Category Archives: Guerlain

Superheroes à la Guerlain

Guerlain Super Aqua-Creme Creme JourGuerlain’s Super Aqua-Serum is, without a doubt, one of my “Desert Island” beauty products; an exquisitely scented lotion which helps tackle dehydration and plumps up the skin. It’s one of those beauty items I treat my complexion to every now and then, whenever I feel a pick-me-up is required – and often after I’ve been dallying with some new cream or other that my skin hasn’t warmed to. I’ve certainly had plenty of occasions to turn to it during my 18 years on the beauty beat: this sublime serum has been on the go for a quarter of a century. It is now regarded as a bona fide classic, and one which underwent an updating of its technology just two years ago.

This spring, my Desert Island dressing table is going to have to make room for another product from the newly relaunched Super-Aqua range: the Day Cream (£70) which I’ve now been using for a fortnight (along with my beloved serum). My skin isn’t so much dry as thirsty so it was in fact the Day Gel (£70) that I had hoped to try but since samples of those were scarce, I “made do” with the cream. And, oh, I’m glad I gave it a go… Why? Because it is gorgeous – luxurious but easily absorbed, cocooning but not heavy, and it makes the skin – well, MY skin – feel unbelievably smooth and look even-toned. So much so that I have actually left the house without foundation. More than once. And when I do put foundation on over it, it looks fab. Super-aqua-duper, in fact…

 

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The Gift of Guerlain for Mother’s Day

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Guerlain’s Abeille Royale range, used in the Abeille Royale facial at the Guerlain Spa

Mother’s Day is looming and, partly in the interests of inspiring readers whose mums live near Edinburgh, and partly because I am 100% convinced there is no danger of my being given anything even remotely as luxurious by my ten-year-old sons, I felt I absolutely had to accept the invitation from the Guerlain Spa at The Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh to sample one of its three limited edition Mother’s Day packages! I opted for the Couture package, the centrepiece of which is the sumptuous Abeille Royale – guaranteed to make any mother feel like a VIP during it, and look like a MYP (much younger person) after it ..

The inspiration for each of the exclusive treatments is La Petite Robe Noire, Guerlain’s own fragrant tribute to the “little black dress”. The treatments have been created to celebrate the launch of Couture, the latest addition to the exclusive collection.

The award winning Edinburgh spa is the epitome of elegance, luxury and sophistication, and echoes the glamour and prestige of its peerless Champs Elysées counterpart.  With uniquely-tailored beauty and skincare experiences that draw on Guerlain’s long history, a visit to this sanctuary is surely the ultimate Mother’s Day gift.

Couture package (£99; one hour, 30 mins)
* full use of the spa facilities
* La Petite Robe Noire fragrance journey
* relaxing footbath
* Abeille Royale Expert Facial Treatment
* Touch of Colour
* For further information or to book, call the spa reception on 0131-222 8836.

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Jeepers Creepers, Where’d You Get Those Peepers – Guerlain!

Guerlain EyelinerI started a new bottle of my favourite liquid eyeliner recently – only to discover that I had had it too long, and the liquid had thickened and separated. No other eyeliner would do so, while I awaited the delivery of a new bottle, I just soldiered on with the old, thick stuff.

At that point it dawned on me that all my eye beauty needs are best served these days by Guerlain… The aforementioned Guerlain Eyeliner (£25; www.houseoffraser.co.uk) remains unsurpassed, in my opinion, for anyone who likes an easy, retro-style, line of ink swept along their upper lid. The super-fine brush can be used to paint on a subtle, thin line close to the lashes, or can be angled for a more dramatic effect. I love all three colours – the black is perfect for an evening look, while both the brown and blue are great for complementing your eye colour.

Like the Eyeliner, Guerlain’s premium eye cream, Orchidee Imperiale Eye & Lip Cream (£120), was recently reformulated to make best use of the latest scientific findings. A luxurious, rich cream, it harnesses Guerlain’s new “Gold Orchid Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Eye & Lip CreamTechnology” to encourage regeneration of the skin cells, firm the skin, deal with fine lines and boost the radiance and evenness of the complexion in the eye and lip areas.

For daytime, I love Guerlain Super Aqua-Eye Serum (£59). It’s been around for a while but is (along with Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Eye Gel) ideal if you like a light, very fluid cream which hydrates and plumps up the skin.

And, for morning-after emergencies (post tears, partying, lack of sleep etc), Guerlain Super Aqua-Eye Anti-Puffiness Smoothing Eye Patches (£73 for six sets) are essential beauty first aid items.

 

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Guerlain: All About Beauty

1. Boutique ExteriorThe Arc de Triomphe is not the only cherished landmark on the magnificent Champs-Elysees. No.68 avenue des Champs-Elysees has, for generations, been a celebrated address for Parisians; an exquisitely elegant listed building which is a mecca for admirers of fine fragrance and lovers of luxury beauty products and treatments. This, you see, is the location of La Maison Guerlain, the oldest existing beauty house, which is currently celebrating its 185th anniversary.

For almost two centuries, Guerlain has been synonymous with the ideals of French beauty and allure. And it has retained its position as one of the leading perfume, cosmetics and skincare brands in the world without having the image of a fashion brand to bolster its identity. Unlike Chanel, Givenchy and Dior, Guerlain didn’t begin life as a couture house which diversified into beauty; it has been all about beauty – and, in particular, fragrance – from day one.

The founder of this French institution was Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain, who was born in Picardy in 1798, during the final days of the revolution. His father was a spice merchant and pewter potter, but it was as a sales assistant in the perfume house Briard that the young Guerlain found employment when he left home at the age of 19. This first job involved demonstrating and selling cosmetic products (precursors to today’s blushers, lipsticks and foundations), and this apprenticeship continued in two further beauty companies before he left for three years to study botany, chemistry and soap-making in England, then a hotbed for research in the fields of perfume, beauty products and toiletries.

In 1828, when he was only 30 years of age, Guerlain opened his first boutique, at 42 rue de Rivoli, the arcade-lined street at the very heart of Paris. The site was shared with the Hotel Meurice, then a favourite of the British upper classes. Guerlain began his business by importing fashionable products from Britain, but he was soon developing his own, original formulas for toilet waters, soaps, creams, pomades, perfume oils and perfumed essences for handkerchiefs. These were very popular with the British aristocracy, not least Queen Victoria for whom the perfume Bouquet de la Reine Victoria was created.

Before long, the Guerlain boutique was the “in” place and no fashionable Parisienne’s dressing table was complete without a jar of Creme a la Fraise (Strawberry Creme) to lighten the complexion or Creme de Perse (Persian Creme) to soften the hands. Her maquillage would also have included one of Ne m'oubliez pasGuerlain’s innovative lip tints – Liquid Rose Extract, which was sold from the mid-19th century until 1958; Roselip, a solid lip colour in a porcelain pot, or, from the 1870s, the world’s first lipstick in a tube – Ne m’oubliez pas (Don’t Forget Me).

By the time the Guerlain boutique had relocated to the rue de la Paix in the 1840s, royal commissions were beginning to flood in and Pierre-Francois-Pascal’s fragrances were all the rage in many of the European courts.

One of Guerlain’s greatest coups was being appointed official perfumer to the Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, in 1853. He had impressed the empress with the zesty Eau de Cologne Imperiale which he had made specially for her. Legend has it that it gave her unhoped-for relief from the migraines that troubled her. The cologne is still sold today, and in the same distinctive bee-embossed bottle (the bee being a reference to the imperial coat of arms).

The founder of the house of Guerlain died in 1864 and his eldest son Aime took over as the firm’s perfumer. He continued in his father’s pioneering footsteps, creating, in 1889, the perfume which is generally credited with ushering in the age of modern perfumery. Jicky broke ground by blending synthetic materials with natural ingredients. Its fresh top notes of lavender, bergamot and rosemary, its spicy heart and creamy, warm base (which is where the new synthetic vanilla made its impact) were different to anything that had gone before and it was men who tended to buy it in its early years.

FROM THE CREATION of Jicky onwards, the history of Guerlain is also the history of modern perfumery. Aime’s nephew, Jacques, was responsible for almost 400 scents, among them an incredible succession of legendary fragrances regarded as wonders of the perfume world. These included the fresh yet heady L’Heure Bleue (1912), Mitsouko (1919), which is one of the most celebrated and influential early examples of the chypre genre, and Shalimar (1925), the exotic perfume which sired the entire oriental family of fragrances.

Jacques’s grandson, Jean-Paul, who retired in 2002, continued the Guerlain tradition of innovation with such gems as the archetypal fresh, green scent La Maison Guerlain Heritage VisualChamade (1969), which was the first perfume to make use of blackcurrant buds, and the sensuous oriental Samsara (1989).

Like its home city of Paris, Guerlain treats its heritage with the greatest of respect. With its Art Deco counters and original marble walls, the ground floor boutique on the Champas-Elysees has changed little in the 94 years since it opened and the third floor spa is as discreet and luxurious as when it began catering to Parisiennes’ “soins de beaute” in 1938.

But, since 2005, no visit to 68 avenue des Champs-Elysees would be complete without a trip up the luminous, gold-tiled stairway to the revamped first floor where the very contemporary Espace Parfum offers the chance to explore just about the entire back catalogue of Guerlain greatest hits as well as such current chart-toppers as La Petite Robe Noire, Idylle and Insolence – and even, for true perfume obsessives, the opportunity to have your own signature scent created just for you. If luxury is timeless, Guerlain will have no trouble notching up another 185 years.

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