Keep it simple with Clinique 1-2-3

by Paris B on · 50 comments

in Cleanser,Moisturiser,Product Reviews,Toner/Lotion

Life’s simple – don’t complicate it!

Thats the mantra I live by… or try to live by. But seriously, life IS simple – its people who are complicated :P And in the spirit of keeping it simple, I’ve been using Clinique’s 3 step programme these couple of weeks. Does that make me sound like I’m in rehab?

Clinique 3 Step

Clinique’s 3 step programme has been around forever but this is the first time I’m trying it over a prolonged period! What it is is essentially cleanse, tone and moisturize – 3 essential skincare steps which we may or may not practice but which we should right from our first blush of youth :)

First off, let me say that before using the Clinique 3 step programme, you should get down to a counter and get the sales assistants to match you up to the right products. You might need a stronger or lighter toner or a lighter or heavier moisturizer, but could make do with a normal cleanser. In my case, I was #2 for cleanser and moisturizer but I was advised to get a #1 toner – its milder for my skin. So get thee down to a counter and don’t listen to your friend or even to me because our skin types are all different so what works for me or your friend may not work for you!

The products I have are trial sizes and Clinique sells sets of these trial sizes for RM105 so you can try them out before you buy the full sizes – I like that! At least I know if something goes wrong, I did not blow a wad of cash. Have you tried the Clinique 3 Step? Here’s my thoughts on it.

Step 1 Cleanse – Clinique Facial Soap #2 Mild – Normal to Dry skin

clinique facial wash

I was diagnosed with dry combination skin. Yes yes… the aging process has started. But that’s no reason to skip cleansing. The Clinique cleanser #2 is a gel cleanser which cleans my skin well without causing it to feel dry. As it is formulated for combination to dry skin, it would have been disastrous had it pulled my skin taut and tight! I use it twice a day – in the morning and evening after makeup remover. Its Ok but did not remove my makeup very well (without a makeup remover beforehand).

Step 2 Tone – Clinique Clarifying Lotion

clinique clarifying lotion

Ok this isn’t really a toning step. In the Clinique regime the Clarifying Lotion is in fact, a mild exfoliator. How to use this is to pour some onto a cotton pad and gently wipe across your skin just ONCE. The clarifying lotion acts in removing the dull skin cells and flaky skin to reveal clearer skin. However, the other effect is that your skin can get a little dry so you NEED to moisturize and yet another drawback is the tingling feel on the skin and the high alcohol content that can sting the eyes.

The secret ingredient is, I believe Salicylic Acid – a good friend of mine LOL… The other secret to not having irritated skin when using step 2 is to ensure you get the right strength and this is where the sales consultants come in. I was advised to get #1 for Very Dry – Dry skin as the formula is milder but they were out so I took #2 but was warned to use it sparingly. I’m glad they warned me or I’d have slapped it on and wondered why I was drying out!

Step 3 Moisturize – Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion

This is Clinique’s star product. A product I’m sad to say broke me out many years ago. I reported this to the sales assistant who then taught me something I love her for ever since! The proper amount of moisturizer to use.

You see I’d been doing the 5 dot method – 5 dots on the skin and blend – but I was told that’s using too much moisturizer which may be too rich for the skin. So, I was advised to use just a pea sized amount, spread it between my hands and apply to my skin. I’ll elaborate on this method in a later post but all I can say is WOW!

I can see why the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion or affectionately known as DDML is loved by so many. It is a good basic moisturizer, delivering just enough moisture to the skin to keep it comfortable and its perfect after Step 2.

However, it is just that – a moisturizer with nothing more added. So, if you have other concerns e.g. whitening, anti aging etc you might have to use something else. However, if all you want is a basic moisturizer, try this one – you have nothing to lose! The texture of the lotion is a little thick because its for drier skin but for oilier skin there is a gel formula which is much lighter.

I do have one little grouse with the sample/trial size of the DDML – its quite thick so it takes some whacking on my palm before any lotion comes out. I believe the full size version comes in a pump but I can’t be sure – I sure do hope so anyway!

Dramatically Different? Quite!

I’m happy to note that my skin was not upset by using the Clinique 3 step programme this time, unlike the last time I tried it. I don’t mind the Facial Wash and I like the DDML lotion but I’m not liking the Clarifying Lotion much. I prefer a toner that adds moisture and does not sting my skin and thus far, I’m happy with the other products I use that help keep my skin flake free, including various scrubs, exfoliators and pore refiners. Still, if you’d like to keep it simple and all in the family, then the Clinique 3 Step programme should do just fine.

Are you doing the Clinique 3 Step? What’s your favourite product out of the 3? Mine’s the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion – its dramatically different! :)

Stay beautiful,

Paris B

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[ 48 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Catherine Tan August 13, 2009 at 9:17 am

I used a trial set many years ago and my face broke out in pimples and rashes horribly along the jaw. I went back to the counter and asked about it and the salesperson said it was because the dirt and toxins were coming out of my face. Oh yeah? – I don’t think so! I stopped using the stuff and 2 days later my face had calmed down.

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 9:22 am

Hi Catherine

You know what? That was me too a long time ago hence my reluctance to go anywhere near the brand since! I was surprised I did not break out this time. It might be just age or maybe a proper way of using the product. Either way, I know exactly where you’re coming from and I’m not one to subscribe to the “purging” theory too :P

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Tine
Twitter:
August 13, 2009 at 9:27 am

I’ve been using the 3-step skincare from Clinique since I was 13 :P ‘Tis a pity that back then, they didn’t have the DDM gel, only the lotion. It was only about 7-8 years later that they introduced the oil-free DDML. The DDM gel works for me and is definitely HG material.

I wouldn’t recommend the clarifying lotion #2 to anyone. The alcohol content is too high for my liking. I reckon the #3 is the best. Alcohol free and does the trick.

As for cleansers, I don’t use Clinique ones anymore, although I used to use the cleansing bar a LOT. I remembered bringing the biggest cleansing bar they have with me to Japan, and it lasted me well over a year :P

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 9:55 am

Hi Tine

I remember this from my teen years actually but I just never tried it for some strange reason – I particularly remember the soap bar! The DDM is quite lovely – I was surprised LOL

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synical
Twitter:
August 13, 2009 at 9:42 am

I’ve tried the travel-size 3-Step on and off (and not all three at the same time) over the last few years, but I can’t bring myself to commit to it yet. Not even the trial set. Not yet.

Anyway, I’m only using the Clarifying Lotion No.2 atm as I like the sensation on my face and I find that it works for me personally (as opposed to other toners I tried which I suspect is just coloured water :P). I’ve yet to try the liquid cleanser. DDM – I tried ages ago, but it wasn’t really for me – might go for the gel one when I (and my wallet) feel like it.

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 9:56 am

Hi Synical

Oho! Perhaps I should send you my #2 Clarifying Lotion since I’m not going to get anymore use out of it teeheee… Perhaps try to test the DDM Gel at the counter first or ask for a sample before you actually commit?

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synical
Twitter:
August 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Heh heh, sure.. I could find some other use for it (eg. travel)

XD

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Jenn
Twitter:
August 13, 2009 at 9:55 am

I’m terribly afraid to try stuff from Clinique! I saw with my own eyes what it did to my mum’s friend’s face! She had really baby smooth skin prior to using Clinique, but after that, she got cystic acne all over and now she still has the scars from that horrible episode. That’s enough to scare me into not using Clinique forever (although deep down i know she’s probably allergic to something in the product, but still, i’m scarred too!! hahaha!)! :P

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 9:57 am

Hiya Jenn

EEKS! That sounds scary though I might tell you the same stories about *coughSKIIcough* that killed my skin but I won’t do that LOL… its a case of one woman’s HG is another’s nightmare eh?

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KittyCat October 25, 2009 at 5:27 am

You’ve got to tell me more about your cough-related experience because I’m about to jump onto the bandwagon myself!

I REALLY gave Clinique a good shot but nope, none of the products worked for me.

I’ve got dry, combination skin too and Lancome’s working out well (toner and moisturizer) that I bought their serum to try too. Looking out for a day-to-day (hopefully, cheap!) facial cleanser now because the Lancome foaming cleanser feels a bit taut…

I read that Cetaphil’s cleanser is cheap and good. Gonna hunt for it at our pharms soon and hope I’d find it!

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Liz August 13, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I can relate to your mum’s friend’s experience since I went through the same thing early last year. I persisted for over a month because I thought it was just ‘purging’. Then I went from almost blemish-free skin to disaster skin and never recovered till now. Stopping didn’t do anything and the old products that used to work for me don’t work anymore.

At least the experience taught me to be more aware about what I put onto my face (and not fall for those ‘bonus sales’ since I purchased the Clinique set so I can get tons of freebies and a pretty makeup bag). Plus I started wearing makeup after that to ‘lessen’ the damage done and I am now an official blush addict.

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Hi Liz

Join the blush gang LOL… so sorry this line didn’t work out for you – Like I said, its like me and SKII and that doesn’t come in trial sizes :P

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prettybeautiful
Twitter:
August 13, 2009 at 10:38 am

i have the DDML and moisture surge, i loved the DDML, but i have never tried the cleanser or toner tho.

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Hey prettybeautiful

I haven’t tried out the Moisture Surge yet but loads of people are raving about it. I should eh? IMHO the cleanser and toner can be missed :P

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cliniquelover August 13, 2009 at 11:38 am

Hi pAris,

I love this product. before i get my hand on the 3 steps, i’ve been changing my facial product to find to one that really suits my skin. Before this, my skin is oily around T-zone n dry at the cheek. After i use the DDML, it works wonders babe! Will not try other brand for the moment..hehe/// What i love is that everytime i puchase a new set, the sales assistant will give me like 7 or 9 pieces of Clinique samples like sunblock, make up remover foam (works really great!), hand lotion, etc…Oh and the SA also very nice, considering i look like school- children-with-no-money-to-buy-one…maybe the cost is a bit burn in the purse but mine will last me about 7-9 month..=)

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Hi cliniquelover

Wow I guess you are a great fan of the product! :) Lovely to know its working for you.

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Nikki August 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm

You know that the Clinique 3step system is my favorite “to return to” skincare system! I think I’ve finished up 2 sets! :D and so true about the DDML, a little goes a long way and I’m glad I’m putting it the right manner, pea size on palm, then rub my hands together then apply and massage gently on face :)

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Hi Nikki

Yep! I recall that this works great for you – I guess your SA was more effective than my first with the DDML :)

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Michelle August 13, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I have terribly sensitive skin and I’ve tried many things over the years of discovery… including Clinique. I must say that although Clinique was not suitable for me…. the liquid facial soap was probably one of the mildest foaming cleanser (containing chemicals) that I’ve tried. Much milder than most brands out there. Maybe because while it contains chemicals etc etc, at least it deliberately does not contain colouring or fragrance. Anyway, those were the days. Reading this post brings back memories of youth! LOL. Thanks for posting this.

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Hi Michelle

LOL… Clinique does remind me of youth – somehow its like only the young girls who use it :)

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rinnah
Twitter:
August 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I find that my skin doesn’t agree with the DDML but it’s loving the Moisture Surge! Strange, right? :)

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Hey rinnah

Oho! Another vote for moisture surge! Now to go find out what’s so good about this product :D

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Ancient August 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm

ive recently bought the 3 step anti blemish solutions set. ive been using it it for about a month and a half. i had been having breakouts here n there and was getting sick of it. my set consists of the barsoap, toner and anti blemish clearing moisturiser. i didnt see much of an improvement in my skin for about a month. and then i realized that the toner was irritating my skin because i had already been using some acne gel from my dermatologist. ive since discontinued using the toner but stick with the barsoap and moisturiser and am happy to report tht my skin is now acne free.. but still scarful.. i plan on getting the kiehls facial britening exfoliator in hopes tht it will help get rid of some scars in the long run.

also just to share with u girls. according to the Clinique SA, she says the bar soaps are better than the gels. she recommended me the gel cleaser to remove my make up followed by bar soap to clease.

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Hi Ancient

I’d actually read some good things about the anti-blemish gel – a friend of mine loves it for healing acne and pimples. And it looks like the toner gets no love from anyone LOL… Happy to hear your skin is now ok

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Jin September 12, 2009 at 12:20 am

i’ve been using clinique for almost 2 years. and it’s suitable to my skin. my skin was acned skin 1.5 years ago. and the 1st product i tried from cilnique was their travel set of anti-blemish products. and it was worked for me. and now i’ve changed from anti blemish range to #3 range. my skin changed from oily to combination oily. and it’s smoother than previous. my skincare products are almost all with clinique. great to have clinique!

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shasha December 23, 2010 at 11:07 am

I’m just new to C3S… currently using #3 for oily skin about 3 weeks …. now i am facing break out so do excess oil at my face…. is that so called normal? really afraid this will lead to major break out since my face just oily with minor break out (before step in this C3S) …. now should i continue or stop using it?

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Jean August 13, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I would like to try their moisturizer.. might go over for consultant soon~^^

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Hi Jean

Hope you like it! :)

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Synaesthesia August 13, 2009 at 2:22 pm

I’ve seeing Clinique 3 Steps for many years but never thought of giving it a try… Recently, no idea how and why my skin popping out a lot of tiny bumps. Not pimples and I don’t know whether are they zits or what… Kind of annoying as my skin becomes rough, larger pores and redness. I hate that ! Any solutions ?

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ParisB August 13, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Hi Synaesthesia

When this happened to me recently, I cured it with Vichy Pore Refine Essence and the Vichy Normadem Hydrating moisturizer plus regular exfoliation (try the St. Ives Medicated scrub) and tea tree oil on spots. It helped me and I hope it’ll help you too.

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aichaku August 13, 2009 at 4:00 pm

i’ve tried it before. too extreme for my skin. it created havoc. no way i’m going back to trying clinique ever again. LOL! but i’m glad it worked for you.

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Renee August 13, 2009 at 6:01 pm

AH! I’ve been using this 3 step (minus the toner) for the past few years and it has completely changed my skin, it’s incredible! Mmmm maybe I should write an in depth review on it too? I highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a good skin care routine :)
And yes, I agree about the moisturizer – I use the gel version and though it’s great, that’s all it does! I am on the hunt for something that could possibly include some anti aging (since I’m getting old, sigh). I’ve been told to have the DDML as a base and then Clinique’s other moisturizers (anti aging, spf, etc) on top of it … but as if I can afford two already-expensive moisturizers :-P So I’m on the hunt!
Renee

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Shanghainese Dumpling August 13, 2009 at 6:50 pm

HI Paris, I have tried Clinique’s 3 step before but didn’t really like it until they came up with the 2nd generation, I like their lotion, I tried number 3 at the time it was for either combination or oily skin (don’t know why my face produced so much oil when I was in my early 20s) it has a cooling sensation when I pat it on my skin.

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Joyce August 13, 2009 at 7:57 pm

They have a moisturizing version of the Clarifying Lotion. It’s called Clarifying Moisture Lotion, and also follows the same number scheme. It doesn’t contain alcohol and leaves a nice,fresh feeling behind. Doesn’t sting. I only use the regular (alcohol-laden) clarifying lotion when I’ve got ‘that-time-of-the-month’ nasties popping-up on my face.

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Shay August 13, 2009 at 9:46 pm

The clarifying lotion for blemished skin sucks! I used it for a few weeks and the skin on my fingers started peeling.

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germaine August 13, 2009 at 11:22 pm

I’m using this regime. but i incorporated the vichy serum that you review as my pores problems are really terrible.can i ask you something? it is alright to incorporate skin care from others brand? will it have a negative effect instead of improving my skin?

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yuki
Twitter:
August 14, 2009 at 1:34 am

Hey… I was using their 3-step abt 2 weeks ago but stopped cuz the moisturiser broke me out… sad… I switched back to the anti-blemish range and my breakouts are lesser… Just having problems with the pimple scars… sighs…

=)

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Cyndi August 14, 2009 at 11:40 am

I tried this before when I got a coupon from a magazine. The SA didn’t diagnose(is this right word lol) my skin but instead just ask me to describe how my skin feels like and he gives me the sample for combination skin(but I forget the number). I am glad to report that I love Clinique, it is probably the best skin care that I have ever used. Anyway, it is way too pricey for me since I am still a student. maybe I can buy it when I strat to work in a couple of years time :)

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Amanda August 14, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I was using Clinique 3 Step for 5 years before moving to Europe. I changed to another brand because the moisturiser didn’t really work for me in winter as my face was still very dry after applying it.

But overall, Clinique 3 Step is very good :)

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Tavia August 16, 2009 at 3:01 am

I’ve been using Clinique’s products for some years now. I love the clarifying lotion it’s simply by far the best I’ve used. I have to admit that I don’t use the soap ( but my brother likes it and uses everyday) I prefer The aqua thermal makeup up removal or Bioderma for sensitive skin. I apply a soft layer of the dramatically moisturizing lotion before appying my day cream, but now in the summer time I don’t use it so often, cause to much cream makes my skin looks shiny. In winter time is great:)

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LyNn September 4, 2009 at 10:51 pm

hey paris
just wondering where you got your diagnosis?
was she professional and good?

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ParisB September 7, 2009 at 9:47 am

Hi Lynn

I can’t recall her name but go to the Isetan KLCC Clinique counter. Pretty girl with a ponytail. She’s pleasant and helpful.

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Jon September 24, 2009 at 12:02 am

I’m a guy and I hope it’s not an issue for me to leave a comment…this being a site for women’s stuff. This is my experience with Clinique. I have moderate adult acne and one fine day i realised my regime was not working anymore so i decided to go for something a little more higher end. So i decided on the Clinique 3 Step, recommended by my gf’s close friend. I went with the trial pack (Liquid Facial Soap-Oily Skin Formula, Claryfying Lotion #3 and DDMG).
The 1st month i had major breakouts but i read somewhere that it’s normal (now i think that belief is false) but i preservered and kept to the 3 Step. By the 2nd month my skin seemed a little better so i bought the normal sized ones. A month later i had major breakouts again and after that i decided to stop Clinique once and for all. I assumed that the 3 step did help control my acne but once it was getting better the harsh toner irritated the skin again.
So i recently switched to Lab Series and my face has improved a lot since. Yes i know Lab Series and Clinique are both owned by Estee Lauder. But the Lab Series toner (oil control solution) has much less alcohol compared to Clinique’s Clarifying Lotions. Although the Lab Series products are more expensive than Clinique’s at least my skin is getting better. I did try Clinique’s men range but to me it’s just repackaged women’s products but the men’s line costs more. However, i still use the DDMG which i find perfect for oily acne prone skin like mine. Apologies for the really long post.

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Hanny
Twitter:
October 17, 2009 at 10:55 pm

I love the Clinique 3 Step! Every single one of them helped me out sooo much. I’ve been using them since I was 13… hehhehehehe… So yeah, it IS a “young girl” brand. but my mum used it for 20 years already…

Perhaps it may be the heck that our faces need harsher treatment than the others.

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