BB (Blemish Balm) creams are part of an Asian-inspired trend that has made its way to the United States; but, for the most part, this is one overseas trend you can ignore without feeling as though you’re missing out on something great.
The concept of blemish balm creams is that they serve as a treatment-based tinted moisturizer to even out skin tone (a blemish in Asia is about skin color, not about breakouts). Most offer sun protection, sheer to light coverage to even out the skin tone, and one or more ingredients to lighten brown discolorations or red marks from acne.
Clinique’s attempt to capitalize on the BB cream trend doesn’t break any new ground; in fact, there are more problems than benefits with this fragrance-free product, especially if you have breakout-prone skin.
Sun protection is provided by a range of synthetic and mineral actives, so this provides sufficient protection against the sun’s aging UVA rays. Unfortunately, the formula lacks ingredients proven to help improve blemishes, whether they are from discolorations or from a breakout. Instead, your skin is treated to some heavy thickening agents and a product that feels slightly heavy and mask-like instead of fresh and “barely there.”
All skin types, blemished or not, would do better with any of the Clinique foundations or tinted moisturizers with sunscreen that we’ve rated highly. We’re betting this product won’t remain in the line for long because, other than the trend of BB creams, it adds nothing new to the mix.
Active: Octinoxate 7.5%; Octisalate 4%; Zinc Oxide 3.5%; Oxybenzone 2.5%; Titanium Dioxide 1.1%; Other: Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, PEG-40 Stearate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Linoleic Acid, Oryzanol, Squalane, Cholesterol, Caffeine, Sucrose, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-51, Lecithin, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Sodium PCA, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Trehalose, Urea, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Silica, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Disodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol; May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica
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 brand’s state that they don’t 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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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