So first up is the Clinique Mild Liquid Facial Soap. This gel based formula lathers to create what feels like a very moisturizing cleanser which I don't usually expect from a gel for combination skin. Whilst I was using it, I thought it was so lush and because of the suds it felt like a proper luxury experience. After rubbing the foam in circular motions over my face and splashing my face with water a couple of times to get nice and clean I was happy. For about five minutes. After five minutes, my skin felt a little tight (although not unbearably so) and looked a bit shiny, almost like I'd polished my face with wax, which I know sounds really weird.
Next up was step two, Clinique's Clarifying Lotion. This is a toner type product which you're supposed to dampen a cotton wool pad with and sweep it across your face. The idea is that this product removes any final dregs of makeup or oils which have been left on your skin so that you're not locking them in when you smooth over the moisturizer. I've always been a bit scared of toners because I've often found them to be quite harsh and drying. Unfortunately, I found this to be exactly the case with this product. It smelt a bit like I was wiping nail polish remover across my face, to the extent where I couldn't even come within an inch of my eyes because they stung when I did. Sure, it felt refreshing enough, but about two minutes after the toner had dried my skin felt even more tight than after the cleanser. Also, my face was ever-so-slightly red and clearly irritated by the assault which Clinique had unleashed on it. This clarifying lotion did undoubtedly remove the last bits of makeup which is visible from the UsedCottonPad photo I took. However, I was shocked that the cleanser had left this much makeup on my face in the first place! Not good.
Finally, is step three, Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. Only once before have I used a gel-based moisturizer (that time it was from Clarins and I loved it although never repurchased because I found it too expensive...) and this time I found the same fantastic results. This moisturizer is perfect for combination skin as it isn't so heavy that it suffocates your pores but is creamy enough to take care of any dry patches. I also found that this product can be used really sparingly, making it more cost effective. With this moisturizer, the drying effects of the cleanser and toner were reversed and my skin felt better than it had before I'd started the three step system.
As you can see, my Clinique 3 Step System journey has been a rollercoaster ride which I've taking morning and night for two weeks. I always try to use a new skincare routine for at least two weeks in order to give it chance to properly get to work on me. In this case, after just three days I found I started to get breakouts around my nose and between my eyebrows and those which I already had on my chin were further aggravated. However, I understand that when using a new brand or new products, skin can go through a 'purging' experience where it gets worse before it gets better as all of the impurities are being lifted to the surface before being flushed out. But still, I don't believe I will be purchasing the three step system sadly. Part of the blame must lie with myself, as I told the Clinique consultant that I have combination skin when really in hindsight I think I probably have dry skin. This confusion arose from the occasional spot that I get on my chin which I assumed meant I am oily in some areas, but upon further research I've since realized that they are menstrual breakouts and are in fact nothing really to do with the skin itself. Having said that, I won't purchase the whole line, although I would definitely consider investing in the moisturizer as I must admit its quite possibly the best I've ever used!
There's a no-makeup picture for you. Its funny really because with the Clinique 3 Step System my skin looks and feels so clean and fresh after I've completed the whole thing, but the discomfort after the cleanser through the toner and until the moisturizer just isn't worth it for me. That said, I need to make clear that Clinique are a fab company and I'm sure they'll be happy to help me adjust my samples in order to try out a line more suited to my skin as the lady in Boots was so helpful. Furthermore, please everyone keep in mind that this is JUST MY EXPERIENCE with the system. Everyone's skin is different and whilst some people may call this line their 'Holy Grail of Cleansing Systems' I would have to disagree on a personal level. Please don't let this deter you from trying out the range though. Finally, although I did not purchase the products for this review they are provided in sample sizes which are available to anyone interested in the Clinique 3 Step Program. Also, I was not paid in any way for this review.
Have you tried Clinique's 3 Step System before? Do you have any toner recommendations for me? Have you experienced gel moisturizers before?
The Clinique 3 Step System introduction kit can be bought from Boots online for £20, however, I would advise anyone and everyone to make the most of the consultation service which the brand offer in store, in order to give you an expert opinion of what should work best.
Love and snuggles