Clinique's Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour is part of the brand's foray into the contour and highlighting trend, but it's an unfortunate one. The prime caveat of this cream-to-powder formula is in its strong warm undertone, which makes this formula tricky to pass off as a natural shading of the face. Given its cream base and mix of emollients and waxes, it isn't ideal for those with oily to combination skin (including the acne prone).
Packaged in a twist-up container, the Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour is easy to apply and blend, aided by its creamy texture. While the fragrance-free formula dries to a powdery finish, it keeps its moisturizing feel on skin over the course of the day. That's a bonus for dry skin, but on combination to oily skin types, it tended to emphasize pores after a few hours.
Ideally, contour makeup should be neutral in shade, as the natural shadows of your face aren't going to have orange or pink undertones. Thus, neutral, matte browns in varying depths tend to work best for most skin tones. This is why bronzers are generally less effective for contouring as such products tend to have inherently warmer undertones that mimic the warmth of a suntan. That last point brings us back to why Clinique's Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour fails at its intended purpose.
Right out of the tube, the single shade offered is obviously a warmer shade of medium brown. On light to medium skin tones, the color was too warm to use as a contour or as a bronzer—in either case, the yellow-orange undertones were too obvious (don't even get us started about how this looked in the daylight). On fair skin tones, it was even less attractive.
Thus, Clinique's Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour earned an average due to its lack of ability to live up to its purpose. The color is just too unusual to be helpful as a contour (or, as noted, as a bronzer). We'd suggest skipping this in favor of the numerous better alternatives in the top Contour & Highlight Products section.
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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