morning and nighttime routine over three weeks to see how well it works (and if it’s worth that $140 price tag). While I didn’t notice a difference in wrinkle appearance (something glycolic acid can reportedly help diminish) I almost immediately felt a change in my skin’s dryness levels and found that it created a more supple surface for the rest of my regimen, sort of like a skin primer does with makeup. As someone sensitive to fragrance, I never once felt like the formula overpowered my senses and instead felt invigorated by the lightweight botanical scent (which smells like a spa but in a less in-your-face kind of way). And with regular use, I noticed that my skin felt a little more hydrated upon waking up in the mornings, which almost never happens.

My biggest complaint about this product is the precautions. Since it features glycolic acid, which can be a bit of a doozy for sensitive skin, La Mer recommends limiting sun exposure during and at least one week after using it. And, since I tested this during the summertime from my Los Angeles home, I found this was a bit tricky. Nonetheless, I take my sun protection seriously, so I always applied sunscreen and wore plenty of hats when I knew I’d be exposed for longer periods of time.

Time for the million-dollar question: Is it worth it? Yes, undoubtedly, yes. Although I am usually a budget-friendly skin-care girlie, I now understand why some things are just worth the luxury price point—because this $140 bottle isn’t cheap, but it’s so worth the investment.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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