Is Clinique Bad for Your Skin? Read Before You Try

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Are you thinking about trying out Clinique skincare products but worried about the impact they might have on your skin?

As someone with sensitive skin, I know how important it is to choose products that won’t cause irritation or breakouts. 

Needless to say, I would definitely be asking: Is Clinique bad for your skin?

As a major skincare company, Clinique offers a variety of products for different skin types and issues.

Hence, it’ll be easy to find a product that is tailored to your specific skin type.

If possible, try out the product you like first. While some people may find that Clinique products work well for them and have no adverse effects, others might get irritated or break out pimples.

I suggest that you get a sample or travel pack to test before committing to a full-sized product.

That said, I will be sharing my experience using Clinique products and talking about a few of them that might suit you.

How each product is reviewed

Each and every product mentioned on our site has been tested by one of the team members of Pierre Michel Beauty. We do not receive any sponsorship from the brands and all comments are our own. From time to time, we also refer to online reviews and include information about how other people use the products.

Hot take: Overall, I find that Clinique offers great value for money and it has a very wide range of products that is suitable for all skin types. Read on as I dive deeper into Clinique and its products.

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What is Clinique?

Clinique is a highly-regarded skincare brand recognized globally. Initially named after its founder, Estée Lauder, the brand is renowned for its clinical approach to beauty.

Founded in 1968, Clinique has been a mainstay in the skincare industry for over five decades and is still going strong. 

They offer a wide range of skincare products, each created to address specific skin problems and conditions. 

Clinique History

In 1967, an article in US Vogue titled “Can Great Skin Be Created?” [1] sparked the birth of Clinique. 

The article featured Dr. Norman Orentreich, a Manhattan-based dermatologist. 

His beauty philosophy was based on the belief that anyone could have beautiful skin if they adhered to a healthy skincare regimen. 

Evelyn Lauder, the daughter-in-law of renowned cosmetics mogul Estée Lauder, was drawn to the article and collaborated with Orentreich and US Vogue editor Carol Phillips to launch a skincare line.

Clinique skincare products debuted in 1968 as one of the first companies to approach skincare from a dermatological perspective. 

The brand was distinct because it avoided any chemicals, such as fragrances [2] that can irritate skin or trigger allergies. 

To this day, Clinique products are free of parabens, phthalates, and fragrances.

The novel concept was well received, and now Clinique is one of the most popular skincare companies worldwide. 

Their products, like the Clinique iD Custom-Blend Hydrator Collection, took innovation to the next level with its customization options.

Customers can select a base for hydration and then add a cartridge to target their specific skin issues, such as fine lines or uneven skin tone. 

Clinique is also known for its generous “gift with purchase” program.

Are Clinique Skincare Products Worth Your Money?

In my opinion, Clinique products offer good value and are well worth the money. 

For the price you pay – which is not a premium amount – you can receive a wide range of benefits:

  • Gentle and effective formulas
  • A diverse range of products
  • Dermatologist-developed
  • Customized regimens
  • Reasonable pricing

Related: Clinique Review – Anti Aging Products, Creams, Serums & Its Ingredients

What Are the Ingredients That Clinique Uses?

Clinique is an internationally renowned brand in both brick-and-mortar stores and online. 

The Clinique skincare line is focused on providing ideal solutions for those seeking a great skincare regimen. 

One reason for Clinique’s popularity could be its extensive use of Vitamin C, retinol, and peptides in its products. 

These ingredients are considered essential in your daily skincare routine.

Vitamin C


As you age, you may start to notice the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots on your face. 

Good news, though!

You can prevent these issues with a simple skincare routine.

One of the most crucial beauty tips is to incorporate vitamins into your regimen.

Vitamin C [3] is a highly effective antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals, which contribute to premature wrinkling and fine lines.

Free radicals attack your skin’s DNA, which causes cell damage and can lead to wrinkling. 

Vitamin C neutralizes these free radicals, leaving your skin looking younger and more vibrant.

In addition, It is known for its skin-brightening properties. This works in two ways: it helps with collagen production (which helps keep your skin looking youthful) and reduces inflammation caused by acne. 

When combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, vitamin C supplements can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and make your skin look brighter!


With age, your body produces less of the proteins collagen and elastin, which provide the structural support for your skin. This is the main reason for your skin’s loss of natural suppleness and moisture.

Peptides are proteins that can help restore your skin’s smoothness and elasticity.

They are found in foods like soybeans and certain meats as well as plant-based products like tofu and tempeh. 

They work by encouraging the body to produce more collagen and elastin.

Clinique’s Smart Clinical Repair Wrinkle Correcting Serum incorporates the company’s exclusive CL1870 Peptide Complex [4] to reduce lines and wrinkles.


Retinol is widely considered to be the gold standard of anti-aging ingredients by dermatologists and skin experts top brands in the industry, including Clinique, have integrated retinol into their products.

Retinol stimulates cell rejuvenation, effectively reducing wrinkles and fine lines while improving skin texture and elasticity. 

It also minimizes the visibility of pores by reducing oil production, leaving your pores looking smaller.

Dermatologists and skin care experts agree that retinol benefits the skin in multiple ways. 

Not only is it a highly effective treatment for wrinkles, fine lines, and pores, but it also targets acne and acne scars, thanks to its impact on collagen remodeling. 

Collagen remodeling is the breakdown of collagen in the skin, leading to the formation of scar tissue.

Best Clinique Products

Clinique offers a wide range of cosmetics, skincare, fragrances, a men’s line, and an acne collection to choose from. 

Here are some of their most popular and most loved products:

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap

All About Clean Liquid Facial Soap

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap cleanses and revitalizes your skin, leaving it feeling clean and refreshed. Its exceptional lather and soft texture come from a formula that is oil-free and free of harmful sulfates and parabens. 

It not only cleanses but also replenishes your skin with moisture. The rich lather also easily removes makeup.


Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3

Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3

If you’ve ever struggled with dry, scaly skin (I know I have), you’ll appreciate this incredible exfoliator from Clinique. 

It removes dull and dead skin and unclogs pores with salicylic acid – the same ingredient found in their Clarifying Cleanser. As a bonus, it also does a great job removing makeup and impurities. 

This lotion makes for a smooth finish after cleansing and directly preps your skin for moisturizing.


Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Clarify and hydrate your skin in just one step with Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. Its lightweight, non-greasy formula absorbs quickly, leaving skin feeling soft and smooth. 

Dramatically Different line erases the signs of aging, lift the skin, and provides exceptional hydration. 

It deeply moisturizes your skin, giving it a flawless appearance.


Clinique Moisture Surge Auto-Replenishing Hydrator

Clinique Moisture Surge Auto-Replenishing Hydrator

The Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrator is a powerful skin care treatment that instantly revives dehydrated skin using nature’s most effective moisturizing ingredient.

Its multi-action formula delivers an immediate surge of hydration, visibly reducing the appearance of pores and restoring vitality and balance to your skin. 

Your complexion will look more radiant, smooth, and supple, with a long-lasting glow.


Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask

Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask is a lip treatment designed to repair and hydrate your lips while you sleep. It targets dryness and flakiness, smoothing your skin’s texture and keeping your lips soft.

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

This cleansing balm effectively removes makeup, dirt, and impurities while being gentle on all skin types, including sensitive skin. 

Packed with nourishing ingredients such as sunflower seed oil and cocoa seed butter, it hydrates your skin and leaves it smooth, soft, and hydrated.


Clinique Even Better Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15

Clinique Even Better Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15

Developed to provide a more even, natural look, and feel, the Even Better Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15 is formulated to give medium coverage while improving your skin. 

Made with light-reflecting properties that protect your skin from damaging UVA/UVB rays and ingredients that help improve discoloration, collagen depletion, and fine lines, it delivers a blend of innovative ingredients for daily use.


Clinique 3-Step Skin Care System

The Clinique 3-Step Skin Care System is a simple and effective way to maximize your skincare routine.

The three essential steps – cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing –  make it easy to maintain your skincare habit, whether you’re new to skincare or an experienced user. 

And, the best part is, this System doesn’t demand much effort or time.

Related: Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector Review – Is it Really “Even Better” than Competitors?

Is Clinique Clean or Sustainable?

Despite the lack of sustainability information on the Clinique website, their parent company, Estee Lauder does address it. 

On their sustainability website, Estee Lauder acknowledges that the company’s success is dependent on people’s well-being and preserving the environment.

They state that sustainability is at the heart of their strategy. 

They emphasize the significance of “Climate action, sustainable building operations, waste reduction, and water stewardship,” in addition to waste minimization and recycling.

The company claims that all of its global production, distribution, and innovation facilities have zero industrial waste that ends up in landfills. 

Meanwhile, power plants and cement kilns turn any materials that cannot be recycled into energy.

That said, it’s debatable whether the corporation can be expected to employ 100% recyclable raw materials worldwide. 

Neither is their level of responsibility for ensuring sustainable use of their goods after they are acquired by independent energy providers.

Is Clinique Vegan?

Clinique is not vegan as they use beeswax, lanolin, carmine, and other animal-derived ingredients in some of its products. 

This means that their products are not 100% vegan.

Is Clinique Cruelty-Free?

Is Clinique Cruelty-Free?

Clinique is not cruelty-free.

Clinique’s products are tested on animals when required by law, and they do not offer a line of vegan skin care products.

Clinique pays and allows other parties to test its products on animals for legal purposes. 

Additionally, Clinique markets its products in China, where animal testing is required for most imported cosmetics. 

It should be mentioned that Estee Lauder, Clinique’s parent company, also engages in animal testing as allowed by law.

Is Clinique Hypoallergenic Even for Acne Prone Skin?

Clinique claims that all of its products are hypoallergenic and safe for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.

However, while most cosmetics ingredients are safe for the general population, some individuals are more sensitive and can develop contact dermatitis.

If you have acne-prone skin, I think it’s a good idea to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional to determine the best skincare routine for your specific needs.

Are Clinique Products Effective for Skincare Routine?

Always remember that the skin’s reactions to products vary from person to person.

Clinique, a well-established brand, has a following of loyal customers who appreciate its straightforward approach to beauty. 

Its popular products, like City Block, Chubby Sticks, and Black Honey lipstick, have drawn much attention. 

Additionally, Clinique has received recognition from beauty editors, such as the 2018 Allure Best of Beauty Award for its Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%.

The majority of customer reviews are positive too. 

For instance, there are over 3,000 reviews of Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel on Sephora, with a 4.5-star rating and over 70,000 “loves.”

Here are some of those reviews: 

“My skin is EXTREMELY oily, and this stuff is lovely! Not as often as previously, my face becomes greasy. On the whole, I endorse this! ” 

“This is the ideal moisturizer for skin prone to acne, and since it’s a gel, it’s non-greasy and sheer. Love this item, and the 4 ounces certainly last!”

On the other hand, Customers – such as the one below – who disliked the product said that it didn’t work for them or caused irritation. 

“I really wanted to enjoy this. I started breaking out all over my face after taking it for approximately 5 days—in areas where I never do. I’ve never had anything break me out that much, and I’m pretty angry. I used it for around two weeks to see if the breakouts would have been brought on by my skin adapting to the new product, but that wasn’t the explanation. I purchased it in response to reviews, but I’m quite unhappy.”

Is Clinique Bad for Your Skin

No, Clinique is not inherently bad for your skin. The main problem people have is choosing the wrong product.

Clinique is a reputable brand that offers a diverse selection of skincare products, and it is definitely worth the investment. 

While there are more affordable drugstore brands that might work, Clinique’s longevity and rigorous testing make it worth the money, despite the added cost.

Many dermatologists also recommend Clinique for various skin conditions, further lending weight to its effectiveness and credibility.

In Conclusion: Is Clinique Bad for Your Skin?

Clinique is a reputable skincare brand, renowned for its gentle, skin-friendly products suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

By being aware of your skin type and carefully selecting the right product, you will be well on your way to better more radiant skin with Clinique!

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Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.