Clinique's Turnaround Revitalizing Serum is a lightweight gel that's suitable for any skin type, but those with oily to combination skin (including the acne prone) will be particularly pleased with its sheer texture and finish. We're happy to note it contains a nice mix of beneficial ingredients, and as it's fragrance free, it's suitable for those with sensitive skin, too.
Packaged in an opaque bottle with a pump dispenser, from its name, you would expect this to focus solely on a blend of anti-agers. However, Turnaround Revitalizing Serum also includes a mix of leave-on exfoliants as well—lactobionic acid (a polyhydroxy acid, or PHA) and salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid, or BHA). This formula's pH is between 3.7-3.8, which is within an effective range for exfoliation to occur.
There's limited research on this type of exfoliant, but what does exist has demonstrated that polyhydroxy acids produce results that are milder compared to topical alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) on concerns like sun damage of signs of aging. That fact also means those with sensitive skin, who may have found they cannot use topical AHAs, may better tolerate polyhydroxy acid exfoliants (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2010 and Cutis, 2004).
This does include a small amount of salicylic acid, likely in the 0.50% range. This is enough to provide some additional exfoliation benefit for treating concerns like mild clogged pores, but won't be a stand in for a stronger salicylic acid in the 1%-2% range (which is better for treating more frequent blackheads or breakouts).
Last, Clinique included a range of ingredients that have some antioxidant and skin-reparative benefit—mulberry root extract, squalane, acetyl glucosamine and caffeine, along with multiple anti-irritants (wheat, barley, algae). These types of ingredients can benefit all skin types.
This balanced formula is beneficial for those seeking to gain a mild exfoliation boost from their anti-aging serum. It's not the most impressive of all of Clinique's serums—hence it just falling short of earning our four-star rating—but it is certainly a good choice that's worth consideration due to its unique combination of leave-on exfoliants, antioxidants and anti-irritants.
We should note that we had mixed feelings on this product's rating. Though it contains a nice array of ingredients for a mild, leave-on exfoliant, it isn't impressive enough to earn a four-star rating as an anti-aging serum—which is how Clinique markets it. Thus, we would recommend this highly as a potential alternative to an AHA for those with sensitive skin, but it has a slightly less enthusiastic recommendation as an anti-aging serum.
Turnaround Revitalizing Serum is also available in a 1.67 fl. oz. size for $64.00 (apparently only on the Clinique website at the current time).
Note: This is the exact same formula as the previous, “Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer.” The ingredients are identical—as are the aesthetic. Clinique confirmed that the formula only underwent a name/packaging change. We should also note that as the “Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer,” this earned a four-star rating—but as it is now marketed as an anti-aging serum, it falls short of the qualities needed to earn that rating for that category.
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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