Beauty Review: Estee Lauder Clear Difference Advanced Blemish Serum and Targeted Blemish Treatment*

As regular readers of the blog will know, I'm a big fan of Sali Hughes, the Guardian's beauty columnist. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to meet her at a Selfridges event to promote the new Estee Lauder Colour Envy lipstick range, where she was colour-matching attendees.We chatted about whether I wore lipstick and I said I did, but hadn't for a while because of the spots and scars around my mouth, and she very kindly offered to send me a package of skincare to help clear it up. In that package (which has been wonderfully effective in the six weeks I've been using it), she included two products from Estee Lauder's new Clear Difference range of skincare - the Advanced Blemish Serum and the Targeted Blemish Treatment.

The serum comes packaged in a frosted blue bottle and is topped with the iconic Estee Lauder gold lid, echoing the contents: a luxury product that works. It feels quite solid and heavy in the hand but equally not too cheap or plasticky. I also really like the fact that it's a pump bottle so dispenses just the right amount of product - one pump should be plenty to cover your face.

The serum has a lovely light milky texture and sinks into the skin really quickly. It also has a really lovely lemony scent - I am a big fan of anything that smells like citrus so that is a definite plus point for me - and its moisturising effect feels like it lasts a long time, though if you're prone to dryness you will need a moisturiser over the top. Finally, you also need very little of the product for it to be effective; I'm using one pump twice a day and am about a quarter of the way through the bottle after six weeks.

The blemish treatment, on the other hand, comes in a slightly plasticky tube with a long pointy lid that feels just a bit too big. That said, I do like the rollerball and how the product is dispsened by pushing the pump at the bottom of the tube, meaning it's very difficult to apply too much.

The product inside is a clear gel which has a lovely cooling feeling when it''s applied to the skin. Whilst it absorbed reasonably quickly and helped hugely with reducing the size and duration of my breakouts, I did also find it left slightly dry crusty patches so not the most attractive of products! My main gripe with it however is that it doesn't last very long - I think I got about six weeks out of one tube which doesn't seem like an awful lot considering the price.

Overall, whilst I really liked both products, I would definitely rebuy the serum first, both for its gorgeous smell and the fact that a little goes a long way, making it worth every penny of its £44 for 30ml price tag. The blemish treatment worked really well but considering how long it lasted - or rather didn't - I can't justify spending £25 on this every few weeks. Plus since I stopped using it a couple of weeks ago my skin hasn't been too badly affected so for me it's not an essential, especially when there are cheaper products out there.

Note: Whilst not strictly PR samples in that I didn't receive the products direct from the PR, the labels on the bottles suggests Sali did, so I'm calling them PR samples for the sake of openness.

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