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Not to toot my own horn or anything, but as a self-professed dupe hunter (and bona fide bargain connoisseur), if anyone can find an under-the-radar dupe for a pricey product—be it skincare, a chic pair of designer shoes, or even luxe exercise gear, it’d probably be me. While I love my high-end and luxury skincare products, I always love finding more affordable formula alternatives (because, why pay more if you really don’t have to?), but ever since I first slathered La Mer’s The Concentrate Serum on my face, I’ve been enamored, but oddly out of luck when it comes to finding something even remotely similar. It seemed my quest to find a La Mer The Concentrate Dupe to fill the void when my $400 bottle inevitably runs out (I am dreading this day very, very much) was decidedly doomed.
Alas, after a serious internet research session that yielded little to no help on tracking down alternatives with similar active ingredients, I decided to take matters into my own hands and open up my daunting beauty closet to start testing out some potential serum dupes. Hey, I’d been meaning to the below products anyway, and doing a side-by-side comparison before I run out of The Concentrate seemed like the best route.
Look, I could wax poetic about La Mer’s The Concentrate serum all day (yes, I also love the ubiquitous Crème de la Mer moisturizer, but it comes in second place for me), but it’s $200 for the smallest size (.5 ounces) and $400 for the standard size (one ounce). Clearly, it’s a costly habit, and while I’m not sure I can live without the superpowered elixir, tragically, I’m going to have to at some point. After testing out several products against the La Mer, the four formulas below proved to be the best matches. Read on to find out why each of them is a close match and some of the pros and cons of the dupes. TBH, none of them will truly replace La Mer’s magical Concentrate, but if its lofty price point doesn’t align with your budget either, these are the next things to try.
La Mer The Concentrate
You won’t regret making the splurge if you can swing—I 98 percent guarantee it, at the very least. The serum is infused with La Mer’s proprietary Miracle Broth (literally, the brand’s secret sauce), along with a few other cellular-repairing actives, including their hero ingredient, algae (a.k.a. seaweed), as well as pollution-fighting topical antioxidants like rosemary leaf oil. This magical potion feels like butter on the skin without being heavy or greasy and leaves your skin feeling velvety-soft—almost like a pore-filling primer’s been applied.
The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics Serum
While some of the ingredients in this Hyaluronic Acid serum are pretty different than the La Mer, if you’re looking for an ultra-cheap alternative, this one will get the job done. This cheaper dupe does, however, contain a blend of marine-derived ingredients on par with The Concentrate, including exopolysaccharides from marine bacteria (the’s the good kind of bacteria), Hawaiian red algae, and micro-filtered blue-green algae.
NIOD Survival Serum
This ultra-lightweight serum has a similar texture and consistency when applied as The Concentrate, and has a slew of similar free-radical-reducing shields to boot, including Purified Deep-Sea Algae (Alteromonas Ferment), which offers physical defense against both smog and UV damage.
MARA Algae + Moringa Universal Face Oil
While this algae-infused oil is more hydrating than The Concentrate, the nourishing formula never feels greasy and it absorbs quickly enough to apply makeup on top of it. It’s also infused with a slew of additional plant-powered anti-aging ingredients, including plankton extract and four superfoods to restore moisture levels and repair your skin’s barrier.
True Botanicals Renew Repair Serum
So, this isn’t exactly what I consider an “affordable” dupe, but $140 seems like chump change when you compare it to $390, and given that it may be the best-performing dupe with the most similar consistency to the O.G., I felt it should be included.