To look at those mint-green packaging is a reminder of Clinique’s role in my skin care. I still remember the first time I went to their counter (at Nordstrom, maybe) to buy foundation and compact powder over 20 years ago… Of course I’ve followed it with the 3 Step System (with Clarifying Lotion 2) and the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion is a staple in my bathroom cabinet. It’s hard to find a woman who has never tried at least one product from the brand or keeps a stash of its sample makeup bags and miniatures (who can resist them?).
The company history is directly linked to Vogue and is filled with breakthroughs: in 1967, after interviewing dermatologist Norman Orentreich, beauty editor Carol Phillips wrote a piece about the importance of a beauty routine (to clean, exfoliate and moisturize twice a day). Evelyn Lauder read the article and showed to her mother in law, Estée, who saw an opportunity for a new brand to be developed. One year later, Clinique was launched at Saks as the pioneer allergy-tested, fragrance free cosmetic label. Evelyn was the first to wear the employee’s white lab coat, an important tool to communicate the message of products backed by scientific research. The star of the team is, of course, the 3 Step System, still loved by consumers and dermatologists from all around the world.
Years have passed by and other icons were brought to the table such as Turnaround Cream, All About Eyes, Superdefense and more recently, Acne Solutions and Repairwear Laser Focus lines. In the makeup department, more hits: Superbalanced Foundation, Almost Powder Compact, High Impact Mascara, Chubby Stick for lips, cheeks and eyes, BB Cream…
Last but not least, the Happy fragrance! A classic from the 1990’s with a campaign that celebrated joie de vivre in a period dominated by the depressing heroin-chic aesthetic, the fragrance pushed a more optimistic trend towards fashion thanks to its “C’mon get happy!” slogan. Speaking of campaigns, the product-only, clean images are a reference in the advertising world and were immortalized by none other than the master Irving Penn. Even though Clinique has diversified its marketing approaches and are now targeting a younger audience, the mission to offer dermatologist approved beauty staples remains untouchable. And working wonders!