Is Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus Worth The Hype?

by Gio
review clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion plus

I’ve never jumped on the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion bandwagon – and NOT just because my skin isn’t SO dry to need something so heavy duty.

I just think it’s boring. Take a look at the ingredient list: it looks like something that came out of a 60s lab. Revolutionary at the time. Nothing special now.

So when I heard that Clinique was giving it a makeover, I thought “About time!”. And then I saw what they did with it…

Turns out, the new Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus ain’t that different from the original…

For the series “the more things change, the more they stay the same”…

Clinique just added a bunch of humectants (moisture magnets that steal water from the air) and changed the preservative system. Out are parabens and in are Trisodium EDTA and Phenoxyethanol.

Did Clinique make the right call here? Let’s investigate:

What’s In Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus?


There’s a reason you see glycerin in 99% of skincare products out there. It’s a wonderful humectant that attracts water from the environment into the skin.

Now that skin has way more moisture than before, it becomes softer to the touch, gets plumpser so fine lines and wrinkles look smaller and takes on a dewy glow.

Related: Why Is Glycerin In All My Skincare Products (the full story)?!


Yep, urea as that thing that’s in your pee. Ewww!

Don’t panic. There’s no pee in Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus. You can make urea in a lab these days (who said that was a BAD thing?!).

So what does pee – ermmm, I meant urea – does for your skin? Urea is a moisture magnet on steroids (like glycerin but way better). Here are all its superpowers:

In other words, urea is super hydrating, soothing and helps you treat all kinds of skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.

Related: Why Urea Is The Most Underrated Ingredient In Skincare

Sodium Hyaluronate

Yep, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus has one more moisture magnet: sodium hyaluronate.

Sodium hyaluronate is a form of hyaluronic acid that can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water! Can you image how much moisture your skin is getting?! Mind blown.

All this extra moisture is going to make your skin softer, plumper and dewier than ever before.

Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine


All this extra moisture is good BUT it can’t fight dry skin alone.

Here’s the deal: skin is dry because moisture evaporates through its DAMAGED protective barrier. You can add all the water you want to your skin but if you don’t fix the cracks in that barrier, it’s gonna do NOTHING for you.

That’s where mineral oil comes in. It forms a barrier on the skin that keeps water in.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus could have used ceramides or any other natural components of your skin’s protective barrier instead than something with such a bad rep. But hey, I guess mineral oil was cheaper.

While we’re on the subject, let’s debunk a couple of myths:

  • Mineral oil isn’t comedogenic: If you use products with comedogenic ingredients before putting it on, it’ll trap them into the skin and lead to breakouts. But alone, it won’t give you any pimples.
  • Mineral oil isn’t carcinogenic: Yes, it may be derived from oil but it undergoes a strict purifying process before it’s added to your lotions and potions.

Related: Is Mineral Oil Bad For Skin?


You know what else won’t kill you? Parabens. I could write a long blog post about why they’ve been unfairly maligned and to show you the science that PROVES they’re safe.

Oh, wait. I have written a blog post like that. Go read it here.

Are you back? Good. So now you know that parabens are the safest and gentlest preservatives around. They protect your lotions and potions both from bacteria, yeast and fungi and don’t irritate skin.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion got rid of them and switched to Phenoxyethanol and Trisodium EDTA. Too bad they AREN’T as effective.

Phenoxyethanol kills gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria but struggles to get rid of fungi. Trisodium EDTA prevents the product from going bad by binding itself to metals that are harmful to it.

Oh well, at least the bottle makes it difficult for bacteria and other nasties to find their way inside anyway…

Related: The Truth About Parabens Alternatives


Not as thick as you’d think, but not runny either. Somewhere in between, it sinks in quickly into the skin.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

Morning and/or night. In the AM, use it before sunscreen. At night, it’s the last step of your skincare routine.

clinique dramatically different moisturising lotion plus review

Performance & Personal Opinion

Clinique promises you that Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus strengthens your skin’s protective barrier so moisture stays in. On this, it delivers 100%.

If you’re just looking for a basic moisturiser that well… deeply moisturises skin and keeps it soft and smooth even in the coldest of weather, this is it.

If you’re new to retinol and your skin’s flaking like crazy, again this moisturiser can help. It counteracts the dryness from retinol so your skin can tolerate it better.

So what’s my problem with this? It’s the 21st century, ladies. ANY moisturiser nowadays does that. These days, I expect a few antioxidants to fight wrinkles too. Where the heck are those?!

Not here, I tell you.

Who Is This For?

Dry and sensitive skin in need of a basic moisturiser.

Who Is This Not For?

  • Oily and acne-prone skin
  • Anyone who wants a moisturiser with anti-aging properties


Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus comes in a yellow bottle with a pump dispenser. It’s hygienic and practical.

Does Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus Live Up To Its Claims?

Genius yellow moisturiser hydrates all day.I wouldn’t call it genius, but it does keep skin hydrated all day.
Slips on easily, absorbs quickly.True.
Helps strengthen skin’s own moisture barrier, so more moisture stays in.True.

Price & Availability

£18.00/$28.00 at Feel Unique, Nordstrom, Sephora and Ulta

Do You Need It?

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus is by no means a must-have. I’d only recommend it to those with dry/sensitive who are looking for a basics, frills-free moisturiser.

Dupes & Alternatives

Have you tried Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus? Share your thoughts below.


Water\Aqua\Eau , Mineral Oil\Paraffinum Liquidum\Huile Minérale , Glycerin , Petrolatum , Stearic Acid , Glyceryl Stearate , Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil , Urea , Lanolin Alcohol , Triethanolamine , Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D’Orge , Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract , Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake , Propylene Glycol Dicaprate , Sodium Hyaluronate , Butylene Glycol , Pentylene Glycol , Trisodium Edta , Phenoxyethanol , Yellow 6 (Ci 15985) , Yellow 5 (Ci 19140) , Red 33 (Ci 17200)

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Trisha February 19, 2014 - 6:27 pm

Ya know, I’ve found that most skincare products don’t live up to the hype. They promise you the moon, and you barely get off the ground.

It’s very rare that I’m super impressed by something skincare related. The only product I can think of that’s made me feel that way recently is the L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil. Holy moly, that stuff is awesome.

Gio February 19, 2014 - 8:41 pm

Trisha, I agree. I find most skincare products are very basic, and, at best, just include the odd plant extract or antioxidant, usually at such low concentrations that they can’t really do what they promise to.

That oil sounds amazing!

Janessa February 19, 2014 - 9:31 pm

I’ve tried their Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion and Gel (original, before they slightly reformulated and added ‘Plus’). Neither hydrated my skin enough. In fact, my skin felt so dry using the just the Gel that I ended up using it as a ‘toner’ to remove dirt off my face when I didn’t feel like washing it. At the time, I did track and cross country so my face got gross!
I tried the Lotion and it still didn’t do me any good. It felt heavier and unpleasantly heavy in comparison to the lightweight gel and I gave it to my mom or sister haha.
I’ve tried many of their moisturizers because Clinique does GWP’s all year long.

When I read: ‘worth the hype?’ I thought, ‘Oh, heck no!’ There are no antioxidants or special ingredients in the formula and I agree that mineral oil gets bad rep. All marketing schemes and this I’m learning happens across the board from medicine to the food we eat! Thank you for including the ingredients list! I hope you didn’t have to type all of that like you always do! I don’t like the yellow coloring either. I always thought it was strange and I, at first, thought the plastic container was yellow but nope!

Fantastic review. You break down the components in a very easily understandable manner and key in on the important ones.


Gio February 20, 2014 - 8:46 pm

Janessa, I’m sorry the old formula didn’t work for you. They have now added several humectants so it’s more moisturizing, but I think it may still feel too heavy for you. And I think it’s great that you’ve found another use for those products rather than just throwing them away. I hope the cream worked better for your mom or sister. 🙂

I completely agree with you. It’s so disappointed that a brand like Clinique, which is famous for its skincare products, should come up with such a basic formula in 2013. Where are the antioxidants and other real goodies?

I’m glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂

Icaria February 20, 2014 - 12:25 pm

It’s too bad Clinique didn’t keep the old formula available since there are many highly allergic people who could only use that one and not the new version. I recieved a small size last week in a GWP but I have yet to try it. It’ll probably be used on my neck and décolleté because I’m one that does have issues with glycerin. In some formulations it gives me hives.

Gio February 20, 2014 - 9:02 pm

Icaria, that’s a shame. I think that’s due to the sunflower and other extracts in the products that don’t really do nothing apart from making the formula look more natural. They are much more likely to cause irritations and allergies than stuff made in a lab. Still, that’s ironic for a brand that prides itself on making products that don’t cause allergies and irritations.

I hope it will work for you. Try doing a sample patch first, though, so that if it gives you hives, it’ll affect only a small part of your skin.

eight February 28, 2014 - 1:18 pm

It’s a shame they didn’t include any antioxidants or sunscreen agents in the new formula. I’m turning 25 this year and starting to actually care about keeping my skin a healthy as possible.

Gio February 28, 2014 - 6:22 pm

Eight, I agree. I get the “if ain’t broken, don’t think it” thing, but since they were going to reformulate it anyway, they should have gone a step further and include antioxidant and sunscreen agents too.

Ambreen aAamir June 22, 2016 - 1:05 pm

I want to know if the glycerin is plant based or animal based

Gio June 25, 2016 - 3:53 pm

Ambreen, it can be derived from both. But, I don’t know which type Clinique has chosen, sorry!

rogue g July 21, 2016 - 1:25 am

I have used all the Q10 products from Garnier, Roc, and Clinique. I can’t say for certain it has helped reduce any fine lines on my face, I have very few at age 34.

I have however been using the Somaluxe Firming Lotion (for my face) and I have very few wrinkles and the skin around my eyes is quite supple and taut (although this could just be good genes and nothing to do with the product). The Somaluxe Firming Lotion is not like Roc or Clinque where you have to act like the product is gold dust and use sparingly. . .its a large bottle which I like. It lasts a long time.

Gio July 31, 2016 - 5:46 pm

Rogue G, that’s the problem with antioxidants. They prevent, not treat, so it can take years to see if they work. Q10 is a good antioxidant, but skin needs plenty of them to look and feel its best. Are you using more? And glad you’ve found a good cream. I like it when they come in big bottles.Such great value for money.

M. Brown August 5, 2017 - 5:56 am

I own the moisturizing lotion plus in the dry formula, because I do have very dry skin. It worked fine if i used it about three times a month, but if I used it any more than that, it gave me HORRIBLE cystic acne. I gave it plenty of chances to work, and it always gave me blind pimples that were very large, red, and sore. Not a lot of whiteheads, but I would have a ton of undeveloped bumps and texture all over my cheeks and chin. I have looked at tons of reviews of this product, and I have found that this is a popular problem with this product. Any idea why it does this? Have you ever heard of this problem? Do you have any suggestions to clearing up my skin? Because I am currently dealing with the dreadful consequences of using this product. Grrr! Not happy Clinique!!! TO ANYONE READING THIS AND CINSIDERING INVESTING IN THIS PRODUCT: look at plenty of reviews and think carefully about the pros and cons before buying this, because it definitely is not cheap. I do not like being negative, but I want others with similar problems to know that this is a common problem. Thank you.

Gio August 5, 2017 - 10:32 am

M, I am so sorry to hear about your problem. The “problem” with this lotion is that it’s full of occlusives, ingredients that can trap moisture into the skin. But, in doing so, they can also clog dirt, comedogenic ingredients and any other impurities, leading to acne. It’s usually a problem that affects those who are already prone to breakouts, but others can be affected sometimes, too.

I recommend you use a salicylic acid exfoliant and benzoyl peroxide spot treatment to get rid of the acne. Salicylic acid gets inside the pores, exfoliating them from within. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness. It keeps the pores clean and soothes skin. Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria that causes acne, but it’s quite harsh so use it only on pimples. You should start to see an improvement within a couple of days.

Lauralee Lowrey September 12, 2018 - 5:16 pm

I have used Clinique since it came out. Since I religiously use RetinA very day, I have found Dramatically Different Moisture works very well. With the RetinA I don’t spend $$ on the latest wrinkle cream so just a good moisturizer is perfect for me.

Gio September 13, 2018 - 4:44 pm

Lauralee, glad you’ve found something that works well with Retin A. Thanks for sharing.

Alba December 12, 2018 - 11:57 pm

I am not the only one, yes I also use Retin A everyday and this helps!

Gio December 13, 2018 - 4:51 pm

Alba, it’s great at counteracting the dryness, isn’t it?

Sara September 21, 2018 - 2:44 am

Hi, does this product reduce the rincles also lighter the skin?

Gio September 26, 2018 - 7:35 pm

Sara, nope. This can only moisturise skin.

Alba December 12, 2018 - 11:55 pm

I am on Retin A and this is in my opinion an affordable moisturizer that actually helps with the dryness, I tried not to use it thinking it was overhyped, well… first week without it an on Retin A and I looked like a peeling snake, quite embarrassing. I always buy the jumbo version on holidays to get it for cheaper, pretty good deal.

Gio December 13, 2018 - 4:56 pm

Alba, I do think it’s overpriced for what it is but I can’t deny it’s super moisturizing and that definitely helps with Retin A. It’s great that you can find it at a great price. 🙂

Amanda Sheppard May 18, 2019 - 1:27 am

Girl, you need to do more research and not pick and choose evidence that aligns with your beliefs.
This moisturizer that you’re reviewing contains harmful chemicals in general, before considering the parabens. You did not even being to address the fact that parabens are found in numerous products as well as foods so even if you are using a product with a “safe amount” it has additive effects with the other doses of parabens that a person receives during an average day. Also, the United States beauty industry is self-regulated and does not need to test its products for safety. Clinique is an American company. There is no board of safety guaranteeing that what they are putting in the products is actually what they are putting in the products. They are citing that they are putting in the safe limit of parabens but there is no enforcer to ensure that they are. If you’d like an example of just how unregulated the beauty industry is, Google the Johnson & Johnson Talc lawsuits.
I wanted to mention that you did not bring up the fact that these products make their way into the groundwater and are circulated all over the globe and end up bioaccumulating way higher than the “safe” levels you quoted in this post. There are many more scientific studies that you have not included in this article that highlight the other aspects of paraben danger. There are other studies that specifically criticize the studies that you refer to that conclude that parabens are not dangerous.
Overall, I think you should be doing much more research before representing a brand that has the opposite intended effects of “skincare”.

Gio June 4, 2019 - 5:25 pm

Amanda, thank you for your comment. I respect your opinion and I understand that you’re wary of parabens. But I don’t pick and choose studies. I look at the evidence and so far, there is NO prof that parabens are bad. I didn’t go into details with parabens because I’ve already written a super long post about them here:

In short, accumulation of parabens isn’t a concern because studies show your body gets rid of them through your urine within 36 hours. So they never accumulate enough to cause any real harm.

I agree that the beauty industry in the US isn’t regulated as strictly as it could be, but I don’t understand why people believe that brands and cosmetic scientists are out there to kill them. Putting toxic stuff in skincare would put the brand out of business pronto! Besides, there are rules that dictate how much of an ingredient can be used safely. Don’t believe those who tell you brands can put whatever they want in their products. It’s NOT true. Have you noticed how people who spread these rumours either don’t provide any evidence to back up their claims or twists studies that have nothing to do with the subject at hand (for example, they say that applying a tiny amount of an ingredient on your skin will kill you because eating high amount of that ingredient has killed rats!)?

The fact that these substances eventually end up in our environment is a bit more troubling and we need more research in this area. Totally agree on this one.

Elisa June 12, 2019 - 1:23 pm

Everything now a days is toxic to the body no matter what you eat or wear. My problem is that when I was younger I had really bad acne along with my brother. Cystic acne that is. We were injected with retinol and accutane in the face, tongue, back and head to get rid of it. This was way back in the 80s. Worse part is I have never wore makeup in my lifetime because the cystic acne always returned and it was embarrassing. Went to a dermatologist recently who gave me a patch test to see if Im allergic to retinol in which now I am. Its really hard to find a skin product for my hypo pigmentation, sensitive, combo aging skin. Having gone through menopause 4 years ago and seeing the wrinkles and fine lines popping up doesnt help much either. The dermatologist gave me Elta MD spf 46 for my face and told me to wash with La Roche Posay hydrating cleanser, but for moisturizers I am pretty much on my own cause of my allergies. Your right, alot of these high pricey creams,lotions and serums are just a marketing gimmick and they say their clean and natural but are they really is the question unless you test them for yourself. I wish I could find a good moisturizer without being pricey that would truly fit my needs. Thank you for your article, I enjoy reading your blogs.

Rendani November 22, 2019 - 4:37 am

Skin is different and it’s not only about skin types. I have used dramatic difference moisturizer for years and it works wonderful for me. I tried other products and the results were disastrous. Those products left me looking old, dry and tired, worst are perfumed products because they irritate my eyes. Reading your review made me realize that finding the right skin care products is a personal journey and I am glad I found Clinique.


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