Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ with Pump
4.2 fl. oz. for $26
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes

Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizer with its familiar yellow coloring was one of the company's best sellers for decades. Now Clinique's tweaked the original formula and added a "+" to the name. Unfortunately, neither the original Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion or the new, although not-so-dramatically-different, "+" version are worth your money!

The main difference between the original Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion and the "+" version is that the "+" version has a slightly thinner texture and contains a smattering of soothing agents and skin-repairing sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid). None of those make the "+" version groundbreaking, however, and in fact, Clinique sells several other moisturizers whose formulas run circles around this one and the original formula.

There's truly no need to get excited about the Dramatically Different moisturizer. It remains an average formula that, while fragrance-free, is mostly void of the types of ingredients research has clearly shown skin needs to look and act healthier and younger; you can get those ingredients from other products Clinique sells if you feel the need to shop this line.

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Moisturizes without feeling thick or greasy.
  • Not "dramatically different" compared with the original, unimpressive formula Clinique launched in 1968.
  • Formula pales in comparison to formulas of several other facial moisturizers from Clinique as well as from many other brands.

The moisture "drink" developed by Clinique's dermatologists to maintain optimal moisture balance for very dry skins, or skins dry in the cheeks, comfortable to oily in the T-zone. Softens, smooths, improves. The big plus: with a new complex, this formula strengthens skin's own moisture barrier by 54%. More moisture stays in. Skin feels soft, springy. Has a glow.


Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil, Urea, Lanolin Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Trisodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 33.

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; all of the 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; Clinique Medical's doctor-oriented professional product positioning is just bizarre.Clinique was Estee Lauder's first attempt to expand its market with a completely separate line and image. Shortly after its 1968 debut at U.S. cosmetics counters, Clinique became known as the indispensable line for the woman under 30 concerned with breakouts, oily skin, and fragrance-free products (meaning less likely to cause allergic or sensitizing skin reactions). That's likely just what Lauder execs had in mind, because their namesake line's image and positioning was geared more toward the mature woman.

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 evidneced 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 have some fragrant extracts in 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? The answer as to which option is easier is clear. 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 in my book or for this site, which included refusing to send us copies of the allergy studies they maintain have been performed for every product they sell. I find their unwillingness to help odd because, for the most part, I 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. They 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.

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. I 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.

In late 2008 Clinique joined forces with pharmaceutical company Allergan to launch a subset of products labeled as Clinique Medical. These products are sold only at doctor's offices, and are positioned as being scientically-designed to complement those looking for the best skin care after undergoing cosmetic corrective procedures. As expected, despite the link with Allergan and the exclusive-to-doctors retail channel, there isn't anything vastly different about Clinique Medical compared to the regular Clinique line. And the whole marketing angle is just bizarre when you consider that since Clinique's inception they've tied their claims and formulas to the expertise of their "guiding dermatologists". They're selling Clinique Medical as "best in class" skin care diminshes the regard which the company should be holding for several of their other state-of-the-art products (those rated Paula's Pick qualify as such). Needless to say, most of the Clinique Medical products are recommended, but don't think for a second that they're superior to or more professional than the best of Clinique's main line. All Clinique products are fragrance-free unless noted otherwise.

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 Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more information about Clinique, owned by Estee Lauder, call (800) 419-4041 or visit www.clinique.com

Clinique 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. That single 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 I encountered went above and beyond to provide assistance and to answer any questions I had. Those white lab coats don't mean medical expertise, but I'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.

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.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Just a question...

My grandmother gave me a bottle of the original and I LOVED it, it was perfect for me so when I ran out I went and purchased the new version but I can't use it. It makes my skin oily which I don't understand and makes my face feel like an oil slick. My question tho is for those that are familiar with the original version, was it white or yellow? Mine was white and I was wondering if possibly that wasn't what was in the bottle that my grandmother gave me because she had reused bottles.

Reviewed by
melanie t.
Didn't like Old but love New

I am a lifelong fan of Clinique makeup and skin care, and, for ages, I always got a little bottle of yellow moisturizer during "Bonus times" and as product sample. I never used them...I just didn't like the stuff, so at one point I had about 50 little bottes of the stuff I gave to a friend who had dry skin. My combo-oily skin loves the new lotion. It's greaseless, but it makes my skin feel plump and silky. For the price it does exactly what I want.

Reviewed by
Scarlett A.
respond please

Would u please respond with the items from clinique that were mentioned to actually help your skin with good ingredients.. I loved the old dramatically different this one is more thin not too bad havent noticed any better or worse

Reviewed by
christine a
Have Used This For Years - Old Formula

I use this because I am very sensitive to anything around my eyes, including makeup, and even when I smear it all over my face and eye area I can tolerate it very well. I have tried many other moisturizing products, and have yet to find another one that does not make my eyes water. It does a good job of keeping my face moisturized but I would like more anti-aging ingredients in my moisturizer so I do keep trying other products too.

Reviewed by
Jean N
The BEST Facial Moisturizer I Have Found!

As much as I respect Paula's Choice products, NONE of her moisturizers took care of my dry, flaky skin. I would have to apply them 2-3 times before they would finally "take" so I could leave the house in the morning. This is not the case with the improved Clinique moisturizing lotion. One small application does it, and it lasts all day. Antioxidants, etc., are all well & good, but JOB #1 FOR A MOISTURIZER IS TO MOISTURIZE.

Reviewed by
Tom A.

A shop assistant suggested this lotion to me: it was "required" to use a moisturizer or serum under the Clinique Redness Solutions daily protective base, according to her. I can not find any indication that this might be true anywhere. Also, she sold the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ to me as a serum, not as a moisturizer. I find the packaging ridiculous: even when this square bottle is full, it's hard to get the product out. I've only used it 3 days, so no comments yet: later

Reviewed by

The old formula was one that worked for me for years. I tried the sample of the new formula and got a nasty skin reaction which is still ongoing. Specifically, my skin is red and is itchy and peeling, not good at all. So I am looking for the old version which stores do not seem to have anymore. Very, very disappointed.

Reviewed by
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