How is it possible?

That we spend our entire lives searching for the right products to prevent acne and skin cancer

when science can already deliver these

Is Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum The Smartest Serum of Them All?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

“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.”

ishonest No.201 - Prevent Elasticity Damage

No.201 - Prevent Elasticity Damage

“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.

Anti-Aging treatment everyone is talking about

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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.


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

ishonest No.202 - Prevent Elasticity Damage

No.202 - Prevent Elasticity Damage

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

  • Has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals
  • Stimulate the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm
  • Inhibits the synthesis of melanin, fading away dark spots and hyperpigmentation


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.

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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.


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.

ishonest No.501 - Frizzy Hair

No.501 - Frizzy Hair

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.

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.

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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.

How To Use It

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

Performance & Personal Opinion

ishonest No.313 - Prevent Acne

No.313 - Prevent Acne

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.

Meet your skin doctor

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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).

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.


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

Price & Availability

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

Do You Need It?

ishonest No.141 - Humectant

No.141 - Humectant

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.

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