Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum Clarity 5 Complex


Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum Clarity 5 Complex

4.30 fl. oz. for $ 18.00
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Brand Overview

Bliss’ Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum Clarity 5 Complex claims it’s “clinically proven to deliver clear, calm skin in 14 days”.  Sounds promising, if a bit longer than what brands usually boast for such results, but as it turns out the formula cannot deliver this result even if you’re patient enough to wait a month.

This Clear Genius product is housed in a translucent plastic bottle which requires storage in a dark place to avoid exposing breakdown-prone ingredients to light. Flipping open the cap reveals a circular disc that, when gently pressed, dispenses the product, a thin gel that spreads easily over the face. Once applied, you’re directed to follow with moisturizer if desired. If you have dry skin, moisturizer will be needed; those with oily skin will likely find this provides enough hydration on its own.

The hydrating portion is courtesy of ingredients like moisture-binding butylene glycol, barrier-replenishing niacinamide, and sodium hyaluronate; however, along with those your skin is also getting problematic ingredients witch hazel water and tea tree oil, the latter imparting a slightly medicinal scent that dissipates quickly.

Although unwelcome additions due to potential for irritation, the water form of witch hazel is less problematic than the extract form because of its diluted nature. And, as mentioned, the tea tree oil’s scent isn’t potent nor lasting, a good indicator that you’re not getting much of it, for better or worse.

In terms of pore-clarifying and clear skin, Bliss includes beta hydroxy acid (BHA) salicylic acid, in an amount we suspect is around 2%, but it’s just an educated guess since the brand doesn’t reveal this information. Even if this was known, the formula’s pH of 5.5 is too high for this anti-acne ingredient to work effectively, although it can still have calming action.

What about the zinc PCA? Although research has shown some forms of zinc have varying degrees of success for reducing acne, this form isn’t one of them. Instead, zinc PCA is known to improve signs of aging, calm skin and enhance hydration. Nice, but not in line with this product’s clear skin claims.

The “cica” called out on the label and in the claims refers to plant extract Centella asiatica leaf, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that joins this product’s other beneficial ingredients (sodium hyaluronate, rose hip oil, willow bark, lentil seed) to make good on the “toner-and-serum-in-one” concept. However, in the case of well-formulated products, your skin will get more from using separate steps—there’s only so much room in a skin care formula for the best stuff!

This isn’t a terrible product, there’s more to like than complain about, yet it’s biggest boast won’t come true, so if you’re considering this for reducing blemishes, it’s best to focus your attention on our list of best acne products.

  • Thin gel texture works for all skin types.
  • Contains a good mix of beneficial ingredients often found in well-formulated toners.
  • Works as a standalone hydrator for oily skin.
  • Unlikely to deliver clear skin in two weeks.
  • The pH is too high for the salicylic acid to unclog and clear skin.
  • Witch hazel water and tea tree oil pose a risk of irritating skin.
  • Comes up short if you want to streamline your routine by combining steps.
  • Clear bottle must be stored away from light to protect delicate ingredients.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

This game-changing treatment combines the benefits of a toner plus serum to purify pores, tone skin and deliver concentrated ingredients for ultimate clarity without over-drying or irritating skin. Clinically proven to deliver clear, calm skin in 14 days. Powered by Bliss’ proprietary CLARITY 5 COMPLEX™ with BHA (salicylic acid), witch hazel water, niacinamide, zinc PCA & cica.

Water (Aqua) (Eau), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Butylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Zinc PCA, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Seed Extract, Allantoin, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Polyglyceryl-6 Caprylate, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzoic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.

The story of Bliss starts in 1996, when personal trainer Marcia Kilgore opened a New York spa designed around no-fuss skin treatments and de-stressing regimens for busy lifestyles. Over time, clients asked for Bliss-branded skin care products, and so Bliss skin care was born.

Bliss enjoyed success for years, being sold in spas as well as online and at some brick-and-mortar retailers. Kilgore eventually sold Bliss, and after changing hands a couple more times, the brand began to lose some of its identity. Its most recent owners decided it was time for a back to our roots makeover, with lower prices across the board and a cleaner version of Bliss's iconic white with splashes of color packaging.

Bliss's biggest appeal is in providing people with a spa-like experience at home. The line features multiple masks, in addition to exfoliation treatments, moisturizers, and body care products for a variety of skin types and concerns. While there are some missteps in the line (including fragranced products and some instances of jar packaging), there are some gems to be found among Bliss's offerings you just have to know where to look.

For more information on Bliss, visit

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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