What’s In It Wednesday: Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2

Clinique…the white lab coats have you fooled into thinking that the line is a group of dermatologists–almost a feeling of being in a professional medical setting when you’re having an analysis at the “Clinique computer.”
I am completely amazed by Clinique’s status in the skincare and cosmetics arena, particularly when their most mediocre products–Dramatically Different Moisture Lotion and Clarifying Lotion 2–are such great sellers.
I will discuss the ever popular DDML at a later date. Today I’d like to focus on their “exfoliant” called CLARIFYING LOTION 2.
The Clinique “expert” computer always types me a “2”. This is based on nothing scientific, but is more a form of profiling. Because I am fair skinned with blue eyes and blonde hair, and nothing else more, I AUTOMATICALLY fall into a 2, just as those with darker skin and dark hair fall into a 3 or 4, even if reality says that their dry skin makes them a 1. It is an antiquated system without relevance.
Using the system devised for 2s several years ago, my skin was nearly destroyed. Keep in mind that the Clarifying Lotion back then contained acetone–you know the main ingredient in nail polish remover. While the harsh chemicals have, for the most part, been removed from Clinique’s alcohol in a bottle–oh, pardon me, I mean Clarifying Lotions–the rest of the ingredients remain.
Clarifying Lotion #2 is a toner, a harsh alcohol-based toner. This is targeted at those of us with dry cheeks and a more oily t-zone–a normal to combination skin type.
Let’s take a look together at the list of ingredients:
Alcohol Denat., Water (aqua purificata) Purified, Witch Hazel (hamamelis virginiana), Glycerin, Menthol, Sodium Borate, ext. d & c violet number 2 (ci 60730), d & c red number 33 (ci 17200) and d & c red number 6(ci 15850)
 
Alcohol denat is denatured alcohol. The dictionary defines denatured alcohol as “Ethyl alcohol to which a poisonous substance, such as acetone or methanol, has been added to make it unfit for consumption.” This is the very first ingredient in this product. This is not a benign fatty alcohol to soften skin. This is harsh alcohol and it is the very reason all you can smell is alcohol when you open the bottle.
 
Purified Water is as it seems, water which has undergone a purification process. This one is A-OK.
 
Witch Hazel is an astringent. However, this is not the alcohol free version which is called witchhazel hydrosol or distillate. This contains alcohol, which is silly to me since more than half of this product is already alcohol!
 
Glycerin is a good thing. It’s a natural humectant derived from vegetable oils, more commonly from soybean and cococnut oils.
Menthol is a compound derived from plants, typically from a mint plant. While this “natural” ingredient sounds harmless, it gives a icy, cooling sensation which easily translates to redness, dryness and irrititation when used on the face.
 
Sodium Borate is known as Borax. It can be used–in very small amounts–as a water softener. You’ll find it in many bubble bars and bath bombs. If it is in a very, very small concentration, it is considered safe on the skin. That being said, it has already been determined that this is not safe on broken, red, or irritated skin, or on the skin of infants and small children–so if you’re using bath products in the tub, make sure this isn’t on the list of ingredients of bath bombs and other bath goodies. Common sense will tell you that if this is unfit for use on broken, red or irritated skin, that you must not use it on acne irritation or sensitive or sunburned areas of the skin.
The artificial dyes: Violet 2 has already been banned for use in cosmetics (makeup) because it is unsafe. It is still allowed in skin care. It would seem that if it is too hazardous to use in, say, a blush, that you don’t want to run this near your eyes, nose or mouth. Red dye 6 is often derived from and tested on animals. Skin care products do not need artificial dyes! Come on, Clinique! Wake up.
The Bottom Line:
This is a bad, bad product.
First of all, it is not an exfoliant–neither chemical nor manual. This is an alcohol-based astringent. I would not this on the oiliest of skins. How they fool people into thinking this will exfoliate you skin is baffling.
Afterall, if this could exfoliate, you would not need to buy their Turnaround Cream or 7 Day Scrub now, would you?
The only Clinique “clarifying lotion” with an actual exfoliant in it is MILD CLARIFYING LOTION. This contains BHA–salicylic acid. This is an oil soluble agent that can exfoliate the pores. I do not understand why this product is aimed at those with very dry skin. In reality it is ideal for combination and oily skins as it will tone and exfoliate without alcohol. I’d use this on acne-prone skin. I cannot even recommend this one, however, as it is chock full of silicones, parabens and other no-nos.
Run, run away fast from any Clinique beauty advisor who tells you that your skin could benefit from this. If you’re a glutton for punishment and want a similar effect without ALL of the harsh ingredients, buy a bottle of cheap witch hazel at the drugstore for a couple of dollars.