Turnaround Concentrate Radiance Renewer, All Skin Types
1 fl. oz. for $45
Category:Skin Care > Retinol Products > Exfoliants
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

The claims for this product put it in the category of exfoliant, but the formula does more than that, and it’s to your skin’s benefit.

The main exfoliant is the polyhydroxy acid (PHA) lactobionic acid. Functionally similar to AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid), lactobionic acid’s claim to fame is that it is less potentially sensitizing than AHAs, while better at repairing skin’s barrier function. There is limited research showing that to be the case, so it isn’t a given that lactobionic acid is superior to AHAs or to salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid that Clinique includes in other Turnaround products (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2010, pages 3–10; and Cutis, February 2004, pages 3–13). Still, it can be a good alternative for those who cannot tolerate AHAs, and it is capable of exfoliating skin when formulated within the correct pH range, which is the case for this Turnaround product!

Going beyond daily exfoliation, this silky, serum-textured product supplies skin with a wide range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients to improve its texture and fight signs of aging. The fragrance-free formula is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Some of the plant extracts have intriguing research demonstrating efficacy in lightening sun-induced brown spots, but first and foremost this is an exfoliant, which also supplies skin with a good range of beneficial ingredients.

Note: This product contains a small amount of the mineral pigment mica. As such, it leaves a slightly shiny finish that those with oily skin may not like.

  • Exfoliates skin with the polyhydroxy acid (PHA) lactobionic acid.
  • Formulated within the correct pH range for exfoliation to occur.
  • Supplies several antioxidants and other skin-repairing ingredients to improve skin’s healthy functioning.
  • Fragrance-free and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive.

Instantly reveals a healthy radiance. Gently replaces dull, worn-out surface cells with livelier, more luminous ones. Then, it optimizes up-and-coming cells to help the best and brightest emerge. So day after day, skin seems to glow from within. Becomes smoother over time.


Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Lactobionic Acid, Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Acetyl Glucosamine, Caffeine, Cholesterol, Squalane, Pantethine, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Salicylic Acid, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, DI-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride, Polysorbate 20, Isohexadecane, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica

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; 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.

Estee Lauder-owned 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 evidenced 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 add some fragrant extracts to 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, figuring consumers won't ask for more? 

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 for this site, which included refusing to send us copies of the allergy studies they maintain have been performed for every product they sell. We find their unwillingness to help odd because, for the most part, we 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, plus some formidable makeup. They also 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 and FINALLY reformulated their longstanding water-and-wax yellow lotion.

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. We 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.

Turning to 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. In fact, this 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 we encounter go above and beyond to provide assistance and to answer any questions we had (even if we didn't always agree with their responses). Those white lab coats don't mean medical expertise, but we'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.

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 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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Worth every cent

Silky texture with great results on my blemishes

Reviewed by
on point

This keeps my oily cystic prone skin smooth and matte and works well with other products. It does not roll off when I layer my products

Reviewed by
Pamela M.
Love it!

I am absolutely addicted to this fantastic serum. It feels fabulous and really works. I believe it's also a great to soothe skin in between using stronger exfoliate. I use Paula's Clinical 1% Retinol three days on and use this pfor the next two days for less peeling . I love the consistency and light feeling compared to Paula's serums. It maybe a little more expensive but it's lightweight, great under sunscreen and foundation plus no more milia under my eyes!

Reviewed by

This was fantastic. I had never tried a chemical exfoliant befire, but after reading Paula's book I realized the importance of using one. My skin felt great, the pores looked smaller and there was a radiance that I had not seen before! I could also tell it was helping my anti-acne treatment work better. I highly recommend this product. I wish Clinique had not discontinued their BHA products as there are so few good BHA products to choose from.

Reviewed by
Meredith R.
One of Clinique's best

This is a gentle, non-irritating exfoliant that left my skin smoother with smaller pores and a radiance that I've often read about and never experienced until using this product. I've started rotating its use with that of a salicylic-based exfoliant (one of Paula's recommendations) that reduced my pore size even more but it is a bit harsh to use twice a day. It is pricey but at least you get results!

Reviewed by
Tamie C.

This is the most silkiest serum I have ever tried. I use it over the Laser focus serum day and night. So many exfoliants are too harsh burning or stinging the skin. This one is very gentle. It makes your skin smooth as a babies butt. Anyone wanting a gentle esfoliant, give this a try!

Reviewed by
Jackie C.
A must have

Clinique did a poor job of describing this product (they should have referred to Paula's description instead). I bought this about two months ago and was skeptical at first, because of the vague product description. What a difference it has made!!! My skin is smoother, more radiant, my foundation just glides on .... Better yet, there are days I can get away without even wearing foundation! I apply this before my sunscreen. I am post menopause meaning my skin can be dry-dry to combi ation on any given day. I have sensitive skin. And, YES! This is an excellent product that I will continue to buy.

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