CliniquePore Refining Solutions Instant Perfecting Makeup
0 for $27
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Brand Overview
Expert Reviews

This liquid foundation has some nice attributes, but it won't shrink pores as claimed. The closest it comes to reducing the appearance of pores is by smoothing out your complexion and offering medium coverage, but that can be said of many foundations—no special technology here.

The creamy, fluid texture requires a bit more blending than many liquid foundations, but once set, you can count on a matte finish that adequately stays in place. The formula is ideal for normal to oily skin, and the shade selection extends from light (but not fair) to deep skin tones in a range of flattering colors.

So, why didn't this receive a good rating? Unfortunately, Clinique included some well-known irritants in the formula, such as denatured alcohol, witch hazel, and clary extract (see More Info). The amounts are low enough so as not to be all that problematic, but it never makes sense to include ingredients that have no benefit for skin, especially when a product can be easily replaced by other options.

Note: Although this contains the pore-shrinking ingredient salicylic acid, the amount is too low and the pH is not within range for it to function as an exfoliant. (Salicylic acid's exfoliating action is primarily how it works to reduce enlarged pores.)

  • Creamy, fluid texture offers medium coverage and stays put once set.
  • Matte finish ideal for normal to oily skin.
  • Flattering shades for light (but not fair) to deep skin tones.
  • Won't actually shrink pores any more than any matte-finish foundation.
  • Contains potential irritants.
  • The amount of salicylic acid is too low to reduce large pores or breakouts (at least 1% is best, and it must be formulated in the proper pH range to work).
More Info:

Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22.)

Last Updated:03.12.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Community Reviews

A virtually poreless look today, tomorrow. Oil-free formula is so lightweight that even close up you look believably poreless. Over time, pore-resurfacing technology helps downsize their appearance. Creates a smaller, smoother look.


Isosdodecane, Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol Denat., Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polyethylene, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polysilicone-11, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Witch Hazel, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Savlia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspoylmer, Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Salicylic Acid, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Propylene Carbonate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caffeine, Tromethamine, Sodium Chloride, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Dipropylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Boron Nitrade, Glycerin, Silica, Methicone, Laureth-7, Tetradsodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

Brand Overview

Clinique At-A-Glance

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

About the Experts

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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