Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel – What a difference a day makes

Sometimes a day can make all the difference. It doesn’t have to be one of the life-changing experiences, or a big loss. Sometimes just a few hours are all it needs.

I for one can be absolutely fine in the mornings, all happy and calm, but a crying mess in the evening. No special reason, of course.

Mr. Loca calls it exhausting and wearing, I call it emotionally flexible and versatile. But I digress.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel - all finished
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel – all finished


I admit, it took me more than a few hours to change my mind towards Cliniques Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. In fact, it took me more than eight months to go from rejection to rejoicing. The reason? The weather. It is always the weather.


When I bought it, it was winter in Germany, and my skin was dehydrated. So with a few hours to kill between connecting flights on our way to Australia, I rummaged through Duty Free and decided to treat myself to a moisturizer. After arriving in the Australian summer, I used and loathed it. It just was too much, and I was very disappointed.

So I stuffed it in my suitcase and didn’t touch it until December 2013. Winter again, my skin craving moisture, and the bottle basically threw itself at me when I opened my bathroom cabinet (that happens quite frequently, I cram way too much in there…). I was hesitant first, but short on budget, so I gave it another go. And this time I enjoyed it.


What Clinique claims:

A lightweight, oil-free moisturizing lotion, developed by dermatologists. Step 3 in your 3-step skincare routine. Suitable for oily and partly oily skin. Moisturizes, keeps skin smooth and soft.



You can get either a 125 ml pump bottle (47 € here) or a 50 ml tube (25 € here). As always, the bigger the amount you buy, the better the value for money.

The 125 ml was more than enough to get me through the winter months. As you can see, there is still some left, but with the gel being purchased in 2012 (!) I will not attempt to use it up.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel - the product
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel – the product


Once applied, the gel feels lightweight, cooling and without a noticeable scent. It sinks in very quickly and leaves the skin soft without tackiness.


Favorable ingredients:

  • Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract: Antioxydant
  • Glycerin: Moisturizing
  • Laminaria Saccharina Extract: Oil controlling, balancing
  • Saccharomyces Lysate Extract: Antioxidant
  • Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract: Cooling, moisturizing
  • Barley Extract: Antioxidant
  • Sunflower Seedcake: Rich in Vitamin E and linoleic acid, anti-inflammatory
  • Caffeine: Tightening
  • Sodium Hyaluronate: Moisturizing
  • Chamomille Recutita: Antibacterial, soothing

Unfavorable Ingredients:

  • Silicones: up second on the list…
  • Isododecane: Mineral Oil
  • PEGs
  • Preservatives like Phenoxyethanol
  • Coloring


Does it live up to its claims?

Yes, I guess.

The claims aren’t exaggerated. It is lightweight, it is oil-free and the skin feels smooth and soft. And it contains moisturizing ingredients.


Will I rebuy?


I really don’t like the ingredient list. Even though there are many nice things in there, long before they appear there are mineral oil and silicones, both things I would tolerate somewhere down the list, but not among the top three ingredients (the third being water).


Who do I recommend it to?

If you want a cooling, lightweight texture, give it a go.

If you only need a tiny hint of moisture and oiliness and breakouts are your main concern, you could try it. Even though I´d recommend skipping the moisturizer in general and opting for a suitable oil in this case, but this is personal preference.

But overall I don’t think it is worth the money.


Have you tried the Clinique 3-step skincare system before?

And do your preferences sometimes change by the minute?


If you want to read more about skincare, please check out the „Skincare Reviews“ category in the side bar.

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are honest and my own.


(Visited 34 times, 1 visits today)

Related Post

  • Maise Moura

    Look wonderful that prodot,, just want try…

    kisses from MM

  • Great review, I have tried this before and it didn’t agree with me but it felt nice when I first tried it. I like the texture. Gemma xx

    • The texture is lovely, but i am afraid that is mainly down to the silicones.

      • Ahh I see. Maybe that is the ingredient that set me off. xx

  • I really wanted to try this product, but the silicones annoy me a little bit, especially that high on the list… yet I do have to say that there is a lot of product in there for the money.

    • It is. But nonetheless, if the ingredients don’t convince me, I will not put my money down again.

  • I really don’t see the issue with mineral oil and silicones, so for me the formula is fine. I’ve repurchased this several times and I probably will do so again in the future.

    • Yes, I know e have a different opinion on mineral oil. I don’t mind it in my moisturizer as much as I do in my cleanser/serum, but the thing I disliked was that these products were so high in concentration and the ingredients I would have loved were so low down the list that I figured it would rather feel nice than actually work.
      But that is personal preference. I list the „unfavorable“ ingredients I know some people want to avoid, I for one am perfectly fine with fragrance. Some aren’t.

  • Haha, yes, I did try the 3-step system and this moisturizer in particular. It was my first ‚higher-end‘ skincare in my late teens or early twenties. I knew nothing about ingredients and my skin was literally perfect back then, so any product would have worked… I definitely wouldn’t use it now!

    • I never tried their whole line, but the Clinique counter and whole set-up always looked so clinical and efficient, when I was back in school it was the closest to a visit to the dermatologist for me. Everything they said was non-negotiable!

  • I have not tried it yet. I don’t use much moisturizer, cause my skin is kinda oily sometimes. Anyways, cutting edge review!

    Instagram | Black on Black you comfy Black ~ Styleccentric Fashion‘ | BLOGLOVIN

    xo, Alyssa

  • It’s so funny how much of a part the weather can play in your feeling towards a product. I guess that goes to show that even if you thought you didn’t like a product it’s worth trying it in a different season 🙂 x

    Brenda BusyBee | Win a Billion Dollar Brows 60 Seconds To Beautiful Brows Kit

    • Absolutely, your skins need change so much throughout the seasons.

  • fashionandfoodandotherstuff

    I only use Clinique skincare and am very happy with it. I’ve got a very sensitive skin and then Clinique is very good.

    • Yes, they tend to stay away from fragrance, which can irritate a lot of people. I am glad you have found something that works for your skin. Other Clinique products, like their Cleansing Balm, are high up among my favorites.

  • I’ve always used clinique as a go to when it comes to skincare and even make up – some of their products are so on point, while others, aren’t there so much. I remember using a moisturizer that made my skin look compelterly disgusting. But I believe that it comes back to, like you said, winter. And our skin changes, as does what we put in our bodies. I think it’s all corelated. Which is why not all products work the same all year around.

    But it’s also worth trying. I do feel like clinique makes real good moisturizers and the three steps are great for specific types of skin.

    Ella Pinto xx

    • I do enjoy a lot of Cliniques products, their „Take the day off“ Cleansing balm was in my 2015 favorites. I just wasn’t convinced by this moisturizer.

  • This has happened to me more than a few times. (Most recently, with an old bottle of Neutrogena moisturizer that would have been way too oily for me in the summer.) Great review!

    • It really pays off to give products a second chance depending on the season/your skins needs.

  • Shame it isn’t worth it’s money, though that is probably because you are having issues for when to use it :/

    Angie | Chocolate & Lipstick | Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

    • I can see other people loving it, it just didn’t work for me.

  • I actually haven’t tried any Clinique’s products as they are on expensive side and I am always hesitant to spend money on expensive things before trying them out or sampling. My skin is very sensitive and what if it go wrong with it? I would have then only spent lots of money for that! I do think there are very good choices from more drugstore brands, of course, that it’s always a case and the products can be very amazing and worth the money. But it’s not very usual, at least for me.

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

    • Clinique are pretty good when you are sensitive, as they don’t use many irritants in their skincare., and I happen to love a lot of their products. And while there are gems at the drugstore I usually don’t buy much skin care there, I feel like many times you get what you pay for. But it should be easy to get a sample at the Clinique counter? At least here it is. Or try some travel sizes, they are a great way to test skincare without investing too much.

  • Rakel

    I personally love this product!

    • Many people do, i feel like it just didn’t work for me. Clinique as a brand is high up among my favorites, i adore the „Take the day off“ cleansing balm.

  • I’ve never tried it, but it sounded great until you got to the ingredients! I can’t believe that water isn’t the first ingredient…weird for a moisturizer. I recently purchased the Vichy Aqualia Thermal in extra-sensitive (because it has a pump) and I’ve been loving it for the winter. I can’t see it being great in the summer and I think that’s with most products (like this clinque one) which is a real shame because depending where you live the seasons can fluctuate so much in a matter of days!
    (I love your little comment about emotional versatility! haha)
    Great post 🙂

    • I am sorry if what I wrote was misunderstandable: Water is the first ingredient, I meant it was the third of the top three: Water, mineral oil, silicone. But nonetheless, not how I like my skincare to be designed.

      The weather can be unpredictable here as well, especially in spring or autumn, and that makes adapting your skincare challenging sometimes. I can bet on it freaking out when the weather starts to change, not something I look forward to.

    • I am sorry if what I wrote was misunderstandable: Water is the first ingredient, I meant it was the third of the top three: Water, mineral oil, silicone. But nonetheless, not how I like my skincare to be designed.

      The weather can be unpredictable here as well, especially in spring or autumn, and that makes adapting your skincare challenging sometimes. I can bet on it freaking out when the weather starts to change, not something I look forward to.

  • I’ve heard really good things about this product and decided to purchase it (about 5 years ago). After using it for about a week, my skin broke out in clogged pores everywhere. It was awful. I stopped using it and my skin cleared up. Maybe it was a bad bottle, but I haven’t used it since. I know it works well though for many people, I guess my skin is just sensitive.

    • I think everyones skin is different, so what works for others mustn’t work for you. Listening to your skin is the most important thing.

    • I think everyones skin is different, so what works for others mustn’t work for you. Listening to your skin is the most important thing.

  • I tried the whole 3 steps range when I was younger and hated it. This was the range that cause my face to freak out but after reading your post, it could be Malaysia humidity made this way too heavy for my skin back then. Maybe it’s time for me to revisit this again and see if my skin will love it this round.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

    • Our environment has a great impact on our skins needs, it is crazy. But I wouldn’t really advice going back to that moisturizer, I guess you have better stuff already.

    • Our environment has a great impact on our skins needs, it is crazy. But I wouldn’t really advice going back to that moisturizer, I guess you have better stuff already.

  • Carina Vardie

    I tried this in high school and really loved it, didn’t really look at the ingredients at the time.


    • I only started doing that a few years back, before that I had no clue what they actually meant.

    • I only started doing that a few years back, before that I had no clue what they actually meant.

  • This product sounds pretty average. Even though I think splurging is something all of us do sometimes, there are times we get a bit disappointed and realize that there are cheap products out there that work just as good, or even better 🙂

    By the way, I would like to hear more from you over on my blog 🙂

    • Yes, more expensive doesn’t always equal better, even though I like to splurge on my skincare.

      • Most people do, and I think that’s perfectly fine. At the end of the day.. it’s our skin! But sometimes, more affordable products do an amazing job! And I love all the options out there nowadays 🙂

        • Absolutely agree, the options are great. And once you start shopping by ingredients rather than brand names and claims, you can find a lot of great products in the drugstore.

    • Yes, more expensive doesn’t always equal better, even though I like to splurge on my skincare.

  • I’ve never really got on with this moisturiser.. I don’t know why! Had to laugh at your intro.. poor Mr Loca! 🙂
    Becca | theBeautyInbox

  • I am not liking silicons in ingredient list…so i might give it a skip..

    • I don’t mind them too much, I just prefer them further down on the list.

    • I don’t mind them too much, I just prefer them further down on the list.

  • Eventhough I’m a big fan of clinique (after discovering that my skin doesn’t react to any of their products wooo!) I think I would pass on this, as it doesn’t seem like the type of product that my skin would thank me for…Although I love their BB cream!

    Pop over to my blog!


    • Yes, I do love a lot of Clinique products as well, it was just this one I didn’t like too much.

  • I didn’t have success with the original, I doubt I’d have success with this one either 🙁

  • Saša Rakovec

    I tried it, and it worked pretty good for me!



  • Such a difference for the weather? I guess!

    Thank you for reviewing!


  • Tal

    I agree linda, the ingredients sucked. I felt the exact same when I bought it!

    Dermalogica Active Moist Moisturiser review

  • you’re so silly! love the blog! (: ♥ | xoxo

  • i have use this for a long time, very nice
    have an happy day
    fashion blogger

  • I used the original Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion back in the day but I haven’t tried any of the new iterations. This one sounds like a pass. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

  • I normally like gels – they worked wonders when I lived in Texas with the hot weather – but I appreciate your honesty int he review. I actually LOL’ed at the „yes, I guess…“ – One thing I REALLY appreciate from this review is the list of unfavourable ingredients. In fact, that was a dealbreaker for me – as soon as I saw Mineral Oil, I knew to STAY AWAY! That is the one ingredient that will break me out insanely fast so I have to stay far away! xx SS

    • I tend to avoid it as well.
      Gels are great for me in the summer, but last summer I just used a hydrating serum and SPF and was fine as well. My skin has been pretty oily throughout pregnancy.

  • This is the one product that I find all of my friends use, and I myself don’t really take notice of the ingredients but thank you for sharing! I actually emptied two bottles and moved on to another brand, but from now on I should really take note of the ingredients! 🙂



    • I switched to reading the ingredients before I purchase a few years ago, and it has made such a difference in my shopping.

  • I used to use this many years ago. Unfortunately it’s not moisturizing enough or my dry skin.

  • Trang Do

    I used this product few years ago. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!!

    Love from {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

  • Surbhi Suri

    thanks for the detailed review. I love clinique as a brand. would definitely try this product now.
    New Post on my blog, do drop by soon ,<3

  • Nadia

    I’ve tried Clinique 3-step system and I did enjoy but didn’t end up repurchasing it, just moved on to something else. Love Clinique as a brand though! The ingredients list isn’t the most appealing in this one. Thanks for this detailed review, Anne. Hope your week is going well (with more happy and less crying moments) 🙂
    xox Nadia

    • Haha, yes, I am much less emotional when I am pregnant, contrary to common belief.
      And I love Clinique as well, the „Take the day off“ cleansing balm is a firm favorite of mine.

  • Rosanna Briguglio

    I love Clinique makeup but haven’t really tried a lot of their skincare range, thanks for the honest review!
    Have a lovely day 🙂
    Rosanna x

  • Seems like an awesome product, thanks for sharing

    Happy Wednesday Doll,

    BLOG | Taislany

  • Kat Horrocks

    Even though the ingredient list isn’t great, I do really love the Lotion+ version of this and have repurchased it a couple times. I’m trying more natural moisturisers now, but I do think it’s a good’un!

    Kat |

  • Love to know that it is lightweight and oil free.
    I love moisturizing gel like this.
    Need to hook with this soon.


    Hey love

    It us the first time visiting your blog and I really love it!

    Great content and nice pics!

    I have some ideas for collaboration between our blogs!

    Please take a look at my blog FASHIONRAILWAYS.COM and let me know if you are interested 🙂
    Vicky :))

    • Hi Vicky. Thank you for stopping by.

      I am not sure which kind of collaboration you should have in mind, but I wanted to let you know that the blog link you are providing in this post and the many other copy-and-paste comments you left on other blogs leads to your wordpress admin page, not your blog.

  • Pam Scalfi

    this is exactly why when the weather changes, the moisturiser you use should also change! I have tried my fair share of clinique but I really struggle to see what the hype is all about :/

    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    • I do love some of their products, but this one just didn’t wow me.

  • Aisha

    It’s always the weather and I understand you.. it’s not easy 🙂 also I don’t like the ingredients too. Oh well… save my money 🙂

  • Aw, that’s disappointing about the ingredients list. 🙁 I really wanted to try this one out but I never really looked through the ingredients for it. (By the way, I LOVE these beauty breakdowns where you go into ingredients. I’ve become very conscious of what I’m putting on my skin so this is very helpful.)

    Style Tomes || Style Tomes on Instagram

    • My skin has improved so much after I started paying more attention to ingredients than product claims.

  • Haha, loving the „emotionally flexible“ 😀 I bet all women can relate to that 😀
    I had this product a few years ago. I had really big problems with my skin back then. If it wasn’t acne, it was very close to it! This product was part of the Clinique skincare package number three, if I remember correctly. The packages consist of a cleanser, toner and moisturizer. And number three was supposed to be for oily skin. I liked this moisturizer a lot, but I don’t think it really really helped with my skin problem. But it also didn’t make it any worse. So in my opinion it was alright.
    Hope you’ve had a good week so far! 🙂
    Emma xxx

  • I’ve never tried the gel but have had both cream & lotion versions which I loved. Have actually been thinking of re-purchasing soon as I love the huge bottle and pump x

    Beauty with charm

    • The pump is great, I wish more companies would use that packaging.

  • Olivia Aimes

    This review was really well written! I feel like I learned a lot about this product xo

  • I get products with high expectations, and some of them end up being a big disappointment, this one is one of them. I had mixed thoughts about this products. I got it when it was hot, and my skin was looking like a disco ball after using it. It didn’t make wonders in cold weathers, so I ended up giving it away. It was just waste of money *sigh*

    Ela BellaWorld

    • That happens to me a lot too. But I guess it is that way with skincare. You can read reviews as much as you want to, in the end everyones skin is different.

  • Kay (shoesandglitter)

    ‚Emotionally versatile‘, haha I love that! 😀 I need to use that one on my boyfriend more often… 😛 Also, you know how I feel about Clinique skincare, darling… So I will probably give this one a pass. I like that it’s lightweight and oil free, and to be honest, it does sound pretty good! But those unfavorable ingredients, ahh! Really don’t like the sort of stuff they put in there. x Always end up irritating my skin!


    • Let me know how your boyfriend takes it, the husband is not impressed by my explanation…

  • I’ve tried the Clinique 3-Step system before and absolutely hated it! The lotions are far too drying, with large amounts of alcohol (I keep one that I use to dry out blemishes), and at the time I tried the regular Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, which is absolutely horrible. It didn’t moisturize well but left me feeling awfully greasy. Yuck!


    • I was so close to buying the 3-step line when it was released, but now I am glad I didn’t.

  • Kelly M

    Fantastic review! I love your honesty always. I really appreciate the ingredient break down because I am very unfamiliar with these and your definitions really help and make it relevant for almost all purchases. A truly educational experience. Thanks for having a rad blog 😉


    • Thank you for being such a supportive and lovely person, Kelly!

  • Dressed With Soul

    Liebe Anne, manchmal nehmen Tage wirklich einen anderen Verlauf, als es anfangs den Anschein hatte … Du lebst ein wunderbar lebendiges und emotionales Leben und gestehst Dir das auch zu. Das mag ich sehr. Danke für Dein Review. Ich denke, es kommt dann für mich nicht in Frage, vor allem wegen der langen Inhaltsliste, die Du erwähnst. Hoffentlich hattest Du bisher eine gute Woche!

    • Die hatte ich, liebe Rena. In der Schwangerschaft bin ich nämlich deutlich ausgeglichener als sonst, entgegen der weit verbreiteten Annahme. Allerdings ist das ja auch kein Dauerzustand.

  • I used the Clinique 3-steps years ago and I liked it back then but then realised that I was using the wrong products which were too harsh for my skin and never came back to this skincare. I agree, weather is guilty of too many things 🙂 x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

    • I love quite a few of their other products, so I had high hopes for this one.

  • I actually love this, I use it every single day. I love how it’s not oily at all.

    Alexandra |

    • I am glad you get on so great with it. It really is lightweight.

  • I tend to approach ingredient lists the same way. I’m by no means a natural chick but I prefer when certain ingredients are lower down on the list. How are you hun?

    Beauty Isles
    My Mommy Years

    • Still very pregnant, thank you for asking.
      I am not natural, I do love my chemicals, but only if I feel they have an actual benefit. These „feel good“ products that just sit on my skin feel like a waste of money to me.
      How are you doing with your lovely daughter?

  • I have tried the Clinique three step many moons ago and it was not for me. Clinique is not a brand that normally gets me really excited, although they seem to have upped their game more recently and I really like their Moisture Surge face spray.

    • The Take the Day off cleansing balm is among my firm favorites, and I love their Chubby makeup line.

      • Oh yeah, I forgot about take the day off! Probably because I have none right now. I love that balm x

  • thefashionsalt

    I remember my mother using the Clinique dramatically different moisturizer. She loved it but I’ve never tried it. I don’t think I would try the gel because like you I’m not fond of the ingredients. And I think at 32, (or 33?) weeks you deserve to be emotionally flexible and versatile 🙂

    • I am actually way more balanced when I am pregnant, contrary to common belief that is what the hormones do to me. Mr. Loca enjoys it, but I will not stay pregnant forever just for the sake of that!

  • I used this for a few years and loved it. Even though I felt it smelled like a hospital. It wasn’t strong, but I definitely picked up on it. I eventually switched over to the Moisture Surge.

    • Strange, I didn’t notice that, I just barely smelled anything. maybe I am so used to smelling hospital that I don’t notice it anymore?

  • Habe ich noch nicht ausprobiert. Irgendwie komme ich nie auf die Idee mir Produkte von Clinique zu kaufen, verwende sie nur, wenn diese in einer meiner Beautyboxen dabei sind. Danke für deine Review! xxx

    • Ich mag die Chubby makeup Linie so gerne, hast Du davon schon mal was probiert?

  • I have that Clinique product too! it was nice but not my fav ! nice review.

  • Thanks a lot, dear 😀
    You really want to try Clinique products but they are so expansive 🙁

    NEW BRANDING POST | Ana by Herself: be different

    InstagramFacebook Oficial
    Miguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me 😀

    • I don’t mind investing in my skincare, but of course everyone has a different budget.

  • Such a detailed review, very helpful indeed! xx
    She is Mary

  • Loved the ingredients breakdown, and I’m with you. I’m currently using the cream version at nighttime and while my skin loves it, I don’t do as much for the same reason! 🙂 xx

    Gyudy @ Gyudy’s Notes Of Beauty

    • These feel good ingredients are so deceiving. This is why I started shopping by ingredients.