Clinique is one of the most popular skincare brands in the US, and as the name suggests, is known for its clinical approach to beauty. The brand has launched many products over the years that have become bestsellers, including Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator.
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Since its debut more than a decade ago, the Moisture Surge formula has evolved several times — much to the dismay of long-time customers — and is now called Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator. Despite this, Moisture Surge remains one of the brand’s most popular products.
Clinique has even created an entire Moisture Surge collection that includes additional moisturizers, a CC cream, overnight mask, eye cream, facial spray, and more.
Below we’re giving you all the details on the 10 best Clinique Moisture Surge products. We’ll cover the formulation details, including the key ingredients and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare. Lastly, we’ll share some Clinique reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of the Moisture Surge products.
Is Clinique Skincare Worth The Money?
A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.
In our opinion, Clinique products are worth the money, but there are other brands that deliver greater value.
One brand is Carrot & Stick, a clean skincare brand that perfectly balances the gentle nurturing of plants with the powerful results of innovative science.
What Are The Top 10 Best Clinique Moisture Surge Products?
Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best Clinique Moisture Surge Products.
Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator
This lightweight gel-cream moisturizer is the latest version of Clinique’s original Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator. The pink cream feels thick, but it absorbs into the skin quickly, instantly soothing and hydrating skin.
The formula contains high concentrations of silicones that contribute to its silky texture, as well as many different humectants — like butylene glycol, glycerin, trehalose, sucrose, and aloe vera — that bind moisture in the upper layers of skin.
There’s also antioxidants like green tea leaf extract, caffeine, and vitamin E in this moisturizer. Unfortunately, the jar packaging will cause these antioxidants to break down over time because of exposure to light and air.
Clinique claims that this moisturizer can keep skin hydrated for 100 hours, but there isn’t any independent research to prove that the product can do this. And even if it did, you’re going to wash your face at some point during those 100 hours, right? If so, the cleansing agents in your face wash will ultimately interrupt the hydration provided by this moisturizer.
Bottom Line: A thick yet silky and lightweight facial moisturizer for all skin types that instantly soothes and hydrates.
Clinique Moisture Surge Intense 72H Lipid-Replenishing Hydrator
A cream-gel moisturizer for those with very dry to dry combination skin types. It has a rich silky texture due to the combination of silicones with emollients like isopropyl isostearate, squalane, and olive oil.
The formula also contains a decent amount of sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid. Sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid are basically the same, and the two names are used interchangeably in the skin care industry.
The main differences are that sodium hyaluronate is more stable, easier to formulate, and cheaper. Once applied to the skin, sodium hyaluronate provides the same benefits of hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG), a long polysaccharide (sugar molecule) that’s able to absorb and hold a large amount of water. When applied to the skin, it will help to increase hydration and even plump lines and wrinkles.
There are antioxidants in this formula, however, the jar packaging will lead to their degradation over time.
Bottom Line: A facial moisturizer that combines silicones, emollients, and sodium hyaluronate to soften and hydrate dry skin.
ALTERNATIVES: Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer. It’s overflowing with potent plant proteins, vitamins, peptides and amino-collagen.
Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream
A lightweight, oil-free CC cream that instantly color corrects a range of complexion concerns — such as redness, dullness, and sallowness— thereby imparting a healthy-looking glow. The formula provides moderate coverage, and is available in 5 different shades, ranging from very light to medium.
Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream also provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection due to a combination of two chemical sunscreen ingredients (octinoxate and octisalate) with two mineral sunscreen ingredients (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide).
There are also plenty of emollients and humectants in this formula to help soften and moisturize skin, such as squalane, aloe vera, trehalose, and glycerin. The addition of caffeine in this formula should help to temporarily firm and tighten skin.
Bottom Line: A medium coverage CC Cream that provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protections while also improving skin’s hydration.
Clinique Moisture Surge Sheertint Hydrator
If you’re not a fan of wearing full coverage foundation, Clinique Moisture Surge Sheertint Hydrator could be a good option. It’s sheer tint perfects and covers a wide range of skin tones; you can choose from very light to very deep tint.
This formula provides broad spectrum SPF 25 protection thanks to a combination of the chemical sunscreens ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate and ethylhexyl salicylate with mineral sunscreens zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Cucumber and aloe extract help to hydrate and soothe skin, while caffeine and vitamin E provide antioxidant protection.
Bottom Line: A tinted hydrator that provides sheer coverage and broad spectrum SPF 25 protection.
Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask
If you’re struggling with dry patches or dullness, or your skin could just use an extra dose of hydration, then a sleeping mask is the way to go. Sleeping masks are designed to be applied as the final step of your skincare routine in order to lock in moisture while also creating a permeable seal on top of your skin to help the products underneath it penetrate better.
The Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask creates this seal with ingredients like shea butter, mango seed butter, algae extract, and several different silicones. Together, these ingredients create a soft, non-sticky layer over the skin, thereby reducing moisture loss overnight and supplying plenty of nutrients to the skin.
Bottom Line: A sleeping mask that soothes, nourishes, and helps skin stay hydrated, resulting in soft, dewy skin by morning.
Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Lotion
This water-y lotion promises to “drench skin with hydration” and leave skin dewy, glowing, and plumped with moisture. It has a lightweight milky texture that absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving it hydrated and refreshed without any sticky residue. All skin types can use this hydrating lotion after cleansing, but before your serum and moisturizer.
The fragrance-free lotion supports skin hydration by replenishing the Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF), which are elements that keep the outer layer of the skin protected and well-hydrated. The ingredients that replenish the NMF include glycerin, trehalose, and sodium PCA.
There’s also quite a few botanical extracts in this formula, such as bamboo, pea, barley, wheat germ, St. Paul’s Wort, and a couple different algae extracts. These extracts likely help to condition skin and may reduce inflammation, but there isn’t any substantial research that supports the benefits of these ingredients.
Bottom Line: This lightweight water-y lotion draws moisture into the skin and helps to replenish the NMF.
Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate
If you’re looking for a hydrating yet lightweight moisturizer, the Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate could be a good option.
The formula includes high concentrations of several different humectants, including glycerin, butylene glycol, sucrose, and hydroxyethyl urea, just to name a few. There’s also a water-binding algae extract and aloe vera leaf water. Ultimately, this formula really is “supercharged” with ingredients that help to bind moisture to the skin.
Even though this concentrate is recommended for all skin types, it’s likely best for those with normal, oily, and combination skin types. Those with dry skin may find that this formula isn’t enough to keep dryness at bay since the formula doesn’t contain many emollients.
Bottom Line: A lightweight moisturizer that contains plenty of water-binding ingredients that will help to increase skin hydration.
Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray Thirsty Skin Relief
A spray-on toner that’s alcohol-free, fragrance-free, and oil-free, making it a good option for all skin types. Like most of the Clinique Moisture Surge products, the formula contains plenty of water-binding humectants, including dipropylene glycol, butylene glycol, glycerin, aloe vera leaf water, trehalose, and sucrose. All of these ingredients aid in binding water in order to increase skin hydration.
This facial spray also includes an extract from Centella asiatica, also known as gotu kola and tiger grass, which is a perennial plant native to the wetlands in Asia. It’s a rich source of natural bioactive substances, including triterpenoid saponins, flavonoids, phenolic acids, amino acids, and sugars, which help to enhance moisturization and calm inflammation.
Since this facial spray is so lightweight and hydrating, it’s great to keep in your bag or purse so that you can refresh your skin during the day. And that’s exactly how most customers use this toner. For example, one Clinique review says, “This refreshing mist feels rejuvenating on the skin after a long and hot day! It works great as a toner as well as a finishing mist to set powder makeup.”
Bottom Line: A spray-on toner that helps to moisturize skin while calming inflammation, making it a good product to refresh your skin during the day.
Clinique Moisture Surge Eye 96-Hour Hydro-Filler Concentrate
The Clinique Moisture Surge Eye Concentrate is a cushinoy water-gel that instantly soothes and hydrates the delicate skin around the eyes while also helping to reduce the appearance of creases and crow’s feet.
The formula contains many of the same key ingredients as the other products in the Clinique Moisture Surge collection, including humectants (glycerin, butylene glycol, sucrose, etc.), algae extract, aloe vera, and green tea leaf extract. These ingredients not only increase skin’s hydration, but also help to plump the appearance of skin.
There’s also the peptide Argireline, also known as acetyl hexapeptide-8, in the Clinique Moisture Surge Eye Concentrate. This peptide works by limiting the ability of neurotransmitters to activate movement in your facial muscles, for example, when forming facial expressions such as smiling or frowning.
By inhibiting the nerves that cause facial muscles to contract, Argireline limits subtle facial expressions. This can help to reduce the appearance of creases and crow’s feet around the eyes.
Bottom Line: Clinique Moisture Surge Eye Concentrate is a hydrating water-gel eye treatment that helps to reduce signs of aging, such as creases and crow’s feet.
Clinique Moisture Surge Lip Hydro-Plump Treatment
A lip treatment that smooths and relieves dryness, leaving you with soft, dewy lips. The highest concentration ingredient in the formula is petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly or Vaseline.
The formula also includes high concentrations of ingredients like polybutene and hydrogenated polyisobutene. These are both synthetic polymers that give this lip treatment a sticky texture while also enhancing the shine of the product.
The rest of the formula includes emollients like hydrogenated castor oil, shea butter, murumuru seed butter, and more. While all of the ingredients in this lip treatment will help to promote soft, moisturized lips, the formula lacks ingredients that will help to “plump” the look of lips.
Bottom Line: A petrolatum-based lip treatment that helps to relieve dryness and promote smooth, soft, dewy lips.
Related: Best Face Moisturizers
What Are The Key Ingredients in Clinique Moisture Surge Products?
We noticed that all of the Clinique Moisture Surge products have one thing in common: high concentrations of humectants. But what exactly are humectants? And how can they benefit your skin? Let’s get into the science.
A humectant is a hygroscopic substance that has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups, such as hydroxyl groups (OH) and/or amine groups (NH2). The OH and NH2 groups hydrogen bond with water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin.
The humectants that you’ll find in the Clinique Moisture Surge products include glycerin, glycols (propylene glycol, butylene glycol, etc), sucrose (sugar), sorbitol, trehalose, hydroxyethyl urea, aloe vera, amino acids, peptides, and more.
According to a publication in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, humectants attract water from two sources, from the dermis into the epidermis and in humid conditions from the environment. As you can see, humectants really do provide a “moisture surge” to your skin.
In addition, humectants provide temporary anti-aging effects because the extra hydration is extra volume, which effectively plumps out the skin and makes lines and wrinkles less noticeable. However, this effect is transient -— as soon as the moisture content in skin decreases, lines and wrinkles will return to normal size.
So while these temporary anti-aging effects are good in the short-term, you’ll want to make sure to use other products with ingredients that provide long-term anti-aging effects. (See our Alternatives section below for our recommendations).
How Much Do Clinique Moisture Surge Products Cost?
Clinique is a mid-priced brand; the products are slightly more than your average drugstore product, yet they are far more affordable than luxury brands like Drunk Elephant and SK-II.
Just to give you an idea of the current prices of these products, the Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator costs $25 USD for a 30 mL jar, and the Clinique Moisture Surge Eye Concentrate costs $35 for a 15 mL tube.
Where to Buy Clinique Moisture Surge Products?
Clinique Moisture Surge and other Clinique skin care products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as third party online retailers such as Amazon, Sephora, Ulta, and more. You can also find these products at physical retail locations, such as the Clinique counter at department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom.
What is The Clinique Return Policy?
The Clinique return policy states, “If for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase from Clinique Online you may return the unused portion for refund or exchange. We accept returns for products purchased from clinique.com only.”
Is Clinique Cruelty Free?
Clinique is not cruelty free. Clinique is owned by Estée Lauder, a company that tests on animals. While Estée Lauder does not conduct animal testing on their products or ingredients, they do test on animals when required to do so by law (such as in China).
Is Clinique Vegan?
No, Clinique products are not vegan because the brand uses animal-derived ingredients, such as lanolin and carmine, in some products.
Clinique Moisture Surge Reviews
Clinique Moisture Surge reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive. The product with the most reviews is the Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator, which has earned an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars after nearly 2,000 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for the Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator mention that it moisturizes well without leaving skin feeling greasy, oily, or sticky. Many customers also enjoy the lightweight gel texture.
For example, one review says, “I was looking for a new face moisturizer and I found this one. I read the reviews and decided to try it myself. And AMAZING! I noticed the difference right away with how soft my face felt. It’s a jelly-like texture and it doesnt leave my face oily. I also love how it’s unscented! I’ve since bought 2 more to stock up.”
And another 5-star review says, “I love the light pink color of this moisturizer. I love that this moisturizer is more of a gel consistency than a cream. I noticed it gives my skin a glass-like finish or look. Makes my skin feel soft & hydrated without feeling greasy. It doesn’t break out my skin.”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator, which are mostly from long time customers who are frustrated that Clinique altered the original formula.
For example, one review says, “The 100 hour formula is absolutely terrible! It’s very drying, not moisturizing at all. I had a reaction to it and couldn’t wear foundation or eye makeup for 2 weeks. The 72 hour formula was PERFECT and you had to ‘improve’ it. This immediately went in the trash. Waste of $$.”
And another 1-star review says, “For the last five years I was using ‘Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator’ and that was the best moisturizer ever! My skin was soft, hydrated, plump, no wrinkles and overall, it was just perfect. Two weeks ago I bought this new improved formula… OMG!!! It dried out and wrinkled my face! I could see and feel my skin drying out. It left me with wrinkles around my eyes and my upper lip! I seriously don’t understand why they had to “improve” something that was perfect! I started searching for a new brand and new moisturizer.”
Overall, we think that the Clinique Moisture Surge products can be a good addition to your routine if you’re struggling with dehydrated skin (skin that’s lacking water, not oil).
- Formulas contain plenty of humectants and water-binding ingredients
- Products are fragrance-free
- Many positive Clinique reviews for the Moisture Surge products
- Clinique is not cruelty free
- Jar packaging will lead to the degradation of delicate ingredients like antioxidants and botanical extracts
- Many of the formulations lack ingredients that will provide long-term anti-aging effects
What Are Some Alternatives to Clinique Moisture Surge Products?
If you’re looking for hydrating skincare products for dry skin, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin. We recommend this repair moisturizer.
Indian J Dermatol May-Jun 2016;61(3):279-87.