Estee Lauder

Clear Difference Advanced Blemish Serum

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 54.00
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Brand Overview

Clear Difference Advanced Blemish Serum has an almost equal amount of good and bad points, amounting to an average (and, it must be said, overpriced) option for treating breakouts. Although this has a thin serum texture, it's medicated with anti-acne ingredient salicylic acid, so it's best thought of as an anti-acne product with a serum texture. It's soft matte finish will please those with oily or combination skin, but the 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid is on the low side (at least for moderate to more severe breakouts) although the pH of 3.8 ensures the salicylic acid will function as an exfoliant.

What keeps this from being "advanced" is the inclusion of irritating ingredients like witch hazel water and fragrance ingredients. Those aren't the way to get "your most flawless, poreless-looking skin", although this serum's smoothing texture and silky finish can help to temporarily make enlarged pores look smaller. The kicker is that a BHA exfoliant formulated with 1–2% salicylic acid (and no fragrance or other irritants) can do much more to improve pore size and reduce breakouts. That approach is where Lauder should've gone, but as is, you're spending way too much money for a tiny amount of a product that isn't likely to do much to improve blemish-prone skin. See our list of Best BHA Exfoliants for less expensive options that are also more effective.

  • Contains salicylic acid formulated within an effective pH range.
  • Silky, smoothing matte finish makes pores look smaller (at least for a little while).
  • Contains ingredients known to be irritating, including witch hazel and fragrance chemicals such as limonene.
  • Not likely to be all that effective unless you have really mild breakouts.
  • Surprisingly expensive for what you get.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

This anti-blemish, skin-refinishing serum is the key to the clear difference system. Regain and maintain your most flawless, poreless-looking skin.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid 0.5% Inactive Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethicone, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, Acetyl Glucosamine, Sucrose, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Steareth-21, Glycine, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Laminaria, Saccharina Extract, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Isohexadecane, Steareth-2, Algae Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 80, Quaternium-22, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Pentylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum) Limonene, Linalool, Phenoxyethanol, Benzalkonium, Green 5, Yellow 5.

Estee Lauder At-A-Glance

The history of Estee Lauder goes back to 1946, when the woman who created the brand (and for whom it is named) began selling creams and lotions made by her chemist uncle. From its humble beginnings, Estee Lauder has grown to become a multibillion-dollar company whose products are sold all over the world and advertised in just about every fashion and women's lifestyle magazine available.

The biggest compliment we can pay to the venerable Estee Lauder line is that their moisturizers and serums can largely be described as state-of-the-art. Though fragrance is often intrusive, but when it comes to formulary excellence culminating in products that give skin what it needs to function optimally, they are tough to beat.

When it comes to makeup, by and large the brand also exceeds expectations. Though there are some under-performing products (you can read more about them in our individual reviews), Lauder has a number of excellent options, most notably its lip colors.

For more information about Estee Lauder, call (877) 311-3883 or visit www.esteelauder.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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