Today, I'm going to discuss one of the best dark spot correctors on the market:
This product has a long history and ingredient list (and equally long name ????).
In the last 10 years, it's become one of the most popular skin lightening products thanks to its proprietary formula and overwhelmingly positive customer reviews.
Does the new Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter live up to its predecessors? Let's find out!
Let’s start with the key ingredients in Clinique Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter.
The product is actually a blend of two different formulas:
(note: these formulas were stored separately in different chambers in the previous version, the Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector + Optimizer)
CL-302 Complex has been the "bread-and-butter" of Clinique Dark Spot Corrector since the product's original release in 2010 and features 5 key ingredients:
In summary, CL-302 Complex is a proprietary blend of effective skin lightening agents like Dianella Ensifolia and Ascorbyl Glucoside along with exfoliating agents like Yeast Extract and Salicylic Acid (plus deep hydration benefits from Acetyl Glucosamine). ????
Next, we have the Interrupter Complex that soothes skin and prevents discolorations:
In summary, Interrupter Complex is a blend of soothing ingredients like Gyokuro Extract and Rice Bran along with additional skin brighteners like Mulberry Root and Licorice Root plus hydrating agents like Olive Squalene, Barley, and Wheat Germ. ????
With all these ingredients, it's no wonder that Clinique Dark Spot Corrector has one of the longest ingredient lists at 49 in total (however, the formulation is still very clean).
Overall, I give the ingredients a score of 5.0/5.0 (a blend of highly effective ingredients for skin brightening, exfoliation, and antioxidant protection, both in quality and quantity)
When it comes to product design, I’m mainly focused on overall functionality and usability, although I do occasionally give bonus points for exceptional aesthetics.
In general, it’s important to protect the contents from light, air, and heat exposure to limit antioxidant oxidation and preserve ingredient freshness for maximum results.
Fortunately, Clinique uses an opaque container to block out UV light exposure and a pump dispenser to prevent air (oxygen) from getting in. This goes a long way towards keeping the active ingredients (like Dianella Ensifolia) fresh and potent.
It's a huge improvement over traditional dropper bottles (clear or UV-tinted) which are exposed to the elements of your bathroom each time you open the bottle.
Finally, this product has a rainbow background that sets it apart from its predecessors.
Overall, I give the product design a score of 5.0. (limits light, air, and heat exposure)
Next, let’s take a look at the ease of use and wearability of Clinique Dark Spot Corrector.
In my experience, this product has a light gel consistency that feels almost exactly like Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel (my favorite moisturizer of all time!).
However, I'd say it's a bit thicker and more difficult to spread evenly across your face (which makes you feel like you're wasting product because you need to use more).
The good news is Clinique Dark Spot Corrector gets absorbed by the skin pretty quickly and doesn't leave any residual stickiness behind.
In terms of fragrance, I personally didn't smell anything at all and Clinique's iconic tagline is, after all, "Allergy Tested. 100% Fragrance Free."
Overall, I give the texture & smell a score of 4.5. (very easy to apply with no fragrance, but feels slightly thicker than Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel)
The most important question is, does Clinique Dark Spot Corrector actually work?
Personally, I have more experience with the original Dark Spot Corrector as I went through a 1.7 oz bottle of Clinique for Men Dark Spot Corrector a few years ago (same formula).
While it was definitely expensive, I found that it helped lighten post-acne marks around my jaw and neck and smooth out some of the uneven tone on my forehead and cheeks.
Dark Spot Corrector also kept my skin feeling more hydrated and looking more supple.
More recently, I received a sample pack of Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter in my purchase of Great Skin Everywhere (III, IV) Gift Set from Clinique Canada.
Given the short time period, I can only comment on the product's texture & wearability, which are both very good and pretty similar to Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.
In terms of the community feedback, reviews have been mixed with some who really liked it and saw good results while others didn't notice any improvements in their dark spots.
In addition, due to its recent update in 2020, there are currently less than 200 reviews across Clinique, Ulta Beauty, and Sephora with a consensus rating of 4.0.
Overall, I give the results a score of 3.5. (I personally had good results with the original Dark Spot Corrector a few years ago; however, the community feedback on the new version has been somewhat mixed with less than 200 reviews)
Pro Tip: for fans of the original formula, you can still get it today at Clinique.com.
At $54.50 per oz, Clinique is actually reasonably priced for a mid-range beauty brand.
For better value, the 1.7 oz value size is a bit cheaper at $50 per oz.
Now, if you're a true bargain hunter (like me), I highly recommend the 3.4 oz limited edition of Clinique Original Dark Spot Corrector which works out to $43 per oz. The original DSC uses the same great formula with CL-302 Complex (but without Interrupter Complex).
The best way to buy this product is directly from Clinique where it's the lowest price and comes with a generous 100% money-back guarantee with no time limit.
(unfortunately, this item is not eligible for any additional discounts)
If you’re still shopping around, here are some popular alternatives to consider:
Overall, I give the price a score of 3.5. (it’s not cheap, but it’s not unaffordable either)
Finally, I’ve handpicked two customer reviews that I feel are fair and representative:
"Due to some personal pressure and the change of weather, I experienced a very serious breakout of acne and blemishes one month ago. They left many red scars and I was still getting more and more. One cosmetic formulator recommended this to me. I doubted it as it was designed for dark spots, but it works in this one month! It removes almost all my fresh red acne scars and also makes my old brown or black acne scars brighter. The plant ingredients also helped with my skin stability. Besides, my skin got a more even tone. I was really amazed by the change it brought to me. For reference, I used two pumps for every day and night for about one month. I can see the effects when I used it for half a month. I do recommend this to people with breakouts concerns. The one star reduces is for its bottle design. I wish there could be a way to how much is used and it could be a vacuum pressure pump so that I can easily get all serum used up."
"I am a long time user of Clinique products and have been very pleased with most of the items I've used by Clinique. I used to use the Even Better Skin tone corrector and I am going to have to switch back to it. I wanted to try this serum since it was new and saw the benefits as advertised to meet my skin's needs. The effectiveness of this serum has sorely disappointed me. I made sure I used sunscreen with it faithfully and ZERO results. I have been using it as directed, consistently for 2 months now and there's ZERO change in my hyperpigmentation/dark spots. It's actually looking "blotchy" and adding this serum has been the only change to my regimen. This is too expensive to not work."