bwb clinique smart custom repair serum review

“You don’t have to tell me what to do,” Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum boasts. “Just put me on your skin and I’ll figure out the damaged areas that need fixing.”

“Erm… how?” Skeptical me wants to know.

“Easy peasy,” the serum says, “different kinds of damage – like, let’s say, dark spots or loss of elasticity – send different signals. I intercept these signals and spring into action, giving each area of skin exactly what it needs.”

“Sorry, mate, but I smell BS a mile away. If that were even possible, every serum would do it.” 🙄

It’s incredible what marketers make up these days, isn’t it? At least, this time there’s some real gold under the hype. Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum may not be the miracle worker it claims to be, but it sure has some good things going for it:

What’s In Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum?


Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum contains its fair share of silicones.

Some, like cyclopentasiloxane, help the serum spread on the skin before evaporating into thin air.

Others, like dimothicone, stay around, filling in fine lines and wrinkles so they look smaller. They also create a breathable barrier that prevents water loss but still allows active ingredients to get through.

I know a lot of you don’t like silicones. If they’re all a product has (like too often happens), I’d agree with you. But here, they just play supporting characters to all the goodies below. I’m fine with that.

Related: Are Silicones Bad For Skin?


Ascorbyl glucoside is a stable form of Vitamin C. Translation: it lasts (and works for) longer, even in the presence of air and light.

Once it penetrates your skin, ascorbic glucoside breaks down into L-Ascorbic Acid, the pure form of Vitamin C. Here’s what it does:

Related: The Different Types Of Vitamin C In Skincare And What They Do


Vitamin C ain’t the only thing in Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum that can fade away dark spots.

Science says that mulberry extract inhibits the formation of melanin too. That’s thanks to two of its components, Oxyresveratrol and Mulberroside F.

To give credit where credit is due, “the anti-melanogenesis effect was highest with oxyresveratrol“, while Mulberroside F is quite weak and not as effective as Kojic Acid.

The catch? These studies were done on animals or petri dishes. We don’t know if they do the same on humans yet.

Related: The Battle Of The Skin-Lighteners: Which Is The Best Alternative To Hydroquinone?


Let’s rewind a little, shall we? How can Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum get away with claiming the serum can identify and target problem areas on its own?

Enter Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 & Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, two peptides with cell-communicating properties. In other words, these peptides stay on top of the skin, where they tell skin cells what to do.

Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, for example, tell skin cells to produce more collagen. In theory, this gives you firmer skin. In practice, it’s not clear how well it really works.

Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, a.k.a Argireline, is called “Botox in a jar.” Like Botox, it works by relaxing facial muscles so they can’t move. No movement = no wrinkles (no wrinkles caused by repeated facial movements, anyway. You’ll still get wrinkles from sun exposure).

Sounds too good to be true? It sort of is. A 2002 study (the only one I could find) shows that an “oil/water (O/W) emulsion containing 10% of the hexapeptide on healthy women volunteers reduced wrinkle depth up to 30% upon 30 days treatment”.

But… not for everyone. Argireline doesn’t diffuse through the skin well. If your skin is thick, chances are it won’t do anything for you.

FYI, peptides may tell cells what to do but they can’t travel to these cells. They stay put where you apply them.

Related: The Truth About Argireline: Is It Really Botox In A Jar?


Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum is also loaded with antioxidants, including algae extract, cucumber extract, and Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis) extract – just to name a few!

Their job is to destroy free radicals before they give you wrinkles. Use them regularly and you’ll age way more slowly.

Related: 5 Things You Need To Know About Antioxidants


Lightweight. Silky. Fast-absorbing.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

Morning and/or night, after cleansing (and, if applicable, exfoliation).

clinique smart custom repair serum review bwb

Performance & Personal Opinion

Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum isn’t as smart as it likes to appear. It claims to deliver custom repair for damage unique to your skin.

In other words, if you have dark spots on your left cheek, the vitamin C + mulberry extracts will travel there so they can fade away and ignore the rest of your skin.

Smell BS? Me too. When you apply a serum, the ingredients stay put where you place them. Mulberry extract doesn’t have legs to travel all over your face in search for dark spots to fade away…

But just because their marketing department is lying to you, it doesn’t mean the serum isn’t any good. This stuff has a lightweight, fast-absorbing texture that slightly brightens the skin tone.

It has enough antiaging goodies here to add some extra moisture to your skin so your fine lines look smaller, antioxidants to prevent new ones from forming, and skin-lightening actives to fade away dark spots (as long as they’re new. For stubborn dark spots, you’ll need something stronger like arbutin).

Translation: it makes your skin softer, plumper, and brighter in the short term and can help you slow down aging in the long term.

The catch? The serum has a big dollop of grapefruit extract that could irritate sensitive skin. Always do a patch test first.

Related: The Battle Of The Skin-Lighteners: Which Is The Best Alternative To Hydroquinone?

Who Is This For?

It’s suitable for all skin types, excluding sensitive, that want to prevent anti-aging and fade away brand new dark spots.

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Sensitive skin
  • Stubborn dark spots


Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum comes in a sleek great packaging. It’s practical and releases just the right amount of product you need.

Does Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum Live Up To Its Claims?

Patented Clinique Smart*™ technology delivers custom repair for the damage unique to your skin. Nope. It has ingredients that can help repair skin damage, like dark spots, but it can’t provide customised care for your own unique needs.
A blend of Peptides, Glucosamine and Salicylic Acid help refine the look of fine lines. There’s not enough salicylic acid here to do anything. But then Clinique doesn’t claim these ingredients refine fine lines. Just that they help (what?) refine fine lines.
Brightening botanicals and Vitamin C help visibly reduce the appearance of dark spots and discoloration. Yes, as long as they’re new. For stubborn dark spots, you need something stronger.

Price & Availability

$61.50-155.00/£54.0-118.00 at Feel Unique, Nordstrom, Sephora, and Ulta

Do You Need It?

I wouldn’t say Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum is a must have, but it has what it takes to prevent wrinkles and fade away dark spots.


Dupes & Alternatives


Water\Aqua\Eau , Isododecane , Dimethicone , Cyclopentasiloxane , Polysilicone-11 , Butylene Glycol , Ascorbyl Glucoside , Peg-10 Dimethicone , Peg-6 , Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract , Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Root Extract , Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D’Orge , Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract , Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract , Algae Extract , Plankton Extract , Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract , Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’S Wort) Extract , Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract , Glycerin , Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract , Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure , Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 , Palmitoyl Oligopeptide , Ergothioneine , Whey Protein\Lactis Protein\Protéine Du Petit-Lait , Polysorbate 20 , Micrococcus Lysate , Cholesterol , Di-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride , Salicylic Acid , Isohexadecane , Propylene Glycol Dicaprate , Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake , Caffeine , Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein , Tocopheryl Acetate , Acetyl Glucosamine , Caprylyl Glycol , Glyceryl Polymethacrylate , Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol , Synthetic Fluorphlogopite , Glycyrrhetinic Acid , Tromethamine , Polysorbate 80 , Sodium Hyaluronate , Sodium Rna , Squalane , Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate , Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer , Peg-8 , Lecithin , Hexylene Glycol , Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer , Sodium Hydroxide , Tin Oxide , Disodium Edta , Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract , Phenoxyethanol , Yellow 5 (Ci 19140) , Red 4 (Ci 14700) , Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891)

Have you tried Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum? Share your thoughts in the comments below.