First things first: this cream cannot lift or tighten loose sagging skin. If you're looking for a skin-care product that does that, please check out More Info to find out what you can realistically expect.
One strong point for this daytime moisturizer is its ability to provide broad-spectrum sun protection. The active ingredients include titanium dioxide for reliable UVA protection, though really, launching a moisturizer whose SPF rating is 15 is a bit behind the times—most dermatologists are advising SPF 30 as the new normal because most of us aren't applying sunscreen liberally enough. Given what this product costs, the likelihood of liberal application decreases; after all, if you apply this daily to your face and neck you'd be replacing it every six weeks or so, and that adds up!
This has a rich, emollient texture those with dry skin will love, and the formula contains a broad range of anti-aging ingredients, from antioxidants to repairing agents. The problem is that many of those important ingredients won't remain stable once you open this jar-packaged product. Clinique can't seem to let go of using jars even though research has made it clear they're a problem for light- and air-sensitive ingredients (see More Info for details). In better packaging, this moisturizer would earn our top rating, though even then it's lifting and tightening claims are not grounded in reality.
Lifting Sagging Skin: Many skin-care products claim they can firm and lift skin, but none of them work, at least not to the extent claimed. A face-lift-in-a-bottle isn't possible, but with the right mix of products, you will see firmer skin that has a more lifted appearance—and that's exciting! In order to gain these youthful benefits, you must protect skin from any and all sun damage every day, use an AHA (glycolic acid or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant, and use products that have a wide range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients. This combination of products (remember, one product doesn't do it all) has extensive research showing how they can significantly improve many of the signs of aging such as firming skin, reducing wrinkles and brown spots, and eliminating dullness. You'll find them on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.
Why Jar Packaging is a Problem: The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
A light, richly moisturizing cream that visibly tightens, lifts and firms the face and neck to rebuild skin's youthful appearance with the added important SPF15 protection benefit. The unique formula helps empower skin to "defy" gravity by helping rebuild firming natural collagen. Skin appears smoother, more lifted.
Active: Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 3.5%, Titanium Dioxide 1.7%, Other: Jojoba Butter, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Di-C12-15 Alkyl Fumarate, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Hexyldecyl Stearate, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’s Wort) Extract Whey Protein, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Commiphora Mukul Resin Extract, Litchi Chinensis Seed Extract, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Cladosiphon Okamuranus Extract, Plankton Extract, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Lecithin, Polyethylene, Pentylene Glycol, Potato Starch Modified, Ergothioneine, Glyceryl Stearate, Caffeine, Sorbitol, Behenyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Methicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG-100 Stearate, Pentaerythirtyl Tetraethylhexanoate, Caprylyl Glycol, C12-16 Alcohols, Cholesterol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polysilicone-11, Dextrin, Palmitic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Hexylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Alumina, Ammonium Acryloydimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Red 4, Yellow 5, Titanium Dioxide, Mica
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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