Clinique were founded on the philosophy that ‘Great Skin Can Be Created’. With that in mind, the Beauty Boffs at Clinique have created their Smart™ Custom-Repair Eye Treatment. Clinique already have several eye treatments but this one claims to specifically target the skin in problem areas and even customise the repair it does. So can a serum really be that ‘smart’?

The Claims

This eye treatment promises to improve the skin’s appearance with ‘custom repair’. Clinique claims this is how a single formula can visibly brighten, contour and firm, plump or repair the look of crow’s feet. The biggest claim is that the serum can sense trouble spots, targeting these areas for repair “as needed, where needed”… it’s time for The Geeks to investigate!

The Science behind the Bottle

Plant Extracts

Botanicals are always a great place to start and Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Eye Treatment is jam-packed with plant extracts, some of which already have a reputation for repair with The Geeks!

Mulberry root is the extract present at the highest concentration and it is great for brightening age spots and balancing an uneven skin tone. It contains a chemical called mulberroside A and one study suggested that it can prevent the production of proteins that are involved with making melanin, the same pigment that is in your skin. By stopping these proteins being made, it could mean that they never get the chance to create those unwanted patches of pigmentation on your skin. However, we couldn’t find any studies using the extract on human skin so we can’t give this extract the big thumbs up yet.

Clinique’s smart custom repair eye treatment also contains seaweed, sunflower, grape seed, caffeine and plum extracts which all have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect our skin from potentially damaging free radicals that can lead to premature skin ageing if left unchecked. Our antioxidant beauty favourite, vitamin E, has also been squeezed in as tocopheryl acetate.

One extract we’re not so sure on is grapefruit peel extract, which contains chemicals called coumarins and furanocoumarins. There is some evidence that shows these to increase skins sensitivity to sunlight so the Geeks found it unusual that this extract features in the under-eye formula. However, teaming this product with a good SPF should solve that problem!

Plankton Extract

Plankton can increase moisture levels as it can hold onto water in our skin. Marine extracts always have a lot of hype surrounding them, and can sound very exciting on an ingredients list and although a good hydrator, plankton isn’t exactly revolutionary or a skincare must-have.

Complexion Perfectors

The skin around the eyes is very delicate and can become discoloured very quickly – as many of us know! Uneven skin tone and dark spots are caused by melanin building up across the skin. Luckily, this serum contains a few ingredients to combat this, such as extract from the Chinese skullcap flower. This extract contains a component called baicalin, which has been shown to help protect skin cells grown in the lab from UV-induced ageing.

There’s also some evidence showing that baicalin can deactivate an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is key for producing melanin and decreased melanin production can help reduce uneven skin tone, particularly from over-exposing skin to the sun! The cucumber extract in the formula also has this anti-tyrosinase activity on top of its soothing properties. Last but not least, Clinique have used titanium dioxide to help protect from harmful UV rays as well (you know how we LOVE SPF!).

Skin Plumper’s

To hide those tiny lines and wrinkles around your eyes then you’re going to have to plump up. This eye treatment features several ingredients that will leave you with hydrated and fuller-looking skin, one of them being rice bran. Rice bran contains compounds that have been shown to stimulate the growth of fibroblasts, the cells that produce our precious collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein in skin and is responsible for keeping skin smooth and elastic. More fibroblasts = more collagen = more fabulous skin!

Lecithin is another plumping ingredient; with its essential fatty acid content it can hydrate and replenish the skin. Fatty acids are really important for skin as they build up the skins protective barrier. When the fatty acids in the outer layer of our skin are disrupted such as during facial cleansing, it can lead to skin dryness. Natural ageing also alters the fatty acid composition in our skin – these are two just reasons is why it is important to use creams with fatty acids! Lecithin can also pass through the upper layer of skin to carry substances that target damage under the skins surface.

Rice protein is also included in the formula and is a good moisturising agent, so will be able to add to the skins hydration and could help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and plump the skin temporarily.


So far this eye treatment is sounding just like another anti-ageing serum. The big promise was that the ‘smart’ treatment could sense damage and repair as needed, where needed. We had a look into whether or not any of the ingredients were capable of doing this and we found two peptides. Peptides are small chains of amino acids that can send a signal to get a response from our body – some of our hormones are peptides! The ones we found in this serum are acetyl hexapeptide-8 and palmitoyl hexapeptide-12.

So number one – acetyl hexapeptide-8, also called Argireline. The big claims surrounding this peptide in a lot of products is that it works by inhibiting the repetitive contraction of facial muscles to reduce wrinkles (this is why it’s often called “botox in a jar”. When your brain and nerves send a signal to your facial muscles to smile or frown, this peptide supposedly will try and keep your muscles relaxed and skin tight. However, we couldn’t find concrete studies to fully convince us of this. There is not much evidence specific to the second peptide, palmitoyl hexapeptide-12 having outstanding benefits either. Similar molecules have been shown to reduce wrinkles and stimulate hyaluronic acid and collagen production and theoretically the peptides in this formula could help to improve skin condition but there’s just not enough research at the moment to make a solid conclusion.

And do they have selective action? The Geeks really aren’t convinced about that…

The Verdict

There is no denying that there’s plenty of evidence (particularly from the lab) for a lot of the ingredients in the Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Eye Treatment and that convinces us that this product can help plump the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and protect against signs of ageing. However, there is no evidence to show the product can actually ‘target’ specific problem areas and evidence is lacking for some of the key ingredients. Having said that the Geeks still want to try this one out for ourselves, but if you can’t stretch to the £38 price tag for 15ml, we would recommend taking a look at some of Clinique’s other products, as they have very similar ingredients.

Click here to find Clinique Smart™ Custom-Repair Eye Treatment.

As the Eye Treatment has very similar ingredients to Clinique Smart Serum (which works out cheaper per ml), we’d recommend buying the smart serum and using it on the eye area! Click here to find the Clinique Smart Serum.

Loved this article? We think you’ll like these ones too!

How to get rid of puffy eyes

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand Review Repair-Eye-Treatment

A synthetic hexapeptide (Argireline) with antiwrinkle activity

Inhibitory effect of mulberroside A and its derivatives on melanogenesis induced by ultraviolet B irradiation. (2011) 

Skin Ageing: Natural Weapons and Strategies

Coumarin and furanocoumarin quantitation in citrus peel via ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (2013) Dugrand et al. 

An Efficient Preparation of Mulberroside A from the Branch Bark of Mulberry and Its Effect on the Inhibition of Tyrosinase Activity

Zinc and skin: a brief summary (2012) Kumar et al. 

A pilot trial using topical regular crystalline insulin vs. aqueous zinc solution for uncomplicated cutaneous wound healing: Impact on quality of life (2014) 

Promotion and computation of inhibitory effect on tyrosinase activity of herbal cream by incorporating indigenous medicinal plants (2014)

Effects of baicalin against UVA-induced photoaging in skin fibroblasts.

Baicalin-induced Akt activation decreases melanogenesis through downregulation of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor and tyrosinase (2015) Jeong et al. 

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens: focus on their safety and effectiveness (2011) Threes and Stanislav 

Anti-aging efficacy of topical formulations containing niosomes entrapped with rice bran bioactive compounds (2012) Manosroi et al. 

Stratum corneum fatty acids: their critical role in preserving barrier integrity during cleansing (2013) 

Skin Aging and Photoaging Alter Fatty Acids Composition, Including 11,14,17-eicosatrienoic Acid, in the Epidermis of Human Skin (2010) 

The anti-wrinkle efficacy of Argireline (2013) Wang et al. 

Topical palmitoyl pentapeptide provides improvement in photoaged human facial skin (2005) Robinson et al. 

Preparation and Characterization of a Lecithin Nanoemulsion as a Topical Delivery System 

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 (Barley) 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