Pep-Start Hydrorush Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 29.50
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Clinique expands its Pep-Start line with this daytime moisturizer designed to hydrate and protect skin from sun damage. While it certainly has potential for normal to dry skin, it just can't quite live up to its claims.

The first issue is in the packaging: Pep-Start Hydrorush Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 comes in a jar, meaning its more delicate ingredients (like the decent assortment of antioxidants it contains) won't be protected from light and air. The result? With each use, these beneficial ingredients become less stable and less able to help your skin. See More Info for details on why jar packaging is not optimum when it comes to skincare.

The other problem is that while this does provide broad spectrum sun protection as advertised, it's only SPF 20. Sunscreens rated SPF 30 or greater are the standard recommended by medical boards around the world when it comes to daily sun protection, so an SPF 20 rating falls far short.

Otherwise, this is a creamy, lightweight moisturizer that's fragrance free and includes a number of skin-beneficial ingredients (including peptides and skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate). But the two strikes against it does not bode well for your skin. You're better off with one of the superior considerations on our list of Best Moisturizers with Sunscreen.

  • Provides broad spectrum sun protection.
  • Contains a number of skin-beneficial ingredients.
  • Fragrance free.
  • Jar packaging means the beneficial ingredients will break down when opened and exposed to light and air.
  • SPF 20 is below worldwide standards for adequate sun protection.
More Info:

Jar Packaging: Beneficial anti-aging ingredients, which include all plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients, are unstable, which means they begin to break down in the presence of air. Once a jar is opened and lets air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective. Routine exposure to daylight also is problematic for these ingredients.

Jar packaging is also unsanitary because you dip your fingers into the jar with each use, contaminating the product. This stresses the preservative system, leading to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.

Remember: The ingredients that provide the most benefit in addressing visible signs of aging must be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging to remain effective throughout usage. Buying products in this type of packaging means that the ingredients have the best chance of remaining effective—to the benefit of your skin!

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: Yes
Oil-free moisturizer instantly refreshes and delivers all-day hydration. Thanks to HydroRush moisture barrier technology, moisture barrier is more prepared to resist outside stressors and aggressors. Gives skin a healthy-looking glow and UV protection against the suns aging rays. Wear it alone, or under foundation as a prep for makeup.
Active: Avobenzone 3%, Octisalate 5%. Inactive: Water, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Glycerin, Polyester-8, Polysorbate 60, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Stearate, Tridecyl Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Pauls Wort) Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Plankton Extract, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Ergothioneine, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Sea Whip Extract, Hodreum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Caffeine, Algae Extract, Squalane, Ethylhexylglycerin, Trehalose, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Micrococcus Lysate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipentaerythrityl Hexacaprylate/Hexacaprate, PEG-100 Stearate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylene/VA Copolymer, Dimethiconol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Polyacrylate, Polyethylene, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Disodium EDTA, Pentaertythrityl Tetra-di-t-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, BHT, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol.

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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