Usually, before I am asked to test and review new products not launched yet in our local stores, I would find out more on the product and what others think of it. I am especially intrigued with products that promise to deliver superior benefits like the Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum.
First up, the packaging of the product itself was pretty tricky to shoot. The entire bottle is aluminum-like and efforts to take a photo of it under bad lighting and inferior photography devices would pose a big challenge. Though the package feels identical to those of other Clinique's serums, ie. the Even Better Essence or the Turnaround Concentrate, the presentation is a teeny bit different... there's like an inverted 2D effect that reading the label is pretty tough. Hence, the much manipulation in the photo above on its lighting and contrast.
Basically, the label says Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum. It's a serum to be used as a last step, after your 3-step skincare routine although I'd use it as a normal serum, a step after toner, before moisturiser. I guess to use it as a last step to Clinique's 3-step skin regiment would be logical because the serum is thick. It comes out thick unlike most serums and it smoothens out skin with its lightweight texture whilst at the same time, provide a matte, even finish, prepping the skin for the next step in applying foundation smoothly, if you wear makeup.
Smart, because it is supposed to be a technologically smart in identifying what your skin needs be it recovery, rejuvenate or brightening. It delivers targeted repair that visibly addresses skin's changing needs. A lot of time has been spent on its research and development, learning on skin's changing needs and how one product with a pair of highly active ingredients and calming ingredients give a perfect balance. The product must be powerful enough to work yet gentle at the same time.
One pump is all I need for my entire face. As you can see, a pump dispenses this big dot and a little bit more as per the lighter spot on the lower right side where I swipe the balance from the pump nozzle.
Upon application, skin will feel smooth immediately. For me, that created the concern if this product is loaded with silicone. But then again, unlike those siliconey products, this one didn't make me feel like the skin is suffocating. Instead, it evens out dull looking complexion and smoothen those rough areas.
When I got this, I was still using my almost depleting Estee Lauder ANR serum. But since I was taken in by the promise of a "smart" technology, I took a short break from ANR and used this one instead, twice a day for two weeks. I didn't see much difference to my skin except that it sort of maintains the smooth texture of my skin and since I was also using some of the Even Better range of products, I thought that it helps make my skin look brighter.
I stopped using it after that duration and went back to using the ANR. Once my ANR finished, I took a break from using any serums.
When fasting month started, my skin went haywire due to the lack of fluid intake, sleep deprivation and the busy-ness at work. The skin texture was dry and my pores became so visible that the foundation became patchy on the skin. It's pretty embarrassing to see my complexion like that and I started to look for solutions to a better liquid foundation.
After a week of fasting, I saw the bottle of the Smart Custom-Repair Serum and decided that I should start using it again. Yes, I admit I was naughty like that ;P
Just 3 days of use and I was shocked at the difference the Serum made to my dry, patchy complexion. Skin was softer, glowy almost dewy moist, and when I washed my face after a long day at work, I thought my skin looked brighter. I guess initially, I was skeptical of its benefits since I was already using the ANR, a very renowned skincare serum in the market. Therefore, the results from the initial test didn't produce any obvious result. But to have skin that screams SOS, using the Smart Serum was like a dream come true for me. And because of that, I refuse to be naughty. Maintenance is key.
According to Clinique, the serum repairs skin problems where it is needed. Damaged skin sends out distress signals and the Serum understands these signals and delivers the appropriate ingredients to start visibly correcting the damage. To them, the formula is that smart.
Though I was a little skeptical initially, I had to acknowledge that it probably is that smart.
I checked out Clinique Malaysia online's website last night and the product is already displayed in the "Serum" section. It currently states, Sold Out but perhaps it is because they will only be ready for sale today as today's the official launch. I've tried looking out for any reviews before this but no one has given me any indication that they've tried it out or what they truly think of it, other than mentioning the benefits that it claims to give.
Honestly, I've only been using it religiously since the past 2 weeks and a combo of 4 weeks if you take that short break. As it retails at RM255 for the 30ml bottle, or RM350 for the 50ml bottle, I can't help but compare it to the renowned EL's ANR. For a usually more affordable price tag from this luxurious skincare brand, the price of the Smart Serum somehow falls under the higher end tag like Estee Lauder's. Therefore, my expectations of it are pretty much high too.
Though the ANR is more liquid and has a faint scent, this thicker non-fragranced Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum seems to work in similar ways. Therefore, if you ask me which one is better (since both are priced similar), I guess that depends on which brand you prefer. I quite like the Smart Serum for the smoother skin texture that's immediate after application. Nearing noon time at work when my skin started to oil up, skin actually looks glowy. The ANR somehow repairs skin from within and improves texture over time but the Smart Serum sort of repairs within but also gives instant benefits to skin surface right after application. That way, my normal foundation applies smoothly, doesn't look cakey after 4 hours and makeup seem to last longer. Skin texture improves just after 3 days of twice-a-day use but I really can't say much more than that since I've been drinking coffee right after breaking fast and sahur as I'd be deprived of my favourite caffeine drink during the day. Yes, I'd gulp another glass or two of plain water before or after the coffee intake, but this bad habit doesn't really help much in keeping skin hydrated no matter which expensive products I'd use on my skin. But the Smart Serum does help, at least.
The Smart Serum has a wonderful blend of ingredients that target repair, irritation, discolouration, dark spots and radiance. Since it is "smart", it targets different concerns of the skin, giving differing views on the results others would see on their skin.
What about you? Do you think this is something you'd need?