Chances are, you have seen (or heard of) a few different Clinique and Mary Kay skin care products before.
Both companies have been around for a long time, and both of them boast exceedingly good reputations. It made us wonder, though: when it comes to their best-sellers, does one company pull ahead? If so, what are the deciding factors that crown one brand “Queen” over the other?
In this article, we will give you the facts - and some of our thoughts - to help you decide which is best for you!
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Mary Kay vs Clinique Moisturizer
We all know that moisturizing is a critical step in our skincare routines. Proper hydration can strengthen your skin barrier, slow aging, increase efficacy of your other skincare products, and prevent acne and other skin conditions. To put it simply, you need a moisturizer, and you need a good one.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the *biggest* best-sellers from both Clinique and Mary Kay are moisturizers, so we'll be comparing those side-by-side today.
Best body cream
When it comes to moisturizing your body, these 3 factors matter more than most:
- Does it absorb well, or leave a greasy feeling?
- Does it smell good, or is it overpowering?
- Are the ingredients clean enough to slather on my skin?
The Mary Kay Emollient Night Cream is a classic choice when it comes to hydrating your entire body. The company has been around since 1963 and has many “lifetime” customers that swear by it, having used it for 35 years or more! It’s a rich cream formulated to maintain the natural moisture of your skin, especially in problem areas such as elbows and heels (customers even use it on their lips). Clinique’s full body moisturizer is the Aromatics Elixir Body Smoother. It is most well known for its long-lasting recognizable scent, Aromatics Elixir, which is Clinique’s signature fragrance. It is also appreciated by customers for being quick-absorbing, leaving your skin feeling silky smooth.
Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream is around ~$20 for 2.1 fl oz and is suitable for all skin types and clinically tested for allergens. That being said, it contains a few ingredients that might contradict that. For example, it contains menthol, which is not recommended for dry skin, as well as petrolatum, not recommended for oily skin. The key ingredients include petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin, beeswax, candelilla wax, carnauba wax, synthetic fragrance, and menthol.
Aromatics Elixir Body Smoother is almost the same price at around ~$60 for 6 fl oz. It is paraben and phthalate-free, which is a claim that Mary Kay cannot make at this time. The body smoother is allergy tested, however, some users report skin irritation due to the high amount of fragrance it contains.
If you are looking for a richer, emollient-style cream to use as an overnight treatment for trouble areas, the Mary Kay Emollient Night Cream is a good choice for you. However, if you are looking for something that absorbs faster so you can use it all day long with no greasy feeling, the Clinique Body Smoother might be a better choice, even though you’ll need to apply it a little bit more often. Think of Mary Kay’s as more of a deep treatment, while Clinique’s is more of a luxury cream for daily use.
Extra Emollient Night Cream by Mary Kay
Our rating: ★★★★★
An overnight moisture-replenishing body cream.
What makes it special? Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream is a fragrant moisturizing cream that is said to help maintain the natural moisture of the skin and replenish hydration in dry areas. It is recommended for dry patches, especially on the hands, elbows, and feet. It is non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and is suitable for all skin types.
Which skin types? All skin types, especially dry.
Aromatics Elixir Body Smoother by Clinique
Our rating: ★★★★★
A luxury body cream that provides immediate hydration.
What makes it special? Perfectly captures the Aromatics Elixir fragrance in a skin silkening lotion. Provides immediate hydration without leaving a greasy residue to moisturise and relieve dryness. Smoothes body skin. A combination of rose essence, sandalwood and chamomile has toning and astringent qualities that also give a sense of calming. Jasmine, ylang ylang and oakmoss provide stimulating appeal and soothe the senses.
Which skin types? All skin types.
Best anti-aging moisturizer
The differences between these two facial anti-aging moisturizers are clear, and it starts with the prices. Mary Kay’s Timewise Moisturizer is around ~$30 for 3 fl oz, while Clinique’s Custom Repair Moisturizer is around ~$60 for 1.7 fl oz.
Mary Kay’s TimeWise Age Fighting Moisturizer is said to hydrate your skin for up to 10 hours with a patented anti-aging complex to reduce the signs of aging. It is lightweight, is clinically tested for skin irritancy, and suitable for sensitive skin. It’s oil and fragrance-free, as well as non-comedogenic. Though it claims to be anti-aging, nowhere on their site do they list what the anti-aging ingredients are, and when you look at the ingredients list, most are meant for smooth texture and moisture retention. If your skin seems smoother after using it, it is most likely a result of increasing the moisture in your skin, which there is nothing wrong with! Customers say that it makes their skin feel velvety soft.
Clinique’s Custom Repair Moisturizer is a soothing, luxurious cream that works overnight to increase your skin’s hydration and ease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Unlike Mary Kay, the ingredients list contains powerful ingredients such as Micrococcus Luteus Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, and Algae Extract to help draw moisture to your skin and keep it there. Micrococcus Luteus extract is an enzyme that speeds up your skin’s natural repair cycle. Sodium Hyaluronate is a derivative of Hyaluronic Acid and acts as a sponge for drawing moisture to your skin and holding it there. Algae Extract helps your skin retain moisture, decrease inflammation, and even offers a level of natural sun protection!
In conclusion, Mary Kay’s Timewise Moisturizer is definitely easier on the wallet, and for good reason. The ingredients in it will get the job done when it comes to moisturizing your face, but there is really nothing too spectacular in the lineup when it comes to anti-aging or deeply hydrating substances. Customers who use it do seem to especially appreciate the light, creamy formula and stick with it for a long time, though. Clinique’s Custom Repair Moisturizer is the more luxurious option, with higher quality ingredients and a rich, non-greasy formula that will keep your skin hydrated all night long.
All in all, when it comes to these two anti-aging moisturizers, you very much get what you pay for. That said, we low-key prefer Mary Kay's Timewise Moisturizer (from a purely anecdotal standpoint, through personal experience).
Timewise Moisturizer by Mary Kay
Our rating: ★★★★★
Helps skin appear more youthful and leaves it feeling soft and smooth.
What makes it special? In addition to working as an antioxidant* to help neutralize free radicals on skin as all TimeWise® Miracle Set 3D™ products do, it also re-energizes skin’s natural, youthful glow and helps improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles. This lightweight, quick-absorbing cream moisturizes for 12 hours. Skin feels nourished and looks more vibrant throughout the day.
Which skin types? Normal to dry skin types; suitable for sensitive skin. (There is also a version for Combination to Oily skin).
Custom Repair Moisturizer by Clinique
Our rating: ★★★★★
Daytime moisturizer that targets all major signs of aging.
What makes it special? This anti-aging day cream helps visibly repair the four major signs of ageing: lines & wrinkles, loss firmness/elasticity, dark spots/uneven skin tone and lack of radiance. It instantly boosts the skin’s hydration and increase’s levels of skins natural Hyaluronic Acid, as well as rebuilds skin’s natural moisture reservoir and strengthens skin’s moisture barrier. Furthermore, it provides repair with Plankton Extract, a special enzyme that is activated during the day by sunlight.
Which skin types? All skin types, especially oily.
Best daily moisturizer
Looking for a good daily moisturizer? Let’s compare the popular options from these two companies! Starting with the prices, Mary Kay Intense Moisturizing Cream is around ~$30 for 1.8 fl oz and Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion is around ~$30 for 4.2 fl oz.
Both lotions claim that you will benefit from 8-10 hours of hydration, and both boast gentle, creamy formulas that are formulated for very dry skin. Neither company can claim they are cruelty-free unfortunately, but Clinique's formula is paraben and phthalate free.
On their site, Mary Kay says that the Intense Moisturizing Cream increases radiance, is alcohol-free, fragrance-free, and clinically tested for allergies. Among the notable ingredients, the Intense Moisturizing Cream contains Glycerin and Algae Extract.
Customers love how thick and rich it feels, and say that it corrects dry patches and makes their skin feel very soft. Although some people say that it's almost too thick to use on their face and doesn't absorb as much as they would like. The ingredients list contains a variety of oils, waxes and silicones for moisturizing. These are gentle on most types of skin, but some might find them difficult to absorb.
Clinique claims that the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion doubles your skin's hydration instantly, and strengthens your skin's moisture retention barrier by 34%. It is denatured alcohol-free, sulfate-free, allergy tested, and won't exacerbate acne-prone skin. Paraben and fragrance-free.
Despite being around since 1968 and having thousands of positive reviews, some customers experience negative reactions to it, usually because of the common allergen, sesame oil. On the positive side though, it contains some high-quality, powerful hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and urea.
Just as with every moisturizing product from these 2 brands, it really comes down to preference. Both companies have customers that have used the products for 35+ years, so they have to be doing something right! Speaking of which, the customer reviews for the Mary Kay Intense Moisturizing Cream are much more glowing than those of Clinique's.
Intense Moisturizing Cream by Mary Kay
Our rating: ★★★★★
A luxurious daily moisturizer.
What makes it special? Mary Kay® Intense Moisturizing Cream is a rich, luxurious cream for dry skin that leaves skin looking immediately more radiant and unbelievably soft and smooth. It forms a protective shield to minimize moisture evaporation and leaves the skin feeling hydrated for up to 10 hours. Fragrance-free. Non-comedogenic (will not clog pores).
Which skin types? All skin types, including the most sensitive.
Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion by Clinique
Our rating: ★★★★★
A dermatologist-developed face moisturiser which softens, smooths, and improves.
What makes it special? Clinique's self-proclaimed "#1 moisturiser" gives your skin the "drink" it needs to maintain optimal moisture balance, and is step 3 in their customised 3-Step Skin Care System. This dermatologist-developed face moisturiser softens, smooths and improves skin leaving it glowing thanks to a combination of glycerin and sodium hyaluronate.
Which skin types? Dry to very dry skin.