Save or Splurge? Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel vs. Equate

Let's compare the iconic Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel with the generic Walmart (Equate) version.

Legally Blonde was on TV this weekend. I happened to catch the part where Elle visits Brooke in jail and brings her a gift basket that includes the full line of Clinique skincare products. It turns out that Clinique has been quite successful at product placement in movies and television. That comes as no surprise—the brand has highly recognizable packaging, including the signature pale yellow color of its Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (and Gel), which is the topic of today’s post.

I have a thing for generic beauty brands. They just do such a darned good job of copying the name brands’ packaging and marketing that I have to wonder if they do just as good a job at copying what’s inside: the formula itself. Usually generics only target drugstore brands like CeraVe, Cetaphil, and Aveeno. So I was interested to see that Walmart’s Equate Beauty set its sights on creating a generic version of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. It named itself similarly, with an adverb and adjective structure, only “Strikingly Unique” instead of “Dramatically Different.” Although we all have to agree that Clinique has the punchiness of alliteration on its side, does Walmart’s formula also miss the mark?

Disclaimer: I made a mistake when I sent the ingredient lists to my dad. It turns out that Equate Beauty created a generic version of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, but not Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel (the one targeted to oily skin). So keep in mind that we are comparing a generic moisturizer that is slightly related, rather than a so-called “dupe.”

Equate Beauty Strikingly Unique Moisturizing Lotion ingredients

water, mineral oil, glycerin, petrolatum, stearic acid, glyceryl stearate citrate, saccharide isomerate, sesamum indicum oil, lanolin alcohol, hordeum vulgare extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seedcake, propylene glycol dicaprate, sodium hyaluronate, butylene glycol, carbomer, tetrasodium edta, sodium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, yellow 6 lake, yellow 5, red 33

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel ingredients

water, dimethicone, isododecane, butylene glycol, bis-peg-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, glycerin, laminaria saccharina extract, polygonum cuspidatum root extract, saccharomyces lysate extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, hordeum vulgare (barley) extract, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seedcake, caffeine, trehalose, sodium hyaluronate, tocopheryl acetate, polysilicone-11, silica, propylene glycol dicaprate, oleth-10, lactobacillus ferment, laureth-23, laureth-4, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, carbomer, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, tromethamine, disodium edta, phenoxyethanol, yellow 5 (ci 19140), red 4 (ci 14700), yellow 6 (ci 15985)

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion ingredients

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 (ci 15985), yellow 5 (ci 19140), red 33 (ci 17200)

Equate’s version and Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion both contain lanolin alcohol, which could be an irritant to people with eczema and other sensitive skin conditions. Both lotions use a mix of mineral oil and petrolatum as the base, which can be a bit more oily than I like in a moisturizer. That’s why I always personally opted for the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, which is targeted to those with oily/combo skin, and doesn’t contain mineral oil or petrolatum. All three products include a mixture of yellow and red dyes to deliver that signature yellow color.

Equate’s version also contains sodium hydroxide, while Clinique’s lotion and gel both don’t. Remember that this was the only new ingredient added in the new formula of CeraVe PM Moisturizing Lotion, so if you don’t like the new Cerave PM, but loved the old one, it’s possible that you should avoid products that contain sodium hydroxide (like this Equate Beauty Strikingly Unique Moisturizing Lotion).

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel includes a number of beneficial ingredients that aren’t in Equate’s version or in the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, including Lactobacillus Ferment (a probiotic) and caffeine. All three formulas include a mix of cucumber extract, barley extract, and sunflower seedcake.

My Dad the Chemist’s review of Equate vs. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Dear Emily, yes, I think they both work fine, base on the ingredients used, Product 2 may a little less oily (or stickier) than Product 1, so I like Product 2 without trying out actually.

Love,
Dad

My dad liked Clinique’s version more because it looks like it has a less oily base than Equate’s formula (Product 1). Verdict: In this case, splurge on Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel—at least until Walmart’s Equate Beauty brand makes a dupe of this product. I think that the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is currently a better moisturizer than either of the other two options (Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion or Equate Beauty’s version of the lotion). For one thing, it provides beneficial ingredients without the oiliness. It also contains two other bonus ingredients that the lotion and Equate Beauty’s version of the lotion do not: caffeine and lactobacillus ferment.

Caffeine is a nice bonus ingredient because it has been shown to provide antioxidant capabilities and helps protect the skin against UV damage. Lactobacillus ferment similarly has been shown to be beneficial for protecting skin from UV-related damage.

Follow me on
Instagram.


Note: This post uses affiliate links, which means that I'll receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). See our disclosure policy.