This highly fragranced toner contains so little of benefit for skin that the price, while not outrageous, is still insulting. From our perspective, a toner that costs this much should be brimming with state-of-the-art ingredients proven to help skin repair itself and be healthy. Instead, you get a stunningly basic formula that contains more preservative than beneficial ingredients.
The mix of water-binding agents is a good sign, but the small amount of them is disappointing. Plus, you don't have to expose your skin to intense fragrance to gain the benefits of these ingredients (see More Info to find out why daily use of fragrant skin-care products is a problem).
Not surprisingly, the claims use words like "purifying" and "cellular water" to persuade you that this is an oasis of re-plumping moisture for dry skin, but it's all wordplay (what does "cellular water" mean anyway?). A superior toner for dry skin absolutely can plump skin with moisture, but this formula doesn't cut it. This also contains artificial coloring agents, which don't help skin in the least! See our list of Best Toners for hydrating formulas worth your time and money.
Daily 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).
Aquacomplex lies at the heart of this unique skincare range, purifying cellular water to relaunch hydration flows and restore youthfulness.
Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Methyl Gluceth-20, Pentylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Maltitol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzophenone-4, Tromethamine, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Millet, Citronellol, Menthoxypropanediol, Phospholipids, Xylose, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hexyl Cinnamal, Viola Tricolor Extract, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Ethylhexylglycerin, Red 4, Blue 1, BHT
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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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