Clinique 3-Step Skincare

Posted in Writing.

It’s not often I write beauty features for Little Bird – mostly because I’m pretty cynical about ‘innovative’ new products, and prefer to keep it simple. I am, however, very serious about skincare. My mission for perfect skin has been ongoing for 12 years (and counting).

I won’t bore you with my teenage horror stories – this is no place for pustules. There’ll be no talk of excess oil, blocked pores or (shudder) sebum. I will tell you about the range that’s working for me, right now – the Clinique 3-Step system.

The Clinique 3-Step skincare regime

Summer is when my skin struggles most. A combination of heat, humidity and sun cream (factor 30 or above, folks!) means I’m shining like a beacon by 11am. No amount of powder or blotting paper (so 90s!) will reduce the oiliness. The thought of suffering through another summer with a highly reflective forehead was too much to bear, so I marched to my local Debenhams and demanded a solution. Well, okay… I went to the Clinique counter and meekly asked for assistance.

I’ve heard mixed reviews of the famous 3-Step system, but Clinique appeals to me as a brand because it’s so, well, clinical. There’s no fluff, no celebrity, no so-called ‘innovation’. The staff wear white coats like doctors, rather than short skirts like models (I’m looking at you, Benefit). The brand says ‘trust me, I know what I’m doing.’ And the staff really do – I had a skin consultation which highlighted my main areas of concern (oiliness and blemishes) and my products were chosen based on my individual needs. Each product was explained in full and I was given a demonstration of how the three work together. I paid £45 for the set (original RRP £57, special price £50, and an in-store £5 off promo made it £45) and have stuck to the 3-Step system for four weeks. The results?

I’m delighted. The difference is clear (literally) – my skin is almost completely matt, make-up stays put and blemishes have been few and far between. It also looks brighter, fresher and healthier. The results are fantastic and well worth the £45 investment – it’s not as cheap as a bottle of Clearasil on 3 for 2 in Boots, but definitely more effective.

It’s make or break time for the Clinique 3-Step system now though – I usually find after a month of use, my skin gets accustomed to the product and it gradually stops working. If I can get to the end of these bottles and still see such amazing results, I’ll know I’ve found a skincare regime for life. Fingers crossed that this marks the end of my 12 year mission…

Do you suffer with your skin? Do you swear by one single product or flirt with a few? Share your skincare tips in the comments below.


Miss Lucy

I too have heard mixed reviews of the Clinique 3 step system but it continues to be popular so it must work for some. I’m pleased that you’ve found a solution (fingers crossed) for your skin! It’s no mean feat to find something which does what it says on the tin xx


I use it but I only use 2 steps, I can’t use the moisturiser as its far too greasy for me! And I’ve tried them all. If you stick to it twice a day then its really great for your skin. I have just started using moisture surge instead of a moisturiser and that seems quite effective, no flaky patches or oily patches!


I just slop on Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse over the top of the sun cream and whatever else. That’s the “mattest” foundation I know.

Oh, Lancome Pure Focus is superb if you have an oily T-zone.


Clinique is such a popular brand but unfortunately is too harsh for my skin. I do use their eye make-up remover though and it is lovely!

Miss A

I really want to try the 3-step system. I have usd the DDMG before and it’s such a fab light moisturiser. Perfect for my super oily skin.

Am now very intrigued about the toner and the liquid facial soap.

What can I say – I’m a skincare junkie and always try different brands, products etc. The bad thing is: most of them don’t work (I need something that truly mattifies!) and this is why I keep buying new things…

Clinique next 😛



I used this, but found it stripped the oil off my oily skin, then my skin created mor to compensate, then I ended up with icky skin. Then I read up on the ingredients and threw my kit away. My best skin investment was my clarisonic. 🙂


Hello! (I’m a new reader!) Clinique 3 step did work for me until winter when my skin became to dry, and then I ran out of money to try again, sticking to Dove soap. Currently I’m discovering Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish based on a friends recommendation which is gorgeous so far (and a bit cheaper than Clinique). Good luck for a shine free summer! x


i love clinique everything! they always give such great gifts at the department stores when you’re stocking up on new products!


My mum is a fan these clinique products but the moisturiser actually burns my sensitive skin so I stay far away from it! Im a fan of Lush products and have been for a while plus they smell gorgeous! I do like clinique moisture surge though


ahh, years ago I used to love this stuff as a teenager! I’m a hardcore Neal’s Yard/Faith in Nature/Trevarno fan though now as I hated how Clinique stripped my skin x


I’m with those who say Clinique stripped my skin – ultimately it just ended up producing more oil to compensate. I swear by Eve Lom cleanser – it’s super expenny but lasts absolutely ages, and is the best product I’ve ever used on my oily, spot prone skin. I use a Chanel moisturiser, and Trilogy’s rosehip oil if I feel I need a boost. A random selection, but one that I’ve got to through a lot of trial and error. (Not to mention hundreds and hundreds of pounds over the years – I shudder to think!)


I have quite bad acne, which I hoped would go by the age of 20, then 30 and now I’m hoping for it to be gone by my 40th!

I have tried so many things, but actually clearasil lotion followed by Garnier Pure A anti blemish moisturiser is the best combination so far. I use a pure mineral foundation too which I think helps my skin.



I use skincare from several brands, and my favourite things atm are Clinique’s Moisture Surge and Neal’s Yard Vit E and Avocado night cream. If I find something that’s working I try and stick to it, but I’m such a lotions and potions junkie I do like to try new things when I can.

Last time I went home I was talking to my brother while I took my makeup off as he was making fun of me about going to bed early. When I had finally applied my final moisturiser he said “No wonder you go to bed early, you need the time to put on ten different moisturisers!”

Elizabeth @rosalilium

I find Clinique too harsh for my skin, and there’s too many nasties in it for my liking.

I use Ponds Cold Cream for make-up removal, Origins Rosewater for toning, olive oil soap for washing, and Ponds Anti-Ageing moisturiser. And I’ve finally stopped breaking out in spots. Hoorah!

Lizzy Lips

I’ve been using the 3-step for years and swear by it. I pretty much used every clinique now. I love all the freebes they give out too!


I have the opposite skin to you Jen, just all over really dry and I get eczema and flakiness and just ICK! I went to clinique with birthday vouchers and asked for some advice and they were absolutely wonderful. It worked so well initially, I felt like I had some moisture in my skin, but now I’m lazy and tend to only do it after a shower (tssk!) but, reading your post I am inspired as this weather is playing absolute havoc with my skin (not just on my face) and I need moisture urgently!! Lovely post 🙂 xxx


Just thought as well, technically I only use the first two steps and I use Simple moisturiser. The lady at the clinique counter went through the benefits of using at least part of the plan and said that if I used the soap and the toner but combined it with the simple makeup remover and moisturiser it would be a bit cheaper but still give good results!


Unfortunately when I tried this range many years ago, it totally ruined my skin, it’s far too harsh for my skin! I now use oxygen creams which don’t stop working after habitual use and they transformed my skin! Glad it worked for you though! x


I have tried a few ranges, Clinique didn’t work well for me, too harsh, but Creme de la mer does. Eek! on the price though x


My skin is completely unpredictable, I never know what to do. I’ll have a couple of good weeks to lull me into a false sense of security, then it’ll throw me five cysts the size of golf balls, an oily forehead and a flaky chin. Mainly I just put up with it, nothing seems to work, apart from using night cream from Aldi, of all places! It’s not too heavy, keeps the dryness at bay, and very reasonably priced as well.

claire eloise

I suffer with skin problems so much, and have done mainly since starting university due to not being able to cook, so, therefore, eating mainly junk food.
I used to use Clinique, but like many found it a little too harsh for my sensitive skin as my skin felt taut afterwards. Ever since I’ve been trying out a million and one things, I quite liked the Body Shop Seaweed facial wash, but again found it left my skin taut.

After reading countless reviews I finally gave in and bought the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish and their moisturiser. For me it has worked wonders, it’s only been 4 weeks now, so like you I’m just crossing my fingers it will last. But it has yet to irritate my excema, my makeup goes on so well afterwards and my skin has never felt so clean and refreshed. I even go out without makeup on now, which is a huge deal for me. However, I did find their toner made my skin taut so only use the cleanse and polish and moisturiser.


Another Little World

As a teenager I suffered from very oil and skin that was prone to breakouts and lots of congestion. I tried Clinique and it worked amazing to strip the oil, however it continued to strip my skin also which has now left my skin marked. I have tried many different products, some being ok some being much better but nothing that I loved. However opening my own Beauty room in Feb I needed something I could trust and love and thats when I turned to Organic skin care and met Angela Langford. I can honestly say hand on heart my skin has been it’s best and I know what every single ingredient is found in each product. I bet if you looked on these products you would have no idea what they are but they are probably found in anti freeze and wood preserves. Scary hey x


My mum uses Clinique because she used to have quite bad oily skin and it worked wonders for her. I do love their products and I always end up stealing them when I go home from uni! I swear by Boots Vitamin E range, it just seemed to work so well on me I just haven’t wanted to change it. The one time I did the Simple range completely negated any good I had done previously!

Maria xxx

P.S. Apologies for the long comment! I also have noticed an improvement after drinking green tea, Clipper’s is VERY nice 🙂

girls wear pink

I have worked for and managed several beauty counters in my time and have been lucky enough to be able to try several brands for free or with lots of lovely discount. I find Clinique facial products too harsh personally (although their 7day face exfoliter and their body products are lovely on my dry legs) but i have heard several good stories from ladies with very oily skin or acne and they absolutely rave about the 3-step program. It seems as if they just don’t cater for the more sensitive skin.

I have combination skin and have found my favorite skincare products to date are by Elizabeth Arden and Christian Dior. Love the Elizabeth Arden Intervene range, (great for ladies interested in preventative aging & it caters with products for both normal to dry) and also the Christian Dior Hydralife sorbet moisturiser is really light but super effective on combination skin used with One Essential anti-oxident serum. Both are expensive though, i wouldn’t be able to afford it if i didn’t receive industry discount. (My skin likes it slightly more than my wallet!) x


Leave a comment