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Clarins

Hydra-Essentiel Moisture-Replenishing Lip Balm

0.40 fl. oz. for $ 24.00
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Brand Overview

Hydra-Essentiel Moisture-Replenishing Lip Balm is a tube-packaged, soft pink-tinted lip balm whose moderately thick yet slippery texture glides over lips, leaving a soft gloss finish. It's a good, non-waxy option for keeping lips soft, smooth, and flake-free.

The core ingredients in this formula aren't the plant oils and extracts Clarins highlights; instead, you're getting mineral oil and paraffin, two decidedly unnatural ingredients (although both have a natural origin) that brands like Clarins typically malign. As such, their inclusion here seems odd, but that doesn't stop them from being great, non-irritating emollients for dry lips!

As for the natural ingredients, they play a lesser role but there are some notable mentions, including shea and cocoa butters as well as a triglyceride. Ceramides are on hand, too, although these are typically synthetic.

Concerns include the presence of both fragrance and flavor. Both can irritate lips, although we wouldn't describe this balm's scent or taste as strong. Still, a fragrance-free lip balm is always the better way to go for the health of your lips. Find better options on our list of Best Lip Balms & Treatments.

Pros:
  • Instantly makes dry, chapped lips look and feel better.
  • Seals moisture and leaves a glossy finish.
  • Adds a soft, natural-looking tint to lips.
  • Contains beneficial natural ingredients.
Cons:
  • Contains fragrance and flavor ingredients that could irritate lips.
  • Expensive for its basic ingredients.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes
A soothing lip balm to intensely hydrate, nourish, soothe and protect the lips. Enriched with comforting blue lotus wax, high in fatty acids, its rich, melting texture helps moisturize and protect lips to restore a natural, rosy glow. Cocoa extract intensely hydrates lips for a plump look, while ceramides protect from dehydration to keep lips looking smooth and beautiful.
Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oil/Huile Minerale, Diisostearyl Malate, Paraffin, Hydrogenated Styrene/Isoprene Copolymer, Cera Microcristallina/Microcrystalline Wax/Cire Microcristalline, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Polyethylene, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Synthetic Wax, Nylon-12, Nymphaea Caerulea Flower Extract, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Octyldodecanol, Silica, Aroma/Flavor, Tocopherol, Hydrogenated Microcrystalline Wax, Oryzanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ceramide 3, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Anise Alcohol, CI 15850/Red 7 Lake.

Clarins At-A-Glance

Strengths: Broad selection of effective, broad-spectrum sunscreens; some good self-tanning products; some good cleansers and gentle topical scrubs; a great foundation primer;superb foundations and powders; very good powder blush; wonderfully creamy lipsticks; great lipglosses and mascaras.

Weaknesses: Overpriced; pervasive reliance on jar packaging; most products have more fragrance than beneficial plant extracts; poor toners; an overabundance of average moisturizers; no effective products for lightening discolorations or treating acne; no AHA or BHA products; disappointing eye pencils; average eyeshadows and makeup brushes.

Clarins is a distinctively French line whose beginnings go back to 1954. It was then that founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins began formulating plant-based treatments for his clients. He parlayed this into a Beauty Institute, and from there, with an all-natural mantra that was slightly ahead of its time, the business grew. Never wavering from its original marketing angle, Clarins has steadfastly held on to the belief that whatever grows from the ground and smells nice must be the cure for every skin ailment, from breakouts to loss of firmness to the dreaded "sponginess" of cellulite. A visit to today's white- and red-trimmed Clarins counter confirms that the plant-based, natural-extract rhetoric is still intact, and the counter staff is eager to discuss it (yet ask them what some of the non-plant, unnatural ingredients are doing in their products and you may be met with a blank stare).

You'll also find that Clarins routinely offers facial appointments at their counters, yet more often than not these appointments, which are done behind a privacy screen, are about selling products, not about performing a legitimate facial. (For example, cleansing, toning, and facial massage are included, while extractions are not.) One other point of difference you may hear about is the Clarins Anti-Pollution Complex. First added to their products in 1991, this Complex consists of a group of plant extracts though what they may be is a mystery, since all manner of plant extracts show up in these products, with few repeats. This "high-performing" protection is supposed to shield skin from pollutant gases, corrosive particles, and industrial emissions. Although that sounds good, it's not true and there isn't a shred of proof to the contrary (Clarins research is unpublished). Plant extracts, alone or in combination regardless of the remote locations they may come from cannot keep pollution off the skin. If anything, the amount of fragrance in these products can weaken the skin's defense mechanisms, resulting in more damage from the pollution our skin encounters daily.

This line is enormous, and is absolutely one of the most cumbersome around. Within it, the assortment of plant extracts ranges from the usual to the exotic and ultimately to the no-one-knows-what-in-the-heck-these-are! Clarins has something for every skin concern imaginablefrom keeping pollution off the face (not possible) to lifting a sagging jaw line (not possible without surgery), and even protecting skin from electromagnetic waves (give me a break). It would seem there is nothing these supposedly miraculous products can't do! And you'll find a horde of plants here with the promise that this can really all come true.

However, once you're armed with even a modicum of ingredient knowledge and a fair helping of myth-busting, you'll realize how ridiculously out of whack all of this hype is. That's not to imply that all of these products are badthere are good onesor that all of the plant extracts aren't goodbecause many are very good anti-irritants, antioxidants, emollients, or antibacterial agents. However, many plant extracts are also potential allergens or skin irritants. Clarins also has its fair share of ordinary, standard, and completely unnecessary products whose claims are at best misleading and at worst downright false, and overall the products are incredibly overpriced for what you get. What is most startling is the redundancy among the Clarins products. There are few differences, for example, between the moisturizers and the mask cleansers, and the oil-control products are more reruns than they are new alternatives for skin care.

Note: All Clarins products contain fragrance.

For more information about Clarins, call (866) 252-7467 or visit www.clarins.com.

Clarins Makeup

Clarins showcases its prodigious skin-care products so prominently that you may not have noticed that their excellent makeup collection has become even more impressive. Evaluating Clarins makeup is 180 degrees different from evaluating the lackluster and confusing assortment of skin-care products they sell. When it comes to foundations, powders, and lipsticks, texture is critically important. Luckily, this is where Clarins color line excels, despite premium prices and going a bit overboard with fragrance. Their foundations are marvelous, the lone concealer is much better than their former attempts in this area, and every powder-based product feels incomparably silky while looking stunningly smooth on skin. (Keep in mind, however, that even the best makeup looks only as good as the skin on which it is applied.) Giving Lancome and Dior a run for their money, Clarins' mascaras are surprisingly good, and at least their lipsticks feel as rich as you'll need to be to afford repeat purchases. You don't need to spend this much money to get beautiful results and stellar products, but if your budget allows you to fill your makeup bag with department-store products, Clarins' nicely organized makeup display should be one of your first stops.

Clarins likes to promote that many of their foundations contain a special anti-pollution complex to safeguard your skin. Don't believe it for a second, because there is no way to completely shield skin from the effects of pollution and antioxidants. Besides, the kinds of ingredients that can reduce, not block or eliminate, pollution-based free-radical formation are rarely included in Clarins makeup.

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.