Create a routine for healthy-looking skin (hint: consistency is key)
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Create a routine for
healthy-looking skin
(hint: consistency is key)

Clinique was born out of a 1968 article in Vogue that asked: "Can Great Skin be Created?". Our answer then and now — yes, great skin can be created—and you've come to the right place. It starts with sticking to an effective and consistent skincare routine that works. We think simplicity is best, as in Clinique's iconic three-step routine.

Whether you're new to skincare or just want to brush up on the basics, we're here to help you figure out the right skincare routine steps — and with products that are allergy tested and free of fragrance.
Read on to learn more about what goes into healthy-looking skin, our most efficient order of a skincare routine, and why certain steps are non-negotiable.

What makes skin healthy looking?

There are five main components to healthy-looking skin:

1. Hydration to promote comfortable skin
2. Strong support structure for skin that feels smoother and firmer
3. Strong barrier to help maintain moisture balance
4. Even, consistent cell turnover for a smooth texture and radiant appearance
5. Even-looking skin tone

The key to a great skincare routine? Consistency. As a Clinique Guiding Dermatologist once said, “Daily skincare pays off. And over time, your skin is going to look healthier."
Unfortunately, a few things can stand in the way of having healthy-looking skin. Debris and oil on the surface of your skin can contribute to excess oiliness. Dead skin cells just love to clog up your pores. And, of course, not having enough hydration can be a real roadblock too.

Our best skincare routine for healthy-looking skin

Clinique developed one of the first customizable skincare systems, built to tackle these issues. The three-step routine is designed to work together to give you a customized routine. Think of it as our ultimate skincare synergy with each step complementing the next
1. Start with cleansing.
Cleaning your skin is a crucial first step. It gets rid of oil, dead skin cells, and other dirt that builds up during the day or overnight, plus it also sets the stage for exfoliation. Even after cleaning, there might still be some oil in your skin's glands and some dead cells on the surface. You can also double cleanse by using the Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, which will remove any remaining traces of makeup. Our best skincare products are those that clean and refresh the skin. Always start your face routine with a cleanser, both morning and night.

All About Clean Liquid Facial Soap, our dermatologist-developed liquid facial soap, cleanses gently and thoroughly. It's quick-rinsing, non-drying, and loosens surface flakes, removes dirt and debris, and protects skin's natural moisture balance.

How to use: Lather between palms with lukewarm water. Massage over makeup-free face and neck. Rinse thoroughly, and pat skin dry.
2. Exfoliate daily for radiant, smooth-looking skin.
The second step to a good skincare routine is exfoliating. There are two kinds of exfoliation: chemical (generally liquid and by use of exfoliating ingredients), and physical (typically with small particles like salt or sugar).

Clinique believes exfoliating is the key difference maker in achieving great skin. It not only leaves your skin feeling cleaner and clearer by removing dead cells on the surface, it also plays a crucial role in removing oil, dirt, and other impurities — all of which can clog pores. In addition, it preps skin for the absorption of the rest of your skincare routine, allowing all those great benefits to really soak in.

For a gentle exfoliating lotion, opt for Clarifying Lotion 1.0 Twice A Day Exfoliator. This favorite was designed for dry, sensitive skin and should be used as the next step of your face care routine after cleansing. And, it's dermatologist-developed. Like the formulations for oilier skin, it sweeps away pollution, grime, and dry flakes to reveal smoother, clearer-looking skin. It also preps skin for moisturizer, a big benefit since exfoliated skin absorbs hydration and treatment products better.

Even better, Clarifying Lotion is well-suited for all skin types. If you have oily skin, for example, it helps minimize excess oil and keep pores clear. For those with dry skin, twice-daily exfoliation helps remove surface flakes that can be a barrier to moisture absorption.

How to use: Apply morning and night with a cotton ball, sweeping gently over face and neck. Avoid eye area and lips.

For instant customization, we offer a few different kinds of exfoliators specific to your Skin Type:

  • Dry skin: Clarifying Lotion 1 is a mild exfoliating lotion that gently sweep away dry flakes, pollution, and grime.

  • Dry-combination skin: Clarifying Lotion 2 is gentle exfoliating lotion that works to clear excess flakes.

  • Combination-oily skin: Clarifying Lotion 3 is an exfoliating lotion for combination-oily skin, which easily sweeps away dulling flakes and excess oil for smoother, clearer-looking, cleaner-feeling skin.

  • Oily skin: Clarifying Lotion 4 is the answer for oily skin. This exfoliating lotion is designed for oily skin. It simply sweeps away excess oil that can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

3. Add in moisture.
After you've cleansed your face and used an exfoliator, your skin is well-prepared for a moisture boost. Applying a moisturizer will help boost skin's hydration, explains Dr. David Orentreich, Clinique Guiding Dermatologist. "Moisturization restores the skin's water retaining abilities." The result: Skin that feels soft and looks healthy.

Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ is the dermatologist-developed lotion that is Clinique's #1 face moisturizer. In two hours, it strengthens skin's moisture barrier by 21% in two hours and delivers eight-hour hydration. Infused with a blend of barley, sunflower, and cucumber, as well as pure urea and glycerin, this formula works to replenishes skin's oil-water balance for healthy skin.

How to use: Apply all over face, neck, and chest area twice daily, or wherever needed.

If you feel like your skin needs a boost of long-lasting hydration, try Moisture Surge™ 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator, our ultra-refreshing oil-free, gel-based moisturizer that sinks in and lasts 100 hours (yes, really). It locks in moisture and all the extra stuff that goes with it for an endlessly plump, dewy glow all day (or all night) long. Aloe bioferment and hyaluronic acid come together to bring your skin a lusciously hydrated feeling.

How to use: Apply just like you would any other moisturizer.

One last (non-negotiable) thing

The superstar must-have to close out your skincare routine is SPF. This will help protect your skin from damaging UV rays. Consider SPF your secret skincare defense and number one essential.

Superdefense City Block Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Daily Energy + Face Protector is an energizing, go-anywhere daily SPF protector. It's sheer and weightless, designed to wear over or under makeup. Sunscreen ingredients, such as titanimum dioxide, zinc oxide, and octinoxate help provide protection against harmful UV rays (UVA & UVB). Lastly, it has a hint of tint for makeup-free days or an extra dose of coverage.

How to use: Apply in morning as the final step in your skincare routine and before applying makeup. If you're outdoors, reapply after two hours for continued protection.

Achieving healthy-looking skin is easier when you have the right routine. You can use the steps above as the foundation of your skincare regimen, and for a truly personalized approach, feel free to incorporate additional products to target your unique concerns, but the key is cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize.

Shop the Story

Take The Day Off™ Cleansing Balm, Silky balm formula gently dissolves makeup and SPF, conditions lashes.


1oz / 30ml - Travel Size
3.8oz / 125ml
6.7oz / 200ml
All About Clean™ Liquid Facial Soap, Dermatologist-developed liquid face soap cleanses gently yet thoroughly.
1 fl oz / 30ml Dry Combination
1 fl oz / 30ml Combination Oily to Oily - Travel S
6.7 fl. oz. / 200 ml Dry Combination
6.7 fl. oz. / 200 ml Combination Oily to Oily
6.7 fl. oz. / 200 ml Very Dry to Dry
13.5 fl. oz. / 400 ml Dry to Dry Combination
Clarifying Lotion 1.0 Twice A Day Exfoliator, Dermatologist-developed exfoliating lotion for Dry, Sensitive Skin.
13.5 fl. oz./400 ml
6.7 fl. oz./200 ml