From one OCD girl to another. I started using Clarins when I was 12 years old. I’m now on my way towards 40s. Needless to say, I am very familiar with their products and changes in packaging over the years. Here’s my best & worst of Clarins list.

For the aesthetic purposes, I will use a lot of Clarins’ official product photos instead of my own, some of my products have lived in the bathroom and is looking a bit scrubby. All products mentioned in this post are either product that I am using or I have used in the past.


Best of Clarins skincare

1. Clarins Lotus Oil


Blackheads, whiteheads, dehydration, dullness… This thing fixes it ALL. WINNER. Seriously, one word. Winner. I think even some of my high school friends have heard me rave about this one LOL Who doesn’t like waking up with glowing skin using a one step skincare product?


The dropper packaging now is a HUGE improvement from the old spill all over the place bottle. Thank you, Clarins. Finally a functional packaging improvement.



  • Don’t use during the day though. This thing can cause photo-sensitivity.
  • Strong fragrance. Parfum is the 3rd ingredient!!!! May cause skin irritation for some people. Please try a sample before applying to you face.


2. Hydra Quench Serum


**HydraQuench serum (gold lid) has been replaced by HydraEssential serum (Spring 2017, bottle on the right). It is still possible to buy the gold lid oldie at Clarins’ outlet store e.g. Vallée Village (near Paris )

Dehydration / sahara? This thing will bust it AWAY! Can be used even under matte stuff. Make no illusion, oily skin doesn’t mean dehydration doesn’t happen (try 12 hours flight).


I had used up at least 6 of HydraQuench serum, so I swear by that stuff. The HydraEssential, I’ve only used up 2. It is similar, but formula isn’t identical. It hasn’t had the “pleasure” of 12 hours flight yet. I’ll see if it holds up to the pre-2017 version’s good name. The formula dries down a lot quicker than the older version. It is more of a “dry” oil than the old one? Older version may have more emullient? That’s what it feels like. I do like the new one. It just that I won’t swear by it quite as yet.


3. Hydra Essential Silk Cream (normal to dry)

It performs well on its own or with the serum. My all time favourite cream for pre-makeup prep. It does so well even with difficult foundation like Marc Jacobs reMarcable. Amazing cream. LOVE.


4. One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser with Orange Extract

Photo source:

Smell likes, feels fresh. The grains are not microbeads (as of 2015 versions). Goodness. Fab feeling of mechanically scrubbed. I love that orange smell.


This product has been around since either late 90s or early 20s. Have been using it forever. The only thing that stopped me from buying lately is because I got bored of using the same scrub for years.


5. Tonic Body oil

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil

Okay, or the Tonic shower gel. I’m not sure which one I love more. The point is, I LOVE this tonic line. It feels sooooo good. Use in the morning and probably not at night? Else can’t sleep LOL It’s those “wake me up” and feel fabulous sort of product?


The Tonic shower gel is super thick and feels a bit like honey in texture. It leaves my skin super silky, but not in a oily way. Leaves me smelling fresh and makes me feel like a health mag model! (although I’m junk food central)


Favourite weekend home spa product! O, watch out for their Christmas packs, sometimes you can score the duo together for a bargain.


Okay, before you run out to haul anything from Clarins. CAUTION: All Clarins products have fragrance! Not as the last ingredients either. If you have sensitive skin, please do a patch test before purchasing.


All right, after the raves, let’s do some rant.

Products from hell are…

Worst of Clarins skincare

1. One Step Facial Cleanser

Doesn’t clean and made my face feel oiled. Need I say more? I threw this thing away. The horror. Yup, that’s 27.5 euro in the bin.

Clarins one-step facial cleanser with orange extract
Photo source:


2. Gentle Peeling

I know that this product has been around for over a decade if not 20 years already. It is so gentle that I can’t feel anything okay. I also don’t see a more radiant face after use. For 33.50 euro, I want to feel a bit more than that.

Clarins Gentle Peeling
Photo source:

3. Eye creams

  • Eye contour balm
  • Special contour balm (even the name sounds BS)
  • Eye contour gel
  • Multi-regenerative ==> It felt more like full fat cooking cream on my eyes

I have tried all of the above. They did diddly squat.

I have not tried the latest Multi-Active eye and Mission Perfect eye Well, I’ll probably not spend more money to find out. Clarins had its chance with me when it comes to eye creams.


4. Dynamisante lotion

Clarins Eau Dynamisante moisturising body lotion
This was a 100ml deluxe sample that was part of a gift with purchase. I knitted this hat 😉 pattern was Zion from Wool and the Gang, yarn was crazy sexy wool

This lotion is VERY invigorating. It literately wakes me up without me consuming caffeine. The reason why this one got hell rating is… My husband commented that I smelt like a men.


5. BB Skin Perfecting Cream

Clarins BB skin perfecting cream
Photo source:


Pinkness and stickiness that I didn’t know existed. I don’t need to further elaborate, right? I tried the same for a long haul flight. I used it when I landed; to freshen up. Hell no, it was a hot mess. I looked better without it.


Bonus section: Clarins OG rant

This is an OG thing. For those who have known / use Clarins for a long time (10 years+), you may know exactly what I’m ranting about. Technically, I can also do a best and worst for Clarins’ makeup, but I am a bit too pissed off to give their makeup a full run down. So I’ve decided to just give a general rant.

  • My favourite fragrance of all time is Clarins Elysium (launched 1993). The packaging and the fragrance totally captured me and then… Clarins discontinued it. Pissed off BIG time. This has been discontinued for 10 years or more now. I’m not letting it go at all.
  • Please bring back that retractable face brush! The new one is crap. I am talking about the white handle with gold rim and golden button version. Thanks.
  • Why was Colour Veil discontinued? It’s the perfect balanced peach tinted colour! Those new BB creams are a pink (oily) hot mess.
  • The bronzer used to have 2 separate pan (light and dark). Pans similar to Charlotte Tilbury’s, except that it was in a portrait format. WHY did Clarins decided to mash it up into one pan? You think an OCD consumer like me will not notice? I refuse to buy any bronzer from you until it goes back to the old 2 pan set up. The current formula is alright, the packaging is not.
  • Please stop trying to “improve” your formula with the foundations. True radiance foundation was fine, the new one (2018) is a bloody oily mess. Sames goes with True Matte (or whatever it was called for the version before Ever Matte). The new ones are NOT better. Please stop it.
  • Finally, WHY did Clarins ever decided to remove the ruby / white gem from its packaging? Or no long make beautiful duo tone sash pouches for the makeup?  I haven’t bought any lipstick from Clarins for years since they’ve switch to “non gem” packaging. Okay, I bought the woodrose when it was in red and gold packagin. The red packaging was tolerable, but this new plain as well design is not my cup of tea. Absolutely will not buy until things turn around.


All comments are based on products that I’ve bought with my own money or samples from gift with purchase. You can probably sense some anger, I mean passion. I have of course (re)purchased the 5 that I considered are the best of Clarins. Originally, I was going to do 10 best and worst Clarins skincare, but that makes this post too long LOL. 5 of each is already 1200+ words!


My skin type? Dehydrated combination skin, 35+, pigmentation. More details? Click here.


That’s all from me for this post. How about you? What skincare have you tried from Clarins?


Joyce Belfort signature

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Salut, I am Joyce. 40 something living in Paris. Appreciate little things and share giggles. Prudent, no nonsense reviews. #ExploreLaughRepeat


  1. Thanks for this post Joyce. I agree with the Lotus and exfoliating cream but my favourite product is the Multi-Active Nuit. I have dry skin and use it day and night.

  2. Mikki Crawford Reply

    I love this post!! I laughed OUT LOUD about eau dynamisante and your hubs comment you smelled like a man and I’m laughing as I type this. But your points are all spot on!! What the hell Clarins- I love you but help a girl out!?!!!

  3. Hello Joyce, I came across your blog (actually this post) randomly, you made me laugh girl!!
    I cannot agree more on a lot of what you have said above, my all time favorite : one step exfoliating cleanser, the scent is so so so refreshing. I think overall Clarins is a very good brand with a lot nice products that offer great money value, considering there are so many fancy but “does-nothing” skincare products on the market. I also love Clarins’ generosity when it comes to “buy 2 products & get a bunch of deluxe samples” (in Australia), GREAT for travel 🙂

  4. Have you tried Clarins Beauty Flash Balm? I remember loving it. I thought it was great as a “I woke up and have a hangover or look like hell for whatever reason and need to fake it today because I’m going to see my ex at a party” and less of a thing that really IMPROVES your skin or nourishing part of a routine. But we all need a Spanx of the make-up world every once in a while! Have you tried it and, if so, do you have opinions? LOVE this blog!! I just told all my friends about it. Most make up/skin care blogs feel like they are 1) paid partnerships (many are, I guess) 2) the woman tries it once and half heartedly is like “yeah, this cream is great” just to have content on her site or 3) it’s only products like La Mer or something and I’m not Melinda Gates. I don’t mind paying for a few good products, but I’m not paying a lot for a lip gloss. Anyway – thanks! Take care & stay safe!

  5. Marina S Key Reply

    OMG girl, same. Elysium was my signature fragrance for 10 years. I was completely devastated when they discontinued it. I found it a couple times on for a few years after they stopped production but then they sadly ran out as well. I will forever be miserable and searching for a replacement product until I die. PLEASE CLARINS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD BRING IT BACK!! **AND PLEASE NO “IMPROVEMENTS”!! OG FORMULA ONLY!

  6. Lotus oil is my favourite product from Clarins! Smells so good too even though fragrance shouldn’t be in skincare.
    Oh man, now you make me want to run out to buy the Hydra Quench Serum. I tried a sample a while back and fell in love but resisted buying it. I still have a bunch of serums to use up first!
    I used to use a lot more Clarins but lately I haven’t used as much French skincare since I’m more into Korean skincare. I think the Clarins lip oil is the only thing I use regularly besides the Lotus face oil.
    The Gentle Peeling is such a rubbish product! I bought it due to the hype and it is just like rubbing your skin to “exfoliate” it. And it’s true, all of the eye creams I’ve tried from Clarins were lackluster.
    Recently I tried a sample of the Multi-Active Night Cream and I quite liked it. Not sure enough to buy a full size though.
    One item I really did like was the Double Serum even though the ingredients are so lame (mineral oil is one of the first ingredient!) I have nothing against mineral oil but it doesn’t warrant the high price tag.
    Haha your rant about non gem packaging is making me laugh! 😆

    • Wow, I feel honoured to give you the urge to run out and buy a serum wahahaha. You probably have enough stash to last another 2 years? 😛 Don’t be silly, you don’t need it right away.

      Ops, I just realised that I forgot about their lip oil LOL Wahaha I am currently using on and it is a repurchase. O, well, I have to stick to 5 products.

      For the multiactive night cream, which version did you try? I prefer the old one to the 2017 update (current version). I do like how it made my skin feel, but the 2017 one isn’t as good. It could me just me being fussy. Clarins isn’t cheap.

      I sooooo agree with you on the Double Serum. It is one of those feel good product that I cannot logically justify it as a best item. I have nothing againt mineral oil either, but at that price point it is annoying?

      Thank you. I love ranting about their packaging wahahha I’ve ranted to most of my friends already.

  7. Oh yeah….my mom uses Clarins too.😂😂
    And that hat looks pretty. Wear it on Christmas.😂😂
    Merry Christmas, Joyce.😘

    • Hi~~ thank you for dropping by. Hope you’re having a fab festive season 😀 You’ve made my day; I knitted that hat. xox **is your blog meant to be private? I tried to visit your wordpress

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