Clarifying Lotion 3
6.7 fl. oz. for $13
Last Updated:12.17.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Even though Clinique reformulated their Clarifying Lotion products they didn't improve the formulas! Clarifying Lotion 3 lists alcohol as the second ingredient, and that plus a high amount of witch hazel makes this BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant too irritating for all skin types. The alcohol this contains can trigger oil production at the base of your pores, not to mention cause free-radical damage and irritation. It's nice that some moisture-boosting and repairing ingredients were included, but the alcohol and witch hazel trump these helpful additions. What a shame, as the pH is within the range salicylic acid needs to exfoliate skin.


The difference-maker. Gentle exfoliating lotion developed by Clinique’s dermatologists to help control oil and clarify skins that are comfortable in the cheeks, oily in the T-zone. De-flakes skin’s surface to smooth, reveal clearer skin.


Water, Alcohol Denat., Salicylic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Trehelose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Benzophenone-4, Ext. Violet 2, Red 6, Orange 4

Brand Overview

Clinique At-A-Glance

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

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Pores no more

I have resistant skin that gets dark pigmentation easily. I find this toner seems to "help" my lightening products work faster, and this keeps all breakouts away. I disliked Clarifying Lotion 2 and thanks to Beautypedia I learned it contains menthol, (which I can't stand).Lotion 3 does not, and, to me, it feels even more refreshing than the menthol one.I've been using Clinique toners for over 30 years and people tend to think I'm 15-20 years younger than I am.Maybe it's dumb luck and good genes

Reviewed by
Scarlett A.
I am using this product and my skin now looks horrible.

I have been using this product since last year. The first few months, my skin looked gorgeous, but after that it started to overdry. Breakout happened. Pores become bigger. More blackheads and whiteheads. One pimple after another. My skin looks dull. Now I have to change to other product.

Reviewed by
Norly Soleha
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