In fall of 2013, Clinique launched an allegedly new and improved version of this serum, now with “twice the smoothing” as before. Don’t take that claim to mean smoother skin as if you had a laser or other in-office procedure done; they mean smooth as in cosmetically smooth, which is something almost every serum can deliver. And despite its second outing, this serum still isn’t as impressive as those that earned our top rating.
The ingredient list for this reformulated serum didn’t change in a manner that altered its texture or finish, and it remains suitable for all skin types. Yes, this does make skin feel smoother than the previous version, but “twice as smooth” is pushing it. We suspect most people who used the previous version won’t notice a major improvement in how their skin looks or feels with the latest version. It’s more status quo than major innovation.
This remains another well-formulated, fragrance-free serum that will make your skin (and wrinkles) softer and smoother, just like countless other well-formulated options.
Regarding the "laser focus" part of the name, this doesn’t have anything to do with how real lasers improve skin. Not a single ingredient (or mix of ingredients) in this or any other serum is capable of even vaguely creating the results a medically-supervised laser treatment can provide.
Getting back to the formula, what did change was the removal of several ingredients with a small amount of research proving they help improve uneven skin tone and stimulate collagen. Why Clinique removed these ingredients is a mystery (it’s possible the complex was discontinued by the manufacturer) but they replaced those ingredients with other good anti-aging ingredients not in the previous version, so it’s a wash.
For the best of both worlds, a smart approach to anti-aging is to pair a state-of-the-art skin-care routine with the cosmetic corrective procedures that are appropriate for addressing the concerns you have about how your skin is aging.
Note: This serum is dispensed via a dropper applicator. Although not the ideal method to dispense a serum that contains light- and air-sensitive ingredients, sometimes this type of packaging is necessary due to formulary requirements. When that’s the case, the goal is to keep the bottle opening as small as possible, the bottle should be opaque or specially coated to protect the contents from light, and you should use the serum up within three months of opening.
Note Two: Clinique also offers this serum in a 1.7-ounce size for $73 and a 3.4-ounce size for $132.
Potent serum gives every skin a second chance against lines, wrinkles, sun damage. In 4 weeks, see obvious reduction in lines, wrinkles, improved texture. At 12 weeks, the visible wrinkle-reducing power is remarkably close to a dermalogical laser procedure. 63%, to be exact
Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Methyl Trimethicone, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 20, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Silica, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polysilicone-11, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul's Wort) Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Acetyl Glucosamine, Plankton Extract, Whey Protein, Sea Whip Extract, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Caffeine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Sodium Hyaluronate, Micrococcus Lysate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Ergothioneine, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cholesterol, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Lecithin, Carbomer, PEG-8, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol
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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