GuerlainBlanc de Perle Essence
1 fl. oz. for $123
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When it comes to skin care, exaggeration is often the way to get a woman’s attention and this product exaggerates better than most, especially considering it never really rises to any level near its claims. Associating itself with the miracle of how pearls are made (though there is really nothing miraculous about how pearls are formed any more than the development of other mollusks) Guerlain wants you to believe that the whitening properties of pearls somehow relates to how this product works. It doesn’t, not in any way, shape, or form.

What you get is a lightweight moisturizer that contains a form of vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside) and a tiny amount of lactic acid. Lactic acid can be a good exfoliant but not in this tiny amount. Ascorbyl glucoside does have some research showing it can reduce skin discolorations but one beneficial ingredient is never enough for skin and this product is mostly a one note song, plus there are lots of products that contain stabilized vitamin C yet cost far less than this.

As is true for most Guerlain products, you’re getting too much perfume and fragrance is never a good thing for skin. There are other beneficial ingredients but they don’t exceed the amount of preservative and alcohol this product contains.

While the packaging for this product will keep the good ingredients stable, meaning it isn’t packaged in a jar, alas, there isn’t much in here to keep stable.

Last Updated:06.11.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Community Reviews

Concentrated with the P.E.A.R.L. complex, the Essence releases an exceptional whitening power and effectively reduces the size and intensity of dark spots. It is also enriched with active anti-ageing detoxifying ingredients to prevent damage caused by free radicals.


Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Tromethamine, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Polyglycerin-3, Polyglyceryl-10 Isostearate, Alcohol, Lactic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Citrate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium PCA, Parfum (Fragrance), Tetrasodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Lecithin, Faex (Yeast Extract), Alcaligenes Polysaccharides, Citric Acid, Magnesium Aspartate, Benzyl Salicylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, BHT, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein, Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract

Brand Overview

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 line—too 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.

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