Sweet Pots Sugar Scrub & Lip Balm
Colorfully packaged, Clinique's Sweet Pots Sugar Scrub & Lip Balm bears more than a passing resemblance to a macaron— but it's not for eating! This lip scrub and tinted balm duo is housed in a double-sided, brightly colored plastic pot with dual twist-off, locking tops. This multipurpose product has some limitations but overall earns a good rating for its ability to provide sufficient physical exfoliation in the first step and plush, conditioning, shine in the second.
Clinique's choice of packaging for their Sweet Pots is a Catch-22 of sorts, as it's likely the reason many are drawn to this product but it's also its biggest blunder. There's no denying that it's cute and having both a lip scrub and balm in one product is also convenient, but when it comes to skin care, jar packaging is never the best way to go.
The reason for this is twofold. Many of the beneficial ingredients present, such as the antioxidants Vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate) and green tea extract, lose their effectiveness when repeatedly exposed to light and air. Luckily, the brand makes no anti-aging claims for these antioxidants, and because there are so many other skin beneficial ingredients in this formula, we won't ding them too heavily for that. However, there's also the hygiene factor involved with having to dip your finger while out and about to apply the balm portion.
Moving on, let's look at the sugar scrub first. It's pretty standard in that sucrose (sugar) is the first ingredient. Sugar is followed by a laundry list of beneficial plant oils (jojoba, avocado, grape seed, to name a few). The sugar particles are tiny which is great for providing gentle physical exfoliation without irritation. There is a sugary taste in the scrub while on your lips, but since you're instructed by the brand to both use it only thrice weekly and to tissue off immediately after use, leaving no taste behind, we don't see that the issue of encouraging lip-licking would apply here.
The fragrance-free lip balm portion of this product is currently available in 7 shades—6 available at most retailers and 1, Clinique's cult classic color "Black Honey," is a Sephora exclusive. Each balm provides varying degrees of sheer color, the key word being "sheer." "Black Honey," "Candied Cassis," and "Red Velvet" provide the most obvious (although still translucent) tints, but the remaining shades provide a shine only with no discernable tint.
The moisturizing claims are supported because the balm contains a host of emollients such as petrolatum, coconut oil, and shea butter. Together, these offer a plush, cushiony feel to lips. More to love, the balm is also lightweight and not sticky.
Overall, if you're attracted to Clinique's Sweet Pots Sugar Scrub & Lip Balm because of its aesthetic, we think it's worth a second look. The sugar scrub works well to provide gentle physical exfoliation of dry, flaky lips, and the balm delivers lasting moisture and a healthy hint of shine (and, depending on the shade you choose, a lovely sheer tint).
- Sugar scrub works well to gently exfoliate lips.
- Lip balm feels cushiony, non-sticky, and provides a nice shine.
- Lip balm provides lasting moisture to lips.
- Lip balm and scrub are fragrance free.
- Two-in-one packaging is convenient.
- Jar packaging, while cute in this case, isn't the most hygienic way to package a lip product.
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.