Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, you have probably realized that I never stop talking about Clinique’s Dramatically Different Gel. It is just the most reliable, versatile, lightweight and foolproof gel, and I’ve never found anything like it.

Except, oops, I forgot that Clinique had a few more things in their Dramatically Different line-up. I had a little inspiration after reading a great write-up on this product over at V’s Beauty Talk blog, which kickstarted me into grabbing a 1.7oz trial size for $15 ($30 for full-size) to see if this lived up to my extremely high expectations.

Although Clinique tends to be heavy on the ingredients-you-cant-pronounce-the-names-of, this line generally leaves out drying alcohols and comdeogenic oils, which I like. The product itself is closer to a liqui-gel than a jelly, but this makes it easy to get out of the bottle. If you have dry skin, prepare for this stuff to dry down extremely fast. You would think this would be “a little goes a long way” spreadable, but it’s not.

Unfortunately the review mostly goes downhill from here. Immediately after I applied this, my skin felt sticky. After six hours, my skin still felt sticky and… dry, again. Products are impossible to stack over this, because it will pill. Scrubbing the product off the next morning also ends in a gigantic, pilling mess.

So… what is this? I can’t use it as a moisturizer, because it doesn’t hydrate my skin for long enough, and I also can’t stack anything else over top of it if I wanted to. I can’t use it as a one-step emolliant either, or even consider it a humectant, because it, again, is not hydrating.

Based on the ingredient listing, and for the sole fact I love the gel version so much, I would be inclined to recommend this to sensitive-skin users, but honestly I suspect the uncomfortable sensation this moisturizer leaves behind actually did cause some irritation to my skin, and ultimately caused me to break out a few times after using this.

I was hugely disappointed by this product, but, for some perspective, there are three different types of moisturizers in this series, and more suited for different skin types than the other. Maybe the gel version is my one-and-only, and you know what they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 2/5

Longevity: 2/5

How much I actually like this product: 1.75/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: No

The Ordinary 100% Plant Derived Squalane

Ever feel like your moisturizing just isn’t, well, moisturizing enough? Put some squalane in it! Not only is squalane good on it’s own as a hydrating oil, I like to mix this stuff in with almost everything.

Like many other TO products, this serum comes in a dark glass bottle, to prevent oxidation. I did a little extra research on this, since I’ve bought squalane from other brands that did not have dark bottles. Apparently, the compound of squalEne is highly susceptible to breaking down when exposed to oxygen and light. It’s younger sister squalAne has a much longer shelf life, but is still subject to degradation over time, and the dark bottles will help to slow this down. In short: other companies who sell squalane in a clear glass bottle are doing it wrong (I’m looking at you, Peter Thomas Roth!)

TO has an excellent dropper, if a bit unwieldy, to take the squalane out of the bottle. Since it’s so thin, the squalane tends to spread quickly, and absorbs just as fast. Because it absorbs so fast and it’s hard to correct when i misapply the product, I always need justtt a little more product. But the droppers are easy to use and to manipulate pressure on so that you only get as much product as you need. Since a little goes a long way, and the dropper makes it easy to put excess product back in the bottle, this product tends to last me close to six months.

The squalane itself is clear, and incredibly thin — it’s almost like water. For some reason TO’s brand of squalane seems even thinner than any other squalane I’ve tried. Although you can use this as a stand-alone oil and apply this directly to your face, I typically like to use this as an additive with my moisturizers (especially Clinique’s Dramatically Different).This makes it far less likely to pill with any other skincare product you might be wearing underneath.

I used squalane at the height of my cystic acne, and never noticed it causing any break outs — I can say the same of it now, it’s definitely a great pick for anyone who has sensitive skin. It’s also great if you live in a colder climate, who doesn’t want the extra hydration when it’s 10 degrees outside? For $10, this is a long lasting staple I’d recommend for anyone’s skincare collection. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

Holy Grail No More

Good morning readers, and Happy New Year!

For the new year, I decided to do a small purge of my skincare collection. As the seasons change, and as I’ve continued on with my Epiduo and spironolactone treatment, my skin has changed a bit. Products that I used to swear by and considered HG status at one point just don’t work as well anymore. That’s not to say I don’t consider them good products anymore, I would still recommend them to someone with a particular skin need.

So, here is a list of products that are going into my “on-hold” stash, or in the trash, for 2020, despite their previously coveted “holy grail” status in my reviews.

Cerave PM. This started to make my skin feel congested and break out minorly. The buzz on Reddit is that Cerave PM was reformulated for 2019, and I’m wondering if that was related to my breakouts. Now, I’m on the hunt for a good niacinamide replacement…

undefinedCerave Hydrating and Foaming Cleanser. The foaming cleanser has always gotten a bad rap for being a little too harsh, and I agree with that. It’s also, for some reason, not very good at removing makeup. The hydrating cleanser tends to leave behind a film, and quite frankly won’t really make you feel clean. I’ve replaced both of these with CosRX Low PH Cleanser.

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Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hr Breathable

Rimmel 25HR

During the worst of my acne, I really underestimated this foundation because it’s not full coverage like Rimmel Stay Matte. In retrospect, I should have used it more often because it is extremely lightweight, yet gradually buildable — I think my skin would have fared a lot better! 

The initial application is pretty strange all around. There’s a wand applicator which is… fine? But not really helpful? I’d rather use a sponge or my fingers, since the wand isn’t absorbent enough to hold onto much product. So it ends up sort of getting in the way.

Also, after spreading, you’re going to look in the mirror and say “wtf, where is it?” and want to apply 20 more coats. But the foundation should start to noticeably thicken up after about five minutes — once that happens, it looks great! The color is gorgeous, and accurate to it’s description. The overall texture is very smooth and “glowy”. No cakey-ness whatsoever.

Now, as I mentioned, the coverage is medium, and it won’t cover huge spots very well. In fact, it’s not really great at covering even small spots, so keep your concealer handy if that’s an issue. However, I can confirm that this makeup has not caused MORE spots for me, which is great!

After a nine hour day of work, this held up really well. The vibrancy had definitely faded, sure, but I didn’t have any crazy oil breakthroughs, and I still felt fully covered. Now, as for the advertised 25 hours… I’m not so sure about that. I have worn it later into the night and definitely thought “I need to reapply this”, but it doesn’t break down as badly as most foundations I’ve tried.

Foundations are really tough for me to find and buy in exactly my color without being cake-y or breaking down after hour six, so this was a solid purchase. And, bonus, this has SPF in it! Happy Halloween, everyone! ~A

Update, one week later: this foundation plays best with my Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizer, and not so well with anything else in my rotation. Also, as with most foundations, warmer weather will knock the longevity of this product down to about six hours instead of eight, so I dropped the longevity score a bit. I still love this stuff, though!

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.5/5

Clinique Dramatically Different Gel

Clinique Dramatically Different

What I originally thought was an underwhelming moisturizer, Clinique’s Dramatically Different Gel became a must-have staple for me. I’m a sucker for good packaging or good marketing tactics, so, as you could imagine, I didn’t exactly feel “dramatically different” after using this product as the package may have suggested right away. And besides hyaluronic acid and caffeine, this moisturizer doesn’t boast any skin improving quality that falls out of the norm.

But for long-term use, this gel really does work! It’s medium weight (despite advertising as light), so it doesn’t quite sink into your skin fully but it doesn’t feel like it’s weighing you down, either (nor will it leave behind a sticky feeling!), and you won’t need to go the extra mile to rub it in. It also seems like this is doing a better job of controlling my oiliness throughout the day than the Cerave PM does. This moisturizer has a extremely faint vanilla smell, but will become odorless after application.

This product is oil and alcohol free, which makes it a great choice for anyone with acne-prone skin. I have never broken out from using this product.

I don’t have any issues with this product pilling with my makeup, particularly since this dries down quickly. I also didn’t feel that my skin dried out, or became tighter after a full day of wear.

For the price point of $25-28, it was difficult, at first, to justify the cost of such an initially underwhelming moisturizer. But as time passed, I learned that perhaps less is more. My skin quality has been phenomenal after using this prodycg long-term! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes