Clinique's For Men Maximum Hydrator Activated Water-Gel Concentrate is a step in the right direction for men's skincare as most men's skincare products are just poorly formulated and loaded with skin irritating ingredients. But not in this case, as it is a gentle fragrance-free moisturizer with great long-lasting hydration and a nice mix of replenishing ingredients for stronger, smoother skin.
This lightweight, gel moisturizer comes in a clear tube with a pump dispenser. Though the clear packaging isn't ideal for any skincare containing delicate ingredients (like antioxidants), you can mitigate this by storing it away from direct light.
The fragrance-free moisturizer features blue "liquid sphere" beads that don't make a big difference in how the ingredients are delivered, but are visually interesting. The blue color fades when you apply this, becoming a clear gel that feels lightly hydrating and refreshing. One slight drawback is that it has a slightly sticky feeling after it absorbs into skin, which won't be appealing for some. Overall this is a very good consideration for normal to combination skin but if you have dry skin you'll likely need a richer formula.
Another surprise in this moisturizer is it contains an impressive mix of hydrating and skin-replenishing ingredients, along with a smattering of antioxidants. One could argue that the number of antioxidants is on the slight side, especially for a product claiming to protect skin from environmental assault, but the hydrating ingredients help compensate, and this product is all about hydration!
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.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!