Are They Dupes? Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spots Correcting Night Serum VS Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spots Corrector

by Gio

estee lauder enlight dark spots correcting night serum dupe

We already know that Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector is a dupe for Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector. But did you know that both look eerily similar to Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spots Correcting Night Serum?

They’re so similar, I run the risk of writing the same post twice, so, I’ll keep this short. You can check out the Clinique vs Equate post to have the full scoop. Here, I’ll talk mainly about Estee Lauder vs Clinique. Here’s what you need to know:

Ingredient Analysis

mulberry extract

Ascorbyl Glucoside + Mulberry Extract

Mulberry extract and ascorbyl glucoside, a form of vitamin C, can both lighten skin. They work by inhibiting the production of melanin, which helps reduce dark spots. But, there are a couple of problems.

Studies on mulberry extracts were done only in vitro (petri dish) or on animals. As for ascobyl glucoside, there’s only one study where it proved to work. Problem is, in that study, it was used with niacinamide, another proven-to-work skin-lightener. So, what really lightened skin? Niacinamide alone? Or did ascorbyl glucoside give it a helping hand?

We don’t know. Personally, I believe that ascorbyl glucoside does have some lightening properties, as all forms of vitamin C do (although in different degrees). My point is simply this: there are plenty of other products out there that use hydroquinine, kojic acid, or l-ascobic acid (pure vitamin C), which have all been shown to work much better.

So, if your pigmentation is severe, I wouldn’t put too much hope in this and still stick to hydroquinone. But, for light discolourations, both Estee Lauder and Clinique may do the trick.

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

grapefruit peel extract

Grapefruit Peel Extract

Both formulas contain a generous amount of grapefruit peel extract. I was a bit surprised because, when exposed to the sun, this stuff can cause a phototoxic reaction that leaves skin discoloured! Not exactly the best thing to put in a serum that promises to reduce discolourations!

Of course, it all depends by the dose. It should be around 1% here, so it’s unlikely to cause problems. But, just to be on the safe side, either use both products at night. Or, if you prefer to use them during the day, follow up with a generous amount of sunscreen. You should do that anyway.

Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol

All the ingredients that I mentioned so far are present in all three products: Estee Lauder, Clinique, and Equate. But, dimethoxytolyl propylresorcinol is only in Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector. So, what the heck is it?

Derived from the dianella ensifolia plant, dimethoxytolyl propylresorcinol inihibts tyrosinase, the enzyme that produces melanin. The study was performed on reconstituted skin, so it’s not the most accurate, but, it gives us a good idea of how it works on real skin.

But, does it work better than the gold standard, hydroquinone? We don’t know. While the inclusion of dimethoxytolyl propylresorcinol makes Clinique the most interesting of the three products, I still think it’s more suitable for light discolourations.

What else do I need to know?

All these serums are silicones based, so they glide smoothly on the skin and make it feel as soft as a baby’s. Contrary to popular opinion, silicones don’t suffocate skin. Their particular molecular structure has wide holes between each molecule, allowing skin to perspire and function normally.

All three products also contain salicylic acid. It’s one of my fave ingredients because it exfoliates both the face and pores. Sadly, there’s too little in all three for it to work as it should. *sighs*

Related: Are Silicones Bad For Skin?

Where can I get them?

Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spots Correcting Night Serum: $98.00/£75.00 at Feel Unique and Sephora

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spots Corrector: $80.00 at Feel UniqueSelfridges and Ulta

Shop The Post

Is Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spots Corrector a dupe for Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spots Correcting Night Serum?

Almost. They certainly are VERY similar. Clinique contains one more skin-lightening agent, so you may want to go with that one (plus, it’s cheaper). But, as that one more ingredient isn’t a miracle worker, you may prefer to stick to the even cheaper Equate Beauty Ultimate Dark Spots Corrector.

Have you tried these serums? If so, which one is your favorite?

Estee Lauder Enlighten Dark Spots Correcting Night Serum Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Morus Bombycis (Mulberry) Root Extract, Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Yeast Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Salicylic Acid, Caffeine, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Extract, Sodium PCA, Resveratyl Ferulate, Molasses Extract, Polysorbate 20, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Xanthan Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acetyl Glycosamine, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydrolyzed Prunus Domestica, Dimethyoxyyltoyl Propylresorcinol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isohexadecane, Glyceryrrhetinic Acid, DI-C12-18 Alkykl Dimonium Chloride, PEG-6, Polysorbate 80, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Fragrance (Parfum), Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Tromethamine, Hexylene Glycol, Silica, Dimethicone Silylate, Disodium EDTA, BHA, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Mica.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spots Corrector Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Turmeric Root Extract, Rice Bran Extract, Grapefruit Peel Extract, Barley Extract, Wheat Germ Extract, Birch Bark Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Mulberry Root Extract, Trametes Versicolor Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Yeast Extract, PEG-6, Tromethamine, Salicylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Cholesterol, Isohexadecane, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Sunflower Seedcake, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Simethicone, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Di-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride, Sodium RNA, Squalane, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate VP/Copolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 6, Yellow 5


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Renee / Blog for Beauty April 15, 2016 - 3:20 am

I haven’t tried the EL one but I KNOW that the Clinique one works – I’ve had great success with it lightening a post acne mark that stayed on my face for I don’t know how many months! It lightened it so much and now I can’t see anything, definitely something I’d recommend. (Actually, not sure why I never wrote a review about it yet – maybe I should!)

Gio April 23, 2016 - 9:06 pm

Renee, you totally should! I’m glad it worked so well for you. The EL would have done the same thing, I’m sure. But, why spend more?

Hannah April 18, 2016 - 4:06 am

It really sucks how you will find a nice product but it will have one or more phototoxic ingredients. Doesn’t, it? My opinion, if I buy something that has something in it like that, I just think to myself ;”I will try to just wear it inside. Since UVB doesn’t, go through windows,(as we both know), getting hyperpigmentation from the product shouldn’t be a problem,really. “

Gio April 23, 2016 - 9:07 pm

Hannah, it sucks indeed. I guess you could always wear it with sunscreen, or use it at night. But, they should know better than putting that stuff in it indeed.

H April 24, 2016 - 2:06 am

Yes, but that still doesn’t fix the problem if the sunscreen has some phototoxic ingredient(s) in it (and I’ve seen that happen before before).

I think the manufacturer does it sometimes because they believe the ingredient has some anti-aging properties, or what. In that case, I think that it’s best to just wear the product when inside.

Gio May 1, 2016 - 1:19 pm

If you use it at night, you shouldn’t have any problems with it. I guess they put so little in them that they think it won’t cause any serious harm.

Hannah May 1, 2016 - 8:27 pm

Thank you.

Question: If you find a sunscreen with 1 photo toxic ingredient in it,do you think it’s still okay to use while outside?

Gio May 5, 2016 - 8:48 pm

My pleasure.

I guess it depends on how much is in it. If it’s listed towards the end of the ingredient list, there’s probably too little in it to cause any harm. If it’s one of the first, avoid!

Hannah May 6, 2016 - 1:20 am


Gio May 12, 2016 - 8:51 pm

My pleasure. 🙂

kathryn June 26, 2017 - 4:50 pm

what about Obagi? I have very uneven skin tone and sun spots, I’m 62 and not liking my skin right now…..not many wrinkles though. Thanks Kathryn

Gio July 7, 2017 - 10:10 am

Kathryn, what product in particular from Obagi? Generally speaking, I like their line. They feature high concentrations of actives. I’ve tried the Sulfur Masque and it made my pimples disappear faster than anything else I had tried before!

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