Even Better Essence Lotion for Very Dry to Dry Combination is nearly identical to Clinique's Essence Lotion for Combination Oily to Oily, but with a few added moisturizing ingredients to better suit those with normal to dry skin. That's perfectly OK, as the core ingredients that each version shares are well suited to any skin type. If you have normal to dry skin (even if you're acne-prone), this is absolutely one of the better toner options available behind the cosmetics counter—and is far better choice than any of Clinique's numbered Clarifying Lotions, as each of those contains their share of problematic ingredients.
Fragrance free, the Even Better Essence Lotion for Very Dry to Dry Combination is also free of common irritants and (thankfully) doesn't contain denatured alcohol, a significant skin irritant. Instead, you'll find a skin-pleasing blend of antioxidants from plant and fruit sources (watermelon, apple, cucumber and a few algae-derived extracts, to name a few) to help defend skin against free-radical damage. Clinique added lightweight emollients from synthetic and natural sources, which is a good example of how natural and synthetic ingredients can work together to create a better product than either could create on their own.
While Clinique indicates this is a formula for "Very Dry to Dry Combination", this is definitely more geared toward slightly dry skin. The amount of moisture isn't as rich or emollient as you would expect, and it would have been perfect if Clinique had included a few non-fragrant plant oils like borage or evening primrose to better round this formula out for those with very dry skin concerns. That's a minor quibble, however.
Interesting to note, Clinique added the ingredient, "saccharomyces ferment filtrate", which if you're familiar with the beauty brand SK-II, is the yeast extract they refer to as "pitera". Clinique isn't making any bold claims about this yeast, which is good because there is scant published, independent research demonstrating saccharomyces ferment filtrate has any benefit beyond as an antioxidant (and it's merely an average one at that).
Despite all of the pros for this toner, we have to comment on Clinique's statement on the box and enclosed directions that this is "Formulated for Asian skins". Of course, Clinique never actually explains what the "special" needs of Asian skin are or what ingredients in this product fit those requirements. But even more to the point there is no research anywhere in the world showing any skin care or makeup product can be formulated based on race.
The same way there aren't medicines based on your racial background (for example vaccines and antibiotics are universal) skin is the same. Skin is the largest organ of the body and what it needs to be healthy doesn't change based upon your race—just like your heart or kidneys don't need something different to be healthy.
Forgive us if we belabor this point a bit because we find it so infuriating and ludicrous. Skin-care products aren't interested in your ethnicity. All ethnicities need ingredients like antioxidants, cell-communicating agents, daily sun protection, and regular use of a well-formulated AHA or BHA exfoliant. This marketing becomes more silly than helpful when you consider that "Asian skins" doesn't really have any meaning given the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Israel are West Asia; China is East Asia; India South Asia; and even part of Russia is Northern Asia. Encouraging this separate nation skin-care standard is probably more detrimental and misleading than helpful.
Despite the ethnic-centric marketing statement, what remains true is that this can be counted among the better skin-care products Clinique has released over the past few years, and a fine example of what a well-formulated toner should contain.
- Contains a beneficial array of antioxidants and anti-irritants.
- Hydrates and softens normal to dry skin (those with very dry skin will still need a moisturizer).
- Not specifically formulated for Asian skin as claimed because there’s no research showing that Asians need different skin care ingredients than any other ethnicity.