Clinique claims its Even Better™ Brightening Moisture Mask gives skin a "new level of luminosity" and helps "restore radiance." While the marketing language is a bit flowery, this mask does have a lot of ingredients that help it live up to its claims as a hydrating treatment for dry skin. It does contain a small amount of a fragrant ingredient, making it potentially problematic for very sensitive skin, but more on that in a moment.
This mask is described as a cream, but the texture is closer to that of a thick lotion. Although the formula is lightweight and sinks into skin easily, it's best suited for normal to dry skin, as those with combination to oily skin will likely find it too emollient. (On the packaging for this product, Clinique says this is for all skin types, though on its site it says this is best suited for "dull, dehydrated looking complexions," which is the more accurate description of this product's target audience).
Front and center in this mask's formula are skin-conditioning agents like sweet almond oil and squalane, which can help reinforce and repair skin's barrier. While "radiance" can be difficult to quantify, it is true that dry skin can appear dull, and restoring moisture and rebuilding its barrier can improve its appearance, so from that standpoint this can do what it says.
Also included among the ingredients are several antioxidant and anti-irritant plant extracts such as chamomile, birch bark, barley, cucumber, and apple to reduce redness and help defend skin against environmental factors—free radicals—that can contribute to barrier damage. Even better news (no pun intended) is that this mask is packaged in an opaque squeeze tube to protect those antioxidants from light and air, which keeps them from breaking down.
In fact, the only misstep here is Clinique's inclusion of fragrant satsuma peel extract (listed in the ingredients as Citrus unshiu extract). It's about halfway down the ingredient list, and while that means it isn't here in the largest amount—in fact, it actually can't be detected by scent—it could still be an issue for those with very sensitive skin (particularly those with rosacea or eczema).
That minor misstep aside, Even Better™ Brightening Mask earned our highest rating due to its ability to quickly restore moisture and its antioxidant-loaded formula. These qualities can help repair dry skin and make it appear smoother—but do keep in mind that a mask you use once or twice a week won't have as much impact on your skin's health and appearance as the products you use daily. Just a friendly reminder that we shouldn't rely on masks alone to solve skin issues like dryness, dullness, oily skin, and so on!
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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