Can an eye cream really make you look "wide awake" even if you haven't gotten 8 hours of rest? That's the claim Clinique makes for their Pep-Start Eye Cream, and though it can't quite live up to all its expectations (more on that in a sec), it has enough good going for it that it comes very close to earning our highest rating.
The first thing to love about this eye cream is its packaging. It's housed in an opaque plastic squeeze tube with a plastic cap, and an interesting-looking ball-tip applicator. Though it might seem confusing at first, dispensing is a snap: Just pop the ball tip applicator up (instructions are included on the packaging) and squeeze.
Clinique says to use the ball applicator to spread the eye cream on for a "cooling" effect, but since the tip is plastic instead of metal, you don't get much cooling at all. That's not a problem, just something you'll want to note if you like that feature in your eye creams.
The cream itself is lightly emollient; it glides across skin with ease and feels instantly hydrating. If you have very dry skin in the eye area you'll likely need something with a bit more "oomph" in the moisturizing department, and those with very oily skin might find it too emollient, but most other skin types will appreciate the light hydration this formula provides. It sinks into skin easily without feeling sticky after, and works well under other skincare or makeup.
Speaking of the formula, Pep-Start Eye Cream is fragrance free and includes some great moisture-retaining ingredients like glycerin, squalane, and dimethicone. Alongside these are some plant-based antioxidants and a handful of peptides. This is good news, since these will all improve the appearance of the skin in the eye area when it comes to signs of aging. The packaging also ensures all the ingredients stay protected from light and air, both of which causes delicate ingredients to break down.
So what about Clinique's claims that this can make you look "refreshed," and that it "brightens" and "perks you up?" This will definitely make your eye area appear more hydrated, which can help lessen the appearance of wrinkles, but if you didn't get a lot of sleep the night before you put this on, signs of fatigue will still be apparent. Though this does contain the mineral pigments mica and titanium dioxide (both can add "brightening" effects to cosmetics), they're present in such small amounts that their effects aren't noticeable. You'll still need a good undereye brightener or concealer to make your dark circles less apparent.
Other than these caveats, though, Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream is a good option. Its packaging, texture, and beneficial ingredients make this one we're "peppy" to recommend!
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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