Aug 12 2014

Brand Spotlight: Clarins Skincare Review


Two weeks ago I posted the first installment of my Brand Spotlight series, which focused on makeup and the brand NARS. I want to keep the ball rolling and try to stick with my bi-monthly schedule. I’ll probably end up doing one makeup brand spotlight and one skincare brand spotlight per month on Tuesdays (fingers crossed). Today I have for you a Clarins Skincare Review.

A few months ago, I became curious about Clarins as a brand, having never really tried anything besides their Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed some years ago.  I’d seen a few of their products featured by various bloggers and since it is a brand that is easily available in The Bahamas, I thought I’d give it a go.

Jacques Courtin started Clarins, a French luxury skincare brand, in 1954. It has since expanded globally to over 150 countries and focuses on plant-based beauty products.

Here’s what I ended up purchasing (you can check out the respective hauls here and here): Toning Lotion With Iris, Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter,”Special” Eye Contour Balm and the Truly Matte Hydra-Matte Lotion (samples given at the time of purchase).

Clarins Skincare Review

You may notice that some of the products are geared toward dry/sensitive skin. Despite being a combo-oily gal, my skin tends to be slightly dehydrated, especially around the eye area (see my Skin Stats for more information). Also, I prefer a more gentle cleanser in the mornings.

Anyway, back to the Clarins Skincare Review:


Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter

Clarins Skincare Review

This is a cream cleanser geared toward drier skin and has a mild-moderate foam. According to Clarins it “floats away make-up, pollutants and pore-clogging debris without disturbing skin’s natural moisture balance” leaving the skin soft and silky-smooth.  The formula also claims to neutralize the drying effects of hard water.

According to the company, the primary beneficial ingredients of this product are: Katafray Bark Extract (to prevent moisture loss); Tamarind Fruit Acid (to help eliminate dry skin cells that block pores); Shea Butter (to protect, nourish and regenerate skin); Gypsophila (Plant) Extract (produces gentle foam); Cottonseed (to leave skin soft and smooth) and Bio-Ecolia (extracted from natural sugars to help to preserve the skin’s natural moisture balance).

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter Review

After using the Gentle Foaming Cleanser in the mornings for about a month and a half, my conclusion is that it is a decent product but not my favorite. I like how it feels on the skin as well as how my skin feels after using it, clean but not tight. The only thing that gets to me somewhat is the heavy fragrance.

So here’s the thing, many Clarins products have a strong scent. In all fairness, they don’t claim to be fragrance-free but the sales associates with whom I’ve spoken with always like to say that there is no “fragrance” as in added fragrance. I suppose this is meant to imply that the smell comes from the “plant-extracts” or other ingredients. To complicate matters further, the term “fragrance-free” and what it “officially” means is not well-defined.

Anyway, point is, this has a strong scent which may not agree with everyone. That being said, it did not cause irritation or break me out, therefore, I may consider repurchasing it in the future. Last note, for those interested and who follow Beautypedia Reviews, this particular product received a “GOOD” rating on Paula’s Choice.

A full size (which is the size featured here) retails for $19.50 BSD/$23.00 USD/£19.00/$34.00 CAD.


Clarins “Special” Eye Contour Balm


Clarins Skincare Review

Clarins makes two versions of this eye contour balm or eye cream, the regular version and “Special” version (which is the one I picked up). Being geared toward drier, more mature skin, it claims to “smooth the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and crows feet while protecting the delicate skin on eyelids and eye contours”.

According to the company, the primary beneficial ingredients of this product are: Cereal Grain extract (too nourish & moisturize); Chicory extract (to smooth & energize); Light-correcting pigments (to optically minimize wrinkles and fine lines); Gingko Biloba extract (to help fight wrinkles & revitalize) and Chamomile & Aloe (to soften).

Clarins Special Eye Contour Balm Review

For me, this was hands down the standout product of all those I tested.  As mentioned, the area around my eyes is dry, especially underneath. I find that this does a fabulous job of moisturizing without feeling heavy. Although I mostly use this balm in the evening before bed, I did occasionally use it in the day and found subsequent makeup application around that area (i.e. concealer, shadow) to be a dream.

Unlike some of Clarins’ other products, this is not heavily scented. Actually, it has very mild, pleasant aroma suggestive of the ingredients (grains, aloe, chamomile). What I also love about this is the fact that it is designed to be used on the actually eye lid as well – which I did without experiencing any adverse effects. Finally, the packaging – no jar, yay! (I will still use products that are packaged in jars, however I prefer not to stick my finger into something, especially skincare, when I can avoid it. For face masks/scrubs I feel like it’s OK because I don’t use those kind of products everyday).

This was my favorite product of the bunch. I would repurchase and recommend.

A full size of (which is the size featured here) retails for $31.50 BSD/$36.00 USD/£30.00/$53.00 CAD.


Clarins Toning Lotion With Iris

This alcohol-free toner is marketed for oily-combination skin, it contains Iris and Sage extracts and claims to “remove every last trace of cleanser”, tighten pores, and normalize surface oils leaving skin balanced, “pristine-clean and perfectly radiant”.  According to the company, the primary beneficial ingredients are: Bio-ecolia (preserves the skin’s natural balance; Witch Hazel (purifies, refreshes) and Aloe (softens, moisturizes).

Clarins Skincare Review

I am on the fence. I definitely like the fact that this is alcohol-free and the way it makes me skin feel right after use, but I suspect this toner may be breaking me out. I got this idea into my head last week when I heard Rebekka Victoria mention briefly in one of her videos that this product may have been causing her to break out. Having noticed a few nasties creep up on my own face, I wondered if this toner might be the culprit and stopped using it for a few days but there was no difference in my skin. So the breakouts remain a mystery. I know it’s not the Foaming Cleanser because I started using that first, about three weeks before the toner, and didn’t notice anything out of the way.

Anyway, I will update you guys, but my current feeling is that while I will continue to use toner until it’s done, I won’t be repurchasing.

A full size (which is the size featured here) retails for $19.50 BSD/$23.00 USD/£19.00/$33.00 CAD.


Clarins (Truly Matte) Hydra-Matte Lotion

The lovely lady at the Clarins counter gave me two deluxe samples of the Hyrda-Matte Lotion with my purchase which totally floored me cause samples aren’t a big thing in The Bahamas. I was, therefore, very pleased to be able to properly test out an additional Clarins skincare product. This mattifying lotion claims to calm, soothe, tighten pores and reduce shine at the T-zone while moisturizing the skin.

Clarins Skincare Review

According to the company, the primary beneficial ingredients are:  Linden and Green Algae Extracts (to moisturize and soothe); Chrysin, Alpine Willow Herb, White Dead Nettle, Zinc, Vitamin B6 (mattify, balance and reduces excessive oil production in oily areas); Lantana (astringent to purifiy skin and tighten pores and Anti-Pollution complex (White Tea, Succory Dock-Cress, Glycofilm to protect against free radicals and the harmful effects of the environment).

Clarins Truly Matte Hydra-Matte Lotion Review

The Hydra-Matte Lotion has thin, weight-less consistency that is comfortable on the skin and easy to apply. I think this is a fairly decent mattifier but not the best that I’ve tried. Like the Gentle Foaming Cleanser, there is a strong (but pleasant) scent. While I will continue to use the samples that I have, I probably won’t be purchasing the full size.  Also, I kind of wish it had SPF – so that I could use it on its own instead of having to layer a sunscreen on top which I feel can affect its mattifying capabilities.

A full size of the Hydra-Matte Lotion retails for $39.50 BSD/$43.00 USD/£26.00/$ 43.00 CAD.



There were definitely some hits (contour balm) and misses (iris toning lotion), as well as a few products in between (gentle foaming cleanser/hydra-matter lotion) with respect to my recent venture into the Clarins brand. I remain interested in this line and will continue to keep it on my radar.

Clarins products are sold almost everywhere as well as online. For example, there is a U.S, U.K. and Canadian site, as well as sites for many other countries. In The Bahamas, Clarins is sold at John Bull and other retailers in the downtown Nassau area.


I’d be curious to know if any of you have tried this brand and have any favorites and/or recommendations!





All products featured were purchased by the author. All opinion’s are the author’s. No affiliate links. For more information see Disclaimer here.




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  1. I don’t get on with Clarins to be honest – I think they are geared to older skin my mum loves them but everything I have used has been heavy and harsh to me! I have the beauty balm which has been alright but I’m not convinced yet! xx

    Jasmin Charlotte

    1. I feel you. It’s not a brand I’m normally drawn to but I thought I’d give it a go, especially as it’s one that I have easy access to. We don’t have every and any brand here at home and international ordering/shipping is sometimes limited. Because I love the eye cream so much, though, I’m willing to try a few more things. 🙂

  2. Lovely brand spotlight! I have not tried out their skincare, and don’t really have the intention to do so anytime soon. Like you said, Kimmy, there is a scent which I personally don’t think is just from the plant extracts. I have one of their foundations and it is supposed to keep my hydrated, but the fragrance and alcohol in it dry out my skin a little after a while! xx

    1. Thanks Silke. I suspect the same, lol (in terms of the scent not just coming from the plant extracts). It’s too bad as all that scent is unnecessary. I do very much enjoy the eye cream though (probably because it doesn’t have that heavy scent). That’s awful about the foundation! And I was thinking about trying their Ever Matte Foundation….wonder if I should now?

  3. I used the cleanser in the past and the fact than i really don’t remember if I truly liked it or simply used it up speaks for itself 😛 I agree with you, the eye cream is amazing! My favourite product from them will always be the waterproof makeup remover, I usually buy the Sephora one but I used that or years and I simply adore it! Love love love this serie! 😉 xx

    1. Thanks hun. I love doing these series and I’m glad you’re enjoying them. It’s super fun to test out brands this way, whether it be a brand I’ve never tried or one that I have. I’ve been tempted to try out the Clarins makeup remover, especially now that you’ve said you like it. It’s going on the list! xxKimmy

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