Clinique 3 Step Skincare System Review

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Sometimes in my search for the latest, greatest beauty technology, I forget that skincare is not rocket science.

Often the best solution to skin’s needs is the simplest one.

Clinique understands the allure of simplicity.

With the Clinique 3-Step Skincare System (available here), you can just follow the numbers to your best skin.

Clinique’s approach to skincare takes us back to basics: 1-2-3 is all we need to know.

Three steps targeted towards four skin types.

Let me say that again: three steps.

I’ve had days when I used ten steps in my skincare routine. Could three steps be enough?


Clinique 3 Step Skin Care Routine

1. Cleanse
2. Exfoliate
3. Moisturize
4. Just kidding! 3 Steps, remember?

The three steps are the same no matter what type of skin you have. Only the products vary. Clinique makes it so easy with a prescribed protocol for each skin type.

Skin Type 1: Very Dry to Dry

Your skin is tight and uncomfortable all over.
1. Cleanse: Liquid Facial Soap Mild ($17) or Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam ($20)
2. Exfoliate: Clarifying Lotion 1 ($14.00 – $23.50)
3. Moisturize: Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ ($26)

Skin Type 2: Dry Combination

Your skin is tight and uncomfortable in the cheeks, comfortable in the T-Zone.
1. Cleanse: Liquid Facial Soap Mild ($17) or Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam ($20)
2. Exfoliate: Clarifying Lotion 2 ($14 – $23.50)
3. Moisturize: Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ ($26)

This is the system I tested. My skin is dry in the winter, less dry with an oily t-zone in the summer.

Clinique 3 Step System Review


I got to sample both cleansers and loved them both.

The Liquid Facial Soap is a great basic cleanser that takes off makeup without stripping too much oil from my skin– exactly what dry skin needs.

On the other hand, Clinique’s newest cleanser, the Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam, has more cleansing power than the Liquid Facial Soap, something I really appreciate in the warmer months when the “Combination” part of my skin takes over for the “Dry.”

Described by Clinique as a “comfortable, non-drying exfoliator,” Clarifying Lotion 2 is just strong enough to tone my skin without making it feel tight or irritated.

I just put a little on a piece of a cotton ball (yes, I’m weird and conserve cotton balls) and swoop it over my face and throat. The scent is pleasantly medicinal.


Designed for skin types 1 and 2, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ is famous for a reason: it’s gentle and effective. The silky lotion sinks right in and moisturizes all day. I love the shape of the bottle and the pump dispenser. There isn’t much of a scent, another thing I love about it.

Skin Type 3: Combination Oily

Your skin is comfortable in the cheeks, oily or shiny in the T-Zone.
1. Cleanse: Liquid Facial Soap Oily Skin Formula ($17)
2. Exfoliate: Clarifying Lotion 3 ($14 – $23.50)
3. Moisturize: Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel ($14.50 – $26)

Skin Type 4: Oily

Your skin is oily or shiny all over.
1. Cleanse: Liquid Facial Soap Oily Skin Formula ($17)
2. Exfoliate: Clarifying Lotion 4 ($14 – $23.50)
3. Moisturize: Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel ($14.50 – $26)

Rather go old school and use a bar soap? Clinique has one for every skin type.

If you suffer from frequent breakouts, there is even a special system for troubled skin, the Acne Solutions Clear Skin System.

And Clinique has not forgotten about the men in your life. Clinique For Men—the first prestige line of its kind– was introduced in 1976.

There are two skincare systems targeted towards men’s skin types:

Dry to Normal – skin is tight and uncomfortable in the T-Zone
Oily – skin is oily or shiny all over

With their extensive range of products, Clinique offers a 3-Step Skin Care regimen for anyone.

After trying my own 3-Step system, I understand that Clinique is a household name for a reason: a 48-year history of innovative products, simply packaged, famously effective. Skincare really can be as easy as 1-2-3.

we heartsters, we want to hear from the Clinique fans!

What is your experience with the 3 Step Skincare System?


  • turboterp

    Melissa loves road trips, bargain shopping, drive-in movies, lip gloss and rock 'n' roll. She lives in Baltimore with her precious pup Bellarina. skin tone: NC20 skin type: dry to normal favorite beauty product: skincare

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  1. I used to use Clinique’s three step system–I also tried their acne system. They’re good products, they just weren’t the right products for me at the time.

  2. Clinique’s 3 step for oily skin was my go to as a teenager, but I haven’t used them in years. Might be time for a revisit!

  3. This review is so thorough–love it! I’ve used the Dramatically Different lotion before and really liked it; now I want to try the whole 3 step system.

  4. These were my very first skin care products ever. The fact that they have staying power over decades says something!

  5. I have never used the whole three step program but I have tried the Dramatically different lotion in my 20’s but it didn’t work for me than, but my skin hs changed some what and it may work now.

  6. I started using the three step system back in March, my skin has improved so dramatically since I started. I was skeptical at first and kind of grumpy at the price but it is so unbelievably worth it. I break out due to stress constantly and this system has helped to control those breakouts nicely. I have pretty sensitive skin with some mild roseacia in the cheeks and its been very kind and my cheeks arent so red anymore.

  7. I have not really tried many Clinique facial care products,but I love the face wash for oily skin and it really keeps my skin looking clean and healthy.I would love to win this wonderful clinique 3 step skincare system.Thank you for the chance to win!

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