clinique fresh pressed vitamin c range review

How do you solve a problem like Vitamin C? This powerful antioxidant brightens your complexion and keeps wrinkles away, but it’s so unstable, it often goes bad before you can finish a whole bottle. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay full price if I can’t get the full benefits… Clinique’s solution? Putting Vitamin C in an isolation zone. Literally.

Clinique Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C and Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10% have what they call “Stay Fresh packaging” to isolate Vitamin C from water, light and air and anything else that could spoil it before it has a chance to get onto your face. You can find mini sizes of both in Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C Set. It’s very handy for travelling or trying out the range to see how well this approach works. Or you can just read this review. 😉

Now, let’s answer the question that’s on everyone’s lips: is this approach better than just buying a traditional serum with Vitamin C? Did we really need this innovation? I’ve put it to the test to find out:

Vitamin C Benefits For Skin

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that comes in many forms. The pure – and most powerful – is L-Ascorbic Acid. Research shows it:

  • Fights free radicals before they can wreak their damage on your skin and cause wrinkles
  • Boosts the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm (more collagen = fewer wrinkles)
  • Reduces transepidermal water losshelping to keep skin hydrated for longer
  • Brightens skin and fades away hyperpigmentation (that’s a fancy word for dark spots)

The catch? There are two:

  • Irritation: In high doses (10% and higher), L-Ascorbic Acid irritates sensitive skin. The ideal concentration is 15% and I’ve seen products with 20%. Most people can tolerate them, but if they irritate your skin, now you know why.
  • Instability: L-Ascorbic Acid is highly unstable and spoils quickly when exposed to light, air and heat. Good packaging is crucial here. To make sure your Vitamin C serum lasts as long as possible, opt for opaque tubes and bottles. No jars or see-through packaging!

For these reasons, a lot of brands are moving away from L-Ascorbic Acid, preferring instead to use derivatives, like Ascorbyl Glucoside and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, that are said to do the same thing without the irritation and instability. I’ve personally yet to see a study that confirms this (they’re definitely gentle and more stable, but the word is still out on whether they’re more effective too). That’s why I’m sticking to L-Ascorbic Acid for the time being.

Instead than meddling with L-Ascorbic Acid, Clinique focused on creating packaging that’d keep it away from all its enemies, including light and air, giving it the best chance of survival and the serum the best chance to work for a longer period of time. Was this the right call? Does this new type of packaging work? Let’s find out!

Related: The Complete Guide To Vitamin C In Skincare

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

clinique fresh pressed renewing powder cleanser

Clinique Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C Review

Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C Set contains 7×0.5g packets of the Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C. Let’s find out how it performs, shall we?


Ascorbic Acid aside, the cleanser uses a gentle blend of surfactants (Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate , Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate and Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate) to help water mix with oil and dirt so they can be rinsed away. These surfactants are so gentle, they remove all traces of excess sebum and impurities (but not makeup) from your skin without drying it out or stripping it bare, like so many other foaming cleansers on the market do.


Like the name suggests, the cleanser comes in powder form. Yes, a cleanser that comes in powder form. Why is that? Simple: the second you mix L-Ascorbic Acid with water, it starts going bad. That’s why water-based Vitamin C serums often go bad within a couple of months. By leaving it in its powder form until you’re ready to use it, you guarantee its freshness and effectiveness.


It’s a powder, so you can’t just apply it on your skin and think it’ll cleanse it. Instead, you need to mix it with water to turn it into a lightweight, slightly foaming cleanser you can massage onto your skin to remove dirt and impurities. I’m personally not a fan of this extra step… or any extra steps in my skincare routine. I want something I can use out of the bottle and be done, know what I mean? Besides, it doesn’t really work that well here…


The science nerd in me totally gets why mixing L-Ascorbic Acid at the last moment makes sense if you want to maximise longevity and effectiveness (and who doesn’t want that?). But in this case, it’s pointless. Here’s why: If you want to get all its anti-aging benefits, you need to leave Vitamin C on your skin, not rinse it away and down the drain… What’s the point of it being fresh if it doesn’t help your skin anyway? *sighs*

Vitamin C fiasco aside, Clinique Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C is a good morning cleanser. It does remove dirt and impurities without drying out skin, leaving it both soft and clean. I wouldn’t use it in the evening just because it doesn’t remove makeup well. But hey, if you don’t wear makeup, you can use it twice a day.


I’m not a fan of the packaging. Using individual sachets makes sense with L-Ascorbic Acid. If you only use one big sachet, every time you open it, light and air will get inside it and start spoiling it. By using small, individual sachets, you make sure Vitamin C stays fresh. But, in this case, staying fresh doesn’t do anything for your skin. All this packaging does is generate a lot of extra plastic that ends up polluting the planet. I guess they can come in handy for travel, but for my everyday routine, I’ll pass.


I have mixed feelings about this cleanser. I do like the formula a lot, but I’m not willing to waste a few seconds every day for an extra step that turns out to be useless. Not to mention, the waste all those plastic packets generate.


$40.00 at Beauty Bay, Boots, Clinique, Harrods, Look Fantastic, and Ulta

Related: Do Antiaging Cleansers Work?

clinique fresh pressed daily booster with pure vitamin C review

Clinique Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10% Review

Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C Set features 1x 8.5ml vial of Clinique Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%. The juice inside will last you for 7-10 days. Here’s all you need to know about it:


You already know Clinique Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10% contains L-Ascorbic Acid. Let’s do a short review of that and see what else is in here, shall we?

  • L-Ascorbic Acid: 10% is more than enough to fight free radicals and boost collagen – without irritating skin. It’s an amount that even sensitive skin can use safely. If you’ve been using 15% or higher, this would be a step backwards so I don’t recommend you make the switch. If you’ve been staying away from Vitamin C because it irritates your skin or you’re a total newbie, this is a good product to consider.
  • Squalane: An oil so similar to human sebum, it sinks in immediately without leaving a greasy residue behind. It’s super moisturising, too. It strengthens the skin’s protective barrier so that moisture stays in and the germs and irritants out. Plus, it’s one of the very few oils that’s safe for fungal acne, too.
  • Antioxidants: Algae, mulberry and grape fruit extracts (to name a few) have antioxidant properties that neutralise free radicals before they give you wrinkles. I like the serum contains several antioxidants, but I’m bummed they don’t include Vitamin E and ferulic acid. Research shows they boost the effectiveness of Vitamin C and help protect you from sun damage. These days, I rarely use a Vitamin C serum that doesn’t have Vitamin E and ferulic acid too. If you have sensitive skin or are just starting out and want your skin used to higher concentration, it’s a good compromise. But if you’re already using a serum with all 3 antioxidants, this would be a huge step backwards.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: A moisture magnet that attracts and binds to the skin up to 1000 times its weight in water. The extra moisture plumps up your skin, a trick that instantly makes your wrinkles look smaller. It also makes skin softer and helps it exfoliate on its own, so it’s brighter too.


The gel-like texture is super lightweight and sinks quickly into the skin without leaving any sticky residue behind. Just how I like it.


Clinique Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10% is a good formula for sensitive skin… If you can be bothered to use it. Here’s what you need to do to pour it out of the bottle:

  1. The first time you use it, remove the foil seal at one end of the bottle (the one opposite to the needle-like dispenser).
  2. Press the button previously hidden by the foil to release the powdered Vitamin C into the serum.
  3. Shake for 15 seconds to activate it.
  4. Press the button again to dispense the serum out of the bottle.
  5. Either apply it alone or mix it with your fave moisturiser.

Sounds complicated? Clinique has included instructions (with pictures) on the packaging to help you out. Again, I’m on the fence. On the one hand, I understand this type of packaging keeps Vitamin C safe and effective for longer. Until you press that button, you can keep the vial on your skincare cabinet for months and it won’t go bad. On the other hand, it’s a hassle to use


The good news is that, if you can be bothered to use this serum, you’ll use results. Unlike the cleanser that ends up wasting Vitamin C, the serum deposits it into your skin, where it can get deep and do its magic. The first thing I noticed is the light hydration this serum provides. It makes my skin instantly softer and a little bit brighter, too.

Brightening is Vitamin C’s main job. In high concentration, it can fade away dark spots too. This helps a little with that, but it’ll take a long time to fade away completely, if this is all you’re using. Vitamin C is only a part of an anti-hyperpigmentation routine, not the be all and end up.

What about its anti-aging powers? Vitamin C doesn’t reduce wrinkles. It prevents them. Use it every day for years and you’d age better and more slowly than if you hadn’t. Plus, layered under sunscreen in the morning, it helps boost sun protection – another way Vitamin C keeps you younger.


The serum comes in a white and orange bottle that reminds you of Vitamin C. It’s practical and I like that it keeps the antioxidants inside safe from anything that could spoil them. But, it has the same problem as the cleanser: it’s not environmentally-friendly. To me, that’s important. A serum should be as good for the planet as it is for skin.


I personally prefer to stick to ready-made Vitamin C serums even if they have a shorter shelf life. But if you don’t mind the extra steps and want something that lasts longer, Clinique Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10% is a good option to consider – especially if you have sensitive skin or are new to Vitamin C. It’ll make you fall in love with this antioxidant and get you started on your anti-aging journey.


$86.00 at Boots, Clinique, Harrods, Look Fantastic, Sephora, and Ulta

Clinique Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C Ingredients

Maltodextrin , Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate , Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate , Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate , Kaolin , Ascorbic Acid , Sodium Chloride , Sapindus Mukurossi Peel Extract , Salicylic Acid , Allyl Methacrylates Crosspolymer , Cyclodextrin , Coconut Acid , Ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol Manganese Chloride , Water\Aqua\Eau , Disodium Edta

Clinique Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10% Ingredients

Water\Aqua\Eau , Ascorbic Acid , Glycerin , Dimethicone , Squalane, Butylene Glycol , Dipropylene Glycol , Acetyl Glucosamine , Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract , Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D’Orge , Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Root Extract , Molasses Extract\Saccharum Officinarum\Extrait De Mélasse , Laminaria Digitata Extract , Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract , Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 , Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract , Algae Extract , Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 , Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 , Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 , Alcaligenes Polysaccharides , Caffeine , Sucrose , Whey Protein\Lactis Protein\Protéine Du Petit-Lait , Betaine , Salicylic Acid , Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein , Sodium Hyaluronate , Caprylyl Glycol , Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’S Wort) Extract , Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane , Propylene Glycol Dicaprate , Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake , Allyl Methacrylates Crosspolymer , Carbomer , Glyceryl Polymethacrylate , Xanthan Gum , Potassium Sorbate , Peg-8 , Polysorbate 20 , Sodium Citrate , Disodium Edta , Phenoxyethanol