Whether your acne consists of the occasional blemish, a cluster of breakouts, or painful, hormonal bumps, we understand your frustration. There are myriad acne treatments that claim to treat and prevent acne, but just dry out your skin, make matters worse, or straight up don’t work at all.
So, we’ve decided to come correct with some quality suggestions. What’s more is that both brands we have in mind have their own breakout banishing sets, so you can get all you need in one place. Murad has their Blemish Clearing Value Set while Clinique has their limited-edition Anti-Blemish Solutions 3-Step System.
Let’s see which is best for your skin woes.
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Murad vs Clinique
Before we jump in, we wanted to share some quick notes about both sets. Murad’s Blemish Clearing Value Set, which consists of their Clarifying Cleanser and Rapid Relief Spot Treatment, appears to only be sold in the UK. (The US take on this is the Clear Up, Smooth Out Value Set, which includes their InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment and Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment.)
Moreover, Clinique’s set is, as previously mentioned, a limited-edition trio that their customer service team confirmed is no longer available on their site. However, other retailers may still carry it, or you can just buy each item from the set individually.
Murad’s duo—their Clarifying Cleanser and Rapid Relief Spot Treatment—aims to clear pores, treat breakouts, and reduce the size of existing zits in only four hours. Ideal for those with oily or combination skin, both items lean on salicylic acid to slough away the dead skin and debris that contribute to breakouts. Though it only has five reviews thus far, it currently has a 3.4-star rating (with three of those reviews being 5 stars).
Clinique’s threesome consists of their cleansing foam, clarifying lotion (4), and clearing treatment. Their cleansing foam is powered by 2% salicylic acid, acetyl glucosamine, laminaria saccharina extract, caffeine, sucrose, sea whip extract, and kola nut extract to offer gentle exfoliation that doesn’t irritate the skin.
The clarifying lotion sweeps away pollution, grime, flaky skin, and can even diminish fine lines caused by dryness. It, too, is formulated with salicylic acid which is complemented by the addition of witch hazel to help refine the dermis.
Lastly, the clearing treatment is formulated with benzoyl peroxide to further treat and prevent acne, while acetyl glucosamine cleans up the dead skin that can clog pores. The mighty 3-step system has 350 reviews on Amazon and a 4.6-star rating.
The Murad set is £35 (or approximately $42.33) and comes with a 200ml cleanser and 15ml spot treatment. Clinique’s trio is $28.99 on Amazon for the 1.7oz cleansing foam, 3.4oz clarifying lotion, and 1oz clearing treatment.
Considering Murad’s set has only two items (versus Clinique’s three), while also having a significantly lower rating, we have a good idea which we’d rather use. But before we urge you to choose the seemingly better option, let’s take a closer look at how each brand approaches manufacturing and philanthropy.
Murad is PETA-approved as cruelty-free, but not all its products are vegan. As far as their commitment to sustainability, they have also partnered with TerraCycle, which allows customers to ship back their empty bottles (free of charge) where they’ll then be made into flooring tiles, storage bins, outdoor furniture, and more. Further, their product cartons are made from FSC-certified material; they use vegetable-based ink for labels; and their shipping boxes are made from up to 100% recycled content and packed with 100% compostable peanuts.
However, a large caveat is that they may use unethically sourced mica. (Note: This allegation comes after questions were raised around whether the company used child labor to source mica. Murad did not directly address where or how they obtain their mica, nor did they specify how they audit or trace it.)
Clinique isn’t cruelty-free or 100% vegan (but they may offer some vegan products). However, their sustainability and humanitarian initiatives are extensive. They’re currently working towards having 100% of their secondary packaging be Forest Stewardship Council certified; having 75% of their packaging be recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled, or recoverable; and they’re increasing the amount of post-consumer recycled material in their packaging to 25% or more—all by 2025.
Further, they also fund a wind farm in Bulgaria, a clean water filter project in Cambodia, and a tree-planting initiative in Uruguay. Regarding philanthropic efforts, The Clinique Difference was created to offer support to women and girls seeking education in countries where it’s not advocated for, as well as organizations that aid in breast cancer research, childcare, and offering corrective solutions to children with facial abnormalities.
It's unfortunate that Murad’s set has poor ratings (especially when each product in isolation performs spectacularly), but it's even more unfortunate that Clinique might test on animals. If you’re seeking results, though, Clinique appears to be the answer.
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