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When I was 13, my aunt gifted me Clinique’s 3-Step System for Christmas. The pastel-hued skincare regimen included the cosmetic brand's mild face soap, toner, and popular Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion in its signature pale yellow bottle. My aunt was working as a Clinique saleswoman at the time, and she swore that using this trio every day on my face would help me achieve a perfectly smooth complexion.
Fast forward 30 years, and I'm still using my Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion ($27; sephora.com, nordstrom.com, or macys.com) every day. The rich, creamy formula is easily absorbed and literally feels like a drink for my skin. I’m in my 40s now, and while I do have some lines on my face, overall I think my skin looks great. An aesthetician recently complimented me on my "beautiful" complexion while giving me a facial, and at my 20-year high school reunion, a friend who hadn't seen me in years exclaimed, "You don’t age!" While I might chalk some of that to good genes, I also credit regular use of my reliable Clinique lotion for keeping my skin plump and hydrated year after year.
Today, I live in a desert climate where the air is almost always dry, and I use the regular Dramatically Different formula in colder weather for all-day hydration. But in the summer, I switch to the gel formula ($27; sephora.com), which is perfect for my combination skin—it's a little lighter and doesn't leave me feeling greasy on hot days. I find that the 4.2-ounce bottle lasts a long time.
I’ve tried other lotions over the years—some more expensive, some less pricey than this one—but I've never gotten the same consistent results from another moisturizer. Three decades is a long time to stick with any product, but with this lotion, I always know what I’m going to get: smooth, well-hydrated skin.