* Prices may differ from that shown
These days it seems to be less about growing old with grace; more about avoiding aging at all costs. So it possible to reduce the signs of aging without turning to cosmetic procedures?
I previously suffered from a long standing addiction to sun beds. I originally began using them in order to combat my eczema - which worked wonders as I had never found any of the creams prescribed by the doctor to be of any use - however with a particularly addictive personality I found myself quickly hooked upon my daily visits to tanning salons. I later put this into prospective and looked into not only the aging affects that this could have on my skin but also the potentially life threatening links to skin cancer. I am now paranoid about the effect that sun beds are going to have on my skin as I already suffer from faint laughter lines and fine lines under my eyes. To put this in context I am only 20 so you can imagine I am keen to prevent aging as soon as possible and as my mother swears by various different anti-wrinkle creams I am often benefiting from her cast offs. Guerlain describe their Impériale Exceptional Complete Care Cream as "The new-generation Orchidée Impériale Cream is the fruit of 10 years of research within the Guerlain Orchidarium, a unique worldwide research platform dedicated to the orchid. At the heart of the Cream, the new generation of Imperial Orchid Molecular Extract has now the power to "turn back cellular time" for an ultimate global anti-ageing power. This exceptional skincare for all the signs of ageing visibly infuses the skin with an even more extraordinary longevity." These are bold claims - and with a high price tag is it really possible?
Guerlain is one of the longest standing universal producers of high-end beauty products to date. The House of Guerlain was founded in 1928 through the opening of its first perfume store in Paris. Its founder, Pierre-François (along with the help of his two sons), produced cosmetics commissioned by the Parisian high-society. With its dedicated customers and high prices, Guerlain were capable of opening their next store - which would later be known at their flagship shop - and take the Parisian fashion scene by storm. The Guerlain label peeked when they were commissioned to manufacture a perfume for Napoleon III and his wife, later to become known as Eau de Cologne Impériale. Through this success, Guerlain earned the prestigious title of His Majesty's Official Perfumer. Guerlain were then to develop fragrances for many Royal figures - including Queen Victoria and also Queen Isabella II. Throughout its history the role of the head perfumer at Guerlain has been passed down throughout the family - until its acquirement by the LVMH group in 1994. Jean-Paul Guerlain was the final of the Guerlain family to hold the title and he retired in 2002 leaving no heir - meaning the family legacy was to end. Guerlain still continue to manufacture high-end cosmetics and they are regarded as innovative leaders in the production of skincare and anti-aging products.
*What attracted me
My mother often purchases anti-aging products from Harvey Nichols and therefore she receives a range of samples from all different manufacturers. She is also compulisve in her use of anti-aging products meaning that she has tried and tested most products on the market. I personally see little difference as she has always aged well and her looks would deceive you - at least by 10 years - that she is far more youthful than her birth certificate tells. Through researching the damage that my skin would be likely to have suffered due to my sun bed use I found myself in something of a panic and therefore decided to rake through the various products she had stashed away over the years. She had a number of samples of the Orchidée Impériale Cream, which I recognised as being the same item taking pride of place of her dresser, and so I took a couple home with me to try out.
One of the advantages of this cream is that it is only lightly scented. I have previously suffered at the hands of high-end products which have been too heavily perfumed and have therefore caused me to break out. As this cream is designed or everyday application I think that it is important that it does not damage your skin at all while attempting to repair it. The scent has a faint musk that seems to smell more natural that those of the heavily perfumed variety however I would note that the ingredients list is full of chemicals and therefore I doubt that the scent is quite as artificial as it smells!
This is where I got quite a shock - this product has an extremely high price tag which I never would have paid myself and I am glad that I decided to take my mother's free samples instead of taking her own full-size pot as there is no way I could afford to pay her back! This cream will set you back an astonishing £255 for 50ml. As with most high-end beauty products, Guerlain have a relatively limited distribution and therefore you are best attempting to find them in department stores - such as Debenhams, House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols. There products are always found at Guerlain counters and therefore I think that you are best visiting them in store instead of purchasing them on the internet as you will find that the shop assistants can give you a better idea of which products you are best using and give you advice in terms of skin types and allergy advice. I see that online there are retailers offering the product for less, however I would suggest that should you be intending on purchasing the product you air on the side of caution, as there is no guarantee that you will be purchasing a genuine Guerlain product.
As I said, I personally used a sample and therefore wouldn't have experience the design of the product had it not been that it is a product that my mother uses herself. In order to write this review I decided to ask not only for her opinion on the product but also to borrow the cream and its container. The packaging of the cream really is gorgeous (and wouldn't you expect it at £255!) It is a heavy pot with a gold lid which boasts the Guerlain signature engraved around it. The bottom half is a deep blue colour which resembles an enamel antique which is then surrounded by heavy glass. I have to say that I would be particularly careful with the container as if it was to be dropped onto the like of a glass cabinet by accident then it would be likely to shatter (the cabinet as opposed to the heavy duty glass pot). The pot looks gorgeous on a cabinet and could easily be mistaken for a 19th century antique - it is in keeping with the history of Guerlain as well as their prestigious name.
The cream is really rich - and it surprises me to learn that there is an even richer version which is designed for dry skin. This product is designed for "all skin types" and I think that this seem appropriate as I have rather sensitive, combination skin and it did prove to be a hydrating product for me. Because the crean is thick this means that you do not find yourself accidentally using excessive amounts of the products and you are able to limit your use (which is undoubtedly what you will wish to do with this price tag). I found that the consistency was advantageous to the product as it meant that you skin was not left greasy or slimy - the skin absorbed the cream as if it was quenching a long felt thirst.
I personally dab the cream onto my problem areas (laughter lines and fine lines under my eyes) and then massaged it in circular movements in order to aid the absorption by the skin. I found that this was hardly necessary as the product absorbs surprisingly well into the skin, despite its rich and thick nature. I decided to do this before bed and I think that this would be a better idea as the cream gives quite a thick coverage which could feel quite heavy on the skin were you to make it a product for daytime use. I also feel that because the product is quite heavy it is key that with younger skin you try to use only the slightest amount as it could block pores and cause breakouts. For those in a 50+ age category I would assume this to be less likely and therefore they could probably use the cream more liberally and upon a wider area of their skin. My mum has been rather luckily when it comes to aging and therefore she too only makes use of the cream around her eye area and also on laughter lines. She began using the cream a month ago but she says that although the cream helps her with radiance and glow throughout the day, as well as a primer for make-up she is yet to see any remarkable results and therefore once her pot does run out she won't be repurchasing it. This was in fact a gift from my father and I think that this product is largely marketed at males buying for females as they are likely to be aware that there are better skincare products on the market for less.
I have to say that I would recommend this product for its moisturising qualities; however I do not feel that it provides much (if any) anti-aging benefits and therefore I couldn't justify its excessive price tag. It is worth keeping an eye out for free samples of the product but I wouldn't encourage anyone to rush out and buy the full size product. If you are really set on buying it then you are best buying the 15ml Eye And Lip Cream (£102) and if you find works for you then you can invest in this expensive skincare luxury.