Clinique’s cleansers have gotten better lately, and Pep Start 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser continues this trend! More a facial scrub that traditional cleanser, it’s a good option for normal to oily or combination skin wanting to feel an extra measure of clean and smooth, minus a dry, tight sensation or the abrasive feel many facial scrubs have.
The mildly abrasive formula (you still need to be gentle) has a gel texture that morphs into a slight lather, feeling silky and rinsing without a residue. Skin is left feeling soft and looking refined, and this does a surprisingly thorough job removing makeup.
Of course, from the standpoint of exfoliating, a product like this doesn’t work as well as a non-abrasive, leave-on AHA or BHA exfoliant, but it’s fine for those times when you need more thorough cleansing.
A final comment: Although Clinique bills this as being fragrance free, the papaya extract it contains is a natural source of fragrance. This poses a slight risk of aggravating skin, though it’s less concerning because this product will be quickly rinsed.
Good for getting skin extra clean.
Leaves skin feeling soft and looking refined.
Removes makeup and excess oil without a dry, tight feeling.
Papaya extract imparts a scent that poses a slight risk of aggravating skin.
Doesn’t transform skin in the manner a leave-on AHA or BHA exfoliant can do.
By combining gentle cleansing with exfoliating power, this 2-in-1 formula takes away dirt, dulling dead skin cells, excess oil and impurities to give skin a smooth finish and a radiant glow. Preps skin for makeup. It is gentle enough to use twice a day.
Water\Aqua\Eau, Glycerin, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Silica, Acrylates Copolymer, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Butylene Glycol, Sucrose, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea (Bamboo) Stem Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Salicylic Acid, Palmitoyl, Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Caffeine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Sodium Coco PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Citric Acid, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Laureth-2, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Sulfate, Carbomer, Monosodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Orange 4 (CI 15510), Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Red 4 (CI 14700).
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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