FACE | Clinique Top 5


I didn’t work for Clinique for six months without developing a pretty sound knowledge of every damn product they market – and there’s a lot of them. I started writing a Clinique Top 5 list, which expanded quickly into a Top 12, but I’ve chopped it back down to 5 (just as long as you don’t count the individual lipsticks).

Like Ruth from A Model Recommends, I’m not a huge fan of the traditional Clinique 3 Step system: I like a cleanser that can remove my makeup, I like a toner without alcohol, and I like a moisturiser that doesn’t break me out (but that’s my weird skin’s fault, not Clinique’s). I have managed to cobble together my own functional alternative system instead, although I’ve left cleansers out of this post because they’re fairly interchangeable.

If you must know, I like the Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser ($56 NZD) for when I want foam, and the Redness Solutions cleanser ($56 NZD) for the rest of the time. They’re both significantly more expensive than Clinique’s default liquid facial soaps ($38 NZD), for which I apologise. Sometimes money does buy quality.


After cleansing, you could use a toner, or a ‘clarifying lotion’, or the weird alcohol-free gel hybrid that is Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Lotion ($55 NZD). Again, more expensive than the 3 Step alternative; again, arguably, better. This has salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid and heaps of antioxidants, and it feels really nice on the skin. Despite the name, you’re going to need to put another lotion or moisturiser over it.


Sunscreen, sunscreen, no one uses you enough. Or enough of you. Even I probably don’t put enough of the Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Defense ($60 NZD) on, but it’s got SPF 45 (and soon to be reformulated to have SPF 50) and is super lightweight, so you can get quite a lot on without feeling slimy. I like this better than any of Clinique’s other sunscreens. It’s got a tiny bit of tint, but unless you’re quite dark-skinned it disappears entirely into the skin when you rub it in.


The Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray ($58 NZD) is probably the most superfluous product in this list, but I can’t speak of it highly enough. I mean, it’s a liquid moisturiser that you can just spray on your face throughout the day, even over makeup. I would go hard on this several times a day at work, because air conditioning sucks for your skin, and I’ll be keeping some of this in my drawer at my new job, too. It’s nice for spraying on sunburn (shhh) or for getting rid of the powdery vibes when you put too much powder on.


Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturiser ($100 NZD) is getting discontinued this year, which sucks because it’s Clinique’s only lotion-textured night-time moisturiser on the New Zealand market. My skin hates daily use of thick creams and most oily people can probably relate, but if you’re dry you might not like this. It’s fragrance-free (I mean, duh, like everything in this list) and, like the name suggests, has heaps of antioxidants, as well as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide (!). I probably need to write something about niacinamide so I can explain why I get so excited every time I see it in an ingredients list.


I may have sold hundreds of these but I still needed to Google to find the official name of them; it’s Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer ($46 NZD), apparently. This is the only makeup product on the list but that’s not to say Clinique’s makeup’s not good, just that makeup is makeup and slightly more interchangeable between brands. Regardless, these lipsticks are quite creamy and smooth to apply but stay on really well. I don’t know if they have a primer included so much as just have a long-wearing formula, but either way, they’re decent as hell. I have three and wish I had more.


From left to right: Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in Cola Pop 03, Grape Pop 16 and Plum Pop 14.

I’m genuinely interested to learn what my readers’ Clinique Top 5 products are. Also, if you have any questions about anything from Clinique, I’m probably a good person to ask! 

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  • Esme Taylor

    Chubby sticks rule!! Also, I want all of this stuff now. Could you not have done this post when you still got discount?! Lol x

    • A whole 10% off! I like the Chubby Stick Intense ones bc they are really pigmented, I find regular chubby sticks are a bit sheer for me. I’m all-or-nothing with lip colour!

  • Loved reading this Morgan! My faves at the moment are the anti-blemish foundation, the CC cream -I basically wear one of these two most days, the moisture surge which I’m not using currently because summer but which my skin drinks up in winter. Those lipsticks look so good – I grew up on Clinique makeup since mum used the skincare and I would get the GWP stuff she didn’t want but I actually don’t think I own any at the moment!

    • I wish I could use the CC cream because it was so popular but my skin is just too oily for it 🙁

  • Imogen

    I’m a long time Clinique junkie – I would love to see the 7 things you cut out!

    My top five are 1. Take the day off cleansing balm 2. Moisture surge intense gel moisturiser 3. Repairwear laser focus eye cream 4. Liquid facial soap mild 5. Probably the chubby sticks (I have 8, plus one blush one). I also really like their mascaras, the overnight mask and their anti-blemish gel (I have been through probably six tubes of this, always have at least 2 on the go).

    Of the things you have mentioned that I have tried, I hate the rinse off foaming cleanser (too stripping for me), like the revitalizing lotion, and use the moisture surge face spray a lot whenever I travel. I’m keen to try the even better sunscreen and the super rescue night moisturiser now!

    • We probably have quite different skin types, which would explain why we don’t like the same cleansers. Also on the list would have been TTDO lids lashes & lips, the universal superprimer, the even better concealer, superpowder, and high impact waterproof mascara!

      • Imogen

        Yes that’s true – I’m normal mostly, oilier in the summer and drier in the winter. I’ve been wanting to try the superprimer for a while – putting it on the list for the next GWP!

  • Coco

    I freaking adore their Dramatically Different Moisturizing gel, been using it for years x

    • I find the Dramatically Different range breaks me out. It’s weird and sad because so many people say it’s amazing!

  • I’m pretty clueless when it comes to Clinique, so this list is great! I definitely know I love their High Impact mascara – super basic, and super great at its job. It’s been a while since I’ve used it but it for a couple of years it was all I would buy. I also have collected 4 of their Cheek Pop blushes more recently, which I also love.