Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum

by Clinique  
Price:
$42.50 - 1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:
1/15/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This silky, slightly tinted serum is supposed to clear your pores of the debris that causes them to become enlarged and makes magnifying mirrors your skin’s worst enemy.

Although the formula contains several helpful ingredients (including many antioxidants), the amount of alcohol is cause for concern. Alcohol causes dryness and irritation as well as free-radical damage that hurts your skin’s healing process and ability to become healthier. In testing this product we noted a distinct alcohol scent, which is not good news for those hoping this would make their pore problem vanish.

Another drawback is that the alcohol can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, leading to more oil, which, you guessed it, prevents pores from becoming smaller.

The salicylic acid this contains is present in an amount too low for exfoliation to occur, plus the pH is too high for it to work as an exfoliant (salicylic acid needs a pH range of 3–4 to be effective).

In the end, despite Clinique’s guarantee of your pores looking 58% smaller, this isn’t a great bet for daily use over the long haul.

Pros:
  • Silky texture and smooth, weightless finish.
  • Contains some good antioxidants.
Cons:
  • Amount of alcohol is cause for concern and gives this serum a medicinal scent.
  • Acetyl glucosamine is not a great stand-in for AHAs or BHA.
  • Amount of salicylic acid (BHA, which really can improve pore size and function) in this serum is too low for it to work as an exfoliant.
  • Some of the antioxidant plant extracts are fragrant, and thus another source of irritation.

More Info:

This product contains acetyl glucosamine, an extract from shellfish or sugar that Clinique maintains can exfoliate. Although there isn’t substantiated research proving otherwise, the research on this ingredient’s ability to exfoliate comes from the Estee Lauder Companies, which own Clinique (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Science, July-August 2009, pages 423–428), so it’s not exactly an impartial source.

When large pores are a concern, AHAs are not as effective as BHA (salicylic acid). That’s because BHA can penetrate the oil buildup that leads to pores getting clogged, and enlarging. Without question, you can see tremendous benefit from daily use of a well-formulated BHA product. But the irritation this Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum can cause is not something any skin type should endure. Please see our list of Best BHA Exfoliants.

Pore Resurfacing Complex quickly, gently clears out debris and rough flakes. Pores ‘snap back’ into shape. In 2 weeks, pores look 58% smaller. Guaranteed. Over time, help skin create stronger supports and healthier cells to see more improvement.

Dimethicone, Water, Polysilicone-11, Alcohol Denat., Acetyl Glucosamine, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Serenoa Serrulata (Saw Palmetto) Fruit Extract, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul's Wort) Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Caffeine, Pantethine, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, PEG-11 Methyl Ether Dimethicone, Algae Extract, Polysorbate 20, Salicylic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate , Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Lecithin, Isohexadecane, Di-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride, Polysorbate 80, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Coconut Acid, Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Silica, Citric Acid, Hexylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Maleate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

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.

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
Page of 1
  1. Meredith R.
    Reviewed on Sunday, December 22, 2013
    • Value
      1 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Results
      1 / 4
    Definitely poor
    • I received a good sized sample of this and was able to use it for a couple of weeks. It broke me out, which is strange since it has salicylic acid in it. I stopped using it for a little while and then tried it again to see if it was the culprit behind my breakouts and it definitely was. It did nothing for my pores or skin texture other than cause breakouts. I would not recommend it to anyone.

  2. Tamie C.
    Reviewed on Sunday, December 01, 2013
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Value
      2 / 4
    • Recommend
      2 / 4
    Not for me
    • While this lotion has a lovely texture and feels nice on, it did NOT reduce the size of my pores (and that was after using it for over a year). I switched to one of Paula's recommended salicylic acid-based products and that did the trick.

  3. Kathleen, R
    Reviewed on Wednesday, October 30, 2013
    • Value
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    great
    • It actually is working for me! I've only been using it a week and have noticed a tremendous differencen pore appearance and size. I was curious to see what ingredients it contained and I stumbled on this review via Googling. I think it should be rated higher than "poor!" I will watch for any negative developments. 10/30/2013

  4. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Sunday, March 24, 2013
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Value
      4 / 4
    Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum
    • This pore refining solution really works for me. My pores are smaller and my skin looks smoother. I think it deserves a much higher rating than 'poor'. I would rate it as 'best'.

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

View Media Highlights

 

The Paula's Choice 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 herself.

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