Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence is a relatively new addition to the Lancome range. Enriched with rare French beech bud extract, this essence promises to brighten your skin and leave it more refined, plumper and tighter in just 4 weeks.
I used the Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence twice a day for 8 weeks in winter and found that my skin was more hydrated but looked pretty much the same as it always did. Why did I wait til winter? Because the essence left my face feeling a bit greasy during summer.
Let’s take a deep dive:
- What is the Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence?
- First impressions
- Is it easy to use?
- My verdict
- Is Lancome Clarifique worth the money?
- Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence ingredient rundown
- What does the Dual Essence promise to do?
- Did it deliver on its promises?
- Who is the Dual Essence for?
- Who is it not for?
- Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence alternatives
- Do French Beech Bud Extract really work?
- Benefits of grapeseed oil
- Is Lancome Clarifique a toner?
- What is the difference between essence and toner?
- To wrap up
What is the Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence?
The Clarifique Dual Essence is a skin brightening facial essence that contains French beech bud extract. The unique selling point of this product is the fact that it’s a dual (water and oil) phase serum.
You shake it just before use and the built-in whisk will stir up the 2 phases to accelerate skin absorption.
I fell in love with the bottle when I first held it in my hand. Oo la la! I felt luxuriously french! The bottle was made of heavy frosted glass and the name Lancome sent shivers down my spine. I generally never spend money on luxury skincare so this was a real treat indeed.
When I shook the bottle, within seconds the fluid inside whirled around the built-in whisk and little oil bubbles magically appeared, suspended in water. It was beautiful!
Is it easy to use?
I then unscrewed the cap easily and poured a few drops into my hand. This is where you need to be careful. I close my finger over the top of the bottle opening so only a few drops of product would transfer. If you free-poured, a bit like vodka, too much will end up out of the bottle.
Applying it on my face was extremely easy. The serum soaked in almost immediately and was hardly noticeable. I used to wait a minute or so but realized that I can easily apply other products on top immediately since it was so rapidly absorbed.
The brand, the bottle, the whisk, the dual essence technology, and the long winded explanation of the essence’s skin benefits all contributed to the placebo effect. Which lasted a few days.
Then I realized that my face was too oily after using the essence. And it may have cause clogged pores (I’m not too sure. I also didn’t have a good diet then). Within two weeks, I decided to stop using the essence. To put it into context, this was in Queensland summer, which is hot and humid. And I have oily skin with large pores.
Fast forward half a year, and the cooler weather came around. Seeing that it was so pricey, I felt a strong need to try it again. I loved it this time round. It helped keep my skin more hydrated during the cold, dry months of winter. It didn’t leave my skin feeling greasy or clog my pores this time.
After 2 months of using the Lancome Clarifique religiously twice a day, I can happily say that it’s an awesome hydrating essence. I can also honestly say that it has done nothing for the overall texture of my skin. My pores are just as large, my skin no brighter, more radiant or smoother than it was 2 months ago.
Also, the essence turned slightly yellow on me in less than 6 months. I suspect this is because of oil oxidation. It smells just fine and probably works just as well.
The serum was originally clear but is now a yellowish liquid
I love owning a Lancome product because it makes me feel luxurious but I can’t justify spending so much money on a product that is nothing more than a good skin hydrator. Plus, because of its oily compounds, I can’t even use it when the weather is warm and humid.
Is Lancome Clarifique worth the money?
A 90ml bottle of the essence is going for AUD105 (about USD73). That is money I can spend on a cheaper, just as effective hydrating skincare set of serum, essence and moisturizer.
If it was more affordable, I would almost certainly buy it again but for the price point, it needs to do so much more than just hydrate my skin. Many other products do the same for less the price.
Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence ingredient rundown
Even though Lancome emphasizes the fact that the essence contains french beech bud extract, this ingredient is half way down the list. Pineapple fruit extract, vitamin C, vitamin E, and yeast extract comes first.
It also contains arginine, rose flower water and rosemary extract which has great skin benefits.
The oil phase of the essence is made up of sunflower seed oil and grape seed oil, both plant oils which are good skin hydrators. They are not recommended in seborrheic dermatitis (SD) as these oils can encourage Malassezia growth. But the oil phase only makes up 3% of the whole product. I certainly didn’t find that the Dual Essence aggravated my SD or caused a flare.
Strangely, the essence also contains salicylic acid and papain. These are exfoliants but I didn’t notice any exfoliating activity when using the product. There’s probably too little in it to show any major effect.
What does the Dual Essence promise to do?
Lancome promises the essence will hydrate your skin and make it visibly smoother. It will also make your skin feel soothed, suppler, softer and appear brighter.
In fact, a survey of 54 women found that 90% + found that their pores were tighter and their skin was smoother, clearer, plumper and more radiant.
Did it deliver on its promises?
The essence definitely delivered on its promise to hydrate my skin. In winter, it helped to apply the essence under my regular moisturizer. However, it didn’t deliver on any of its other claims. My skin looks much the same as usual and how bright it looks really depends more on how much sleep I’ve had the night before more than the essence.
I definitely found my pores looked much the same as usual and I had just as many blackheads. I even had a sneaky suspicion the Dual Essence clogged my pores and gave me a few more pimples than I should have had in summer.
Also, the luxurious bottle cap started peeling. I didn’t expect that of a luxury brand but took it as a sign of a well-used product:
Peeling bottle cap after a few months of use
Who is the Dual Essence for?
Anyone with dry skin in need of some extra hydration and TLC.
Who is it not for?
People with oily skin and acne-prone skin.
Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence alternatives
I really like using the Dual Essence in winter. But many people will not fork out this much for an essence, including me. So I looked for some alternatives that may do the job just as well if not better:
Sebamed Face Moisturizer
This affordable face cream contains beech bud extract and probiotics. It is also pH balanced to match our natural skin pH.
L’Occitane Cade Revitalizing Cream
This luxurious french brand offers this intensely moisturizing cream that is enriched with beech bud extract and Cade wood essential oil to hydrate and smoothen your skin. Plus, it smells amazing!
Dyutih Organics rEYEcovery Eye Contour Cream
And for natural skin care lovers and eye cream enthusiasts, Dyutih Organics has a silky eye cream specially formulated to combat signs of aging around the eyes. It utilizes hyaluronic acid, beech bud extract and acmella oleracea extract.
Do French Beech Bud Extract really work?
French beech bud extract is heralded in beauty circles as the organic, natural version of niacimide. As you all know, niacimide is this wonder B vitamin that can do ‘miraculous’ things to our skin.
Beech tree extract is known for similar benefits, mainly due to hydroxyproline, an amino acid which is a major component of collagen. Hydroxyproline may stabilize collagen and prevent further loss. This is how beech bud extract helps tone the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. The extract can also help to stimulate skin cell turnover and therefore, smooth the skin.
Hydroxyproline definitely gets absorbed better than large collagen molecules even if some collagen products use hydrolyzed and soluble collagen for better absorption. Read my Dr Lewinn’s Collagen Plumping Gel review and Dr Lewinn’s Collagen Night Mask review.
They call it gemmotherapy. It’s a bit like stem cell technology. Because the beech tree grows so old (average of 150 to 200 years old) and the buds contain embryonic tissue and in active growth phase, they are rich in growth factors, plant hormones and enzymes that may give our skin these benefits:
- moisturize dry skin
- prevent and reduce fine lines and wrinkles
- support collagen production
- fight free radical damage
- stimulates cell renewal to remove dead skin cells
Lancome goes one step further with the french beech bud extract. These buds are rare and only harvested once every 4 years. Hard to get is always better, no?
Most people think that’s the case, but french beech bud is unlikely to be better than regular beech bud. It just has a certain je ne sa quoi.
Benefits of grapeseed oil
Grapeseed oil has a ton of skincare benefits as well. It’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and has anti-oxidant properties.
The oil also contains high amounts of omega chain fatty acids and vitamin E and many other skin-beneficial compounds.
Grape seed oil may give you these skin benefits:
- prevent acne
- moisturize skin
- evens out skin tone
- protects skin from UV damage
I’ve even tried applying pure grapeseed oil on my face and body. A little bit goes a long way and it’s much easier absorbed than most other pure oils I’ve used. Just be careful, it goes rancid fast.
Also, as grape seed oil contains loads of long chain fatty acids, it may encourage Malassezia growth and irritate aggravate seborrheic dermatitis.
Is Lancome Clarifique a toner?
As its name implies, the Lancome Clarifique is an essence, not a toner. Essences are similar to serums but is much more concentrated and lighter weight. They are designed to penetrate the skin much deeper than your average cream or gel.
What is the difference between essence and toner?
If you put a toner and an essence in unlabelled containers, you won’t be able to tell the difference visually. But there are marked differences between the two.
The primary purpose of a toner is to balance the pH of your skin and clear away any impurities left on your skin after cleansing. An essence, on the other hand, works to nourish and hydrate the skin, and address specific skin concerns.
To wrap up
Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence is an essence that is way more expensive than it is worth. I agree that beech bud extract may be an excellent compound and I’m very excited about it. However, there are other products on the market that do the same thing for much less.