Alright, time came for me to share my thoughts on a subject that is controversial among customers, aestheticians and beauty bloggers alike...
Clinique 3-Step has a long history, with its launch dating back during the '60s. It was conceived as a personalised skincare regimen to cater the needs of the new working force that could afford a bit of spending on themselves.
But, here's the big question: is it really drying on the skin?
Some say the alcohol in the Clarifying Lotion shouldn't be there in the first place.
Also, many reviewers have mentioned their skin got worse after using it, so is there any truth in all that?
My experience: I used Clinique 3-Step Type III in tubes of 30ml each, which lasted me for approximately 4 weeks. There's some particular science involved behind each product, though I feel the main focus right from the start has been the Clarifying Lotion; the soap+moisturiser seem to have been developed around it, if it makes sense.
To be frank, there's not much character in the Liquid Facial Soap (too mild, indifferent list of ingredients) or the -moutful- Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel (not adequate moisture, needs layering of another cream on top). However, there's a lot to talk about the toner. Which isn't really a toner, more like a brilliant exfoliating little helper!
Let me get started:
Clinique's cleansing regime consists of 3 steps: cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise.
The key is in the second step; while your average toner acts like a gentle soothing lotion, Clinique's Clarifying Lotion works as a powerful second cleanse- and boy, does it cleanse!
It contains Salicylic Acid, a BHA compound (beta-Hydroxy Acid) that chemically dissolves the "glue" that holds the dead skin cells onto the surface of the skin. That translates to a brighter face that is smooth to the touch, smaller pores and control of acne breakouts-
plus, the skincare products you apply on top perform at their best.
Now, I did experience all of these perks first-hand, but what mostly impressed me is this: for the entire duration of 3-Step, the dry patches on my cheeks were gone! It's also fun (in a weird gross way) to see the Clarifying Lotion do its magic- apart from the tingling sensation, you can see the pink soaked cotton pad turning to yellow...
About the alcohol in the Clarifying Lotion, I'm still debating if it's the one that causes dryness after all. Yes, my skin became drier while using the 3-Step, but personally I attribute it to the Salicylic Acid and Witch Hazel extract than the alcohol itself. For more info on alcohol and skincare, see this vid from Dr Schultz.
As for the people that have used Clinique's 3-Step and had their skin getting worse, I can't form an opinion on that matter. Maybe it was due to a bad application, a faulty skin consultation? In any case, I would recommend the Clarifying Lotion to those over 25 looking for a boost in their skincare routine. That is, if you can handle the dryness it causes...
What's your experience with Clinique 3-Step?
Also, what are your thoughts on alcohol in skincare products?