Reviewed! Clinique Three Step System


So in the past year or so, I’ve gone from having flawless skin (I’m not exaggerating, I didn’t even have enlarged pores) to having constant break outs. My doctors say it isn’t hormonal and I haven’t, for the life of me, been able to figure out the cause. After unsuccessfully trying a whole gamut of products that claim to banish acne, I walked into Clinique. In a desperate, last ditch attempt to rescue and revive my skin I decided to explore their 3-Step System.

This is how the Clinique 3-Step System works. It consists of

  • Cleanser
  • Clarifying Lotion
  • Moisturizer

Each product comes in a number of variants meant for different skin types and is allergy tested. It is recommended that the products be used twice a day AM and PM

This is what Clinique has to say about it’s iconic 3-step – ‘See your healthiest skin. Ever. Get skin clear, radiant, glowing in 10 days with our 3-Step System’ 

I submitted myself to their skin analysis and was diagnosed with combination dry, sensitive skin. Turns out, this skin type, needs extra love and attention to be kept calm and trouble free. The Sales Associate did just that and recommended a customized three-step system which consisted of

  • The gentle facial cleansing liquid
  • No. 3 Clarifying Lotion for oily skin
  • Dramatically different lotion+

Having been disappointed with every other product I’ve tried so far to calm my skin, I wasn’t ready to commit to spend a small fortune, only to be disappointed again. So, the SA proposed that I buy the travel sized version meant to last 10 days  (costs INR 500) and give it a shot. I am so glad I tried it out!

The travel size 3-Step

The travel size 3-Step

I noticed a difference after the first use; my skin was calmer, smoother and softer than it had been in a long time. It also felt much healthier, neither too greasy nor too dry. In a couple of days i noticed there were no new break out and the existing ones were healing swiftly. A week later, my existing scars had started to fade and I was hooked.

I made sure I ran out to my nearest Clinique counter and bought myself the full sized versions of the products I’d been using. I made it a point to carry my nearly empty travel kit with me just to be sure, because I was in a different city this time around. I am glad I did that because the SA at this counter recommended a different version of the 3-Step System to me and was quite persistent about having me purchase that instead of the one I’d been. I, however stood my ground and insisted that I be given the version I was using as it was working for me and eventually she came around.

Full sized 3-Step products

Full sized 3-Step products

That’s the only bone I have to pick with Clinique, who claims that all their SAs are highly qualified. Why is there no consistency in their diagnosis and recommendations? With such high-end expensive products that do not come with a return policy (at least in India), one can’t just replace them with another variant if the product turns out to be wrong for them. Every customer does get profiled and their records are maintained but one store cannot access another store’s records so that practice is essentially pointless, unless you return to the same store every time.

All things considered, the fact that this product or rather set of products was able to do what no others came close to, has converted me. I’d recommend this product to everyone, especially those with troublesome skin. Just be sure to share all you skin concerns and ask a lot of questions during your skin analysis to get the right set of products for your skin type.

At INR 5,300 for the full size, the 3-step system is by definitely not cheap by any means. However the results and longevity (the full size lasts 3 months or so) make it well worth the price.

This one is a keeper in my books and I will definitely repurchase it.


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