With a name and price tag like this, you'd expect this foundation/concealer compact duo to have a state-of-the-art formula and performance; unfortunately, it falls short on both counts. First, it's only rated SPF 20, and SPF 30 or higher is recommended if you're going to rely on this as your sole source of sun protection.
While it does have a cream-to-powder texture with a hint of sheen and offers light-to-medium coverage suitable for normal to dry skin, the wafting amount of fragrance can be a problem for skin—fragrance is not skincare.
The concealer formula does not contain any sunscreen agents, and is a little creamier and heavier than the foundation. Regrettably, it creases easily into lines. Unlike the foundation, the concealer offers medium-to-full coverage with a dewy finish, and is best for dry skin. Both the foundation and concealer can be blended on with the included sponge or with your fingertips.
In each duo, the concealer is one to two shades lighter than the foundation. Most of the shades are neutral, but some sets (especially Rose Clair) contain shades with unflattering pinkish undertones you should watch avoid. All things considered, this duo just doesn't live up to the performance of many other foundations and concealers that cost far less.
Foundation: Active: Octinoxate (3.75 %), Oxybenzone (1 %) Other: Isononyl Isononanoate, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Diphenyl Dimethicone/Vinyl Diphenyl Dimethicone/Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Polyethylene, Mica, Silica, Paraffin, Ozokerite, Polypropylene, Nylon-12, Aluminum Hydroxide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Polycyclopentadiene, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Parfum (Fragrance), Cetyl Dimethicone, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Silica Silylate, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, BHT, Hyaluronic Acid, Linalool, Citronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Water, Benzyl Benzoate, Geraniol, Limonene, Citral, Sericin, Hydrolyzed Linseed Extract, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
Concealer: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Ozokerite, Mica, Polyethylene, Nylon-12, Aluminum Hydroxide, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Barium Sulfate, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Phenoxyethanol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Calcium Carbonate,Hyaluronic Acid, Water, Sericin, Hydrolyzed Linseed Extract, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
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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