Throwback | My first skin care routine: Clinique 3-Step System

As a teenager I once bought something from a well-known Dutch perfumery. I received a trial set of the Clinique 3-Step skin care routine with my purchase. And I used it right away the same day.

I was immediately sold! I used to only wash my face and then use a cream. But now there was a new step: an exfoliating lotion! I felt I was taking my skin care to the next level. And I felt super grown up.

Luckily it was almost Christmas, so I put the 3-step skin care routine on my Christmas list. And I got it! I got a full-size package of every step. My mother complained a bit about it. She had to buy the products separately instead of per set. I guess it was expensive.

But I was very thrifty with the set so I spent months with it. After everything was empty I never bought a new set again. I don’t remember being that satisfied with it. For example that I saw a lot of improvement in my skin or that it shone more than before.

I kind of forgot about the set, until a couple of years ago I found a trial set among my husband’s stuff. Apparently it was from his ex and I appropriated it. The formula seemed to have improved, but it still had no wow effect. Yet it remains my first skin care routine, so it’s worth a tribute!

About the brand Clinique

Clinique is an American manufacturer of cosmetics, skin care, fragrances and toiletries. It is usually sold in high-end department stores and it’s a subsidiary of the Estee Lauder Companies.

Evelyn Lauder, a member of the Lauder family, created the brand Clinique and developed the product line. It was launched in 1968 and it was the first-ever line of dermatologist-developed skin care.

The Clinique products are free from ingredients that could potentially harm the skin. All products are free from parabens, fragrances and phthalates.

The 3-Step Skin Care System

The 3-Step Skin Care System was launched in 1968(!). It consisted of 3 simple steps: a facial soap, a clarifying lotion and a Dramatically Different Lotion.

The skin care products can be used twice a day and back in the 60s it revolutionized the beauty industry. For most women the 3-Step Skin Care System was their first skin care regime ever! I feel addressed…

The skin care products are categorized for different skin types. Type 1 is for very dry/ dry skin type. Type 2 for dry/ combination skin type. Type 3 for combination oily and Type 4 for oily skin type. Honestly I can’t remember what type skin care products I had when I was an adolescent. I think it could be Type 1 or Type 2.

Step 1: The Facial Soap

I can remember this product came in a pump. It was very economical and I used it longer than the other products from this skin care routine. I can remember using it for so long that the packaging got a little dirty on the outside.

The product cleaned my face very well and didn’t sting my eyes. Nor did it dry out my skin. It was just a very good cleanser!

Step 2: The Clarifying Lotion

I remember that I really liked this step of the regime. It removed a lot of dirt from my face and I loved to see how my cotton wool became brown.

Although the product stung a lot. That was already well-known back in the days. When my mother bought this product for me the saleswoman told her that this product stings and that was how it was supposed to be. I just read that there were a lot of complaints about the stinging sensation. So Clinique changed the formula.

What I liked less about this lotion was the packaging. The opening is very large. Sometimes more product came out than I actually wanted to use, making my cotton wool soaked. I went through the product faster because of that.

Step 3: Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

The gel had a light texture, but I could remember that I didn’t really like this product. It stung a bit around my eyes and the taste was bad… Very bitter. I’m not eating my skin care products haha. But sometimes the product came too close to my mouth and then I accidentally taste it. I don’t know, but I still can taste this product to this day.

I used this gel as a cream, but apparently that isn’t the intention. The Lotion is meant to lock the Clarifying Lotion. It’s therefore not a substitute for cream, so you have to use one afterwards. Aha, didn’t know that.

I don’t think I will buy products from Clinique ever again. Even though I liked it back in the days, I feel that some other (cheaper) are more suitable for my Asian skin. But thanks to Clinique I have taken my first steps in a skin care routine. And my skin is always grateful for that!

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