Part C: Clinique iD Range, Best Moisturiser-Cartridge Combinations and Overall Thoughts

Clinique recently released a new skincare range called Clinique iD where you can create your custom-blend hydration system.

This is the third post on the range and is focused on discussing the Clinique iD products as a whole (the combination of a moisturiser with a cartridge) as well as discussing which combinations are best or more worth your money and time.

It’s worth reading part A and B first, so if you missed the previous posts which include full ingredient analyses check out:

Part A: Clinique iD Range – In-depth Reviews and Ingredient Analyses of the Moisturising Bases

Part B: Clinique iD Range – In-depth Reviews and Ingredient Analyses of the Cartridges


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Customisation claims

The customisation part of the Clinique iD range is very appealing and easy to understand. Firstly, you have to choose your base out of 3 possible moisturisers, the moisturising lotion, moisturising gel and hydrating gel. Then you have to choose a cartridge out of 5 possible options, which thankfully are also colour coded. The white cartridge is for uneven skin tone, the green for irritation, the orange one for fatigue, the blue for uneven texture and pores and finally, the purple one for lines and wrinkles. What all this means is that there are 3 base moisturisers and 5 possible addon cartridges creating a total of 15 combinations.

There is definitely some customisation but I think that the term is mostly marketing. There are 15 options you can choose from but that’s like saying there are 15 products, which one do you want? The products have nothing to do with you or with your personal skin needs and you can’t customise in any way you want, just choose between 15 options. I’m not sure I would really call this customisation, for me it’s more a range with a good amount of options, but I can see why they chose to call it that. It is technically correct just not as freedom/choice-like as it sounds. Or maybe I’m just expecting too much.


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Overall Clinique iD branding and packaging

I have to give it to Clinique as far as the branding and packaging is concerned they aced it here. The bottles are cheap to manufacture as they are plastic but still look elegant and attractive. The cartridges are colour coded and who doesn’t like that., especially since you can immediately identify which cartridge is which, just by colour. The entire product looks nice together and the double dispensing pump is an interesting concept as well.

If you like one of the cartridges and not any of the moisturisers (and rightly so, see ingredient analysis in post part A), you can use up or even empty one of the moisturiser bottles and fill it up with your moisturiser of choice (if the texture works with a pump). Then add the cartridge you like best and whola! That’s more like customisation!

On the negative side, I initially thought that the Clinique iD duo was a little more clever that it is. I thought that the moisturiser would filter through the cartridge and get enriched with extra ingredients before it dispenses. I was a little disappointed to find out that it’s just 2 separate products (with some overlapping ingredients) dispensing through 2 separate pump holes. They don’t even mix properly! It would make absolutely 0 difference if you just used 2 separate products that don’t even touch each other. The cartridge with pump going into the moisturiser bottle is all just looks and branding.

Assembling the cartridge and base moisturiser is very easy. All you need to do is unscrew the white moisturiser cap, slide out the plastic protecting the cartridge body and then screw the cartridge into the moisturiser bottle. Done.

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Clinique filed a patent on this packaging and understandably so.


Longevity of the Clinique iD duo product

The tube of the pump that takes up the moisturiser base is long enough to pick up product from the very bottom of the bottle which is great. However, I’m not sure if the moisturiser and cartridge product will finish at the same time. Also note that if you don’t press the pump all the way down you will not get the cartridge product out but you will get moisturiser.

It is also worth noting that when you put the cartridge with the pump into the moisturiser bottle for the very first time, you will get 2-3 pumps of just moisturiser before the cartridge product comes out. You will also likely not see the cartridge product at all, as it is covered by the much larger amount of moisturiser dispensed, unless you are using the Hydrating Jelly. In that case you will see the cartridge product by colour difference.

Finally, although the cartridge product doesn’t have an expiry time, xM, it essentially takes the same one as the moisturiser, 24M, if you use them together, simply because if the moisturiser goes off then the Clinique iD duo product is only half working. You can however, use the cartridge alone if you wish.


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Best and worst products based on ingredients

While the Clinique iD products look great, even if they are not as clever as I had hoped, they are definitely not the best skincare your money can buy. And I’m not talking about £100+ type of products, there are other skincare creams and serums around similar prices as the Clinique iD, that will offer you better or more significant skincare benefits.

Overall, the moisturiser bases are relatively week skincare-wise and you shouldn’t base your entire skincare on them. They do contain some good ingredients like a form of hyaluronic acid but at the same time lack everything else you would expect in a good cream, including basics like vitamins C and E and skin replenishing and protecting compounds like ceramides.

The worst moisturiser base is the Moisturising Lotion, which sadly is also one of Clinique’s popular products. The other two, Oil-Control Gel and Hydrating Jelly are almost equal and choosing between those two highly depends on the application and your skin type. If I had to pick one of the three I would probably choose the Hydrating Jelly (despite its annoying non-jelly texture) because it would suit all skin types. However, it’s worth noting that the Oil-Control Gel does indeed control oil but doesn’t offer SPF protection which you would expect to come hand-in-hand with a mattifying function, in order to use it during the day and/or under makeup.

The cartridges are also not amazing skincare-wise but since the moisturisers are weak ingredient-wise, they do add some value to them. However, they also contain some repeating ingredients which might increase their activity or make no difference at all. The best cartridge is by far the orange one, for fatigue, containing some skincare valuables, like phospholipids, and the worst is the blue one, for pores and texture. The orange cartridge contains ingredients that could help with pores, texture, lines and wrinkles and so one could even argue that the blue and purple ones are worthless. The purple cartridge does go down the right route, containing peptides and the blue containing ingredients to help clean out pores but, the activity in both is limited.

You could consider the white one, for uneven skin tone, if you want a slightly worse version of the orange one but without dyes. However, I wouldn’t recommend the green one for irritation (even though the ingredients on Clinique’s website seem to be either wrong or identical to the orange one) simply because if you truly have irritated or sensitive skin, you should definitely not be using these relatively weak skincare products and look out for products that will protect your skin barrier and therefore, reduce your sensitivity. Must have ingredients in that case are ceramides, vitamins C and E etc, none of which are found in either moisturisers or cartridges.

I must say the lack of vitamin C and E (with the exception of the Oil-Control gel moisturiser containing vitamin E) was shocking as they have become skincare basics, so much so that even drugstore products and makeup, like lipsticks, tend to contain them these days.

For all the details check out the ingredient analysis in the moisturiser and cartridge posts.


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Best moisturiser-cartridge combinations

The most logical combinations, without looking at the ingredients, would be:

Moisturising Lotion + Purple cartridge for Lines and Wrinkles = Since dry skin tends to wrinkle faster, the dry skin moisturiser should have been most efficient with the line and wrinkle cartridge.

Oil-Control Gel + Blue cartridge for Uneven Texture and Pores = Oily skin tends to have the largest pores and most noticeable texture, so this combination is logical.

Hydrating Jelly + Orange cartridge for Fatigue = This is a good combination because of the hydrating and “waking up” nature of the jelly which works for all skin types and could perk up the skin when combined with anti-fatigue ingredients.

In practice and in this case specifically, it actually doesn’t matter what your skin type is and what your concerns are. After analysing the ingredients and also testing out the products and combinations on my oily skin and my partner’s dry skin, the best combination and quite frankly the only one you should even consider is the Hydrating Jelly + Orange cartridge for fatigue. This is the most skin nutritious combination that will be suitable for all skin types. Even though, it’s still not what I would highly recommend as skincare gold.


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The Clinique iD range is more branding and looks than actual valuable skincare. There are some good ingredients for sure but overall the products are weak when compared to others in the market.

No matter what your skin type is or skincare concerns are, the only one possibly (if I must choose) worth your cash is the Hydrating Jelly + Orange cartridge for fatigue combination. And don’t say I didn’t warn you that it’s not a jelly at all.

Sadly, the Clinique iD range looks more interesting than it actually is. Very good work from their marketing team!


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I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!

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