The Clinique 3-Step system is the most famous and easily recognisable skincare in the world – even if you’ve never used it, you can’t have helped but notice the eye-catchingly simple images of the distinctive bottles in department stores and magazines. And no wonder it’s so well known: it has been going strong since it was launched, along with brand new beauty company Clinique, in 1969. Now, as it enters its fifth decade, the iconic system has been given a bit of a face lift.
One person who knows the 3-Step better than just about anybody else is the dermatologist whose father, Dr Norman Orentreich, co-created Clinique along with US Vogue editor Carol Phillips. Dr David Orentreich was in London recently to introduce the newest member of the 3-Step family – the New Dermatologist Reformulated Clarifying Lotion, which is an update of the second step of the system.
Does Dr David feel he grew up with Clinique, since he was a child at the time of its launch? “Absolutely! My dad would talk about it with us round the dinner table on the weekends – which is when he had time to eat with us. I remember when things were just in development. As you know, the allergy testing is a very important component, and when he was working that out, my little sister Sari volunteered to be a test subject. She’d have these little patches on her back where ingredients and products were tested. I was very jealous because she was given 50 cents for doing it.”
In 1969, Clinique was a revolution in skincare. “Before it, there was no standard approach to skincare. Some people said you should wash your face 25 times a day; others said you should never wash your face. There were all manner of ideas that were not scientifically founded.” And that’s undoubtedly why Carol Phillips interviewed Dr David’s dad for her article “Can Great Skin Be Created?”. His explanation to her of how a routine of twice-daily cleansing, exfoliation and moisturising could benefit all skin types inspired the birth of Clinique.
As Dr David says, “the 3-Step was a system which derived from understanding the way skin works rather than someone coming up with a notion and then trying to make it fit into many people’s lives; people who have all different diverse types of skin conditions.”
Both Dr David and his older sister, Catherine, ended up following in their dad’s footsteps – and both serve as guiding dermatologists for Clinique. Did he feel they were destined to go into the family business? “My dad was very open about his work but he never tried to force us into it. He just talked about how enthusiastic he was and how interesting it was to him, and that, in a very subliminal or sophisticated way, got me interested without making me feel that I was being railroaded.”
Dr David and Dr Catherine have gone on to specialise in different areas from their father, although some of their work overlaps. Dr David says: “We do many things that my dad innovated and there have been many new things too. In my practice, I do a lot of the more complicated, aesthetic issues that people have – such as reconstructive problems – and I also do some of the more invasive-type surgeries, like lyposcution and hair transplants, which my father invented many years ago.”
All sorts of people with all sorts of skin concerns pass through Dr David’s office and, regardless of their individual problems, he says the main advice he would give is: “to never lose sight of the benefits of basic skincare”. He explains: “If you can do nothing else, wash your face, apply an exfoliator and moisturise twice a day. It’s a simple message but if you don’t do that, you can spend a lot of money not only on dermatological treatments and expensive products that you think will solve all your problems, but, if you’re not doing those basic steps, you’re putting these things on to a canvas that’s not prepared for that product or that treatment and it’s not going to look so good. It’s simple but it’s borne out time and time again when I see patients who either can’t afford or aren’t interested in these new medical treatments – botox , fillers etc – and yet they look really good because they’re paying attention to their basic skin health.”
* Clinique Clarifying Lotion is priced from £14-£23 and is available at stores nationwide and at www.clinique.co.uk