Clinique 3 Step Review


I received my first products as a Clinique Insider and I’ve been using it for about two weeks now. I don’t think it is enough time to form a proper opinion, but I can share my first impressions and update this post if I find anything has changed. My video review was due, and didn’t allocate much time for actual reviewing. I was deemed dry combination skin type, and because my cheeks show signs of sensitivity I was sent the mild clarifying lotion.


Step 1: Facial Soap R210
I admit I really balked at the idea of washing my face with soap. I am a cleansing balm devotee, and anything which isn’t a cream cleanser, a cleansing oil or a balm brings back horrid flashbacks of my months of struggling with dry, tight skin. After using the facial soap I still don’t like the sensation of washing with soap, or the squeaky feeling it leaves, but on the plus side it is quite gentle and didn’t leave my skin feeling stripped or too tight. But it didn’t leave my skin feeling moisturised either. After the first week my skin started to get a bit red and sensitized and felt a bit dry after using this. If you have combination skin which doesn’t overreact then this might suit you perfectly. Clinique has some great cleansing options, so I don’t know why they even bother making a bar soap. If I were to purchase a Step 1 myself I would go for the liquid soap extra mild version (very good review on Beautypedia) or stick with the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm.


Step 2: Mild Clarifying Lotion R175
I am a fan of exfoliating toners (kill two birds with one stone, right?) so I was very keen to try this. The Clinique clarifying lotions remove dullness caused by dead skin cells etc. and leave your skin better prepared to absorb serum/moisturiser. I like the mild version because it is gentle enough for sensitive skin and does not contain alcohol. It contains 0.5% salicylic acid at a good pH level, which has helped a lot with blemishes. I haven’t had a single one since I’ve started this routine. However, I am very careful to not over-exfoliate since I’ve been using this twice a day.


Step 3: Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion + R435 (120ml)
This cult favourite has been reformulated and I love it even more than I did back in the day (ten years ago when I last used these products). It absorbs very quickly and provides long lasting hydration, as promised. My skin feels comfortable after application and has a bit of a glow without looking or feeling greasy. There are no frills to this or any anti-ageing benefits, it just gives you a moisture boost. It doesn’t smell great, but the scent is pretty inoffensive. I love that they have used a pump dispenser for this lotion, so it remains airtight and hygienic.

So that’s the basic 3 step routine, which can be boosted by other products like serums, day creams and night creams. I think it would be fine for someone in their late teens or early 20s who is looking for a simple routine, but as you get on in age you want more targeted anti-ageing treatments. On an ongoing basis I couldn’t use this system in isolation. I really like two of the three products but the soap needs replacing in my routine. .


Step 4: Superdefense SPF 25 Age Defense Moisturiser R495
This was the fourth product I received and is not part of the 3 Step system, but intended for use afterwards in the mornings. I don’t really like having to use two moisturizers in a row, but I think of this more as a sunscreen packed with antioxidants. This moisturiser helps protect your skin from environmental damage and stress, and a quick browse on Beautypedia informed me that it would be “super” if not for the jar packaging, so I feel it has some good ingredients. I was really enjoying this moisturiser until my cheeks got a bit sensitive, then it started stinging on application. However, this was temporary and only lasted for a few days. This moisturiser does have a satin sheen to it, so if your skin tends towards oily you might not like the slight shine it leaves on the skin. However, if you’re a devoted foundation wearer this isn’t going to be noticeable.


7 thoughts on “Clinique 3 Step Review

  1. Loren says:

    I’m also a bit hesitant to use a facial soap, and much prefer using a cleansing balm or oil. I can’t wait to read the your updates on these products. I’m kind of tempted to get myself the 3 step system 🙂

    • Mother City Mom says:

      I have to say that my skin hasn’t broken out once. I started messing with it this week and tried my Chanel moisturiser again and behold, my skin broke out. So now I’m back to using just this, even the soap. There is a liquid cleanser, especially the extra mild once is very good and gentle. I have started using cleansing balm at night instead, and the soap just in the mornings, seems to work perfectly and the sensitivity in my cheeks has gone away. I have also added my Kieh’s avocado eye treatment to this routine, and at night after the three steps I’ve been adding Balm Balm Frankincense facial oil or EL advanced night repair.

  2. geewhiskerscharlene says:

    Wanted to try the moisturiser but got the Clarins Hydrating moisturiser instead. They send a lot of great products – but you are right, 2 weeks is not nearly enough time to test out skincare products of any sort.

    • Mother City Mom says:

      The moisturiser is really good! I still love my HydraQuench but now my cheeks are a little less dry and my noise is a little more shiny lately so this has suited me really well. I’m saving my HydraQuench for winter! I think two weeks has given me a good idea of how my skin reacts to these products, not really the long-term benefits yet. But I am enjoying them so far (even got my head around the soap, especially in the mornings)

  3. Chereen Strydom says:

    Oooh, I’m obsessed with Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion – it makes such a huge difference to my skin. Quite tempted to go back to Clinique after this review… I’ve been experiencing breakouts so often lately!

    • Mother City Mom says:

      I’m just wondering if I’m using the clarifying lotion twice a day if it is still okay to use something like the REN glycolactic mask or other kinds of exfoliators in addition or if this would be too much? Dying to try that mask.

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