Youth Surge Night Age Decelerating Night Moisturizer–Very Dry to Dry
1.7 fl. oz. for $52
Last Updated:01.15.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Just like Clinique's Youth Surge daytime moisturizers with sunscreen, the nighttime version is sold around the concept of sirtuin technology. This technology is said to enhance your skin's ability to repair itself, but is there anything to it?

Sirtuins are proteins that are involved in regulating biological processes by controlling the chain of events that cause these processes to occur, which is why they're often referred to as information regulators. The anti-aging connection has to do with their potential to regulate the cellular processes responsible for aging. It is believed that if certain sirtuins can be modified to work against the mechanisms of aging that the results might be visible on skin: think fewer wrinkles, less sagging, and greater resiliency.

Although there is no research showing that skin-care products can change or manipulate sirtuin production or affect wrinkles in any way, Clinique's advertising for this product subtly suggests otherwise, implying that the research about sirtuins and degenerative disease is somehow related to wrinkles. More to the point is what about all of Clinique's other "de-agers" that don't contain sirtuins? Do those not work as well because they lack this technology?

What seems promising is that topical application of specific sirtuins derived from yeast and the antioxidant resveratrol (in this case from the root of the plant Polygonum cuspidatum) seem to have a protective effect on skin in the presence of oxidative and ultraviolet light stress. However, more research is needed before we'd suggest anyone run out and look for products that increase sirtuin activity in their skin. Plus, we don't know the risks associated with manipulating sirtuins; doing so might have negative side effects.

The problem is twofold. First, there is limited research showing how much and what type of sirtuin is needed topically to cause desirable cellular changes that might lead to younger-looking skin. Plus, the bioavailability of a topically applied source of sirtuins is questionable given that we don't know how efficiently they penetrate intact skin. (Testing skin cells in a lab setting with concentrated doses of ingredients that stimulate sirtuins is an entirely different story from using moisturizers on intact skin.)

Second, and an even bigger concern, is that whenever normal cellular processes are manipulated, you run the risk of causing a potential overproliferation of cells. In other words, how would the sirtuin-influenced cells know when too much of a good thing becomes a problem? How long is too long to keep skin cells active? You also must consider how much manipulation of biological processes is enough to start a cascading negative chain of events, a consequence of which could be cancer (Sources: Current Medicinal Chemistry, 2008, pages 1887–1899; Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, June 2007, pages 14–19; and Nature Reviews: Drug Discovery, June 2006, pages 493–506).

Putting all the marketing nonsense aside, this emollient moisturizer for dry to very dry skin is loaded with antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and, to a lesser degree, skin-identical (repairing) substances. Unfortunately, the jar packaging won't keep the majority of these state-of-the-art ingredients stable during use. Please see More Info to learn more about why jar packaging is a problem.

  • Contains Clinique's typically great mix of beneficial anti-aging ingredients, including several antioxidants.
  • Emollient texture feels great on dry to very dry skin.
  • Has what it takes to protect against moisture loss.
  • Sirtuin technology holds promise, but is not without its share of concerns (see full review for details).
  • ar packaging means the many light- and air-sensitive ingredients won't remain stable once this moisturizer is opened.
More Info:

All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.


Building on Sirtuin technology, Clinique science uses youth-extending agents to create a nightly moisturizer that helps intensify the nightly cycle of natural repair. Plumped with natural collagen, lines and wrinkles appear to evaporate. Skin gains that energized "8-hour effect" come morning.


Water, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Hexyldecyl Stearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul's Wort) Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica (Hydrocotyl) Extract, Aspalathus Linearis (Red Tea) Leaf Extract, Inonotus Obliquus (Mushroom) Extract, Coffea Robusta Seed Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Yellow Tea) Leaf Extract, Morus Bombycis (Mulberry) Root Extract, Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Extract, Cetearyl Glucoside, Sorbitol, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Creatine, Artemia Extract, Sucrose, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Trehalose, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Algae Extract, Sodium RNA, Cholesterol, Coleus Barbatus Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Isohexadecane, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Caffeine, Squalane, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Arginine, Isoniacinamide, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phytosphingosine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Yeast Extract, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Lecithin, Adenosine Phosphate, Tromethamine, Decarboxy Carnosine HCL, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Cellulose, Glycine, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Hydroxyproline, Proline, Micrococcus Lysate, Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Acrylates Copolymer, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Simethicone, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium NADH, Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Maleate, Potassium Sulfate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium DNA, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol

Brand Overview

Clinique At-A-Glance

Strengths: A few excellent moisturizers and serums; excellent sunscreens; very good cleansers and eye makeup removers; unique mattifying products; impressive selection of foundations, good concealers; some remarkable mascaras; much-improved eyeshadows, lip colors and blush formulas.

Weaknesses: Bar soaps (which can clog pores and dull skin); alcohol-based toners; unfortunate choice of jar packaging for antioxidant-loaded moisturizers.

Estee Lauder-owned Clinique 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). Unfortunately, terms like “hypoallergenic” and “dermatologist tested” aren’t regulated by the FDA and can mean anything—thus, you still need to rely on the ingredient list to tell you whether their product contains any ingredients with the potential to irritate skin.

That inconvenient fact aside, Clinique is leading the way with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums, plus some formidable makeup and more than a few excellent sunscreens. While Clinique has some products that we see as missteps for reasons discussed in their reviews, more than ever, what they offer is quite good (just have realistic expectations, as some of their claims go beyond what their products are capable of).

Turning to makeup, Clinique continues to offer a vast palette of colors and textures, especially with their enormous selection of foundations—many of which feature effective sunscreens. Without a doubt, the numerous formulas offer something for every skin type and almost every skin color—though the blushes, eye makeup and lip colors are frequently not pigmented enough for deeper skin tones.

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 new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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