Dealing with acne and signs of aging at the same time is more common than you might think. Clinique's Acne Solutions Acne + Line Correcting Serum aims to improve both concerns, but falls short of its promise to the acne-prone. You may still want to consider this ultra-light, fragrance-free serum, especially if you have normal to oily skin in need of light hydration.
Housed in an opaque plastic bottle topped with a dropper-type applicator, the Acne + Line Correcting Serum has a thin, slightly fluid texture that's easy to dispense and apply. Setting within seconds to a soft-matte finish, it contains a decent mix of hydrating ingredients, sufficient for oily or combination skin.
This serum is medicated with 1% salicylic acid (BHA), and although that amount is enough to reduce acne, blackheads and redness, its pH of 5.3 is well outside the ideal range salicylic acid needs to function as an exfoliant.
On the other hand, if you're looking for an ultra-light serum that's unlikely to make breakouts worse, Clinique's formula is worth considering. It contains several anti-aging ingredients (including antioxidants and peptides), and its matte finish works well under makeup—those with oily skin won't see their foundation "slide."
Although it's disappointing that this can't effectively reduce acne breakouts, its ultra-light matte finish, easy application, and mix of anti-aging ingredients still make it a strong serum contender for those with oily to combination skin. Its formula certainly won't make acne worse (the soothing plant extracts may help alleviate some redness), but it's not quite the multi-benefit, dual-concern product Clinique describes.
Note: If exfoliation and breakout reduction are the only reasons you're considering this serum, we encourage you to check out our list of recommended BHA exfoliants instead.
Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 1.0%. Inactive Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Methyl Trimethicone, Polysorbate 20, Bis-PEG-19 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Glycerin, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polysilicone-11, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’s Wort) Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Plankton Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Acetyl Glucosamine, Caffeine, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Cholesterol, Caprylyl Glycol, Micrococcus Lysate, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Lecithin, Whey Protein\Lactis Protein\Proteine Du Petit-Lait, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG-8, Sodium Hydroxide, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol
Strengths: A few excellent moisturizers and serums; excellent sunscreens; very good cleansers and eye makeup removers; unique mattifying products; impressive selection of foundations, good concealers; some remarkable mascaras; much-improved eyeshadows, lip colors and blush formulas.
Weaknesses: Bar soaps (which can clog pores and dull skin); alcohol-based toners; unfortunate choice of jar packaging for antioxidant-loaded moisturizers.
Estee Lauder-owned Clinique launched the concept of cosmetics being "allergy-tested," "hypoallergenic," "100% fragrance-free," and "dermatologist tested." Of those marketing claims, the only one with significance is "100% fragrance-free," which, for the most part, Clinique maintains (although it does add some fragrant extracts to a few products). Unfortunately, terms like “hypoallergenic” and “dermatologist tested” aren’t regulated by the FDA and can mean anything—thus, you still need to rely on the ingredient list to tell you whether their product contains any ingredients with the potential to irritate skin.
That inconvenient fact aside, Clinique is leading the way with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums, plus some formidable makeup and more than a few excellent sunscreens. While Clinique has some products that we see as missteps for reasons discussed in their reviews, more than ever, what they offer is quite good (just have realistic expectations, as some of their claims go beyond what their products are capable of).
Turning to makeup, Clinique continues to offer a vast palette of colors and textures, especially with their enormous selection of foundations—many of which feature effective sunscreens. Without a doubt, the numerous formulas offer something for every skin type and almost every skin color—though the blushes, eye makeup and lip colors are frequently not pigmented enough for deeper skin tones.
The bottom line is that, despite a few shortcomings, Clinique is one of the most comprehensive (and comparably affordable) department-store makeup lines, and it is completely understandable why they enjoy such broad appeal.
Note: Clinique is categorized as one that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Clinique does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Team.
For more information about Clinique, call (800) 419-4041 or visit www.clinique.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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