Why Does Clinique Smart Custom Serum Smell Of Bacon?

Here’s a funny thing.  I was asked on my Facebook page why Clinique Smart Custom Serum smells of bacon.   I should first point out that I am a bit of social media dinosaur and although I have had a Facebook account for some time I was only vaguely aware that you could message on it and even now I can only find the message bit if I get an alert telling me that someone has sent one.  So if you have ever messaged me on Facebook there is a good chance I have never realised.  But I digress, Nicola asked me to comment on her on the smell of this product and pointed me to a forum where people were discussing it.


So where to start?

The ingredient list is huge.

Water, 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 (Barely) Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Cucumis Sativa (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, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Ergothioneine, Whey Protein, Polysorbate 20, Micrococcus Lysate, Cholesterol, DI-C-12-18 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 Fluorogopite, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Tromethanmine, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium RNA, Squalane, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, PEG-8, Lecithin, Hexylene Glycol, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Tin Oxide, Disodium EDTA, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 5, Red 4, Titanium Dioxide

My first reaction had been simply that the fragrance just happened to smell bacony to some people.  But no fragrance is listed, so it must be something else.  The yeast extract is one possibility.  Whey protein is another.  Or maybe a combination of the two.  Soybean protein is another possibility – I have sometimes got a slight bacon-like smell when I have handled it.  And how about the algae and the plankton – I don’t know what they smell like.  And I don’t have any blue whale friends I can ask.

But the honest answer is I simply don’t know why this product smells of bacon.

The thing that most strikes me is just how many ingredients this product has. There are 62 entries on that ingredient list.  It must take all day to weigh out that many, even if some of them are blends.   I am a little surprised that while they were at it they couldn’t fit in a fragrance to cover the base smell that comes from that huge list of stuff.

There are quite a few things in there that have proven effects.   The glycyrrhetinic acid is an extract from licorice that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.  Salicylic acid is a keratolytic.  Glucosamine doesn’t pass muster in strict scientific terms, but I have a feeling it has some benefits for aching joints.   There are loads of plant extracts which are popular but rarely do anything much for the skin.  But what the logic of putting all these things together is completely escapes me.

But apart from the smell it seems to be a popular product with users.

4 thoughts on “Why Does Clinique Smart Custom Serum Smell Of Bacon?”

  1. Clinique doesn’t use fragrance in any of their products (aside from the actual perfumes, obviously!). It’s part of their ethos. And one of the reasons I tend to check out their skincare, as I have a lot of fragrance and other allergies, so whilst there may be problems with some ingredients still, I at least don’t need to worry about the scent.


    I know ONLY one ingredient that smells of bacon when used in high % is ferulic acid. perhaps their full disclosure of their ingredient listing is not that honest…?? or maybe listed using another INCI name?? will have to study their label when I have the time.

  3. Interesting observation Tracey, though I wouldn’t have said that ferulic acid strikes me as smelling particularly bacony. I don’t have any to hand right now, but if I ever come across any again I’ll re-evaluate. It is possible that some of the many plant extracts in the product might contain some, and if so there would be no obligation on Clinique to list it. That they are adding it deliberately but not listing it is vanishingly unlikely. Big companies like this one are fastidious in their compliance to the rules.

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