All of Clinique’s sunscreens (in their sun-care line, not in their “regular” facial care line) claim to use what the company refers to as SolarSmart technology. This technology is supposed to trigger a repair mechanism in skin to help prevent signs of aging. What they’re really referring to are the antioxidants in this sunscreen; the claim is basically just a new way of stating what we’ve known for some time, that antioxidants added to sunscreens help boost the efficacy of the active ingredients while also helping skin defend itself against sun damage (Sources: Clinics in Dermatology, November-December 2008, pages 614–626; and Photochemistry and Photobiology, July-August 2006, pages 1016–1023). That doesn’t mean that Clinique’s latest sun-care products are superior to others that also contain antioxidants, although that could certainly be inferred from the claims they’re making.
Nevertheless, this is an outstanding sunscreen formula for normal to dry skin. It contains a wide range of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients as well as stabilized avobenzone for UVA protection. We disagree with Clinique that this sunscreen is gentle enough for sensitive skin. Without question, the active ingredients it contains can absolutely be sensitizing for all skin types, although that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be considered or that they don’t have value when it comes to protecting skin from sun damage. Anyone with sensitive, reactive skin should stick with sunscreens whose only active ingredients are titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, such as Clinique Super City Block. This sunscreen is fragrance-free and contains mica, a mineral pigment that leaves a slight shimmer on skin.
As a facial sunscreen, this formula is a bit tricky to use with makeup, but it works well if you prefer pressed-powder foundations over creams or liquids.
Innovative SolarSmart technology stabilizes high-level protection against the aging and burning effects of UVA and UVB rays. Triggers a repair that helps prevent signs of aging. With solar-activated antioxidants that help prevent visible damage. Gentle enough for sensitive skins. Dermatologist tested. Oil-free.
Active: Oxybenzone (5%), Octisalate (5%), Homosalate (5%), Avobenzone (3%), Octocrylene (2.7%), Other: Water, Methyl Trimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), PEG-100 Stearate, Silica, Dipentaerythrityl Tri-Polyhydroxystearate, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Plankton Extract, Caffeine, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Sucrose, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, C30-38 Olefin/Isopropyl Maleate/MA Copolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, PEG-8 Laurate, Sodium RNA, Phospholipids, Lecithin, C1-8 Alkyl Tetrahydroxycyclohexanoate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Maleate, Stearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Ferulic Acid, Hexylene Glycol, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Sodium Dehydroacetate
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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