Even Better Essence Lotion for Very Dry to Dry Combination is nearly identical to Clinique's Essence Lotion for Combination Oily to Oily, but with a few added moisturizing ingredients to better suit those with normal to dry skin. That's perfectly OK, as the core ingredients that each version shares are well suited to any skin type. If you have normal to dry skin (even if you're acne-prone), this is absolutely one of the better toner options available behind the cosmetics counter—and is far better choice than any of Clinique's numbered Clarifying Lotions, as each of those contains their share of problematic ingredients.
Fragrance free, the Even Better Essence Lotion for Very Dry to Dry Combination is also free of common irritants and (thankfully) doesn't contain denatured alcohol, a significant skin irritant. Instead, you'll find a skin-pleasing blend of antioxidants from plant and fruit sources (watermelon, apple, cucumber and a few algae-derived extracts, to name a few) to help defend skin against free-radical damage. Clinique added lightweight emollients from synthetic and natural sources, which is a good example of how natural and synthetic ingredients can work together to create a better product than either could create on their own.
While Clinique indicates this is a formula for "Very Dry to Dry Combination", this is definitely more geared toward slightly dry skin. The amount of moisture isn't as rich or emollient as you would expect, and it would have been perfect if Clinique had included a few non-fragrant plant oils like borage or evening primrose to better round this formula out for those with very dry skin concerns. That's a minor quibble, however.
Interesting to note, Clinique added the ingredient, "saccharomyces ferment filtrate", which if you're familiar with the beauty brand SK-II, is the yeast extract they refer to as "pitera". Clinique isn't making any bold claims about this yeast, which is good because there is scant published, independent research demonstrating saccharomyces ferment filtrate has any benefit beyond as an antioxidant (and it's merely an average one at that).
Despite all of the pros for this toner, we have to comment on Clinique's statement on the box and enclosed directions that this is "Formulated for Asian skins". Of course, Clinique never actually explains what the "special" needs of Asian skin are or what ingredients in this product fit those requirements. But even more to the point there is no research anywhere in the world showing any skin care or makeup product can be formulated based on race.
The same way there aren't medicines based on your racial background (for example vaccines and antibiotics are universal) skin is the same. Skin is the largest organ of the body and what it needs to be healthy doesn't change based upon your race—just like your heart or kidneys don't need something different to be healthy.
Forgive us if we belabor this point a bit because we find it so infuriating and ludicrous. Skin-care products aren't interested in your ethnicity. All ethnicities need ingredients like antioxidants, cell-communicating agents, daily sun protection, and regular use of a well-formulated AHA or BHA exfoliant. This marketing becomes more silly than helpful when you consider that "Asian skins" doesn't really have any meaning given the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Israel are West Asia; China is East Asia; India South Asia; and even part of Russia is Northern Asia. Encouraging this separate nation skin-care standard is probably more detrimental and misleading than helpful.
Despite the ethnic-centric marketing statement, what remains true is that this can be counted among the better skin-care products Clinique has released over the past few years, and a fine example of what a well-formulated toner should contain.
This astounding lotion provides both instant and long-term benefits. The rich formula plumps for softer and more comfortable skin, while moisturizing ingredients help bind water to the skin surface to improve its overall condition. Soothing botanical and cucumber extracts achieve the appearance of inner radiance and drastically diminish the appearance of dry, flaky skin for renewed radiance and confidence.
Water\Aqua\Eau, Bis-PEG 18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Pentene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Tamarindus Indicia Seed Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Cladosiphon Okamuranus Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D’Orge, Artemia Extract, Algae Extract, Biotin, Ergothioneine, Caffeine, Sucrose, Sodium Lactate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Squalane, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Jojoba Esters, PEG-32, Caprylyl Glycol, PEF-6, Polysorbate 20, Dextrin, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Sodium PCA, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol
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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