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Come Out! (With Your Skin Care)

Come Out! (With Your Skin Care) Elessa Shereem!


Elessa has combination oily skin that’s also prone to the occasional breakout, which typically manifests as a papule or cyst (in her words) on the chin or forehead areas. Other than that, she’s concerned with dealing with blocked pores (blackheads and whiteheads), which are types of non-inflammatory acne. From previous experiences, it is known that her skin responds poorly to benzoyl peroxide.



  • Toner: Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3
  • Moisturizer with SPF: Clinique Superdefense Moisturizer SPF 25*


  • Makeup Remover: Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover
  • Cleanser: Clinique Acne Solutions Bar Soapwith Clarisonic
  • Toner: Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3
  • Moisturizer with SPF: Clinique Superdefense Moisturizer SPF 25

*No that is not a typo. Elessa uses the same moisturizer with SPF day and night. There are three variations of this product, so I’m going to assume that the oily skin version is used since she also uses the Clarifying Lotion 3, which Clinique markets as a product for oilier skin types.


Cleanser: The Clinique Acne Solutions Bar Soap, like all true bar soaps, is not recommended. This uses both sodium palmate (palmitic acid salt) and sodium cocoate (coconut-derived salt) resulting with an overall basic pH, which can compromise skin barrier repair since the skin’s pH is acidic, while being overly drying. And ironically, the heavy palmitic acid content can clog pores and leave a slightly greasy residue on the skin. So much for the “Acne Solutions” title. I’d recommend Elessa to not use this anymore. Oh, and the 2% salicylic acid won’t do anything because the pH is way too high to allow for exfoliation, and even if it were sufficiently low, this is a cleanser, which is left on the skin for what, 30-60 seconds on average? Salicylic acid needs more time than that to exfoliate. Check out this post I did for Temptalia HERE for more information.

Makeup Remover: The Clinique Take the Day Off one is excellent and one of the best and most affordable options at the department store. I approve!

Toner: The Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 contains a high amount of denatured alcohol, which is just ethanol that’s been mixed with some kind of denaturant; probably salicylic acid since it contains salicylic acid anyways for “anti-acne” purposes. While I explored the ethanol ingredient in-depth HERE, and came to the conclusion that topically applied ethanol doesn’t cause free-radical damage and has definite benefits for makeup, I did say that it can dry out the skin. It’s ability to bind to and extract stratum corneum lipids makes it both an effective penetration enhancer and solvent. Therefore, I stated that I don’t particularly like ethanol in skin care, since there are other ingredients that enhance penetration without being as drying. Therefore, for Elessa who noted some dry and irritated skin around the cheek and mouth areas, I’d recommend discontinuing use of this.

Moisturizer with SPF: The Clinique Superdefense Moisturizer SPF 25 provides broad-spectrum sun protection from a combination of avobenzone, stabilized with octocrylene and oxybenzone. It also contains moderate amounts of the anti-inflammatories coneflower and caffeine, as well tiny amounts of the some vitamin C and E esters and salts. Overall, it’s a decent product. However, it’s packaged in a jar. As longtime (relatively) readers of mine will know, jar packaging is not good. It exposes the sensitive plant extracts and antioxidants to oxidation or degradation. More importantly, the chemical sunscreen actives can also begin to degrade if the jar is opened in the presence of UV light (which comes from many artificial light sources) that overtime, may compromise the efficacy of the sunscreens to an extent. While the amount of UV light generated from artificial light sources is small, why take that risk at all?  So this gets a… disapproval? Yes, I don’t approve use of this.


First of all, from the photos (which are excellent quality due to good lighting by the way; good job Elessa) I can tell that Elessa has pretty perfect skin. There are some enlarged pores and a few minor breakouts but wow, lucky girl! Anyways, the main problem with the routine is that there is a lack of good exfoliation, and too many drying products. The combination of the stripping bar soap and ethanol content of the toner is a one-two-punch that dries out the skin. In fact, Elessa may not even have combination skin. Rather her naturally oily skin only appears so due to the very drying products used! Of course this is just an assumption on my part, but it could be true and it’s something for Elessa and the other readers to consider.

The only other topic that needs to be addressed is the use of the Clarisonic. While I don’t deny that it’s a good form of physical exfoliation, like I said in Jessica’s routine review, physical exfoliation just isn’t as effective as its chemical counterpart. That’s because the skin is constantly going through the exfoliation process resulting in dead cells that are continuous piling up. Physical exfoliation stops the moment the machine stops (friction stops), but chemical exfoliation continues after initial application. So instead of scrapping away a lot dead cells at once, chemical exfoliation allows for the continuous siphoning off of them. When implemented in a daily routine, chemical exfoliation will pave to way for soft and radiant skin. Check Jessica’s routine for more information, including why physical exfoliation can worsen the appearance of flaky skin. Ultimately, I’d recommend discontinuing use of this, but the choice is of course, Elessa’s.

Oh and as for the issue of using a sunscreen at nighttime, I wouldn’t recommend that because it has no purpose in the absence of UV light. Unless Elessa sleeps with bright fluorescent lights on. That is a joke. But even then, the amount of UV light is so small as to be irrelevent; think like 500 times weaker than sunlight.


As many of the readers will note, Elessa is a huge fan of Clinique! And while I don’t think any one line is perfect, including Paula’s Choice, I will try and give recommendations from within the Clinique family. I’d like to introduce a few products, while still keeping in with Elessa’s preference for simplicity.

First, I know that Elessa expressed not liking to use cleanser in the morning, but it is necessary to wash away any “exfoliated” dead cells, leftover vehicular base ingredients, and prepare the skin for subsequent steps. This choice of not washing her face is the morning, was most likely made because the Acne Solutions Bar Soap is in fact very drying. Therefore, I’d like to recommend a mild cleanser that can be used both day and night. The Clinique Wash Away Gel Cleanser is great! It contains a few gentle detergents that also removes makeup. I’d recommend Elessa to use this as her sole cleanser, and save the more expensive Take the Day Off Remover for any makeup on the eyes and lips.

For toner, I’d like to recommend the Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion, which contains 0.5% salicylic acid at a pH of 2.9. While the amount is quite low, it contains some humectants and is overall, much better than the #3 version. And don’t pay attention to salespeople that say this isn’t appropriate for oily skin; they only know what Clinique management wants them to know.

For a moisturizer with SPF, the Clinique City Block Protector SPF 25 is quite excellent. It contains relatively high amounts of the two physical sunscreens, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, with a few anti-inflammatories and antioxidants in a slightly tinted base that can certainly double as a tinted moisturizer. Just use concealer for areas that need that additional coverage, such as under the eyes. While,I wish this contained more well-documented photo-protective antioxidants like vitamins C, E, pomegranate, or green tea, overall, this is still an effective sunscreen.

Now the only product I’m recommending that’s not from Clinique is of course, from Paula’s Choice. The RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment, with a 5% glycolic acid and 0.5% salicylic acid content, is a brilliant combination exfoliant that contains plenty of other beneficial ingredients, all wrapped up in an elegantly silky base. It’ll help keep not only the pores clear (in combination with the Clinique toner), but also make the surface of the skin smoother and more lustrous. For a complete review of this product, click HERE. This should also be emollient enough for Elessa’s (hopefully less dried out skin) to double as a moisturizer. However, if more emollience is deemed necessary, that can be applied at least 30 minutes after initial application of this. Let me know if a recommendation is needed.

So here’s what I’d like Elessa’s routine to be: 


  • Cleanser: Clinique Wash Away Gel Cleanser
  • Toner: Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion
  • Moisturizer with SPF: Clinique City Block Protector SPF 25


  • Cleanser: Clinique Wash Away Gel Cleanser
  • Makeup Remover: Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover:
  • Toner: Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion
  • Moisturizer: Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment


While this was a fairly straight-forward and simple routine review, I hope everyone learned something from this! Elessa, keep up the good work because your skin is positively fantastic! I’m a little jealous. 🙂

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments down below. And if anyone would like for me to review his/her routine in a similar fashion, click HERE.

Like I’ve mentioned before in the Disclaimer, I am not a medical professional of any kind, so if you decide to follow my advise, do so knowing that you bear full responsibility.

*This is something new that I’ve decided to do from now on. I was actually inspired by Emma (routine review v 0.04), but from now on and for any past reviews, if a reviewee follows my advice for a significant (relatively) period of time and gives me a detailed (relatively) update on how his/her skin is responding to the new routine, your response will be given ITS OWN POST! And I will respond with my own thoughts of course. You could say its a way for you to have a GUEST POST on this site! Of course if you have a blog or something you’d like to share, you may provide a link. I think it’d be a fun and educational way that will benefit both parties! Any “updates” will be included in a completely separate series. In no way will the choice or promise to give an “update” affect whose routine gets reviewed or when that happens. I will add this information to the Template, but I’ll include it in the next few Come Out routine reviews!

About John

The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


4 thoughts on “Come Out! (With Your Skin Care) Elessa Shereem!

  1. Hi! Very informative post! I recently purchased Clinique’s Mild Clarifying Lotion and I have a quick question. I use it in the morning after I cleanse, but I haven’t been using it at night after using my Clarisonic because I was worried about over exfoliating. Would it be better to use it both times? For reference, I have oily skin with occasional blackheads and whiteheads from clogged pores

    Posted by winnduvall | July 26, 2012, 11:34 pm
    • Hi there!

      It really depends, because things like over-exfoliating, and oily skin are all quite subjective. So just use this rule of thumb: If you get redness and you don’t usually have any, then you’re overexfoliating. If you get excess flaky skin, you could also be overexfoliating. As the Clinique Lotion only has 0.5% salicylic acid, I’d say try using it both morning and evening and see how that works out for you. I’m pretty sure you’ll be okay, but give it a try and let us know!

      I hope that helped and of course, I’m here if you have additional questions.

      Posted by John | July 27, 2012, 1:42 pm
  2. Thanks for your comments and insights, John.

    Posted by BooBooNinja | June 14, 2012, 12:36 pm

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