This is a topic I broached back in August, but I thought I’d bring you up to date on recent developments.

Chanel has just launched a new ‘facial serum.’ Before I go on, if anybody can tell me why there’s this vogue for referring to a face cream as a serum, please do. Serum, medically speaking, is the amber fluid that separates out as blood clots. It’s plasma without the fibrinogens. Sounds less than glam now, doesn’t it? By the way, the old word for a clot was a grume. I like that word.

Anyway, this new serum is based on roses. Not any old roses, oh dearie me no. These are roses growing in the garden of the late Coco’s gaff. They can only be picked for five days of the year to be fully effective (ie ineffective), and get this. Only one man in the world has the skills needed to pick them properly.

It will come as no surprise that the combination of such rare ingredients and arcane expertise does not come cheap. It comes at £900. For three 14ml vials. Have a sit down. You’ve gone very pale.

I’m aware that the name Chanel on anything will lead to some artificially inflated price, but that’s just plain ridiculous, isn’t it? Yet I have no doubt that women with more money than sense will be fighting over it in Harrods in a monied version of the melee when a jumble sale opens its doors.

This finding led me to have a poke about for other luxury placebos. Lots of them roll into town at the $400+ per ounce mark, but Chanel’s potion makes those look like stuff for peasants.

It’s worth having a look at what these products contain. Ingredient du jour seems to be gold, which may be present in the scientifically exciting sounding nanopartcles. Goodness only knows why they put gold in anything apart from to bump the price. By the way the American Dermatological Society nominated gold as ‘Allergen of the year.’

Platinum. That’s big too, ‘the most expensive metal on earth.’ It’s also chemically inert. But it is expensive.

You can’t move these days for vanilla. One of the products describes this as sourced ‘from the furthest reaches of Madagascar. No big surprise there, since Madagascar is where the source orchid mainly grows and is harvested.

Unless I misread it, one of the products claims to contain ACE inhibitors. Not sure what they’re supposed to do to your flawless complexion, but I do know that clinically they’re used to treat hypertension. I also know they’re based on one of the components of the venom from pit vipers, admittedly with some of the rough edges buffed off.

I went badly wrong not getting into cosmetics early in life.

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