Clinique's Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector & Optimizer adds to its Even Better range with a dual-chambered product that houses two products: The Even Better Dark Spot Corrector and a calming serum. When the pump dispenser is pressed down, equal amounts of both formulas come out, and then you apply the mix to your face.
We like this version better than the original due to its extra amount of calming plant extracts, plus it contains some notable replenishing ingredients all skin types need. Another check in the "pro" column is the product's mix of ingredients research has shown can improve uneven skin tone. So far, this is shaping up to be a brightening powerhouse, but there's a bit of rain in the forecast…
Both formulas are fragrance free, but like the original Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, this contains a higher-than-usual amount of grapefruit peel extract. The amount appears to be less than the original product (which, as of this writing, is still being sold), but it's still potentially problematic.
The grapefruit peel is loaded with a class of ingredients known as furanocoumarins and coumarins. When applied to skin, these chemicals can cause a reaction when skin is exposed to the sun—the result can leave skin looking discolored (Journal of Food and Agriculture, October 2013). We're betting that's not the result you want when using a product promising to improve skin tone!
If you opt to use this product, please make sure you're protecting your skin from UV light exposure every day, rain or shine, with a broad spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater. Forgoing this important step could make the grapefruit peel extract a problem.
Back to some positives: Clinique's opaque, protective packaging shields the light- and air-sensitive ingredients this product contains from breaking down before they can benefit skin.
Lobbing back to the disappointments, Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector & Optimizer feels silky-smooth going on, but once set it tends to feel tacky, and that feeling really never goes away. Not a deal-breaker, but something to keep in mind.
What about the salicylic acid? We suspect the amount is below 1%, but even if we're wrong about that, the product's pH of 5.3 keeps it from working as an exfoliant. That's a shame because this ingredient's smoothing effect on skin can contribute to a younger-looking, more even texture.
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.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!