Are They Dupes?: Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector VS Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector


Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus is the not the only product from this brand Equate duped. Walmart’s house brand has also recreated the formula of Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, and is selling it at a much lower price tag. But is it just as good?

Ingredient Analysis

ascorbyl glucoside

Ascorbyl Glucoside

Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that also acts as a skin lightening agent. It’s not just one ingredient. Many forms of it exist and are used in skincare. For this serum, Clinique chose Ascorbyl Glucoside, one of the most recent, more stable, but also less researched forms currently available.

When applied on the skin, Ascorbyl Glucoside breaks down into L-Ascorbic Acid (pure Vitamin C), which has been shown to inhibit the synthesis of melanin. But there’s a catch. We don’t know how much L-Ascorbyl Acid Ascorbyl Glucoside releases into the skin. It may be high enough to work well as a skin-lightening agent. It may be low enough to do nothing.

There’s only one study showing that Ascorbyl Glucoside is effective at treating hyperpigmentation, but its results are inconclusive. Why? Because, in this study, Ascorbyl Glucoside was used together with Niacinamide, another proven skin-lightener. Which of the two is responsible for the efficacy of the treatment? Ascorbyl Glucoside? Niacinamide? Both?

As pretty much any form of Vitamin C has some skin-lightening properties, I’m inclined to believe the same is true for Ascorbyl Glucoside. But is it the best form of Vitamin C for this purpose? And does it perform as well as 4% hydroquinone (the gold standard treatment for hyperpigmentation), as Clinique claims? No one knows.


Mulberry Extract

Ascorbyl Glucoside isn’t the only skin-lightening agent present in both formulas. Mulberries also feature compounds that can inhibit the formation of melanin, thus helping to reduce dark spots. But there’s a catch here too. So far, all the studies on mulberries and their skin-lightening properties have been performed either on animals or in vitro, so it’s not clear yet how well they work on human skin.


Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is one of my favourite exfoliating agents. It doesn’t just remove the dead cells on the surface of the skin, but also penetrates inside the pores, unplugging them from within. This helps prevent breakouts. However, Salicylic Acid is present in small amounts in both formulas, and it is unlikely their ph will allow it to work properly. *sighs*


Grapefruit Peel Extract

Both formula also contain grapefruit peel extract. It’s natural, so it should be good, right? well, not really. According to Paula Begoun, “the peel from this fruit is loaded with a class of ingredients known as furanocoumarins and coumarins which are primarily responsible for what’s known as a phototoxic reaction when skin is exposed to the sun—the result can leave skin discolored!” That’s the opposite of what you want when you buy a serum to reduce skin discolourations!

But there’s some hope. Just because it can cause discolourations, it doesn’t mean it will. It depends on the concentration. The smaller the dose, the less likely any side effects are to occur. Here, it should be present in about 1%, so most people should be able to use it safely. But, to be on the safe side, always apply a broad spectrum sunscreen afterwards.

Further Considerations On The Formula

Both Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector and Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector are silicone-based. Contrary to popular opinion, silicones don’t suffocate skin. Instead, they provide several benefits: they allow serums to spread evenly, make skin silky soft and smooth to the touch, and even help active ingredients penetrate into the skin. Both also contain a small number of antioxidants to help fight premature aging.

They also contain a third skin-lightening agent, but, this time, not the same one. Clinique has opted for Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol (it’s derived from the Dianella ensifolia plant), while Equate for Tetrapeptide-30. These ingredients have two things in common. One: both have been proven in scientific studies to reduce hyperpigmentation. Two: all these studies were conducted by the manufacturers, so, until they are verified by independent scientists, take their results with a grain of salt.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector Ingredients

Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Turmeric Root Extract, Rice Bran Extract, Grapefruit Peel Extract, Barley Extract, Wheat Germ Extract, Birch Bark Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Mulberry Root Extract, Trametes Versicolor Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Yeast Extract, PEG-6, Tromethamine, Salicylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Cholesterol, Isohexadecane, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Sunflower Seedcake, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Simethicone, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Di-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride, Sodium RNA, Squalane, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate VP/Copolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 6, Yellow 5

Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector Ingredients

Water (Aqua) Dimethicone, Simethicone, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Betula Alba Bark Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Morus Bombycis Root Extract, Trametes Versicolor Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Yeast Extract, Peg-6, Tromethamine, Saliylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Cholesterol, Isohexadecane, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrapeptide-30, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lauryl Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Squalane, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 6 (Ci 15985), Yellow 5 (Ci 19140).


Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector is available in two sizes, 1oz ($49.50) and 1.7oz ($76.00). You can buy it at Sephora. Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector, available at Walmart, is packaged in a 1 fl oz, and costs only $16.87.

The Bottom Line

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector and Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector are two silicone-based serums with a smooth texture and anti-aging and skin-lightening properties. Both can help reduce minor discolourations, so, if budget is a concern, definitely opt for the Equate dupe. But, for really serious discolourations, hydroquinone is still your best bet.

Have you tried Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector or its Equate dupe?

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7 Ways To Practice Daily Body Love

7 ways to practice body love

Body love doesn’t come naturally to too many of us. It didn’t to me. From my early teens to my late ’20s, I hated my body. I couldn’t even catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, avoided wearing mini skirts and anything that was just a little bit revealing, and whenever anyone looked at me, I believed they thought “how ugly she is”.

For too long, body hate held me back, and robbed me of the confidence I needed to live my life to the full. It took me years, and a lot of hard work, to start to appreciate my body and all it can do. There are still days when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, wishing I’d be a bit taller or had bigger eyes. But these days, these negative thoughts occur less and less, and they don’t get me down as much.

That’s because I practice daily body love. There are a lot of ways to do this. Some will work for you better than others, but none are quick fixes. To start loving your body, you need to change your mindset first, and that takes time. But, by practising these tips daily, or at least regularly, your relationship with your body will change for the better.

Here’s what helped me:

1. Stop consuming media that make you feel inadequate

Magazines. TV. Blogs. Social media. Radio. Billboards. The media is all around us. We can’t escape it. But we can chose what to consume and how. I used to be an avid fan of women’s magazines, but it’s been ages since I last read one. They have a few features I like but, mostly, they make me feel inadequate. They’re always telling me I’m too short, too fat, not stylish enough or pretty enough.

So, I ditched them in favour of blogs, such as Gala Darling or Beauty Redefined, that make me feel good about myself and the way I look. It’s so refreshing to be told we don’t have to waste time fitting into a certain narrow Western ideal, and can focus on being the smart, fun, imperfect, and awesome people that we are. It gives such a boost to your self-esteem!

Maybe magazines don’t make you feel bad about yourself. But watching the news makes you scared of travelling alone, making you pass up wonderful work opportunities. Or dealing with Twitter trolls ruins your day. So don’t. If something makes you feel bad and gets you down, you don’t have to consume it.

friends body love

2. Don’t hang out with toxic people

Media can be toxic, but so can people. We all have Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers in our lives. Those folks who complain about everything, constantly criticize others, and can’t see the good in anything. They just create unnecessary stress for you, and their comments can seriously erode your self-esteem and confidence. So, if you can, avoid them.

Break contact gradually if you don’t want to upset them, but do it. If you can’t, because they’re family members or colleagues you see almost daily, you can limit your interactions with them to a minimum. Then, when someone starts complaining, ask them how they are thinking of fixing the problem. That usually shuts them up. It that doesn’t work, find an excuse to get away.

Whatever you do, don’t pity them or sympathize with them. That’s just what they want, and by so doing, you’ll encourage them to continue ruining their, and everyone else’s, life. Instead, hang out more with positive people who encourage, inspire, and support you. You’ll become a lot happier, resilient, and motivated to reach your goals.

food is fuel

3. View food as fuel

We are what we eat, and we eat what we are. If you use food for comfort, you’ll eat way too much (often of the wrong stuff too), only to regret it and loathe yourself afterwards. If you see food as an enemy, you won’t eat enough or deprive yourself of important nutrients your body badly needs to function properly.

Question your relationship with food, and what’s behind it. Are you trying to fill an emotional void? What can you do to fix the problem without using food? Then, get educated about nutrition. Find out what different foods do for your body, and the physical and psychological effects they have. Do they give your body the energy it needs, or do they have the opposite effect? Once you start viewing food as fuel, following a healthy, balanced diet becomes a lot easier.

4. Do The Work

Developed by Byron Katie, The Work is a way of identifying and questioning any negative thought that runs through your mind. You just have to ask yourself these four questions:

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?

Doing The Work is uncomfortable at first, but it really helps put negative thoughts in perspective, and then they won’t affect you as much. You’ll be free to be the person you would be without that thought, the person that you truly are.

body is an instrument

5. Look at yourself naked in the mirror

I know, I know. This feels so weird and uncomfortable, but it can really help you love your body. How? Rather than look away quickly as you catch a glimpse of your reflection in the mirror, look at your body and say aloud what you love about it. If you struggle to find something nice to say, start by focusing on one body part, and tell it that you love it.

“Dimpled cellulite thighs, I love you!” Even if you don’t believe it, say it anyway, and continue till you do. Then, think about of what that body part does for you. Our legs allow us to walk, run, and jump. Focus on the good, not the “bad” (or what we’ve been conditioned to see as bad). Our bodies are instruments, not ornaments.

6. Use your body in new ways

Try yoga. Take up a new sport. Enrol in a dance class. Go mountain trekking. Learn to climb trees. Find new ways to move and use your body. You’ll be amazing at what it can do.

7. Hang confidence enhancing posters on your walls

A quick search on Etsy turns up hundreds of motivational posters that inspire you while making your house look prettier too. If you’re the artsy type, you can make your own posters. Write something like “You are amazing”, or “Be your beautiful self” in bright bold letters on a canvas, frame it, and hang it on your wall. Or you can write yourself love notes and leave them on your desk, your car, your bedside table. It sounds silly, but this constant exposure helps rewire your brain and help it look and feel about your body differently, in a much more positive light.

Do you practice daily body love? If so, how?

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Product Review: HQ Gel “Effetto Lifting”

hq gel effetto lifting 02

Name: Gel “Effetto Lifting”
Brand: HQ
Size: 15ml
Price: €2,80

From the packaging:
Gel “Effetto Lifting” helps to smooth out skin and reduce micro wrinkles, brightening up the complexion.

What I liked:
– hydrating, makes skin soft and smooth
– temporarily, slightly reduces the appearance of wrinkles
– gel texture is just right, and absorbs quickly into the skin
– practical packaging

What I didn’t like:
– basic formula, can only hydrate skin

HQ Crema Idratante Intensa wasn’t the only skincare product I left lying in a drawer for ages, neglected and forgotten. Fellow HQ Gel “Effetto Lifting” suffered the same fate too.

I’m glad that I rediscovered it when the weather is still cold, though, because that’s when my combination skin, which tends to get a bit dryer in winter, appreciates hydrating humectant-based gels like this the most. Humectant is a fancy word to define those ingredients, like Glycerin and Sodium Hylauronate, that have the ability to draw moisture from the environment into the skin.

This added moisture helps keep skin hydrated. And hydrated skin feels softer, and looks plumper and smoother. As long as the hydration lasts, wrinkles and fine lines look slightly smaller, giving your face a more youthful appearance.

I was pleased Sodium Hyaluronate was added to this formula. It’s one of my favourite humectants because it works well both in high and low humidity conditions. And it can hold 1000 times its weight in water! Impressive, isn’t?

hq gel effetto lifting 01

Instead, I was frustrated by the inclusion of Ammonium Acryloyldimethyaqua. Why? Because I have no idea of what it is and what it does. I’ve consulted all my usual sources, but nothing. None mentioned it. My guess is that it’s used to adjust the consistency of gel products, but I can’t be 100% sure about that. If anyone has any information about it, please let me know. :)

The rest of the formula is quite boring. It contains a couple of antioxidants, but not in concentrations high enough to do much for the skin. HQ Gel “Effetto Lifting” is a simple humectant treatment that keeps dry skin soft, smooth and well-hydrated when used regularly. Just don’t expect anything more than that.

The gel consistency is just right. Not too runny, not too thick, it spreads easily on the skin, sinking in quickly. Because a little goes a long way (unless your skin is super dry), the gel will last you more than the 10 applications guaranteed by the packaging. The satchel is also convenient to bring on your trips with you. It doesn’t take up much room and, if you go somewhere with a harsh climate that sucks the moisture out of your skin, its contents helps you replenish it.

Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyaqua, Glycerin, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Buddleja Davidii Extract, Thymus Vulgaris Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum, Mannitol, Dextrin, Disodium EDTA, Saccharide Isomerate, Dextran, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Xanthan Gum, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 II, Ceramide 1, Cholesterol, Phytosphingosine, Carrageenan, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamol, Limonene, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, CI 16035, Methylsothiazolinone, CI 17200.

Available at: Beauty 2 Buy

HQ Gel “Effetto Lifting” is a humectant-based gel that hydrates skin well. As a result, skin looks softer and plumper, and the appearance of wrinkles is reduced.

Rating: 3.5/5

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5 New Gorgeous Eyeshadow Palettes For Spring 2015

eyshadow palettes spring 2015

What’s your biggest makeup weakness? I’m a sucker for eyeshadow palettes. I just can’t resist them.

I love playing with eyeshadows, and trying new colour combinations and looks all the time. Palettes make this easier. They feature several colour-coordinated shades that take the guesswork out of creating the perfect eye look.

This spring, we’re going to be spoilt for choices. So many brands have come up with new eyeshadow palettes, one more gorgeous than the other. Which to choose?

Here are my favourites:

An artist-inspired eye shadow palette that features five complimentary, pigmented shades. A few reviews have mentioned some of the shades are powdery and not that easy to work with, but I can’t help wanting one anyway. Available in 7 variants, my favourite is Color Field, which features olive greens, browns, and champagne shades. Available at Sephora.

Inspired by fabric swatches, the eyeshadows cover all finishes from matte to metallic, from satin to iridescent. It’s available in two variants: Tuxedo (dark and edgy hues) and Nu (soft and natural shades). Surprisingly, it’s the latter that has caught my eye. What’s happening to me? Am I turning into a natural makeup girl as I get older? Should I get worried? Available at Nordstrom.

This gorgeous palette features ten eyeshadows in both soft and natural and edgy and dark hues to create day to night looks. Very versatile, they can be used dry for a soft wash of colour, or wet for a more intense look. Available at Ulta.

A beautiful, feminine palette with muted floral-inspired shades. It features aubergine, rust brown, nude pink, peachy pink, lavender, and blue shades to create soft colourful looks perfect for spring. Available at Nordstrom.

The keen colour sense and expertise of Nicolas Degennes went into creating these unique palettes featuring bold, elegant and modern combinations where nudes mix with intense tones, where matte density plays off a sparkling veil. It’s available in nine variants. My favourite? Tentation. It features green, eggplant, pink, and champagne shades. Available at Sephora.

Do you like these palettes? Which one is your favourite?

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5 Things You Need To Know About Antioxidants

5 things you need to know about antioxidants

After sunscreen, an antioxidant serum is your most powerful alley in the fight against premature aging. But you can’t just pick a random one. If you want it to treat your most pressing and annoying skin problems, you must choose wisely. Here’s 5 things you need to know to make the right choice:

1. Antioxidants are multitaskers

The main job of antioxidants is to protect our skin from the free radical damage (the main culprit of premature aging) caused by unprotected sun exposure, irritating skincare products, smoking, alcohol, and even metabolism! Thanks to their action, we can keep wrinkles at bay for longer. But that’s not all they do. They can also help reduce dark spots, boost collagen production, restore skin’s protective barrier, and even reduce inflammation.

2. Stronger together than alone

Nivea loves co-enzyme Q10. Korres is mad about quercetin. And Caudalie has a crush on resveratrol. These are all powerful antioxidants, but there’s only so little they can do when used alone. Studies have shown, again and again, that a bunch of antioxidants works a lot better for the skin than just one or two. For example, incorporating ferulic acid into “a topical solution of 15%l-ascorbic acid and 1%alpha-tocopherol improved chemical stability of the vitamins (C+E) and doubled photoprotection.” So, chose serums that are loaded with lots of different antioxidants, such as Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum and Skin Actives Antioxidant Serum With ROS* Terminator. And, for even better result, follow a diet rich in antioxidants too.

3. Vitamin C isn’t just one ingredient

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants used in skincare, but it comes in many forms. The most effective is L-ascorbic acid. But this ingredient is very unstable, difficult to formulate with, and can irritate sensitive skin. Less potent, but more stable forms of Vitamin C, are tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl palmitate. Others, like ascorbyl glucoside and ascorbyl glucosamine, are also more stable but little studied, so we don’t know how well they work yet. When shopping for a Vitamin C serum, choose the right form for you carefully.

4. Antioxidants aren’t the one night stand types

You can’t just use an antioxidant serum every now and then, and expect great results. It just doesn’t work that way. No skincare product does. If you stop using them, their beneficial effects quickly disappear. With antioxidants, you must be committed for the long haul. Think about it: sun exposure, a bad diet, pollution, and inflammation damage our skin a bit every day. It’s an ongoing process than needs an ongoing fight.

5. Antioxidants are shy

Antioxidants work best when they aren’t seen. Put them in a jar, and light and air will soon plot to make them ineffective. But in air-tight, opaque tubes and bottles, they retain their powerful antiaging powers for a long time. You can finish your bottle at your leisure, fully confident that even the last drop can help you keep the signs of premature aging at bay.

Do you use skincare products with antioxidants? What are your favourites? And are they packaged properly?

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