Brand Background: Guerlain

You might not realise it, but Guerlain is a luxury brand with a longer history than you think it does! It has a past that goes back surprisingly far - 1828. Not many brands can claim nearly 200 years of history, let alone one as eventful and successful as Guerlain! Here’s how they became known for their perfumes and later on, luxury makeup and skincare.

Guerlain: The Brand with Royal Approval

Guerlain Shalimar Perfume Bottle

Credit: Guerlain/Instagram

The entire Guerlain beauty empire started with perfumes in an unassuming little shop in Paris. Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain opened the very first Guerlain Parfumerie in 1828 on rue de Rivoli - little did he know at the time that Guerlain would grow into the luxury cosmetics brand it is today.

At the time, it was common for scents to be custom-made, rather than selling pre-formulated perfumes. Pierre-François was an excellent perfumer - he had a background in chemistry and psychology, something that helped his fragrances stand out against the competition. 

Pierre-François created such beautiful scents that he eventually became the perfumer for the last monarch of France - King Napoleon III, as well as created scents for many of the other royal houses of Europe. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing that gets me to buy something faster than a royal endorsement - just look at the Kate Effect! 

It turns out that most people at the time thought the same way - after Guerlain became the preferred perfumer for the European court, the perfume house became an incredibly successful family-run business for another hundred years, before being acquired by LVMH (the luxury conglomerate) in 1994. 

After Pierre-François passed away, his children and grandchildren continued to create scents that are classics today, such as Shalimar in 1925. You may not have heard of it, but it was the first perfume to ever use vanilla notes in it, only made possible by the master perfumers at Guerlain.

Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Gel Cleanser image

Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Cleansing Gel | $154
Formulated with skin-fortifying orchid extract, this cleansing gel leaves skin soft, fresh, and ready for the rest of your skincare routine.

Guerlain Beauty

Guerlain Abeille Royal Youth Watery serum packaging

Credit: Guerlain/Instagram

Despite being the most well known for fragrances, Guerlain also had a hand in cosmetics and skincare very early on. Pierre-François was a chemist, remember - so he was already one step ahead! 

Guerlain was one of the brands that created the first commercial lipstick - before then, lip colour was a DIY product, usually made from beeswax and plant dyes. Guerlain’s commercial lipstick was a premixed stick of pigment and wax, housed in the first-ever lipstick tube.

This seems really normal to us today, but at the time, lip makeup was mixed and applied with a brush - the idea of lip colour in a stick applied to the lips with one hand was a complete novelty!

The brand also heralded skincare based in science - it sounds weird to us now, but in the 19th century, skincare and makeup were products to cover skin and temporarily change its appearance, not for maintaining good skin health. Guerlain broke ground by trying to understand skin and create scientific skincare - something that the company still focuses on today with their scientifically-backed, luxury beauty.

Guerlain Meteorites pearls product image

Guerlain Météorites Pearls | $92
A cult classic - illuminating pearls that perfectly highlight skin for a lit-from-within glow.

Guerlain Today

Guerlain Orchidee Imperial packaging image

Credit: Guerlain/Instagram

Because Guerlain has been a luxury mainstay for so long, it practically has a laundry list of cult classic products - Terracotta Bronzer, Shalimar Perfume… The list goes on. 

When I think of ‘Guerlain’, the first product that comes to mind has to be the Météorites Pearles - makeup that’s shaped into beautiful little pearls that are the perfect highlighter for the face. They’ve been a cult classic since 1987, and rightfully so. Who doesn’t want a little bit of glow on their face from some amazing-smelling, glowing pearls? 

Other than Guerlain’s range of luxury skincare and makeup, the brand proudly boasts luxury spas - again, a world first in 1939. A specific Guerlain massage method was developed to work synergistically with Guerlain’s skincare, but the exact technique is kept hush-hush. The only way you’ll find out about it is if you head to one of the two Guerlain spas that exist: one in Paris, and one in New York.

Guerlain’s main skincare lines focus on two amazing naturally-sourced ingredients: orchids and honey, and they manage to do this in a totally sustainable way.

First off, Guerlain has replanted over 10,000 orchid plants in China (where the blooms are sourced from). Secondly, they’re committed to protecting the rare species of black bee from which they source the rare (and potent) honey for the Abeille Royale line. 

Guerlain is a brand that’s added a totally new innovation pretty much every decade since the brand was started - and I can’t wait to see what they do next. Don't forget to have a peek at our Guerlain collection and get your beauty affairs in order!

Need some help putting together the best skincare routine for your skin type? Try our skin quiz!

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Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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