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This drugstore anti-aging moisturizer is just as good as my favourite $515 face cream

If you love La Mer but don't love spending $515 on a face cream, this drugstore option may be for you.

anti-aging face cream, blonde woman holding avene night cream, Avene Hyaluron ACTIV B3 Renewal Firming Cream, 50ml on bathroom counter, This $60 cream from Avène is an incredible dupe for La Mer's $515 Crème de la Mer Moisturizer (Photos via Sarah DiMuro).
This $56 cream from Avène is an incredible bargain buy instead of La Mer's $515 Crème de la Mer Moisturizer (Photos via Sarah DiMuro).

A few years back, I was diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer and, as part of my treatment, was put into chemical menopause at 41. One of the biggest side effects was the toll the sudden estrogen depletion took on my skin. My once glowing complexion soon became dull and dry, with fine lines and wrinkles taking hold.

Extreme measures were required, so I treated myself to a container of La Mer’s Creme de La Mer Moisturizer; a pricey product swooned over by so many celebs. At a staggering $515, this miracle moisturizer wasn’t cheap, but considering I had just been diagnosed with cancer, I felt little regret forking over the funds. After just a few days of use, my skin was starting to regain some of its lustre. However, I couldn’t stomach paying that much on a regular basis for skincare, so the hunt began for a more affordable option. My search yielded some fabulous finds, such as Loreal’s Revitalift Moisturizer and RoC's Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Max Hydration Cream, but it wasn’t until I tried Avene's Hyaluron Activ B3 Renewal Firming Cream that I was confident I had found the dynamite dupe of my dreams.

For under $60, I had firmer skin with fewer fine lines and, importantly, at a fraction of La Mer's sky-high price tag. Avene's rich renewal cream is a treat for my tired skin and I can’t imagine my morning skincare routine without it.

This rich renewal cream will leave your skin firmer and with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.

Pros
  • Super hydrating
  • Skin is visibly firmer after use
Cons
  • Scented
  • May not be suitable for acne-prone skin
$56 at Walmart
Explore more purchase options
$70 at Amazon$53 at Shoppers Drug Mart

Made in France, this award-winning product contains 92 per cent natural ingredients to help firm, smooth and restore skin. With just a tiny dab of the cream, formulated with thermal spring water, niacinamide and multi-weight hyaluronic acid, your face and neck will feel and look more hydrated and plumped.

Dealing with dark spots? The cream features six per cent niacinamide, which is derived from vitamin B3. It helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and improves skin elasticity, all while making dark spots less visible. The thermal spring water is critical to helping soothe and rebalance skin.

The non-greasy and non-sticky texture makes it ideal for wearing under makeup, and while the cream is rich, it's suitable for all skin types.


Super hydrating: My skin gets painfully dry (yay, menopause!) and does best with a really rich moisturizer. A little bit goes a long way, so a jar should last you for a while.

Skin is visibly firmer: One of my biggest problem areas is saggy skin, and I have noticed my skin is visibly firmer, especially along my jawline, since I started using.

Bye-bye, crow's feet: The hydrating effects of this cream are like none I have ever used. Even hours after applying my skin feels smooth and visibly hydrated. The fine lines around my eyes also look a lot less visible. It's like drinking eight glasses of water with each application.

Twice a day is the only way: When I first started using it, I applied mainly in the morning, but after a week, I switched to adding in evenings as well. I found that after a late night when I couldn't be bothered with all my other lotions and serums, as long as I applied this cream before bed, I woke up with brighter skin.

European skincare is amazing: I love that this cream is made in France. I'm always so impressed with the skincare products in Europe and the ingredients they use. Every time I go there, I stock up on their incredible and affordable drugstore products.

  • Avene Hyaluron Activ B3 Renewal Firming Cream

    Tried & Tested by Yahoo Canada


It's not fragrance-free: The product is described on the Avene website as "delicately scented," but I think that's an understatement. I don't mind the floral smell, but if you're sensitive to fragrance, it may not be for you.

Acne-prone skin beware: I had cystic acne well into my 20s but haven't really had any flare-ups since. However, when I first started using this cream at night, I got a pimple or two. They went away, but if you have oily or acne-prone skin, I would be careful when using this product. You don't need a lot, so avoid applying it too liberally.


As this is a fairly new product, the reviews are limited, although one Amazon shopper, who's only been using the product for a short time, remarked how well it absorbs into their skin.

Another Amazon user commented, "I love its rich texture," going on to say, "My skin feels more firm and brighter."

A Well.ca shopper was searching for a firming cream that was safe to use while nursing and came across this one. After a month of use, they're pleased with the changes they are seeing, stating, "It moisturizes well, and my skin looks brighter." They also said their fine lines are improving, They did say that the cream's smell may eventually deter them from purchasing the product again. Initially, it smelled pleasant, but said, "As the day passes, I can still smell it, and it smells stale and gross."

A Shoppers Drug Mart reviewer was disappointed that their skin broke out using the product. While another person complained that the cream had a "weird texture" and wasn't as impressed with this cream as they had been with other Avene products.


For me, this skin-renewing formula is *the* find of my forties. It's a great alternative to La Mer's pricier product, and with each application, I notice my skin is visibly firmer and more hydrated. It's a very rich cream, so if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, it might not be your best choice for everyday use. I'm heading to Florida in a few weeks and, with the humid temperatures, will adjust to using once a day to avoid potential breakouts.

Keep in mind there's also a light scent to the product, so if you are looking for a fragrance-free formula, this cream probably isn't for you.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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