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Does The Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum Really Provide Each Customer With A Personalized Skincare Treatment?


We’ve heard of artificial intelligence in the technology realm (particularly within robotics and computer software), but can skincare products exhibit similar behaviors? Can they, for instance, use human-like evaluation skills, assessing existing problems within the skin matrix and the dermal cells therein and, based on the conclusions drawn, decide which problem-solving ingredients to deliver and at what concentrations? Well, these sounds like extraordinarily high expectations and yet Clinique claims to have accomplished precisely this feat with its potentially ground-breaking new product: the Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum ($59.50 at Clinique.com).

A virtual genie in a bottle, this serum aims to make your every wish its command. On a macro scale, the serum hopes to target any existing skin damage — whether it’s visible in the epidermis or lurking deeper within the dermis (in the latter case, any brewing problems would likely manifest at a later date, so the serum would prevent any further deterioration). But terms like “skin damage” are inherently vague — after all, while one woman may be griping about her increasingly saggy skin, another may be tormented by the dark spots peppering her complexion. When Clinique talks about repairing skin, then, it’t taking into account all these various woes: hyperpigmentation, loss of elasticity, dull skin tone, topical irritation, dehydration, and fine lines and wrinkles. And here’s the mind-boggling, game-changing twist: the serum manages to detect any existing damage (in whichever of the aforementioned forms it’s manifested) and deliver only the ingredients within the formula that will help treat these afflictions. If, for instance, you have lingering acne marks and sun spots but don’t yet have any crow’s feet or frown lines, the serum will recognize this and respond accordingly so as to deliver targeted repair — hence the “custom” portion of this serum.

In terms of its formula, the serum contains a medley of hotshot ingredients such as:

  • Licorice extract, which acts as an anti-inflammatory and contains glabridin, a flavonoid that inhibits the activation of tyrosinase, the enzyme that controls melanin production. Because of its glabridin content, licorice is commonly used in skin brightening products.
  • Red algae extract, which is rich in polysaccharides that improve the skin’s barrier function, locking in moisture and thereby producing a firming effect.
  • Hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant that keeps skin moisturized and looking supple and youthful.
  • Salicylic acid, which promotes exfoliation, removing dead surface skin cells and keeping pores unclogged while also treating and preventing acne breakouts.
  • Cucumber extract, a cooling and soothing botanical that fends off inflammation.
  • Wheat germ extract, which improves blood circulation and even helps to repair sun-damaged skin cells thanks to its high content of vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • Barley extract, which promotes cellular renewal and improves the skin’s moisture-retention abilities thanks to its high concentration of linoleic acid and plant phytosterols.
  • Dianella Ensifolia, a grass-like plant that contains powerful antioxidants that eradicate dark spots and discoloration more effectively than hydroquinone (and without the risks associated with the latter).
  • Black mulberry, which contains phytochemicals that inhibit tyrosinase activity and thereby prevent hyperpigmentation while breaking up existing melanin clusters
  • Ergothioneine, an amino acid commonly found in certain types of mushrooms that has been shown to protect DNA structures and proteins from oxidative stress and damage, as well as inhibit melanin production.
  • Acetyl hexapeptide-8, a collagen-boosting peptide that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Siegesbeckia Orientalis, which promotes collagen production, thereby minimizing visible aging signs and making skin appear plumper, as well as lending it a smoother and more refined texture.
  •  Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, which leads to the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid well below the skin’s surface.
  • Ultrasomes, Photosomes, and Roxisomes, which help repair UV damage by protecting and maximizing the effectivity of the skin’s DNA repair process.


 Now, this all sounds great, but does the serum actually work? Well, I’m hardly a chemist so I can’t attest to whether the serum does, indeed, only release the ingredients it deems necessary to each individual user or whether it just infuses the skin with the entire banquet of active ingredients. But I can say this: after using the serum for a month,I’m quite pleased with the results. First, the serum feels rather rich when you pump a few drops onto the palm of your hand and yet it feels airy and light on the skin and, moreover, leaves your complexion feeling silky soft. I noticed a significant change in the texture of my skin — and I’m speaking specifically about softness here — by the second or third application. After a few weeks, my skin started looking a bit brighter and more alive, and I did notice that my “11s” (those two wrinkles right in between the brows) don’t seem quite as deep. As far a hyperpigmentation goes, I must say that the difference in terms of existing dark spots has been noticeable but far from drastic (don’t expect instant results in this particular area but, instead, stick with the serum and see how it fairs over a five-month stretch of time).

Bottom line: whether or not this serum can actually create a customized routine for your particular complexion remains open for debate but, that aside, it does deliver results on all the fronts it set out to tackle, making it a wise investment. Best of all, it tackles a number of problems simultaneously, saving you from having to add more steps to your skincare regimen.


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