We wish there was a cure for this degree of cosmetics marketing insanity because it truly approaches crazy to charge this much for what amounts to exceptionally standard (and we mean really standard) cosmetic ingredients. Guerlain labels this 2-formula treatment as containing "benchmark dermatological ingredients" which sounds impressive until you find out there are no such standards anywhere on the world for what those benchmark ingredients should be! And if Guerlain is referring to the majority of ingredients in this treatment, then many other skin-care products are using those alleged benchmark ingredients, too—including lots of lines sold at the drugstore!
This set includes four vials of product, with two formulas: Renew and Revitalize. The Renew formula has a thinner, serum-like texture while Revitalize has a lotion-like texture. The two formulas have more in common than you might think, with the chief distinction beyond product texture being that the Renew formula contains the AHA ingredient glycolic acid and BHA ingredient salicylic acid. The problem? Just like the Revitalize formula, Renew contains far more fragrance than state of the art ingredients, including glycolic acid. Moreover, the amount of glycolic and salicylic acids plus Renew's pH won't permit either to work as an exfoliant.
We cannot overstate how over-fragranced this so-called "treatment" is. Fragrance isn't anti-aging; in fact, it can be pro-aging due to the irritation it can cause—even if you cannot see or feel the damage taking place. See More Info to find out why regular use of highly fragrant product is a problem for all skin types.
What about the Gold Orchid technology, which seems to be the only unique element of these overpriced, lavishly packaged concoctions? Gold or not, orchid is not a miracle, turn-back-the-clock ingredient for skin, and it certainly cannot "accelerate the natural renewal cycle of skin" or enhance skin's firmness. The only published research concerning orchids and skin comes from LVMH, the company that owns Guerlain. Their research concluded that orchid stem extracts seem to have chemical compounds (known as stilbenoids) that, at least in a petri dish, can cause fibroblasts (cells that make collagen) to survive longer than they do once we age and accumulate sun damage. We're fairly certain this information, however one-sided, doesn't need to mean charging consumers over $1,000 for half an ounce of product. We're talking plant extracts, not platinum!
In the end, this treatment isn't recommended for any generation. For what it costs, you could buy a brilliant anti-aging skin-care routine plus have a cosmetic corrective procedure like dermal filler or Botox done, and look much younger, all without orchids, which you can purchase from your local florist and display in your home.
Regular use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
The quintessence of age-defying efficacy: the Treatment combines the new Gold Orchid technology capable of reviving cell vitality* with benchmark dermatological ingredients.
Renew: Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Myristyl Myristate, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Jojoba Esters, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Steareth-2, Orchid Extract, Steareth-21, Phenoxyethanol, Tromethamine, Parfum (Fragrance), Decyloxazolidinone, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Glycolic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Acacia Senegal Gum , Salicylic Acid, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sorbitol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Raffinose, Algin, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Flour, Adenosine, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Linalool, Geranium Robertianum Extract, Limonene, BHT, Cellulose Gum, Citronellol, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Eriobotrya Japonica Leaf Extract, Ci 19140 (Yellow 5), Ci 14700 (Red 4)
Revitalize: Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isotridecyl Isononanoate, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Steareth-21, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Pentylene Glycol, Jojoba Esters, Glyceryl Stearate, Boron Nitride, Decyloxazolidinone, Dimethicone, Orchid Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Polyglycerin-3, Parfum (Fragrance), Diglycerin, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Tromethamine, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Laureth-3, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Sodium Hyaluronate, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Raffinose, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Flour, Adenosine, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Linalool, Geranium Robertianum Extract, BHT, Potassium Sorbate, Citronellol, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Ci 19140 (Yellow 5), Eriobotrya Japonica Extract, Ci 14700 (Red 4), Biotin.
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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