GuerlainOrchidee Imperiale White Age Defying Brightening Serum
1 fl. oz. for $465
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We wonder sometimes if companies selling such ridiculously overpriced products with such truly poor formulations as this one snicker every time one is sold. All we can do is try not to eat lunch when we have to tell you about how sick it makes us that products like this are being sold and that women will actually buy them.

What you end up getting with this serum is mostly water, waxes, and alcohol. This much alcohol can potentially be damaging for because it can cause free radical damage (see More Info to find out why alcohol is such a serious problem for skin). Guerlain refers to the sensation it imparts as refreshing but alcohol is not refreshing, it’s irritating and drying.

The orchid extract sounds pretty but there is no research showing it has benefit for skin whether it is for skin lightening or otherwise, though it can be a skin irritant. Guerlain suggesting it can impart longevity to the skin is a fantasy at best.

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.

There is a tiny amount of lactic acid in here but not enough for it to be effective as an exfoliant. Other than that this contains an even tinier amount of a licorice extract that can have skin lightening properties but for this kind of money and the paltry amount it’s barely even worth mentioning.

The few other beneficial ingredients in here are nice and the packaging will keep them stable but overall you’re getting far more preservative and perfume than anything helpful for skin. Simply put, if you want to waste your money on skin care this isn’t the product to consider.

  • None.
  • Poorly formulated.
  • Contains more alcohol than beneficial ingredients.
  • Overly fragranced and fragrance isn’t skin care.
  • Outrageously priced and absolutely not worth it.

More Info:

Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin’s ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: “Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,”Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).

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

With complete age-defying and complete brightening action, this serum delivers all its benefits directly to your skin. At the heart of its pure-white, silky soft formula lies the combination of two exclusive high-performance ingredients.


Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, C14-22 Alcohols, Isohexadecane, Polyglycerin-3, Silica, Tromethamine, Steareth-2, Steareth-21, Orchid Extract, Lactic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Decyloxazolidinone, Parfum (Fragrance), Behenyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Calcium Pantetheine Sulfonate, Batyl Alcohol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Menthoxypropanediol, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Adenosine, Linalool, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, BHT, Geraniol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citronellol, Diacetyl Boldine, Limonene, CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), LiliumCandidum Bulb 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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