Smart Treatment Oil gets Clinique into the facial oil game, and we're thrilled to write that this is one of the better options to come along lately! The gentle, fragrance-free formula's mix of plant oils, antioxidants, and soothing plant extracts makes this a truly "smart" choice for normal to dry skin, including the extra-sensitive.
You might be wondering if Smart Treatment Oil is smarter than other facial oils. It isn't, largely because it is an inanimate object incapable of intelligence, but also that it cannot make good on its claim of delivering "targeted repair as needed, where needed."
That's not to say this cannot repair signs of dry, dehydrated skin or that it won't make a noticeable difference in skin's texture and appearance, because it can. What we're getting at is that this mix of oils and other beneficial ingredients can't distinguish between where skin needs extra help and where it's doing fine. The ingredients cannot deliver a stronger treatment on very dry areas but somehow hold back ingredients (or treatment intensity) from more normal, undamaged areas. (Also, if you have oily skin and thus don't need any extra moisture, will Smart Treatment Oil simply evaporate from your skin? No, of course not.) The ingredients go wherever you put them and moisturize as they will—and because this is oil it has a lot of movement on skin, so it will migrate outside the original area of application.
Although this is a facial oil we recommend highly, we have to mention its clear plastic bottle packaging. Storing this product so it's exposed to daylight will, over time, reduce the effectiveness of the light-sensitive ingredients (including the oils) present. For maximum potency, store Smart Treatment Oil away from direct daylight exposure, such as a drawer or cabinet, or keep it in its opaque box.
On the upside where its packaging is concerned, the dropper tip used to dispense this oil is well designed and the cap's push button dispensing method makes it easy to control how much oil comes out.
Clinique Smart Treatment Oil doesn't earn a PhD for its thesis on having a radar-like ability to sense where skin needs the most help, but its formula nonetheless earns honors for its mix of skin-repairing, antioxidant-rich plant oils and inclusion of extra antioxidants, some of which have proven soothing properties. It's a great option for eliminating dryness and adding a healthy glow, and is even suitable for sensitive skin, including rosacea. Due to this being an oil-based formula, it's not an ideal formula for oily skin given this skin type doesn't have a need for the extra moisture. Those with breakout-prone skin that's also dehydrated may find this oil blend helpful, but pay attention to how your skin responds, because despite their benefits, the oils could make breakouts worse.
Tip: Clinique Smart Treatment Oil is an even better formula that sister brand Estee Lauder's Nutritious Radiant Vitality Essence Oil, which costs considerably more for an equal amount of product. Lauder's face oil also adds fragrance to the mix, which poses a slight risk of irritation.
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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