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Guerlain

Orchidee Imperiale Mask

2.50 fl. oz. for $ 375.00
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Even if we could say something positive about this exceptionally ordinary mask, the jar packaging wouldn’t keep any of the potentially helpful ingredients stable (see More Info to find out why jar packaging is a problem for most skin-care products). Though this is a rather emollient formula for dry skin,it lacks appreciable amounts of antioxidants or skin-repairing ingredients.

The orchid extract sounds pretty but when it comes to your skin there is no research showing it can do anything except emit fragrance and fragrance isn’t skin care. Guerlain suggesting orchid can impart longevity to the skin is little more than a fantasy. For decades cosmetics companies have been trying to pass off one ingredient as a miracle but it is advertising nonsense because it seems miracle ingredients come and go and in reality skin and its needs are far more complicated than any single ingredient.

In fact the amount of preservative and fragrance out paces any of the good stuff. Overall this isn’t a terrible formula, but for the money, really, shouldn’t you expect miracles or at the very least a beautiful formulation?

One more point, the only thing revitalizing about this product is the mica it contains. Mica is a shiny mineral used in thousands of products claiming to brighten skin. Other than the cosmetic benefit you may see after applying this product, shine particles don’t have anything to do with skin care.

Pros:
  • Emollient formula for dry skin.
Cons:
  • Overly fragranced.
  • Shockingly expensive for such an ordinary formulation.
  • Contains more preservative and fragrance than beneficial ingredients.
  • Jar packaging won’t keep the small amount of beneficial ingredients stable.

More Info:

The fact that it’s packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you’re dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: Yes

Imparting the full benefits of the Imperial Orchid Molecular Extract, this precious skincare product offers the skin the orchids secret to longevity. This truly revitalizing mask bathes the skin in softness, and looks, feels and performs like a professional skincare treatment. The skin is plumper, visibly revitalized and its tone is restored.

Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Jojoba Esters, Pentylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Isohexadecane, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Steareth-21, Dimethicone, Orchid Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteareth-20, Saccharide Isomerate, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Decyloxazolidinone, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Ceteareth-12, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Citrate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Parfum (Fragrance), Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Cymbidium Grandiflorum Flower Extract, Silica, Tetrasodium EDTA, BHT, Hydrolyzed Soy Flour, Adenosine, Citric Acid, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Biosaccharide Gum-2, Mica, Linalool, Ribose, Citronellol, Ci 77491 (Iron Oxides), Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Bertholletia Excelsa Pericarp Extract, Yellow 5, Red 4

Guerlain At-A-Glance

Strengths: Lavish packaging (if that appeals to you); a good mascara; some excellent lipsticks.

Weaknesses: Very expensive; over-reliance on jar packaging; pervasive fragrance; overall mediocre to just plain bad skincare.

Guerlain's Paris pedigree, having evolved from a centuries-old fragrance house to a "lifestyle" line that prides itself on luxurious indulgences that promise to beautify (and perfume) almost every inch of you, still manages to hook plenty of unsuspecting women. Yet behind all of the enticing names and extraordinary claims lie some of the most unremarkable, overpriced skin-care products available. It may sound luxurious to find that gold is included in some of their formulations, unless you happen to know that when it's applied topically, gold is simply a potent allergen; there is no research showing it to have any effect on wrinkles or aging.

Guerlain's skin-care products contain a preponderance of ordinary cosmetic ingredients, with only a smattering of antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, and anti-irritants, and most of these elegant ingredients are hindered by jar packaging. It's one thing to spend more than you need to on a skin-care routine, but at least if you decide to do so you should shop the overpriced lines that will reward you with far better formulations than what Guerlain offers. Guerlain is the very definition of style usurping substance. For example, there are dozens and dozens of moisturizers in this line that are at best described as mediocre and out of date, while the sunscreens have issues of their own, including low SPF ratings and potentially insufficient UVA protection due to smaller-than-usual amounts of avobenzone. And despite the specialty claims they make for each product grouping, repetitive formulations are the hallmark of the Guerlain linetoo bad not a single moisturizer or serum formula comes close to beating the competition; more often than not they fail miserably.

Guerlain has been under the ownership of Sephora parent company Louis Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy since 1994, and is available in many Sephora boutiques.

For more information about Guerlain, visit www.guerlain.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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