Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector & Optimizer

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 79.50
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Clinique's Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector & Optimizer adds to its Even Better range with a dual-chambered product that houses two products: The Even Better Dark Spot Corrector and a calming serum. When the pump dispenser is pressed down, equal amounts of both formulas come out, and then you apply the mix to your face.

We like this version better than the original due to its extra amount of calming plant extracts, plus it contains some notable replenishing ingredients all skin types need. Another check in the "pro" column is the product's mix of ingredients research has shown can improve uneven skin tone. So far, this is shaping up to be a brightening powerhouse, but there's a bit of rain in the forecast…

Both formulas are fragrance free, but like the original Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, this contains a higher-than-usual amount of grapefruit peel extract. The amount appears to be less than the original product (which, as of this writing, is still being sold), but it's still potentially problematic.

The grapefruit peel is loaded with a class of ingredients known as furanocoumarins and coumarins. When applied to skin, these chemicals can cause a reaction when skin is exposed to the sun—the result can leave skin looking discolored (Journal of Food and Agriculture, October 2013). We're betting that's not the result you want when using a product promising to improve skin tone!

If you opt to use this product, please make sure you're protecting your skin from UV light exposure every day, rain or shine, with a broad spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater. Forgoing this important step could make the grapefruit peel extract a problem.

Back to some positives: Clinique's opaque, protective packaging shields the light- and air-sensitive ingredients this product contains from breaking down before they can benefit skin.

Lobbing back to the disappointments, Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector & Optimizer feels silky-smooth going on, but once set it tends to feel tacky, and that feeling really never goes away. Not a deal-breaker, but something to keep in mind.

What about the salicylic acid? We suspect the amount is below 1%, but even if we're wrong about that, the product's pH of 5.3 keeps it from working as an exfoliant. That's a shame because this ingredient's smoothing effect on skin can contribute to a younger-looking, more even texture.

Take a look at our list of Best Skin-Brightening and Best Vitamin C Products for today's top recommendations to help improve uneven skin tone and discolorations.

  • Contains several ingredients research has shown can improve uneven skin tone.
  • Loaded with skin-calming antioxidant plant extracts.
  • Contains some notable replenishing ingredients.
  • Packaged to keep light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
  • Fragrance free.
  • The amount of grapefruit peel extract likely poses a risk of irritation.
  • Leaves a slightly tacky finish on skin that doesn't fade away.
  • The pH of the formula isn't low enough for the salicylic acid to exfoliate.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

Clinique's two-pronged approach to lasting brightness and even tone. Our clinical-strength serum with CL-302 complex is proven to help reverse the appearance of dark spots and blemish marks starting in four weeks. Plus a soothing optimizer keeps skin calm, helping it better resist future darkening. Dispensed in ideal balance via a unique dual-chamber pump.

WaterAquaEau, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polysilicone-11, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Tromethamine, Pentylene Glycol, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Morus Bombycis (Mulberry) Root Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Trametes Versicolor Extract, Narcissus Tazetta Bulb Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Root Extract, Molasses ExtractSaccharum OfficinarumExtrait De Melasse, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) ExtractExtrait DOrge, Salicylic Acid, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Algae Extract, Caffeine, Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Yeast ExtractFaexExtrait De Levure, Hydrolyzed Prunus Domestica, Sorbitol, Cholesterol, Phospholipids, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Di-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride, Squalane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-6, Glycerin, Sucrose, Polysorbate 20, Tocopheryl Acetate, Isohexadecane, Acetyl Glucosamine, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Arginine, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Sodium RNA, Caprylyl Glycol, Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 80, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Carbomer, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Yellow 6 (CI 15985).

Clinique At-A-Glance

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 brands state that they dont 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.

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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