Clinique enters the cushion compact market with Super City Block BB Cushion Compact SPF 50, and we're happy to say it's a foundation with a lot to love. In fact, were it not for a couple minor missteps, it would easily have earned our top rating!
Like most cushion makeup, this features a round plastic compact with a sponge inside that's saturated with liquid foundation. To apply, just use the included sponge to dab the foundation onto skin (though it works just as well with fingers or your applicator of choice).
The foundation feels lightweight and blends like a dream, quickly meshing with skin for a natural-looking finish that at first is dewy, but dries down to a soft powder look. The initial dewiness means this isn't the optimal choice for those with very oily skin, but the formula is ideal for normal to dry or sensitive skin.
We found this wore well throughout the day without fading. It shows some slight expression lines as the day wears on, but you can easily buff it down to a smooth appearance. There's also a good range of shades for those with fair to deep skin tones.
When it comes to ingredients, this is among the better cushion foundations out there: It's fragrance free and provides broad-spectrum SPF with mineral actives titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Also present are good ingredients that help skin feel smooth and moisturized.
This isn't getting our highest rating because of some of Clinique's claims surrounding the ingredients and because of how it's packaged. The formula boasts a number of antioxidants, which can help beautifully defend skin from daily environmental assault. But, because this compact doesn't protect antioxidants from routine exposure to light and air, they will break down soon after opening the package, which means you're not getting their full potency or the benefits that Clinique advertises.
Those factors aside, this is one of the better-performing cushion compacts available, and a welcome change from other versions that include fragrance and irritants.
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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