Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2

Product:  Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2.  Will this toner leave your skin soft and refreshed?  Is the dupe Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner really as good as the name brand?

Overall Rating (Clinique)3 stars3 Stars – Good
Overall Rating (Equate Beauty) = 3+ stars3.5 Stars – Very Good

Cost (Clinique): $14.50 for 6.7 oz. ($2.16 per fluid ounce)  Price Category:  Mid-range
Cost (Equate Beauty): $6.84 for 13.5 oz. (.51 per fluid ounce)  Price Category:  Dirt Cheap

Sold By (Clinique):  Clinique; Dillard’s; Sephora; Major Department Stores
Sold By (Equate Beauty):  Wal-mart

Containers:  Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2 – Plastic bottle with twist-off or flip-top cap.  Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner – Plastic bottle with twist off cap.

Description:  Clinique Clarifying Lotion comes in five formulas: (1) Very Dry to Dry (green); (2) Dry Combination (purple); (3) Oily Combination (pink); (4) Oily (blue); and (5) Acne Solutions(white).  Our discussion today is only for the Dry Combination formula number 2.  As with all products from the Clinique line, this toner is fragrance free.  Sadly, it is not free of other potentially irritating ingredients like denatured alcohol, menthol and artificial color.

The company states, “Dermatologist-developed formula helps reveal fresher skin. Sweeps away dulling flakes and excess oil so moisturizer can do its job better.  Helps fine dry lines disappear.”

Clinique Clarifying Lotion is a toner designed to be used with a cotton pad or ball.  It is intended to be used night and day, after cleansing, prior to the application of any other product.

Wal-mart also makes a version of the Clinique product called Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner.  Today, not only are we going to review the Clinique product, but we are also going to compare it to the Equate Beauty version.  These two products are very similar.  Wal-mart Equate Beauty only has the formula 2 version of this product.  They do not have any other duplicates or copies.

Before I get into the review, why discuss a toner?  Whenever I get a new client I discuss their beauty regime.  Very few of my clients use toners until I explain the benefits.  You have just washed your skin and it feels clean, so why do you need a toner?  It is shocking how much dirt and makeup can get into your pores.  Toners really can get the last traces of grime out of your pores after cleansing, they can help to remove dead skin, and they can neutralize the PH of your skin.  Clean pores are small pores and small pores look and feel smooth and pretty.  Using toner is very beneficial to your skin.

Morning Review:  Clinique Clarifying Lotion is a thin purple liquid that is thin like water. It has a strong alcohol and menthol scent.  I am not sensitive to menthol so the scent doesn’t bother me, but many people are hypersensitive to menthol and if you are, you should stay away from this product.  The menthol has a very cooling effect on the skin.  Some people find this refreshing and others will find that it burns, stings, or irritates their skin.  I find that the menthol opens my sinuses and helps me to breathe better.  You should not put this toner on your eyes or use it anywhere around the eyes.  The toner is intended to be left on the skin, but when I use it I rinse it off before applying other products.  My skin is very dry and I don’t want to leave alcohol on my skin for too long.  (For purposes of this review I did not rinse it off so that I could see how my skin feels with it on my face over an extended period of time.)

Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2 feels refreshing to me and it left my face feeling very clean.  My pores look smaller after using this toner.  It did not make my skin feel itchy or irritated.  I only used this on one side of my face for comparison.

My morning review for the Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner on the other side of my face is rather surprising.  The Equate Beauty toner smells a little different but it looks and feels the same to me.  The Clinique toner smells slightly stronger than the Equate Beauty.  Both sides of my face felt soft and very clean.

Please Note:  If you have Rosacea, please check with your dermatologist before using this.  Even a small amount of alcohol or menthol may prove too irritating for your inflamed skin.

Morning Rating = 4 Stars for how well they work, 2 Stars for alcohol and artificial color = 3 Stars

Evening Review:  After a couple of hours my skin began to feel dry so this formula is probably a little too drying for my skin.  I used this many years ago without problems but as I am aging my skin has very different needs.  Whenever I use products with alcohol now the dry areas get even drier and the oily areas get oilier, so I need something that has more of a neutralizing effect.  Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2 effectively removes all traces of makeup after cleansing and I do not need to use any wipes if I use this toner.

My evening review for the Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner on the other side of my face is once again so similar that it is difficult to distinguish between the two products.  I would have to say that the Equate Beauty toner is comparable to the Clinique toner.

Overall Review:  Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2 is an excellent toner in terms of removing all traces of makeup and closing the pores.  I have to take points off though because there are other good toners that are alcohol free and I also don’t want artificial dyes or colorants on my skin if they don’t need to be there.  Clinique still uses the dyes to distinguish between their different formulas but I think it would be a better idea to have a different color of cap on the bottles.  Also, it is controversial for a toner to contain menthol when so many people are sensitive to this ingredient.

One BIG complaint I have with the Clinique products and the retailers who sell their products is that the ingredients are not listed on the websites.  The ingredients are also not printed on the bottle.  I had to call Customer Service at Clinique and then send them an email requesting the ingredients breakdown for all of the products I am reviewing.  Also, the Dillard’s and Sephora websites do not list ingredients for Clinique products, but they do list ingredients for every other line they sell.  Why is this?  Why doesn’t Clinique have full disclosure of its ingredients for ALL products?  Do you agree with me?

The Clinique toner is suitable for women and men provided it does not have a drying effect on your skin and you aren’t sensitive to menthol.  My male tester who has dry skin said this toner left his skin feeling exactly the same post application.  He could not tell any difference whatsoever except that his face felt very clean.

Regarding comparing the two products, Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2 and Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner, they are so similar that it is difficult to differentiate between them.  If you read the ingredients lists you will see just how similar.  Equate Beauty substituted Acetyl Glucosamine for Salicylic Acid for exfoliating purposes and there are some other differences of minor consequence.  Further investigation revealed that Clinique changed their formula a few years ago and the Equate Beauty formula is the exact same as the previous Clinique formula.  Once Clinique changed their formula they no longer had proprietary rights to the previous version.  If you have normal to oily skin and like the Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2 you can save money with the Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner and the Equate Beauty toner may work just as well for you.

I have not tried the other four versions of this product from Clinique so I cannot comment on the differences.

Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2 is suitable for the following skin types:  (Not for very dry)

  • All ethnicities;
  • All ages;
  • All sexes;
  • Sensitive;
  • Consistent;
  • Oily;
  • Combination (Only if Combination is Consistent plus Oily).

Please see the Help page to determine your skin type.


Morning Rating = 3 stars3 Stars;

Evening Rating = 3 stars3 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 3 stars3 Stars;

Value Rating (Clinique) = 3 stars3 Stars;
Value Rating (Equate Beauty) = 5 stars5 Stars;

Overall Rating (Clinique) = 3 stars3 Stars – Good.
Overall Rating (Equate Beauty)  = 3+ stars3.5 Stars – Very Good.
(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2

Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2 Old Bottle

Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2

Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2 New Bottle

Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2

Equate Beauty and Clinique Old Bottle Side by Side

Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2

Equate Current Formula, Clinique Old Formula

Ingredients (Clinique Clarifying Lotion Formula 2): Water, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Salicylic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Menthol, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Benzophenone-4, Red 6, Red 33, Violet 2.

Ingredients (Equate Beauty CLARIFYING Toner): Water, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Menthol, Acetyl Glucosamine, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Bicarbonate, Red 6, Red 33, Ext. Violet 2.

Important:  Please read our full Disclaimer before using this or any product.