In fall of 2013, Clinique launched an allegedly new and improved version of this serum, now with “twice the smoothing” as before. Don’t take that claim to mean smoother skin as if you had a laser or other in-office procedure done; they mean smooth as in cosmetically smooth, which is something almost every serum can deliver. And despite its second outing, this serum still isn’t as impressive as those that earned our top rating.
The ingredient list for this reformulated serum didn’t change in a manner that altered its texture or finish, and it remains suitable for all skin types. Yes, this does make skin feel smoother than the previous version, but “twice as smooth” is pushing it. We suspect most people who used the previous version won’t notice a major improvement in how their skin looks or feels with the latest version. It’s more status quo than major innovation.
This remains another well-formulated, fragrance-free serum that will make your skin (and wrinkles) softer and smoother, just like countless other well-formulated options.
Regarding the "laser focus" part of the name, this doesn’t have anything to do with how real lasers improve skin. Not a single ingredient (or mix of ingredients) in this or any other serum is capable of even vaguely creating the results a medically-supervised laser treatment can provide.
Getting back to the formula, what did change was the removal of several ingredients with a small amount of research proving they help improve uneven skin tone and stimulate collagen. Why Clinique removed these ingredients is a mystery (it’s possible the complex was discontinued by the manufacturer) but they replaced those ingredients with other good anti-aging ingredients not in the previous version, so it’s a wash.
For the best of both worlds, a smart approach to anti-aging is to pair a state-of-the-art skin-care routine with the cosmetic corrective procedures that are appropriate for addressing the concerns you have about how your skin is aging.
Note: This serum is dispensed via a dropper applicator. Although not the ideal method to dispense a serum that contains light- and air-sensitive ingredients, sometimes this type of packaging is necessary due to formulary requirements. When that’s the case, the goal is to keep the bottle opening as small as possible, the bottle should be opaque or specially coated to protect the contents from light, and you should use the serum up within three months of opening.
Note Two: Clinique also offers this serum in a 1.7-ounce size for $73 and a 3.4-ounce size for $132.
Potent serum gives every skin a second chance against lines, wrinkles, sun damage. In 4 weeks, see obvious reduction in lines, wrinkles, improved texture. At 12 weeks, the visible wrinkle-reducing power is remarkably close to a dermalogical laser procedure. 63%, to be exact
Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Methyl Trimethicone, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 20,
Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Silica, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polysilicone-11, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul's Wort) Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Acetyl Glucosamine, Plankton Extract, Whey Protein, Sea Whip Extract, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Caffeine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Sodium Hyaluronate, Micrococcus Lysate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Ergothioneine, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cholesterol, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Lecithin, Carbomer, PEG-8, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol
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 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.