Clinique even better essence lotion

Even Better Essence Lotion Combination to Oily

What Clinique is calling an “Essence” is really more of a “toner” than anything else—but a rose by any name is still a rose and in this case, that’s actually a very good thing. Even Better Essence Lotion for Combination Oily to Oily is a great toner for its intended skin types (and the acne-prone). In comparison to Clinique’s standard toner collection (their Clarifying Lotions), Even Better Essence so far surpasses those it’s almost a bit shocking—it includes a nice array of beneficial ingredients in a lightweight formula that isn’t alcohol based (like most of their Clarifying Lotions). As is the case with Clinique’s products in general, it is fragrance free, so this is a rose that will not irritate your skin!

Even Better Essence Lotion for Combination Oily to Oily is primarily a mix of plant-based antioxidants such as watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris), apple (Pyrus malus), cucumber (Cucumis sativus) and green tea extract—just to name a few. Tamarind (Tamarindus indica seed extract) makes an appearance as well, which has research demonstrating its potential for antioxidant, wound healing and anti-inflammatory benefit (Pharmacognosy Review, 2011).

The amount of moisture provided is slight (and this has a water-like feel on skin, too), which you would expect given this formula is meant for oily to combination skin types. Clinique included a beneficial mix of reparatives—glycerin, wheat germ, lentil extract, and sodium hyaluronate are a few—and each play roles in helping skin replenish and retain the substances that keep it smooth and healthy.

Interesting to note, Clinique added the ingredient, “saccharomyces ferment filtrate”, which if you’re familiar with the beauty brand SK-II, this is the yeast extract of which they refer to as “pitera”. Clinique isn’t making any bold claims about this yeast, which is good because there is scant published, independent research demonstrating saccharomyces ferment filtrate has any benefit beyond being an antioxidant (and not all that great an antioxidant either).

Despite all of the pros for this toner, we have to comment on Clinique’s statement on the box and enclosed directions that this is “Formulated for Asian skins”. Of course, Clinique never actually explains what the “special” needs of Asian skin are or what ingredients in this product fit those requirements. But even more to the point there is no research anywhere in the world showing any skin care or makeup product can be formulated based on race.

The same way there aren’t medicines based on your racial background (for example vaccines and antibiotics are universal) skin is the same. Skin is the largest organ of the body and what it needs to be healthy doesn’t change based upon your race—just like your heart or kidneys don’t need something different to be healthy.

Forgive us if we belabor this point a bit because we find it so infuriating and ludicrous. Skin-care products aren’t interested in your ethnicity. All ethnicities need ingredients like antioxidants, cell-communicating agents, daily sun protection, and regular use of a well-formulated AHA or BHA exfoliant. This marketing becomes more silly than helpful when you consider that “Asian skins” doesn’t really have any meaning given the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Israel are West Asia; China is East Asia; India South Asia; and even part of Russia is Northern Asia. Encouraging this separate nation skin-care standard is probably more detrimental and misleading than helpful.

Despite the ethnic-centric marketing statement, what remains true is that this can be counted among the better skin-care products Clinique has released over the past few years, and a fine example of what a well-formulated toner should contain.


  • Contains a beneficial array of antioxidants and anti-irritants.
  • Sheer, lightweight moisturizing toner that’s ideal for oily to combination skin types.
  • Fragrance-free, gentle formula.


  • This is not specially “Formulated for Asian skins” as there is no research showing that Asians need different skin care ingredients than any other ethnic background.

Earlier this year, I predicted that 2014 shall be the year of treatment lotions, and you know what? I’m being proven right! We’re now in February and I’ve already showed you one from Estee Lauder which had gotten a lot of interest. Forward one month and I have for you another from Clinique and you know what? I have another waiting in the wings! Gosh, I’m a soothsayer, I am 😀

The Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion is yet another Asia exclusive product for now, which pretty much gels with my earlier theory that the brands are releasing these treatment lotions in Asia first because consumers in Asia are already familiar with these sort of treatment lotions thanks to the indoctrination received from multiple Asian skincare brands.

Seeing it come out from the big Western brands however makes me realise just how much attention is focused on the Asian market and just how much more they are willing to cater to Asian skincare preferences, which is always a good thing. For friends in the Western world, you could find this popping up at a counter near you in time to come – hopefully! 🙂

So, what is Clinique’s essence lotion offering like? I’ve been trialing this for a month or so thanks to a preview sample from Clinique Malaysia and these have just gone on shelves too. At an affordable price, I might add, so it’s a good time to tell you about it! 😉

Clinique placed their Essence Lotion under their Even Better range which targets skintone correction (the whitening range, as it were) and introduces their Even Better Essence Lotion to perform 3 skin functions:-

  • Hydrate – Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Extract, Pyrus Malus Fruit (Apple) Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Extract, Sodium PCA (NMF complex) and Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract
  • Brighten – Pyrus Malus (Apple) Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis (Root) Extract, and Cucumis Sativas (Cucumber) Extract
  • Calm – Sucrose and Caffeine, Cladosiphon Okamuranus Extract and Algae Extract, Tamarindus Indica Seed Extract

Interestingly also, it comes in 2 formulations – 1,2 for dry to very dry skintypes and 3,4 for combination to oily skintypes and their key ingredients are:-

  • Skin Type 1 & 2 – Olive Squalane, Barley Extract, Wheat Germ Extract and Jojoba Esters to help keep skin hydrated and supple
  • Skin Type 3 & 4 – Laminaria Saccharina Extract to normalize excess sebum production over time.

The reason I’ve included the key ingredients above is because I don’t have the full ingredient list and this is the best I can do for now until I get it. It does specifically say that it is formulated without alcohol for those who have this concern 🙂

As I do tend towards having dry skin, I’m using the Type 1 & 2 version which is a rather thick, opaque emulsion consistency. This isn’t watery like the Estee Lauder Micro Essence and SK-II Treatment Essence, nor does it have the liquid-gel consistency of La Mer Treatment Lotion. It is like a gel emulsion and I will tell you, will suit only those who really do have dry to very dry skin. The majority of you therefore will likely go for the one for Type 3 & 4 which has a lighter texture.

You may be able to notice the slightly opaque and runny emulsion texture of the Essence Lotion that brings to mind barley water.

As I have personally discovered myself, when my skin is dry and dehydrated, it looks lacklustre and dull and whatever freckles or pigmentation I have shows up more prominently. It is for this reason (and because so many whitening products dry my skin out) that I had forsaken using whitening creams and serums and focus on keeping my skin well hydrated and have been since 2011. The plus side of this shift in focus is that I ended up with better looking skin and while my pigmentation doesn’t go away, it does look less prominent and my skin looks better. When I slack off, it looks worse. Skincare is an on-going process!

So this is where this Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion comes in. It serves as both an essence and a lotion to be used after cleansing and toning and before serum and moisturiser. It helps add moisture to skin, keep skin more hydrated and in the long run, also help to brighten skin. This isn’t a brightening serum however. Clinique has the Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector Serum for that (which is one of the more effective products I’ve used) so you would use this in tandem not as a replacement.

I use this as recommended, by dropping a few drops on my palm and then applying to my face, and follow up with my other skincare. I did run into problems, however. You see, it’s a solid bottle and the emulsion is quite thick so it’s really really hard to get it out of the bottle without being able to squeeze the bottle.

Shaking the bottle doesn’t help very much and I always risk dispensing too much product, so I have to be quite patient and allow 2-3 drops to fall into my palm on their own accord. I don’t know if the more liquid version fares better, but I believe this is a bit of a design fault that Clinique might want to look into for their Type 1 & 2 version.

In terms of hydration, I will vouch for this lotion’s hydrating properties. My skin does feel nice and hydrated. Does it make my skin look even better? It’s hard to say. Remember, I’d been using the La Mer Treatment Lotion before this and then followed by the Estee Lauder Micro Essence lotion. I cannot in any good conscience or honesty show you a before/after because I don’t see any drastic improvement, just maintenance.

I can tell you however, that it does make my skin feel very comfortable and it does hydrate well. Any improvement in skin radiance will I believe come at a much later date because I ran into another problem.

This product contains Olive Squalene and my skin tends to react to anything with olive extract in it, which means simply I can use this but only once a day and on alternate days (which works because I use Liquid Gold every alternate day) so I use it at night on non-Liquid Gold nights and it’s fine. If I’m overzealous, I get little spots but that is quite unique to me coz of my olive extract problem – truly, I haven’t come across anyone else complaining about this since Olive extract is so well known for having lots of benefits! 😛

Coming in at RM125/150ml and don’t quote me, but coming from the Estee Lauder group, I’d say this is an affordable option to the other essence lotions that we’ve been seeing coming from the same group of companies. It will most certainly offer competition and the different formulation for different skin types is also an added bonus. If your skin will accept it that is 🙂

In a nutshell

The Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion is a treatment lotion to be used after cleansing and toning and before serum and moisturiser. The purpose is to help hydrate and keep skin hydrated as well as brighten and calm skin over time. It comes in 2 formulations for Dry and Oily skin types and has 2 different textures. I used the Type 1 & 2 for Dry to Very Dry skin which has an emulsion texture. It felt comfortable on skin although the inclusion of olive squalene meant I couldn’t use it too often as my skin can break out from using olive extract (I’m an odd case). My skin did feel hydrated and comfortable with this which is probably the best I can say. It is affordable and useful to have in your skincare routine to boost skin hydration, if you have been thinking of using similar products. My quibble will be with the packaging, which isn’t practical considering the texture of the product and Clinique might want to rethink that.

Pros: Skin does feel hydrated after using this, Easy to use, Absorbs quickly without a sticky feeling

Cons: The dispenser isn’t suitable for the thicker consistency of the Type 1 & 2 essence lotion, My sensitivity to olive extract means I cannot use this daily

Who will like this: Anyone interested in these new treatment lotions and wanting an affordable alternative, Anyone who wants to add a treatment lotion or hydration treatment lotion to their skincare routine

Clinique EBEL v EL Micro Essence vs La Mer Treatment Lotion vs SK-II FTE

Alright, time to read minds again! 😀 Since this is one of the many treatment lotions that have been coming out, how do they stack up next to each other?

Again, SK-II is a non-starter as it breaks me out quite badly but I put it in here because it’s the most recognisable treatment lotion out there.

Pitting Clinique EBEL against Estee Lauder Micro Essence is a bit of a toughie because of the different textures. Clinique caters for different skin types, while Estee Lauder applies to all skin types. The textures are different and I believe my skin reacted differently as a result. However, due to the fact that my skin can’t handle too much of the Clinique EBEL, I’m picking the Micro Essence as my preference between the two.

Clinique vs La Mer results in La Mer winning, but I also picked La Mer against EL so I’m just being consistent here 🙂

For me: La Mer > Estee Lauder >= Clinique > SK-II

If not for my olive extract sensitivity, I’d pick Clinique over Estee Lauder simply due to it’s lower pricetag for essentially a similar product (ingredients not withstanding).

Whew! Thanks for reading my thesis 🙂

Are you intrigued by the Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion then? Have you tried the other treatment lotions I’ve mentioned before this?

This Clinique one just went on shelves and if you head down to the counters, you could be able to snag some samples and see if this works for you. Again, manage your expectations because we will all react to skincare differently, but do let me know how you find this should you try it! 🙂 Oh and I believe this is available only in Asia for now.

Paris B

Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion comes in 2 types: Type 1 & 2 for Very Dry to Dry combination skin and Type 3 & 4 for Oily to Oily Combination skin Price: RM125/150ml Availability: All Clinique counters and the online store, Asia only until further notice

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