I recently had the pleasure of a personalized virtual one-on-one beauty consultation with Maxime Poulin, International Makeup Artist for Guerlain — not to mention a close personal friend of mine — where I was introduced to several new launches from the brand and he then hand-selected products that would work best for me. While he knows me well, the fact that he was still able to choose the perfect L’Essentiel High Perfection Foundation & Terracotta Bronzing Powder shades for me through a zoom call, is proof that this man is a truly brilliant artist. But enough about that; let’s dive into the newness, shall we?
One of the many perks of being a “Guerlain Bee” (ie: brand ambassador), is the spectacular mailers I receive. Case in point, is this fabulous crocheted beauty bag that the products arrived in. Apart from its obvious aesthetic factor, I plan on using this as a purse because that boho vibe NEEDS to be displayed!
In 2019 I attended the launch of Guerlain’s L’Essentiel Natural Glow Foundation (the range also includes the accompanying brush as well as a Primer), and this product quickly made it to the top of my fave foundations. Following up on that success, the brand has recently added a new version that’s meant to provide a more diffused finish with an even longer wear time — all with the same natural-leaning formula as the original. I am continuously impressed by not only all the philanthropic initiatives by this brand, but how they are always innovating & improving their product formulations. I call that ‘luxury beauty that actually cares’.
Here I am with the incredibly talented (& gorgeous) Maxime Poulin at the 2019 launch of the L’Essentiel range. Oh, and can we talk about his glorious hair?
L’Essentiel Pore Minimizer Shiner-Control Primer (CAN $62.00) | A watery primer that is dispensed via a pipette (dropper), it’s housed in a glass bottle of similar proportions to that of the foundation, and which is made of recycled materials. Comprised of 97% naturally-derived ingredients (the other 3% contribute to maintaining its integrity over time), the formula contains:
- Avocado – to help control excess sebum
- Yacon Juice – (from which probiotics are extracted) which, as part of the symbiotic complex, improves skin defence, the balance of the skin’s ecosystem, and helps to maintain the skin’s barrier
- White Cocoa Beans – helps in refining pores
The lightweight texture feels initially cool to the touch and is absorbed quickly into the skin without leaving behind any kind of residue. Said to help balance the skin and control shine, the ingredients also contribute to the appearance of more refined pores. I rarely use a primer in my day to day makeup, but I definitely like using one when I do a more detailed look. That said, I actually really enjoy this one as it doesn’t feel heavy or as if your skin can’t breath — and with the high humidity levels we get here in Montréal, anything that can add a level of control to those pesky excess oils, is definitely fine by me. Another perk to using this primer (apart from its mattifying properties), is that it helps foundation lay down better and last longer. Note that it bears a soft musky-woody fragrance comprised of white almond (top), delicate tea (heart) and creamy sandalwood (base) but it’s one that is very subtle overall and that dissipates quickly upon application.
L’Essentiel Retractable Foundation Brush (CAN $65.00) | With a case designed to match the foundation bottle, this is a retractable brush meant to help provide the smoothest application along the skin. The densely packed synthetic bristles feel velvety soft and plush, with a shape that makes it easy to reach all areas of the face (and neck), even trickier parts such as around the nose. What’s more, the bristles are also soft enough to be used on the delicate skin around the eyes. I haven’t put it to the wash test yet so I can’t say how it’ll fare, but I can tell from experience that its construction seems quite solid. I also really like its ergonomic feel (very easy to hold & use), and the fact that it’s retractable makes it portable without fear of damaging or dirtying the bristles.
L’Essentiel High Perfection Foundation (CAN $69.00) | Inspired by the “subtle art of balance“, the bottle was created by world-renown French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, in a shape that’s as unique as it is ergonomic. The formula is comprised of 96% naturally-derived ingredients (with the remaining 4% contributing to optimizing the formula’s integrity over time), with a texture that’s both creamy fluid yet still feels absolutely weightless when applied. The coverage is easily buildable and can range from medium-light to full, although it never feels heavy along the skin. Said to provide up to 24H wear (not that I ever intend on wearing makeup for that amount of time — but it’s still good to know that the staying power is there), the finish is more velvety than a true matte, meaning skin will never come off as looking flat or one-dimensional.
When it comes to foundation, my preferences run towards a sheer to light finish and I usually reserve anything long-wearing or matte for special events. That said, I was curious to see how I’d like this one, and the short answer is: I love it. I began by first prepping my skin with my usual skincare routine and then I went in with the L’Essentiel Primer. I confess that while I’ve never been all that impressed with previous Guerlain brushes, I was definitely curious to try the L’Essentiel Brush and was pleasantly surprised by not only how easy it is to use and how well it deposits the product, but the absolutely flawless finish it helps provide. My skin still looks like skin, but very even-toned, pores visibly minimized, and a luminous velvet texture — definitely not a traditional matte, that’s for sure. Eight hours later, and everything still looked quite pristine with zero separation (ie: around the nose). Interestingly, I feel like my skin maintained a slight glow to it, as though the radiance was peeking out from under the foundation, if that makes sense … another pleasant surprise! Note that the foundation also bears the same subtle musky/woody fragrance as that of the primer.
Available in 30 shades and in several undertones
Shade 03W Naturel Doré/Natural Warm is my perfect match at the moment, as my skin has just the lightest bit of a tan. As can be seen in the above swatch, once the shade is fully blended in, you literally cannot tell the difference between it and my bare skin.
Terracotta The Bronzing Powder (CAN $66.00/each) | Ahhhhh … Terracotta Bronzer — let me count the [many] reasons why I love you! In 1984 Guerlain was the first beauty house to create and market a powdered bronzer, and let’s just say that they definitely know what they’re doing. Fast forward to 2021, and this cult-fave icon has been reimagined; in line with the L’Essentiel range, this new version is now also comprised of 96% naturally-derived ingredients (the remaining 4% contribute to optimizing the integrity of the product over time) and also includes several drops of natural Moroccan Argan oil. Keeping everything that has gone into making this a success over the last few decades, the original concept of “capturing the sun’s reflection across vast sand dunes” is still very present, but now with a new ‘naturality’, thanks to this innovative formula. The ultra finely milled texture contains refined pigments and a luminescent shimmer to help provide an incredibly realistic bronzed result, giving the skin that coveted sunkissed glow. Or as I like to call it, the best damn bronzer powder EVER. Furthering the whole vay-cay vibe is the fragrance: notes of yang-ylang, orange flower, Tonka bean and vanilla combine to basically encapsulate summer. Extraordinary, yet subtle, the scent is nothing less than the icing on this particular cake.
There’s something very special about Terracotta bronzers — something I can’t really define, but the basically it’s about the result I get which is is far superior to anything else I’ve ever tried … and I’ve tried many. The way the powder melds with the warmth of the skin, is almost magical and truly provides one of the best bronzed glows out there.
Available in 6 shades: 3 different intensities with 2 undertones for each
- 02 Moyen Rosé/Medium Cool | almost rose gold, this might be a “cool” shade but there’s enough warm that it works well with my complexion
- 03 Moyen Doré/Medium Warm | a perfect golden tan hue, this has been my go-to shade for years (back when it was called 03 Natural Brunettes)
In my opinion, Guerlain has been on an upward trajectory lately, not only with all of the brand’s initiatives in place + an awareness of their environmental impact, but with their beauty launches as well. Reinventing classics such as The Terracotta Bronzer can be risky, but in all honesty, Guerlain absolutely nailed it. Creating a foundation that not only delivers results, but does so with a formula that’s actually good for you, is also quite the accomplishment and L’Essentiel is definitely all that. I have one final word: Bravo!
Available at Sephora, select retailers & Guerlain Boutiques
Kindly provided by Guerlain for my unbiased consideration