Tested on animals:Yes
Colorfully packaged, Clinique's Sweet Pots Sugar Scrub & Lip Balm bears more than a passing resemblance to a macaron— but it's not for eating! This lip scrub and tinted balm duo is housed in a double-sided, brightly colored plastic pot with dual twist-off, locking tops. This multipurpose product has some limitations but overall earns a good rating for its ability to provide sufficient physical exfoliation in the first step and plush, conditioning, shine in the second.
Clinique's choice of packaging for their Sweet Pots is a Catch-22 of sorts, as it's likely the reason many are drawn to this product but it's also its biggest blunder. There's no denying that it's cute and having both a lip scrub and balm in one product is also convenient, but when it comes to skin care, jar packaging is never the best way to go.
The reason for this is twofold. Many of the beneficial ingredients present, such as the antioxidants Vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate) and green tea extract, lose their effectiveness when repeatedly exposed to light and air. Luckily, the brand makes no anti-aging claims for these antioxidants, and because there are so many other skin beneficial ingredients in this formula, we won't ding them too heavily for that. However, there's also the hygiene factor involved with having to dip your finger while out and about to apply the balm portion.
Moving on, let's look at the sugar scrub first. It's pretty standard in that sucrose (sugar) is the first ingredient. Sugar is followed by a laundry list of beneficial plant oils (jojoba, avocado, grape seed, to name a few). The sugar particles are tiny which is great for providing gentle physical exfoliation without irritation. There is a sugary taste in the scrub while on your lips, but since you're instructed by the brand to both use it only thrice weekly and to tissue off immediately after use, leaving no taste behind, we don't see that the issue of encouraging lip-licking would apply here.
For those with extra-sensitive lips, we'll also note that there's clary extract in the scrub, which is a potential irritant, although the amount present would likely not cause issue for most due to the fact that it's wiped off immediately after use.
The fragrance-free lip balm portion of this product is currently available in 7 shades—6 available at most retailers and 1, Clinique's cult classic color "Black Honey," is a Sephora exclusive. Each balm provides varying degrees of sheer color, the key word being "sheer." "Black Honey," "Candied Cassis," and "Red Velvet" provide the most obvious (although still translucent) tints, but the remaining shades provide a shine only with no discernable tint.
The moisturizing claims are supported because the balm contains a host of emollients such as petrolatum, coconut oil, and shea butter. Together, these offer a plush, cushiony feel to lips. More to love, the balm is also lightweight and not sticky.
Overall, if you're attracted to Clinique's Sweet Pots Sugar Scrub & Lip Balm because of its aesthetic, we think it's worth a second look. The sugar scrub works well to provide gentle physical exfoliation of dry, flaky lips, and the balm delivers lasting moisture and a healthy hint of shine (and, depending on the shade you choose, a lovely sheer tint).
- Sugar scrub works well to gently exfoliate lips.
- Lip balm feels cushiony, non-sticky, and provides a nice shine.
- Lip balm provides lasting moisture to lips.
- Lip balm and scrub are fragrance free.
- Two-in-one packaging is convenient.
- Inclusion of clary extract makes it potentially iffy for extra-sensitive skin.
- Jar packaging, while cute in this case, isn't the most hygienic way to package a lip product.