It seems like every men's skin-care line has a scrub—is it because men like the feel of "scrubbing" their skin? Regardless of why cosmetics companies do this to men, this is one skin-care product both men and women should avoid. In terms of formulation, Clinique For Men™ Face Scrub is a real burn for the skin due to the irritants it contains.
Typically, irritants aren't as problematic in a rinse-off formula, but using a scrub and then shaving will make the skin more susceptible to any amount of irritation, which is why you should think twice before investing in this.
The main irritant in this scrub is menthol. A major component of peppermint oil, menthol is a frequent addition to men's skin-care formulas, and it's responsible for the tingling, cooling effect on the skin. While this may feel pleasant initially, its role in triggering dermatitis is well-documented (Sources: Dermatitis, 2010; and Contact Dermatitis, 1995). Stearamidoethyl diethylamine is a lesser-known irritant. It's a cleansing agent that, even in small amounts, also can cause contact dermatitis (Source: Contact Dermatitis, 1984)—we'll just take a guess that itchy, patchy skin isn't the result you're after when shopping for skin-care products.
If Clinique had omitted these two irritants, the fragrance-free Face Scrub would have been a decent option to consider because the abrasive agents are gentle, rounded polyethylene beads. For additional details on plastic microbeads in cosmetics, see the More Info section below.Instead, consider the better-formulated alternatives recommended on our list of Best Scrubs. When done right, a scrub is a good option for an extra-cleansing step (not unlike using a soft washcloth or Clarisonic), and those we recommend can certainly provide for a closer shave.
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics: This product contains polyethylene beads, which is an ingredient that has come under controversy in the recent past. In December of 2013, research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Marine Pollution Bulletin demonstrated that although polyethylene beads are non-toxic to humans, they are not filtered during sewage treatment and are accumulating in waterways. This means the beads have the potential to negatively affect marine wildlife who mistakenly consume them (Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2013).
Additional research published in December of 2013 demonstrated that polyethylene beads have the potential to absorb pollutants while in waterways. This research was conducted to establish the potential of absorption, however, and was not conducted using samples from actual waterways (Cell, 2013).
Beautypedia does not take an ideological stance in reviewing skincare products; rather, our reviews are based upon each product's potential harm or benefit to skin contingent upon what independent peer-reviewed scientific research has demonstrated. On issues like polyethylene beads in cosmetics or animal testing, we present the facts without judgment so that you may make your own decision whether or not this product is right for you.
Water/Aqua/Eau, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyethylene, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Disodium Oleamido Mipa-Sulfosuccinate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Salicylic Acid, Stearamidoethyl Diethylamine, Menthol, Butylene Glycol, Oleamide Mipa, Caramel, Trisodium Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Sulfate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiasolinone
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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