Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer Review & Swatches

Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer

I was doing well at sticking to my skincare regimen. If you are acne-prone, you know what I'm talking about. Once you find the recipe that works (as in keeping acne under control), you want to stick to it and never change a thing. Well, I was doing just that. Until I came across this product that not only promises to act as a complexion perfector but also a moisturizer all in one. Well, it sure piqued my interest! The moment I put a little bit of the tester on the back of my hand, I fell in love with it instantly. And there it went, into my little shopping basket!

Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer
Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer

Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer is one of the products in Clinique's latest Pep-Start range. It's marketed as a 2-in-1, oil-free moisturizer and face primer to add hydration to the skin while providing a smoother complexion with a matte finish. It comes in a fun, clear blue-colored double wall plastic jar with a white twist top. I really do love the packaging of the Pep-Start range. Something different than their usual safe colors. I'm not too fond of the jar packaging but I always make sure to use a spatula to scoop the product out.

Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer
Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer
Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer
Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer

When testing it for the first time in store, I really did fall in love with it immediately. The cream was so smooth, so velvety, like a dream formula. It provided an instant blurring and mattifying effect on the skin on the back of my hand, very much like silicone-based primers do, but its texture is more of a moisturizer than a primer. The formula is rather thick when you scoop it out but once applied on the skin, it spreads easily and doesn't make the skin feel thick, sticky, or greasy in any way. There's also a slight refreshing feel upon touch which is really nice.

However, when applied on my actual face, it seems to behave a little differently! How so? Well, allow me to make a list!

  • Claim: blurs the look of pores and imperfections
    Umm, nope, don't see it! Some reviewers witnessed a great deal of pore-blurring effect but for the life of me, this moisturizer does not make any difference on the look of my pores. I have enlarged pores around my nose and they're visible pre- and post-application. I'm so bummed. Really. It worked SO great on the back of my hand but had zero effect on my face. Unless I apply it generously, as in 2-3 thick layers, and in downward patting motion, then I can maybe see a slight difference. And one strange thing about this product when applied generously is that I feel like it's just sitting on my skin and not fully absorbing. Another thing I have to be careful of is when I apply my foundation on top because this moisturizer only plays well with certain formulas. It tends to flake and rub off very easily. I also find that it does almost nothing to disguise the look of fine lines, redness, or acne marks.
  • Claim: primes skin for a smooth, matte finish
    I honestly can't see any noticeable mattifying effect on my face at all. It actually leaves a dewy finish on me. *facepalm*

But it isn't without some benefits though! There are some good things worth mentioning, too.

  • Claim: provides all day hydration
    I will gladly say that it keeps my face well hydrated throughout the day (but so do my other moisturizers).
  • Claim: controls surface oil
    Well, it does! My face usually gets really shiny by lunch time but with this product on, I can get through a whole day without blotting. By the end of the day, I may see just a slight dewiness on and around my nose but that's about it!
Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer
Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer
Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer; L-R: unblended, blended, and absorbed
Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Moisturizer; L-R: unblended, blended, and absorbed

While the formulation is without oil and fragrance, it does contain Myristyl Myristate which is highly comedogenic (something to consider when you're acne-prone). At the end of the day, this is simply an average moisturizer for me. It didn't mattify or blur the appearance of pores the way I had expected it to be. I still find myself following with another pore-minimizing primer to complete the task. I can't see myself reaching for it every day as a face moisturizer but I like using it as a base on and around my nose to curb excess oil. It's very unfortunate that the beautifully smoothing, mattifying effect only worked on the back of my hand and not on my face.

Have you tried anything from the Pep-Start range? I think I'll have a better luck with the eye cream which is next on my to-buy list! :)


US$29.50 at Sephora

฿1,200 at Sephora Thailand



    • I wish I had read my own review before I bought it. LOL! Yep, looking forward to testing the eye cream. :)

  • I like the eye cream alright for daytime, I mix it with Tata Harpers sometime for brightening. I get breakouts from MM too! This wouldn’t work for me at all it seems.

  • First things first: JAA’S BACK, WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOP WHOO! :-D

    As for the moistuirzer, I like it a lot actually. I only wish it came in a tube, then it’d be perfect for me. Oh, and had SPF of course :-)

  • Glad to see you back again. The jar packaging is a big miss for me, even when the ingredients are excellent.

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