Brand Spotlight: Clinique

When I recently asked my Instagram followers what they wanted to see on the blog, a round-up of Clinique was one of the most popular requests.

Clinique is surely one of the world’s best known skincare brands – and rightly so. Owned, by Estee Lauder Company (who also own Mac, Aveda, Jo Malone and La Mer, amongst others),  Clinique probably has one of the largest research and development budgets in the beauty world. Their 3-step routine is iconic and many generations of girls will have started their skincare journey there (not me though!!).

It’s highly accessible, available in most departments stores, lots of Boots branches in the UK, in Sephora in the US and countless places online. The prices aren’t hideous either, especially compared to some of its sister brands.

If you are new to skincare and don’t know where to begin, you could do far worse than Clinique – although please don’t bother with the 3-step!

Clinique’s range is huge, so I obviously haven’t tried everything – in fact I haven’t even come close! I do however have some thoughts on some of the most popular products so here is a handy little round up for you.

Take The Day Off balm cleanser

A fairly new product as far as Clinique’s history goes, but definitely one of it’s most iconic. One of several make-up removing cleansers in the Take The Day Off range, the balm is the only one I have tried to date. It is an oily balm, but not particularly heavy – almost a similar consistency to coconut oil. It melts almost immediately on contact with the skin and truly does devour make-up and SPF. As with all balms, I would recommend removing with a wash cloth/ flannel to make sure you aren’t left with any residue (especially if you are oily). This is suitable for all skin types, although if you are acne prone you may want to pay attention to how your skin responds as the buttery ingredients may clog your pores.

Take The Day Off Balm retails for US$29 and £23 

Moisture Surge Range 

After not using Clinique since I was a teenager, this was the range that really got me back into the brand. I went to a Caroline Hirons/ Clinique meet-up back in 2015 and she recommend I try the Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief moisturiser to combat my dehydrated skin. I dutifully purchased and went through two pots, before deciding to upgrade to their Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator, which is targeted at dryer skin types. Both of these are great oil-free moisturisers. The former is a lovely gel texture that feels really fresh on your skin while the latter is slightly more creamy, but again very light. Both do feel slightly tacky though. The ‘Intense’ has silicone quite high on the ingredients, but you don’t get that silicony feeling. While I do like this and I have a pot currently in my stash, I haven’t reached for it in a while. Since purchasing the Chanel Hydra Beauty Creme I haven’t wanted to reach for it – it just doesn’t feel as nice on my skin and I don’t think it sits as nicely under make-up. But if you are in the market for a good, albeit basic, moisturiser and don’t like creamy/buttery/oily ones, I would recommend seeking this out for a try.

My favourite product from this range is the Moisture Surge Face Spray. While probably the least important step in your routine, if you are a fan of hydrating spritzes you won’t be disappointed by this. Alcohol-free, it’s great for refreshing the skin post-cleanse and adding dampness to help your serums sink in. Also the spray bottle is absolutely the best I’ve ever come across – so great that I keep all my empty bottles (currently 3) to decant other products into once their spray pumps inevitably fail (I’m looking at you NIOD and May Lindstrom!!).

Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief is £34.00 or US$39.00
Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator is £34.00 or $39.00
Moisture Surge Face Spray is £22.50 or US$24.50

Fresh Pressed

This is Clinique’s new Vitamin C product and one of the most intriguing launches for a while. The range consists of a powder cleanser and a serum/booster and has taken an innovative approach to tackling the problem of Vitamin C, in its most potent form (L-Ascorbic Acid or LAA), degrading too quickly. If you want to read more about this please check out my post Drunk Elephant C-Firma Review and the problem with Vitamin C.

You can buy Fresh Pressed either as a month’s supply, which will give you four ‘vials’ of serum, or you can buy a week’s supply (one ‘vial’) which comes with seven days worth of the cleanser (you can also buy a month’s worth of cleanser on its own). I was only really interested in the serum, but I went for the seven day kit to give me a chance to try the serum before committing to the full month.

The cleanser is in powder form, packaged in sachets, with each sachet providing one use’s worth of cleanser. You simply activate with water and use as a normal cleanser. I don’t hate this, but I also would never use it. It feels more like a gentle exfoliant than a cleanser and I just don’t seen how you can benefit from an active ingredient like Vitamin C from using it in a cleanser which stays on your skin for such a short period of time. In my opinion the cleanser is a marketing-ploy and is utterly pointless alongside the range’s headline act, the serum.

In the serum’s packaging the LAA is kept, in powder form, in a separate chamber to the serum until you are ready to activate it and use the product. The product is then designed to only last a week, so in theory you will use it up before it goes bad. (If you want an excellent demo check out Caroline Hirons’ video here)

It is a fairly standard serum texture, which can be applied directly to the skin or added as a booster to your hydrating serum or moisturiser. I like the product itself a lot. It is very easy to incorporate into a routine and feels nice on the skin. I can’t say though that I noticed much effect – and Clinique do claim you should see a result within seven days. My product actually lasted me over two weeks, but it started to turn (smell and colour) towards the end of week two. I carried on using it for another two weeks, although I was probably not getting any benefits from it by that stage.

I’m kind of stumped by this product – the packaging is such a great idea for preserving the LAA until you are ready to use the product (other water-based LAA serums will start degrading from the day the formula is mixed). However, the quantity lasts longer than Clinique say which means the product will go bad before it runs out. While the price per ml isn’t hideous, I just don’t think the product lasts long enough to justify the cost on a regular basis. This is an LAA problem, not a Clinique problem who have tried to come up with a solution, but in my opinion they haven’t quite nailed it. Perhaps 8x5ml vials, rather than 4x10ml, might be a better option?

Fresh Pressed Daily Booster is US$76.50/£58 for one month’s supply
Fresh Pressed 7-Day System is US$27/£25


First up, I’ll be honest and say I don’t currently use this range because I adore the Mecca Cosmetica own brand sunscreen so much. However, *SPOILER ALERT* when I move back to the UK later this year and can no-longer get Mecca, Clinique will definitely be my go to for “holiday” SPF. Their Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Cream is a little too much for everyday use (a bit too thick and greasy) but, as an acne sufferer, this is one of the few I trust to get me through my hols without causing me to breakout. Definitely worth checking out if you, like me, suffer with acne and find the idea of wearing suncream on your face truly terrifying.

So far I’ve only tried the face cream and body cream that come in the yellow tubes, but I see they now have a number that look more “everyday” appropriate. Has anyone tried these – I’m particularly interested in the Pep-Start one.

Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Cream is US$23/£18
Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Body Cream (SPF 30 or 50) is US$25/£20

Honourable Mention

This has to go to the beloved Mild Clarifying Lotion (original formula) which as been discontinued. Recommended by Caroline Hirons, I jumped on this because it is designed for sensitive skins but contains salicylic acid, so great for acne-prone but sensitised skin like mine. After raving to a friend about it she said she had used it for years and was sure it was what kept her spots at bay. It was just a great, but effective everyday acid toner.

When they bought out the new version (1.0) I just wasn’t keen – salicylic has been bumped down the inci list and I just feel I can find something better.

Clinique’s great products are in no way limited to those I have mentioned in this post – These are just my favourites. I would love to hear some recommendations for other products that perform really well. It’s a large range and I often don’t know where to start!!

*NB in my experience Clinique do not offer sample pots, but they do have a returns policy if anything you purchase doesn’t agree with your skin.

3 thoughts on “Brand Spotlight: Clinique

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