Clarins is a well-to-do cosmetics company from France, regularly found in top department stores in the UK – and I would imagine worldwide too.

Comments from reader Helen about her difficulties obtaining the ingredients of some Clarins products at her local Clarins counter – in order to find out whether or not the products were safe for her MI allergy, and indeed her fragrance mix allergy – motivated me to get in touch with the Clarins press team in the UK for clarification on their policy.

MI-Free (left) / Not MI-free (right) … take care!

They were very forthcoming and helpful, and gave me a list of their currently unsafe products for MI allergy. All these products contain isothiazolinones so should be avoided:

Face products: 
Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Sheabutter, Cottonseed & Tamarind
Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream with Moringa
Daily Energiser Cleansing Gel
One Step Step Exfoliating Cleanser
Pure Melt Cleansing Gel
Gentle Refiner 

Body products:
Eau Dynamisante Shower Gel & Shower Mousse
Eau Ressourcante Shower Milk
Eau Des Jardin Shower Gel
Exfoliating Body Scrub with Bamboo Powder
Tonic Bath and Shower Concentrate
Relax Bath and Shower Concentrate

Men’s products:
Shampoo & Shower 

Active Face Wash
2 in 1 Exfoliating Cleanser 

In line with recent EU legislation banning isothiazolinones from leave-on cosmetics, all leave-on creams and serums will be safe, as will make-up and sun care protection. 

Helen’s experience shows that Clarins assistants and representatives in store aren’t guaranteed to be well informed with respect to ingredients and allergies, as expert and well-trained as they are, no doubt, in aesthetic and functional qualities of the products themselves. In fact, when she told one of her MI allergy, Helen was informed Clarins was now an MI-free brand, which is clearly not the case. It pays to check and double check, always.

It would also be useful to allergy sufferers if the larger cosmetic companies would list ingredients for their products on their websites as a matter of routine. This would not only be reassuringly transparent, but also no doubt save them time and resources in responding to ingredient queries from consumers. 

To learn more about Clarins, click here (UK) or here (US).


  1. Marilyn F.

    I experienced hives and peeling from Clarins Extra Firming Night cream and Extra Firming Day cream

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Could it be an allergy to another ingredient? Have you ever had patch testing?

  2. Hanne

    Hi! I might be mistaken, but I dont think that’s a complete list from Clarins. I found this while trying to figure out which of my products are safe to use, and it says that my Clarins daily energizer cream also contains methylisothiazolinone.. The site might be outdated or something, (or just for somewhere other than the U.K.)not sure, but I figured i’d post it here and let you capable people figure it out 🙂
    Either way, this specific container was purchased in Norway (EU), and my skin DOES react to it.

    Thank you so very much for this site by the way, has really helped me out A LOT !!

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Hi Hanne – Is that a ‘leave on’ cream product? MI is banned in leave on products in the EU now, so that product should have been reformulated. Perhaps old stock is still on shelf in some places? It’s worth reporting, if so. Meanwhile, I’ll ask my Clarins contact for clarification or input. Thanks for bringing this to my attention – and great to hear the site has helped!

      1. Hanne

        Hi again, sorry for the late reply! Yes, it IS a leave-on product, it’s a daily moisturizer face cream.

        1. MI Free (Post author)

          I’m going to ask Clarins to comment on this, via social media.

        2. Ingrid

          Hei Hanne! Jeg prøver å komme i kontakt med andre nordmenn som har utviklet allergi mot MI. Har vurdert å starte en Facebook-gruppe der man kan utveksle erfaringer og kunnskap. Legene vet jo ingenting og er helt i bakleksa med denne nye “allergiepidemien”. Kunne du ha tenkt deg å bli med i en sånn gruppe? Mvh, Ingrid K. Johansen

          1. Mina Zohra Dalager Jensen

            Hvad hedder facebook gruppen du har lavet?
            Jeg har for nylig haft en allergisk reaktion på Clarins produkter og jeg prøver at finde ud af hvad årsagen er. Vh. Mina Dalager Jensen

  3. Margaret

    4 years ago I was diagnosed with the allergy to MI after being in hospital 3 times not knowing why my face was swollen and red. I had used Clarins extra firming day cream. After having patch tests it was proved that the cream was the problem. I have been extra careful since and tried to use MI free products. 2 days ago I had to wash my hands. There was no soap available and I put a small amount of Fairy liguid on my hands. I had to go back to hospital for steroids and antihistamine tablets. I now know that Fairy products contain MI and will not use them again. My hands and arms are badly swollen and I have blisters on my arms. The problem also spread to my face. Mi should be banned from as many products as possible.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Oh dear – sorry to hear this. Yes, it’s in lots of household cleaning products and other ‘rinse off’ products. For safe lists of household dishwashing products, try here:

      The question of banning is a vexed one, because we need preservatives, and we’re running out of options. Perhaps a blend of many preservatives at very low levels is the way to go, but until the issue is settled, better / compulsory labelling is urgently needed to prevent accidents such as these.

      Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  4. Ana Milos

    I used the Clarins extra firming night cream & got painful red skin around both of my eyes. My right eye lid is swollen. My chin is so red and raw. I’ve been like this for a month an hour I finally made a dermatologist appointment today but can’t be seen till next week because they are booked. I can’t even wait one day anymore. I will never use Clarence ever again I seriously want to sue them!!!! It ruined my face!!

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      I’m sorry this happened, Ana. It could be a new allergy as it’s possible to develop them at any time, so while a particular product may trigger it, any product containing the ingredient to which you are allergic is likely to cause the same reaction. Good luck with the dermatology appointment – it sounds as though patch testing is the way to go.

  5. Julie Gabe

    I have started using a range of Clarins skin care after it being recommended. The creams and oils have physically burn’t my skin mainly in my. T section and it is very red and swollen and will peel in time. So disappointing and thinking I may be allergic to MI after reading some of the comments. My previous skin regime was Rodan Fields which has been fantastic but felt I needed a change.
    Suggestions for alternative would be terrific or do I just to back to Rodan Fields.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Hi Julie. Sorry you’ve had such grim reactions. I would strongly advise you ask for a referral to a dermatologist, to understand what is happening. You could indeed have allergies and patch testing can help discover what they are. They may not be to MI, and could perhaps be to fragrance components, for example. There are lots of possibilities. Good luck!

      1. Julie

        Thanks for your response, I do understand Clarins is a fantastic reputable skin care product and it has just been my skin that has reacted. I have gone back to other products with success after the redness and burning has gone and then tried different Clarins products reacting with the same flare up result a day later which is frustrating and sore I am now going to get a dermatologist to find out what my skin is reacting to.

        1. MI Free (Post author)

          That’s a great idea. It’s typically either a preservative or a fragrance that’s the issue, but it can be other compounds too.


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