This is, hands down, the most expensive face serum I've ever used—and I'm annoyed by how good it is

When luxury and supercharged skincare collide

Chanel Sublimage L'Extrait de Nuit
(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

As a beauty editor who appreciates the finer things in beauty, even I winced when I saw the price tag of Chanel Sublimage L'Extrait de Nuit—the latest face serum from the most luxury of luxury brands. Let me explain. You see, when it comes to my skincare routine, I'm a little fussy when it comes to the products I use. Above everything, they have to work—my skin is prone to oiliness and acne breakouts, as well as redness and irritation. However, unlike many other skincare buffs out there, the second priority for my products is that they must feel somewhat luxurious. If the texture, scent or appearance doesn't make me feel special in some way, I know I won't stick at it long enough to see any notable results.

As a result, most of my go-to skincare products are pricey—after all, for a brand to nail a genuinely efficacious and luxurious formula is no mean feat. So, when I first caught wind of the fact Chanel was launching a night serum in its Sublimage L'Extrait collection, I knew it was something I wanted to try. And here is where I want to hold my hands up and apologise for making a mistake all beauty editors are guilty of making from time to time: I didn't actually check the price before I brought it home from the office and stuck it in my bathroom cabinet. I knew it was going to be expensive, of course, but I wasn't aware of just how expensive. After using it every night for six weeks and falling in love, I discovered it was £620.

Chanel Sublimage L'Extrait de Nuit

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

I'm no stranger to eye-wateringly expensive serums and moisturisers. But, typically, when I try something that sits within these levels of expense I simply don't feature it. However, given that this is easily the most expensive serum that has ever graced my face, I figured a review might make for an interesting read.

But, before we get into it, let me get this out of the way: despite the fact I have fallen head over heels for this genuinely impressive serum, I'm not suggesting anyone needs to go out and buy it. If you can drop £620 on a skincare product without batting an eyelid, then it's a lovely option for you. If, like me, you'd have to put it on a credit card—don't, it's not worth it. Now, if you're still with me, here's my honest thoughts...

A review of Chanel Sublimage L'Extrait de Nuit

Chanel Sublimage L'Extrait de Nuit texture

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

Let's start with what it actually is. Essentially, it's a one-and-done sort of product. Although a serum is usually a first step before moisturiser, I'm confident in saying that unless your skin is really dry, you won't need to layer it with a cream. It has a unique, gel-oil texture that, simply put, applies like satin. It glides over skin, providing enough slip to go in with some massage if you're into that (I certainly am), without leaving a hint of greasy residue. The texture is nothing short of a feat.

The scent is akin to most of Chanel's skincare offering—subtle and expensive-smelling. The bottle itself is also a work of art (I'd expect nothing less from Chanel) and it looks every bit as expensive as it is, with the brand partnering with a French glass maker to create the now-patented design. It's the sort of skincare product you want to leave out on the shelf for people to enjoy—it's weighty, beautiful and refillable. (The refill is £520, meaning there's £100 worth of beauty in the exterior bottle alone.)

And while I am a sucker for a luxurious texture and gallery-worthy packaging, it's the formula that has really impressed me. Composed of 91% naturally-derived ingredients, Sublimage L'Extrait de Nuit champions vanilla planifolia, swertia extract and chronopeptide. Totally lost? Don't worry, even as a beauty editor I wasn't entirely sure what any of the above meant when I first read it, either. From what I can ascertain, the immediate hydrating aspect of this serum is down to the 'millions of micro droplets' that are suspended in the formula, contributing to that silk-like application and those Goldilocks moisturising qualities.

Beyond that, the botanically-derived ingredients offer up a host of skin benefits. The thing that makes this serum so special (beyond all of the stuff I've already mentioned) is that its ingredients work with the skin, rather than on the skin. Each of these botanical ingredients (with particular mention to the vanilla planifolia, which is this product's superstar ingredient) is processed in a way that allows them to stimulate the skin's natural defence and healing mechanisms. The chronopeptide (I'm a total peptide geek and advocate, by the way), supercharges these results by kick-starting the skin's rejuvenation processes when it needs them most. What this means in practise? Skin is left looking plump, glowing and healthy. 

Since I started using this product, a fair few people have commented on my complexion (despite some horrendous breakouts fuelled by the pain I inflicted on my organs throughout the festive season). One colleague told me I looked as though I'd been on holiday. "You just look like you're rested, reset and full of energy," she told me—and I still put it down to this product. So yes, for me, Chanel Sublimage L'Extrait de Nuit is perfect—at least it would be if it were £600 cheaper.

Shannon Lawlor
Executive Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is the Executive Beauty Editor at Marie Claire. With nearly a decade of experience working for some of the beauty industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear, Glamour UK, Stylist and Refinery29, Shannon’s aim is to make the conversation around beauty as open, relatable and honest as possible. As a self-confessed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for hard-working perfumes, fool-proof make-up products and does-it-all skincare.