12.02.2014
5
368
Even Better Essence Lotion Very Dry to Dry Combination
Rating
3.4 fl. oz. for $32
Category:Skin Care > Toners > Toners
Last Updated:12.02.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

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.

Pros:
  • 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).
  • Fragrance-free.
Cons:
  • 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.
Claims

This astounding lotion provides both instant and long-term benefits. The rich formula plumps for softer and more comfortable skin, while moisturizing ingredients help bind water to the skin surface to improve its overall condition. Soothing botanical and cucumber extracts achieve the appearance of inner radiance and drastically diminish the appearance of dry, flaky skin for renewed radiance and confidence.

Ingredients

Water\Aqua\Eau, Bis-PEG 18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Pentene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Tamarindus Indicia Seed Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Cladosiphon Okamuranus Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D’Orge, Artemia Extract, Algae Extract, Biotin, Ergothioneine, Caffeine, Sucrose, Sodium Lactate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Squalane, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Jojoba Esters, PEG-32, Caprylyl Glycol, PEF-6, Polysorbate 20, Dextrin, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Sodium PCA, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol

Brand Overview

Clinique At-A-Glance

Strengths: One of the best selections of state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums loaded with ingredients that research has shown are of great benefit to skin; excellent sunscreens; several Redness Solutions products excel; an outstanding benzoyl peroxide product; good selection of self-tanning products; some very good cleansers and eye makeup removers; some unique mattifying products; a large and wholly impressive selection of foundations, many with reliable sun protection (and shades for darker skin tones); good concealers; some remarkable mascaras; much-improved eyeshadows; loose powder; blush products; some brilliant lipsticks and lip gloss; gel eyeliner; priced lower than most competing department-store lines.

Weaknesses: The three-step skincare routine, because of the bar soaps and irritant-laden clarifying lotions; jar packaging downgrades several otherwise top-notch moisturizers; incomplete routines for those prone to acne; skin-lightening products with either unproven or insufficient levels of lightening agents.

Estee Lauder-owned Clinique's tremendous success (the company's products are sold in over 13,000 department stores and in 110 countries) reshaped the way cosmetics lines identified themselves, sending the concept of line loyalty out to pasture. Today, cosmetics companies expand their market either by buying already established companies or by creating new ones, and Lauder has been adept at doing both. Of course, cosmetics companies keep this multiple-personality identity hidden from the consumer. If the general buying public realized that these apparently different companies were so intertwined with each other, how could they flaunt their independence and claim that their unparalleled formulations are secret or the best? It's hard to think Lauder (or any company) would, even if they could, keep secrets from one branch separate from the others. And as evidenced by the formulary similarities between brands, they don't!

The niche Clinique built 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). Regarding allergy testing, unless you can see the results, what difference does it make if a product makes that claim? What if the test showed 20% of the women who used it had a sensitizing reaction, dryness, or irritation? Would Clinique highlight this, or is it just easier to default to the generic allergy-tested claim and leave such details out, figuring consumers won't ask for more? 

Moreover, "hypoallergenic" is a term not regulated by the FDA, so any product can use the word without having to substantiate the claim. "Dermatologist tested" is also bogus, because without published test results the term can easily mean nothing more than that a dermatologist picked up the product, looked at the container, and said "This looks good." And what about the dermatologists on Clinique's payroll? How do we know they're not the ones involved in testing, rather than sending the products out for independent, impartial evaluation (though how impartial can any study be that's paid for by the company making the product)?

Clinique declined any participation for this site, which included refusing to send us copies of the allergy studies they maintain have been performed for every product they sell. We find their unwillingness to help odd because, for the most part, we genuinely like most of their products. In fact, more than any other department-store line except Estee Lauder, Clinique is leading the way with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums, plus some formidable makeup. They also have their act together for sunscreens and have expanded their decades-old three-step skin-care routine to include water-soluble cleansers instead of bar soap. They also now have a second "Dramatically Different" moisturizer that's well-suited for those with normal to oily skin and FINALLY reformulated their longstanding water-and-wax yellow lotion.

The Clinique consultants, dressed in medical-looking white lab coats (Clinique's image in that sense was ahead of the times given today's plethora of doctor-designed skin-care lines), do their best to speak intelligently about skin-care routines, but for the most part they're trained to sell the products rather than to provide information about what substantiated research has shown about the skin's needs to look and feel its best.

The good news for you is that the chemists behind Clinique's arsenal of products have been keeping up on this exciting information, and formulating superior products in response. We wouldn't blindly and solely bank on Clinique as your skin-care solution, but more than ever what they offer is, despite some far-out claims and problematic products, what epitomizes advanced skin care for all ages. Shop carefully and you'll leave confident that you are purchasing products with solid science, not just marketing hype, behind them.

Turning to makeup, Clinique continues to offer a vast palette of colors and textures, especially in their huge and imposing selection of foundations, many of which feature effective sunscreens. In fact, this category has become the most compelling reason to shop Clinique's makeup collection. Without a doubt the numerous formulas offer something for every skin type and almost every skin color. The shade selection has improved considerably, with more neutrals and a broader range than ever before. You still need to use caution and watch out for peach-toned duds, but for the most part finding a natural-looking match shouldn't be a frustrating experience, and the counter personnel are happy to provide samples.

Although the foundation and powder shades take darker skin tones into account, the blush, eye pencil, and most of the lipstick shades do not. Perhaps that will change in the future, as Clinique beautifully updated their eyeshadow collection with ultra-smooth textures and deeper colors that show up on darker skin.

Compliments are also due for Clinique's updated makeup tester units. They are well-organized, labeled with product name and price, and easily accessible without a salesperson's help. And speaking of salespeople, most of the Clinique consultants we encounter go above and beyond to provide assistance and to answer any questions we had (even if we didn't always agree with their responses). Those white lab coats don't mean medical expertise, but we'll take outstanding customer service over pseudoscience any day!

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

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

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09.17.2014
Fantastic

This product has saved my skin. It immeditely removes redness and is very soothing. I have been using this day and night for two months and have only gone though 1/8 of a bottle so it should last a long time. The bottle design is my new favorite with a large opening you 'pour' a drop onto your fingertip, so much better than a pump that deposits too much. I use three drops for my whole face and it absorbs very quickly and is not sticky or oily. I will continue to purchase as long as they make it!

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Reviewed by
Jodi J.
08.26.2014
This is a Serum, not a Toner

The review is mis-leading. This product is not a traditional toner which helps with make-up removal. This product is a serum that is to be used AFTER cleansing and toning.

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Anonymous
07.10.2014
Super toner/ moisturizer

This is a fantastic toner. I am using it as a summer moisturizer! I put 3-4 drops in my palm and press it into my face after cleansing. I agree that this size bottle should last quite some time. Great results too. My red prone skin is calm, no breakouts and works lovely before my tinted moisturizer and just by itself in the evening after cleansing. I am very happy to found this product. Thanks for the review paula.

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Reviewed by
Andio
07.09.2014
Lovely but surprised at application method

Surprised the review from PC didnt mention it is applied with fingers as I think of traditional toners applied with cotton pad. It's thick and emollient like other reviewer says a little goes long way. But it doesn't help remove last traces of makeup so I find I still use something. Else for that.

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Reviewed by
Kimberly T.
06.19.2014
Best new product I have used in a long time.

I have been using this for a month and love it. My skin has been looking better. My Pros: You don't use a cotton pad to apply it, unlike runny toners. It layers weightlessly under other skincare, sunscreens, and makeup. It adds moisture which is light but effective without oils, which I am glad it doesn't have. For the small amount that you apply each time, the amount you get is large considering this and is a good value. It is soothing and gentle. No breakouts or reactions from this.

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