Lacura Caviar Illuminate Creams and 3 Minute Peel Mask | Review

Tuesday 2 August 2016

‘Is this £7 cream nearly as good as a £292 equivalent?’. It’s those sort of headlines that make me want to go out and snatch a product off the shelves, so I was really keen to try the Lacura Caviar Illuminate range as soon as I saw it.

Lacura is a brand I don’t know all that well, but a lot of its products seem to garner amazing PR. Its sold out of Aldi stores, which seem to be taking over at the moment, and so I suspect we’ll be seeing more and more of it as well.

One opened near to me not so long ago, and this was one of the first things I wanted to get my hands on.

I’m all for ‘democratic skincare’. I don’t think great formulations should have to cost the earth, especially when you factor in the buying power of the mass-market brands and the profits they generate to pour back into research. In fact, my very favourite skincare product ever is from No7.

But  for just £7, I did have my doubts about how good this could be. So I picked up a jar each of the Day Cream, Night Cream and 3 Minute Peel Mask to try. Here’s what I found…

The Hype

The buzz surrounding these creams is absolutely deafening. Either Lacura have a brilliant PR team, or there really is some truth behind the claims they’re making.

The proposition is simple: quality ingredients that really deliver, at an accessible price. I’m not a massive fan of the copy-cat approach to branding and marketing they have taken with this cream. Everything from the formulation to the packaging is very heavily based on La Prairie’s Skin Caviar (that’s the £292 cream I mentioned in the headline at the start).

From The Guardian to Good Housekeeping, the claims were that this product, while marginally less luxurious-feeling in formulation than its big-money counterpart, did a brilliant job over and above a standard face cream.

Any shortcomings in the formula were so minor as not to register above that glorious £6.99 price tag that means you can throw a jar or two in with the weekly shop without blinking. With such great press, I couldn’t wait to try it.

The Packaging

While you might expect any face cream at this price point to scrimp heavily on the trimmings, the packaging of the Lacura Caviar Illuminate collection is every bit as luxurious as creams at much higher cost.

Each cream comes in a heavy glass jar with a silver metal lid with the Lacura name lazer engraved on the top. They feel weighty to hold and like a serious proposition. There’s nothing flimsy about one of these creams. If you didn’t know any better, you would probably assume these were around at least £20-50 each on the most conservative estimate. So if your bathroom shelf is crying out for a little luxury, you can find it here.

As a personal preference, however, this type of heavy jar is not my favourite. For a start, creams in pots are bacteria magnets. For a second thing, having anything in a jar means that the efficacy of the active ingredients is reduced, as oxygen gets into the formula every time the jar is open and deteriorates it.

For that reason, I much prefer my products to come with a pump. Its neater, more hygienic and easier to transport. But when the most expensive creams in the world come in glass jars, clearly people still want that type of packaging.

Using a heavy glass jar also means these are breakable and not great for travelling with, but at least at this price point, it wouldn’t be the end of the world!

The lettering and general appearance of the range are clearly ‘inspired’ by La Prairie. The day cream comes in a silver jar with electric blue writing, and it’s the reverse for the night cream, while the peel mask is housed in a clear jar.  The effect says ‘science and luxury’ perfectly, and the pots all look great.

The Product

So, what are the heavy-weight ingredients that make this range perform so well? Caviar extract is the title ingredient, but apart from sounding fancy, what does it actually do for the skin? Caviar and all fish eggs contain Omega 3- a fatty acid that is believed to help the skin increase its collagen production and retain moisture – thereby zapping fine line and wrinkles.

However, although the theory is sound, there isn’t an awful lot of hard evidence to support these claims – although that doesn’t mean its not true. The range also contains snow algae and highland globe daisy, and that’s on similar grounds – there’s some, but not a huge amount, of evidence to show that these increase the lifespan of skin cells and boost collagen.

To be fair though, it takes many years for these ‘wonder ingredients’ to have a solidly proven benefit, and I don’t want to wait that long to find out! There’s obviously some result turning it into the new skincare must have, so the studies will just have to follow – at this price, you can afford to take a gamble.

Glycerin and panthenol (vitamin B5) though, are a known quantity for the ability to hold onto moisture in the skin – giving that smooth, plumped, hydrated look.

There’s SPF 15 – which is better than nothing, although I would personally prefer a much higher SPF – and the anti-aging benefits of that can’t be questioned.  Studies have found that the day cream boosting hydration by 58% over four hours, so that’s pretty impressive.

Finally, there’s hyaluronic acid, which further ramps up the moisture retention and protects skin from the environment. Scientifically speaking then, we have a pretty solid day cream, proven to be hydrating – with a couple of star ingredients that are unproven but reported to be good. This makes the anti-aging element of these creams more of a gamble.

What about the 3 Minute Cell Renewal Peel? Well, that relies on several wonder ingredients that chemically exfoliate the top layer of the skin, including AHAs, papaya enzyme and caviar extract. Those ingredients are identical to the super-expensive La Praire version, but what’s not so clear is the strength of them in the Lacura mask.

On personal experience, the mask is very effective, so I’d  say there are no major problems there.

The Performance

These creams are a dream to use. They’re quite thick formulas, so my concern was that they might be a bit greasy, but that’s not the case at all. They sink in quickly and leave my face feeling very smoothed and plumped – and that effect lasts all day. The creams don’t really have a strong scent, which is a plus in my eyes.

The mask has a thin cream consistency also, and comes with a little brush to spread it on the skin. It packs quite a punch, so if you have sensitive skin I would highly recommend a patch test. When applied there is a very strong, pins and needles sensation to the face which you may find unpleasant – I just like to think its working away. I am also careful not to leave this on longer than three minutes, because it really does feel effective.

After using it, my skin feels noticeably smoother and definitely looks brighter and more even-toned. I’m seriously impressed with the mask, especially at such a great price and I’m using it once a week at the moment.

Both the mask and the creams feel like they’re doing some good things to my skin and keeping it bright and hydrated.

The Verdict

Wow, these products are so amazing. I’m really glad I took the time to try them out, because they’re fabulous, especially considering you can buy all three for the price of one moisturiser from a respected mass brand like Olay or No7.

The Lacura Caviar 3 Minute Peel is so brilliant, I would definitely rebuy it. To think that for £7, you can purchase something with the same ingredients as the £155 La Prairie mask peel is astonishing. I feel like the mask really works for me, and as someone who dislikes scrubs, its ideal.

The creams are also good, although they didn’t blow me away as much. Although they are a solid moisturiser and do a great job at hydrating, most of the anti-aging stuff is unproven. I would buy these again, but only because I already use a brilliant anti-aging serum from another range, so I feel as if that covers it off and I can let my day cream just be a great moisturiser.

Even without the bargain price tag, these would be lovely products in premium packaging. But the fact they are so inexpensive is a massive bonus and means that I would happily recommend them to anyone. Go and try them!


  1. the peel did not make my face ingle it felt like a waste of time and my skin was not any different to before I used it!

  2. I have spent over 10 years working for the likes of Estee Lauder, Aveda, Shu Uemura and Suqqu and have also used LaPrairie extensively through a friend of mine who is a business manager for them and I have to say that this Lacura range has blown me away. I totally agree with the assessment by the author and although I use Creme de la mer syrum for the anti ageing benefits I require, I have now fallen in love with Lacura caviar over the top and I too adore the 3 minute mask once a week alongside a purifying clay mask from a different brand. I recommend this to all of my family and friends over the age of 40 like myself
    So glad i discovered it over a year ago.

  3. Can i use it if i'm 33?they sound amazing


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  5. just used the masque ist awesome it tingled like F*** when i put it on , it calmed down after a minute and a half , i left it on 12 minutes and my skin feels like silk afterwards ... shocking and instant results ... The only problem is it is NEVER in store some mother F***** is clearly buying them up as soon as theyre out and you find them on e bay for 3- 4 times the cost !! That is where I purchased mine Still its a lot cheaper than the £293 equivalent of la prarie !! Highly recommended

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