Out of all the products I get to review, skin care items are the trickiest. It usually takes weeks before you can expect any results and even longer until I feel I tested enough to account for different circumstances, time of the month, etc.. Considering that normally my skin is in pretty good condition, it's even harder to gauge the change. Add to that the fear factor: why fix something that isn't broken and alter anything in a skin care routine that's proven to work? But I can't fight my natural curiosity (that's understatement for obsession) about new and supposedly amazing products, or my dedication (again, read: obsession) to testing and blogging. The rest is documented in these pages.
That was a long prolog for a simple review of a not-so-simple serum. Sublimage is Chanel's most advanced anti-aging line. It's supposed to have regenerating abilities and the flowery description that comes with the line talks about "precious oil extracted from the powerful botanical fruit" that only grows in Madagascar. Don't ask me what's a botanical fruit. This kind of prose annoys the regenerated moisture out of my skin cells, but I was willing to give Sublimage Serum a chance and see what it can do for me.
The first couple of days weren't too promising. It looked like I had a clogged pore or two, but I took care of it and soldiered on. My pores adjusted quickly and the serum acted more like a super concentrated cream, both in feel and in texture. Some days I skipped the moisturizer because it was clear that my skin didn't need anything extra, tough most days I kept my regular routine.
I had two sample tubes and made them last for about five weeks, combined. By the third week my face felt a bit softer than before and I noted that my skin looked extra nice. The more sensitive areas that are prone to redness when unhappy, haven't shown a sign of irritation in weeks. The improvement was there, even if subtle and probably marginal. I doubt that anyone else would have noticed a difference, because let's be honest: I'm the only one who looks that closely every day in search for signs of intelligent life (or happy pores). But there was an improvement and I wonder if it would have been more noticeable had I not been a devoted serum user for the last couple of years.
Now, about the anti-aging claims: I don't really buy it. Skin ages. You can make it age more gracefully with consistent use of sun blocks and making sure it's moisturized, nourished, (very) gently exfoliated and by using active creams/serums to encourage quicker cell regeneration (basically make the skin more diligent about repairing itself). But ultimately and long-term, the only anti-aging treatment is the one you get from your plastic surgeon.
So, is Chanel Sublimage Serum worth the heart-stopping price tag ($385)?
It's hard to say. If your skin has been distressed for a while and you already tried several other products that didn't deliver much, it is worth a visit to your local Chanel counter and asking (begging) for samples. It might be just the thing. But if you've been good to your skin for a while and it's already showing you some love, there are many good options in the $100 range. Even if you're looking to upgrade to the most innovative products, there are others (I'm contemplating the new Secret de Vie serum from Lancome, that at $265 is a bottle of Serge Lutens perfume away from the Chanel serum) worth checking.
Chanel Sublimage skin care line is available from every Chanel counter and online. I got my samples as a GWP from Chanel.com and my local Saks.