Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus Product Review


One of the most popular products in the lotion category for many years has been Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion.  The name has long been a source of amusement for cosmetic scientists.  It really should have been called a Boringly Unoriginal Much Like All The Rest Moisturizing Lotion.  It’s formulation was basically the most obvious thing any formulator would come up with when asked for a lotion. But that didn’t stop it becoming one of the most popular products on the shelf.

If success is measured by longevity then this was undoubtedly a success.  It was around since the 1960s.  It sold well and it worked well. The only people who were unhappy were those who think that innovation and creativity should be rewarded.

But everything has to be replaced eventually, and when you have a product that was formulated before the Beatles broke up it has to be time to have a look at it.  Clinique have now reformulated this product and relaunched it, and have remained true to the brand heritage of doing the bleeding obvious by giving it a name which builds on awareness of the previous one.  The new Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion is now called Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus.

Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizer PlusThe new formulation is also remarkably similar to the old one.  Urea and sodium hyaluronate have been added as new moisturising agents.  The main oil is still mineral oil, but they have added in some petrolatum – a heavier grade of mineral oil.   This would probably increase the moisturising effect somewhat.  There are some nods in the direction of the modern desire for naturalness.  We now see barley and cucumber extracts appearing further down the ingredient list – coupled with one I don’t recall seeing before: sunflower seedcake.  It sounds like something you’d feed a budgie to me, but I dare say focus groups have been deployed to check that it meets with approval in the target market.

Parabens have been dropped in favour of a blend of preservatives that don’t have too bad an image.  It is always a problem moving away from parabens in a big selling product.  Whatever else we all think of them, they are undoubtedly the preservatives that give people with sensitive skin the least trouble.  I think Clinique have chosen well with their replacement – though with the amount of consumer data they must have on skin reactions I’d be rather disappointed if they hadn’t.  Nonetheless I imagine that as the new formulation rolls out there will be some people who had no problem before who will react to the new one.  But they were in no win situation on this one given the level of animosity against parabens.

The addition that did surprise me was that they have added a colour.  And this is no subtle tint.  It is the colour of English custard.  I am not sure what the thinking on this is, though it does make it easy to tell the new one from the old and signal that something has changed.  That decision may not look so good in ten years time.  Colours are one of those classes of ingredients that have a habit of getting themselves into trouble and attracting bad press.

So how does it perform?  I haven’t given it an exhaustive test but it seems to be a pretty good moisturiser.  It rubs in easily and quickly and has a quick effect.  And having soaked in,  I found the effect to be quite long lasting.  Choice of a moisturiser is a very personal business and it depends hugely on the state of your skin and what you do with it.  But I’d be happy with this as a daily moisturiser personally.  They have gone in the direction of giving it a stronger moisturising effect than the old one.  This makes sense in a number of ways.  Regular users might well appreciate a bit of a stronger effect, and with an ageing population there is more dry skin around.

Apart from the name, there is nothing dramatically different about it.  But it does the job and I can easily see it being on the shelves for as long as its successful predecessor.

Here is the ingredient list.

Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil, Urea, Lanolin Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Trisodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 33.

For comparison here is the old ingredient list

Water Purified, Mineral Oil, Sesame Oil, Propylene Glycol, Tea Stearate, Gylceryl Stearate, Lanolin Alcohol, Petrolatum, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

20 thoughts on “Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus Product Review”

  1. This is a bizarre name for a cosmetic product. Anyway, I love this product review. The ingredients are great. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Massively overpriced for a water and mineral oil emulsion. Simple sells the same thing without colour for under £5.

  3. Hi Colin,

    For your information, the old formula had colouring too. Here are the ingredients of the old:

    purified water, mineral oil, sesame oil, propylene glycol, tea-stearate, glyceryl stearate, lanolin alcohol, petrolatum, methylparaben, propylparaben, FD&C yellow no. 5, FD&C yellow no. 6, FD&C red no. 33

  4. I am a bit confused about this. So I am not one to go for brands for the heck of it. Obviously most moisturisers are basically emollients and glycerin. However, I tried Simple’s moisturizer and I did not like it. I get dry patches even though I have oily to combination skin. And Simple simply wasnt doing the trick for me. But when I tried this one (the lady pushed a sample on me while I got my sunscreen from clinique) I could see effects immediately. I didnt even open the sample till a month or two as you know, who wants an overprized moisturizer? That is something I should be able to get for fairly cheap. But I do find that sometimes the small details go a long way. I have been using Nivea and Simple and I find Clinique to work better than them as it doesnt make my skin super oily but takes care of the dry patches. For nighttime it is less of a concern if I have oily skin, as I will be sleeping, but for day time I find that makes a huge difference.

    I wonder why there are differences if the ingridients are pretty simiar.

  5. Hi Colin – I had to drop in on this conversation, even though it’s a few months old. I’ve been using the original formula (DDML) since 1988, twice a day, every day and it has been perfect for my skin through all the decades and changes from then until now. It absorbs beautifully and leaves my face soft and amazingly firm even in my 50s. I noticed that, in your review, you said the DDML+ formula has “added in some petrolatum – a heavier grade of mineral oil. This would probably increase the moisturising effect somewhat.” I can promise you this is so far from the truth, it might as well be living on Mars. What that petrolatum DOES do is sit on your skin feeling like a sticky film of some unholy combination of dirt, Vaseline, and bug spray, with a neat little sensation of something crawling all over your face. Unless you’ve lived, and lived long and well, with this lotion (the original) and been grateful for its dependability every day and night – its clean, pure simplicity – you cannot possibly imagine how vile the “improved” version is. Petrolatum is an oil derivative (and that’s fossil, not olive); it’s used to lubricate machinery, for crying out loud. In no way does it belong in a moisturizer. Since 1968, Clinique have been making a perfect product. It wasn’t broke and didn’t need “fixing.”

  6. Hi Lorrie – so glad that someone else out there feels the same as me. I have used the original DDML for 30 years and the new one is just not as good. Leaves my skin very greasy and have to wait for ages before applying my mineral makeup. I simply cannot use anything else so have to put up with it and hope like hell they come to their senses and change it back!!!

  7. I totally agree with the comments that this “new and improved” (haha) product actually leaves my skin feeling sticky. I told this to the Clinique rep at Sears and she said that it’s because I don’t use the clarifying lotion! So I bought some and sure enough it did NOT make any difference (no surprise there)!! Lots of hype and lots of money later. Should have stayed with my Aveeno.

  8. last summer my skin reacted badly to clinique lotion and it took a few weeks for it to heal.had no idea they changed the formula.i was using their lotion for over 40 years because everything else i have tried made my skin react.the old formula worked they still make it?

  9. I have used original DDML for decades after an allergic reaction to soap powder and just in the past 6 months have had a severe skin reaction which I now realise has been caused by the new DDML.. I had no idea, like other people that Clinique had changed the formula. I have now stopped using it and I am trying to find something else for my skin, which is a costly business. I know I have an allergy to perfume but now I seem to be alllergic to one of these new additives.Thankfully the blisters and painful rashes have subsided since I stopped using it.

    1. Sorry to hear that Sarah. If it’s any help, you will probably find that products preserved with parabens are what you need to look for. The names on the ingredient list are methylparaben and propylparaben and they are usually towards the end. There is no telling which ingredient is giving you your problem, but either urea or phenoxyethanol are the most likely culprits.

  10. I would request someone to tell me if the moisturizer contains any animal fat especially pig fat. I don’t want to use any animal products. Thanks.

  11. Hi,

    I’d like to know too, whether ir has any animal products or by-products

    I can see urea, glycerine.. Are they animal sourced?



    1. Glycerine, or at least some glycerine, used to come from tallow rendering for soap production. That all stopped during the BSE outbreak in the nineties and all the glycerine used in cosmetic production on a large scale is now sourced from vegetable oil. This could change at any time, but that is how it is at the moment. Urea has almost always been largely produced from atmospheric nitrogen using the famous Haber Process. There was a period when wartime disruption to the supply chain forced cosmetic manufacturers to use other sources. Primo Levi tells an amusing story of how he tried to get hold of the excrement from the pythons in Milan zoo as a source of urea for an experiment – python excrement is 50% urea. He found that the big cosmetic companies had already established exclusive rights to the stuff. I don’t think even Brexit or Trump will cause enough chaos for that kind of sourcing to needed in the foreseeable future.

  12. Even, then I think it will be hard to confirm the ingredients as they only source compounds from suppliers and suppliers has their own suppliers as a long chain for production

    However, plant based ingredients from consumers these days are mostly preferred. The chemicals compounds being artificially made can cause health related issues i.e acne, pore clogs, rashes etc..

    If it does not happen in the first application, it can happen for longer run..

    I think companies should consider, sometimes we pay arm and a leg for the products. Its should not be one time buy we need to go back to the same product. Thats called confidence in product..

    I would have major issues if I have to use animal derivatives on my lips 🙁

  13. Almas Tirmizi

    Chanel, you still didn’t confirm if the lotion has python excrement???? That’s a shocking and a disgusting news for me and for many others!!!

  14. I dont see anything saying python in the ingredients but having said that where clinique source the products I wouldn’t know..

    Below are the ingredients that I got hold ifb

    ingredients: water\aqua\eau [] mineral oil\paraffinum liquidum\huile minérale [] glycerin [] petrolatum [] stearic acid [] glyceryl stearate [] sesamum indicum (sesame) oil [] urea [] lanolin alcohol [] triethanolamine [] hordeum vulgare (barley) extract\extrait d’orge [] cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract [] helianthus annuus (sunflower) seedcake [] propylene glycol dicaprate [] sodium hyaluronate [] butylene glycol [] pentylene glycol [] trisodium edta [] phenoxyethanol [] yellow 6 (ci 15985) [] yellow 5 (ci 19140) [] red 33 (ci 17200)

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