Working in the beauty industry certainly has its perks. As a result of spending our days playing with makeup (for work purposes, of course), we beauty insiders get to try some of the very best products around. In fact, when it comes to beauty products, we’re totally spoilt for choice. This predicament makes having any sort of routine very difficult. As soon as we fall in love with one product, another comes along to distract us.
Our days are varied. When we’re not tied to our laptops, we’re running around town on meetings, attending product briefings or sitting down with brand founders for dinner. As a result, the makeup products that impress us enough to become mainstays in our ever-changing routines need to be easy to use, versatile and deliver unrivalled results. And such criteria can be difficult to meet when it comes to foundation. There is, however, one formula that editors, influencers and beauty experts alike all keep talking about and going back to: Clinique Even Better Clinical Serum Foundation SPF20 (£34).
A virtually weightless (but full-coverage) foundation with a satin-matte finish, this game-changing formula contains a concoction of hard-working skincare ingredients to make the finish as impressive as the good work it does all day to your skin. It contains salicylic acid to beat congestion, vitamin C to help even out skin tone and hyaluronic acid to plump and boost glow. It really is the blueprint for skincare-makeup hybrids. Oh, and did we mention it’s available in 42 shades? On paper, there doesn’t appear to be a person or occasion that this foundation can’t work for.
But we’ve tried just about every foundation out there, so we know that formulas that appear to tick the right boxes don’t always come out on top in practice. So in a bid to see if Clinique Even Better Clinical Serum Foundation SPF20 really delivers all it promises, we enlisted the help of three fellow beauty buffs with differing wants and needs to put it through its paces. Keep reading to see how we got on.
Emma Rose Thatcher is a 39-year-old fashion stylist and content creator. She usually likes full-coverage foundations that have skincare benefits and is typically wary of matte finishes that are prone to settling in fine lines.
“I’m really low maintenance with my makeup, but my base is the area I spend more time on. Once that’s perfected, the rest of my makeup application can be really quick. If I’m working from home, I usually just wear a tinted moisturiser. But when I’m going out, I want a full-coverage foundation. Today, I had a work event and was going straight out to a birthday dinner with friends, so I really didn’t want to feel like I had a lot of makeup on my face.
“I usually go for a dewy, natural-looking foundation. However, my skin tends to get quite shiny, so I often find foundation doesn’t last on me. I’m excited by the 24-hour wear of the Clinique Even Better Clinical Serum Foundation SPF20.
“Having said that, I am a little bit apprehensive about the satin-matte finish looking cakey in my lines. I’m 40 next month, and I think less is more as you get older. I am particularly drawn to the skincare ingredients and serum-like benefits, especially the brightening aspects of vitamin C.”
“As soon as I applied the foundation (I used shade CN20 Fair), the serum benefits shone through. I did a little bit of contour with Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour (£21) to give some definition and also used Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm (£21). I loved putting that on. I was glowy enough afterwards that I didn’t need to use any highlight but matte enough that I didn’t need powder, either, which is good because I get worried about makeup looking cakey with powder.
“The thing I love about this foundation is that you really feel like you’re putting on skincare when you apply it. It makes you feel so fresh. As usual, I spent a little bit of time getting my base application right, but the Clinique Foundation Buff Brush (£29) was amazing! It really does blend so well! A little bit of this foundation goes a long way, too. You only need half a pump to do your whole face. Because I was going out for dinner after my event, I wore a fun dress with cut-outs and wanted my makeup to look fresh with a slightly darker eye.”
“I was super, super impressed with the results and ended up really loving the satin-matte finish! My skin still looked like skin, just with a full coverage, which is good because I feel most confident when I have coverage on my skin. And I love how long it lasts. It gave me confidence because if I’m going to a work event and have plans afterwards, I’m still going to have coverage by the end of the day without having to touch up. It is great to have found a foundation that stays in place all day.
“I’m sometimes wary of foundations making me look older, but this one didn’t. You can really see the brightening properties of the vitamin C working. My skin felt and looked just as fresh when I took my makeup off in the evening as it did when I first applied it.”
India Sehmi is a 29-year-old part-time blogger and content creator with a love for fashion, style, beauty and travel. During the week, she works an office-based job in London. Her schedule is hectic, and as a result, she often finds herself reaching for long-wear makeup formulas that don't require constant touch-ups.
“I often have events to go to after work. In the office, which is either air-conditioned or heated, I feel like my makeup just slides off my face, so I’m always looking for products that don’t do that. I never want to have to redo my makeup at the end of the day. The more time I can save by just doing my makeup once, the better.
“Typically, I lean towards a powder foundation and team it with a full-coverage concealer. My skin is really oily, and I don’t love looking overly shiny, so I hardly ever wear liquid foundation. I’m always trying to go for a more matte look and reduce my natural shininess, so Clinique Even Better Clinical Serum Foundation SPF20 appealed to me thanks to its satin-matte finish. On top of this, I also look for foundations that do a good job at reducing the appearance of my post-breakout pigmentation.”
“I’ll admit that as I sat down to apply the foundation (in shade WN48 Oat), I felt a bit apprehensive because I haven’t used a liquid formula in ages. But as soon as I applied it, I thought, I need to do this more! After applying the foundation, I finished up with a bit of powder. But to be honest, I think I would apply less next time. I didn’t need as much as I usually do! I built the formula up in areas where I have pigmentation, and it was great from a buildability perspective.
“I basically have one makeup look that I always go for: a pink cheek and lip. Because I was going from work to influencer events, I just wanted to replicate my normal routine and go for a smart, casual look. I wanted my base to give a good amount of coverage to cover up the pigmentation and redness around my eyes and nose.
“Instead of cream blush, I went for Clinique Cheek Pop (£20) and paired it with the cult-favourite Almost Lipstick (£20) in black honey. I am obsessed! It’s such a lovely lip colour, and it doesn’t leave my desk now.”
“This foundation reminded me why liquid foundations are so great. I was blown away by how great my makeup looked after a full day. Oh, and my pigmentation totally disappeared under the full coverage. I didn’t even have to put more concealer on than usual. I got the matte finish that I try to go for, too.
“Most of all, I was impressed with the staying power. I was really blown away by how it lasted. I was out in the sun for the whole day, and it stayed on so well. I didn’t reapply at all. I applied it at 8 a.m., and when I took it off 12 hours later, it still looked exactly as it did in the morning, which is totally unheard of. I also like that the shade range is super extensive!
“It really is the definition of your skin but better. It still looks like my skin, just much more even. It’s also the perfect base for enhancing however you like. If I was going for a night out, for instance, I would have just gone bigger on the eye or lip and wouldn’t feel the need to touch my base at all.”
Shannon Lawlor is a 27-year-old freelance beauty editor. She spends her days learning about the latest beauty products, trialling new innovations and writing about them. When she’s not working, she likes to let her skin breathe as much as possible, opting for low-coverage, low-maintenance formulas whenever possible.
“My days never look the same. I have a lot of work to get done during the day, but I also juggle it with meetings and launch events. I’m always running around town with my laptop, so I don’t want to have to carry makeup around with me, too.
“I’ll be honest: I don’t wear a lot of makeup and usually just want a very thin veil of coverage from my base. I’m much more of a tinted-moisturiser kind of girl. Finding a foundation that I get on with is tough. However, I have learned that formulas enhanced with skincare ingredients are usually the ones that impress me the most thanks to their glow-boosting, natural-looking finishes. I was excited to try the Clinique Even Better Clinical Serum Foundation SPF20 because I’d heard so many great things.
“My main concern was that my makeup would look too ‘done.’ I don’t like looking like I have a full face of makeup on. It’s totally out of character for me. I want my face to look like my face, just elevated.”
“I applied one third of a pump in shade WN38 Stone with the buffing brush and genuinely could not believe how well it blended. I don’t think I have ever used a foundation with a finish like this. Because I detest the feeling of product on my oily skin, the second-skin results were very welcome. It sort of absorbs oil while remaining totally weightless and cake-free.
“My dark circles are a big issue for me, so I went in with the super-creamy Even Better All-Over Concealer + Eraser (£23) around my eye area and loved how natural the finish was. To get some healthy glow into my cheeks, I dabbed on Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm (£21) in robust rhubarb and patted it in with my fingers. It melted into the foundation like a dream.”
“Despite the satin-matte claims, I was expecting the foundation to be much dewier than it is, and I’m not mad at the results. I always thought that I liked dewy foundations, but this stuff checks all the boxes. In fact, I found that the finish just got better and better as the day went on. It settled and looked really natural.
“I met a work colleague for lunch, and she couldn’t stop complimenting my skin. She asked what highlight I was wearing. (The answer was none.) I have oily skin, so the satin-matte finish really works for me. It somehow manages to take down shininess without forgoing glow. It’s so good, in fact, that I’ve worn it almost every day since.”