Every year, like clockwork, autumn rolls around and I notice my skin looks dull, blotchy, and uneven. I suppose it's only natural. After all, I tend to spend a lot of time outside in the summer (I would live at the beach if I could), and even though I'm serious about wearing sunscreen every single day and reapplying it often, hyperpigmentation happens.
That's why, each September and October, I embark on a quest to brighten, refresh, and generally just even out my slightly sun-damaged complexion. There are two tone-transforming methods I swear by. The first is consistent exfoliation (usually via an effective yet non-irritating resurfacing mask). The second is brightening by way of a vitamin C serum. Lately, I've been using one that only costs $20 yet contains a mixture of potent brightening ingredients. Over time, it's helped me achieve my post-summer goal of brightening my skin and fading discoloration. Keep scrolling to see which serum I'm talking about.
Here it is—the aptly named Stroke of Brilliance Brightening Serum. Whereas most brightening serums are formulated with vitamin C alone, this one contains the powerhouse ingredient along with a mixture of other skin tone-improving actives.
What are those actives, you ask? They are licorice root, red algae extract, and niacinamide. The first two are skin-lightening agents that inhibit pigmentation. The last one is a form of vitamin B3 that targets discoloration (along with enlarged pores, redness, fine lines, and wrinkles).
My hyperpigmentation usually presents itself on my nose and cheeks—and most annoyingly—on the sides of my neck and jaw. It starts out as blotchy patches of skin and then tiny dark spots set in. I've been using this serum to brighten these areas over the course of a couple of weeks (I stashed away my other vitamin C serums to make sure I was testing this one alone). I've been applying it to my face and neck twice a day.
My full skincare routine starts off with a cleanse to remove dirt, sweat, and makeup. Then, I use toner to give my skin a much-needed boost of hydration. From there, it's time to apply the serum in an even layer all over my face and neck—sometimes even my chest if I feel like being really thorough. Since the serum is only $20 a pop, I don't feel like I have to be stingy.
After that, I move on to moisturizer and, if it's the morning, sunscreen. Twice a week, I'll throw in an exfoliating mask to help expedite the discoloration-fading process. That's it–my post-summer skincare routine to fade hyperpigmentation.
There's one more thing I want to mention: Anyone who's tried a variety of vitamin C serums knows they can sometimes feel sticky or tacky on the skin and cause sunscreen to pill or become patchy (it's my nightmare). This one is different. It feels lightweight and hydrating, and there's no obvious residue. That's probably, in part, due to the sodium hyaluronate in the formula. This ingredient is a sodium salt form of hyaluronic acid that draws in and retains moisture. (So, yeah, this serum actually hydrates the skin at the same time it brightens it.)
From now through December 19, use code WWW20 at checkout for an exclusive 20% off the Stroke of Brilliance Brightening Serum.
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