As the saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but across most women of different cultures, there is a shared goal that is strived for: A clear, radiant complexion.
Yet, that tends to elude many women due to a multitude of reasons, including excessive UV exposure, pollution, poor circulation and even lack of sleep. And to effectively achieve luminous skin, you’ll need to look for powerful ingredients that eliminates existing melanin spots, reduce the synthesis of melanin as well as fight glycation so that a cloudy and dull complexion becomes one that’s translucent and radiant.
Here’s our pick of 8 of the best whitening serums and creams that will brighten and restore skin glow to dull and pigmented skin:
SK-II GenOptics Aura Essence, $199 for 30ml, $299 for 50ml, $400 for 75ml
Formulated to combat both hidden and visible spots, as well as a dull complexion, this lightweight serum is packed with brightening ingredients that help to unveil skin’s aura so it looks clear and radiant. Thanks to the revolutionary SK-II GenOptics Aura Complex, which consists of SK-II’s proprietary PITERA™ (The same ingredient used in the brand’s iconic Facial Treatment Essence), Demelano P3C and Prunus Extract, this easily absorbed serum penetrates into deep layers of the skin to target the root causes of dullness and dark spots. At the same time, Prunus Extract also packs antioxidant properties so that skin cells become better equipped to neutralise free radical damage and even out the complexion while PITERA feeds skin with its special concoction of micro-nutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and organic acids to maintain skin health and optimise cellular functions. Plus, Japanese Ume Plum Extract works to infusing skin with anti-glycation benefits, so as to prevent the complexion from looking sallow and dull. To ensure that you reap the maximum benefits, the SK-II GenOptics Aura Essence features a specially designed auto-fill dropper so that all you have to do is dispense one full drop in order to get the right dosage for each application.
SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense, $159 for 30ml
Thanks to its synergistic blend of active ingredients including Kojic Acid and Niacinamide, this whitening serum targets dark spot formation at all stages, from fading existing spots to preventing further synthesis of melanin. Suitable for all skin types, it can be used to reduce the appearance of brown spots as well as acne scars. Plus, it’s free of fragrances, silicones, parabens and hydroquinone for a gentle yet potent action on the skin.
Chantecaille Blanc Gardenia Brightening Essence, $310 for 30ml
Perfect for those who dislike layering multiple products in this heat and humidity, try this fast-absorbing brightening essence. It contains a powerful concoction of botanical ingredients like White Gardenia Stem Cells, Lipoaminoacid and Niacinamide which work at a cellular level to soothe inflammation, reduce the appearance of existing dark spots as well as inhibiting the production of melanin. It also counts on antioxidants like Water Lily Extract to minimise skin ageing caused by environmental factors, as well as Green Decaffeinated Coffee to speed up cellular renewal so skin texture is refined as skin tone is evened out.
Chanel Le Blanc Healthy Light Creator Crème Fine, $162 for 50g
This brightening face cream restores skin glow by taking a three-pronged approach to revitalise the skin, regulate melanin production as well as to restore skin’s essential lipids. And at the heart of this powerful formula is the powerful combination of Chanel’s exclusive TXC, ume flower extract and ume flower oil. Known for its hardy nature, ume flower is the first to blossom in late winter amidst cold, frigid temperature. The same vitality and tenacity is encapsulated in the ume flower extract, which when absorbed into the skin, strengthens it against internal and external stressors. When combined with TXC, it works to inhibit hyperpigmentation and improve skin clarity. Lastly, ume flower oil is rich in essential fatty acids to rebuild skin’s lipid barrier to boost its moisture retention ability for a plump and radiant complexion.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $114 for 30ml
Boasting a specially calibrated blend of vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid, this all-in-one serum works to correct signs of photo-damage like dark spots and dullness, revealing a brighter, smoother and plumper complexion. In addition, it contains pumpkin ferment extract and pomegranate enzyme to gently eliminate dead skin cells and boost skin renewal to diminish the appearance of fine lines, roughness and unevenness for younger-looking skin.
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum, $120 for 30ml
Thanks to its 15 percent THD ascorbate, an ultra-stable form of vitamin C, this concentrated brightening serum is rapidly absorbed by the skin to enhance its clarity, tone and firmness. It is also supported by antioxidants, skin soothers and pore-refining agents to boost skin’s resilience against external aggressors, diminish the look of redness, reinforces its moisture barrier and reducing the appearance of enlarged pores. The result? Expect a smooth, well-balanced and plump complexion with a lit-from-within glow.
Dior Prestige Light-In-White La Solution Lumière, $570 for 30ml
Through years of studying the pathways of melanin production, Dior scientists have found that skin sensitivity can be directly linked to the onset of hyperpigmentation. Addressing this specifically, Dior harnesses the anti-inflammatory benefits of Sea Lily grown in the Dior Gardens to reduce skin sensitivity, and inhibit the proliferation of melanin. Also present in this silky serum is Dior’s exclusive Rose de Granville, which further guards against the formation of dark spots and the yellowing of the complexion so that skin looks more even-toned and luminous.
Clarins White Plus Brightening Revive Night Mask-Gel, $115 for 50ml
Specially formulated to restore a well-rested skin glow while you sleep, this night mask has a refreshing gel-like texture that melts upon application to infuse skin with hydration and brightening ingredients. And the most powerful of them is the acerola fruit extract. Native to the Amazon, this wild cherry has been found by Clarins researchers to be exceptionally powerful in fading dark spots and inhibiting the formation of future spots. Day after day, wake up to a supple and radiant complexion as it evens out skin tone and locks in moisture throughout the night.
To ensure that you choose the suitable brightening product for your skin, make sure to choose textures that work for your skin type. For example, opt for a lightweight, water-based serum if you have combination or oily skin, or try something that leaves a silky finish on your skin if you want to avoid any stickiness or greasiness. Always apply a serum first before a moisturiser as the latter forms a protective veil over skin to lock in moisture for optimal results. And try massaging your skin in upward strokes as you apply your favourite brightening serums and creams to boost microcirculation and enhance skin glow.