We all know bright, even-toned and luminous skin doesn’t just happen overnight. Oh no, it takes months of sticking to a good skincare routine before you can see really noticeable results. Uneven skin tone, pigmentation, acne scarring, and dark marks are a few skin-related issues most women (and men) face these days. Fortunately there are a number of skincare products out there that can help solve this problem. I’m not particularly ‘lucky’ (if one could call it that) when it comes to my skin, I’ve had many skincare problems over the years. Adult acne. Dry & flaky skin. Highly sensitive skin. Extremely oily skin. And these days I’m struggling with something that is a real pain in my ‘you-know-what’: Sun spots and dark marks. As much as I loved listening to Baz Luhrman’s ‘Wear Sunscreen’ song when I was in high school, I never really took him up on his most important piece of advice. I hardly ever wore sunscreen, and now I’m paying the price…
These days I have a good and consistent skincare routine (except for those periods of time when I’m testing out new skincare products) and I have received so many questions on what my skincare routine currently looks like, so I think I will dedicate a full blog post to that soon. A blog post containing all my holy grail skincare products, along with some of my personal skincare tips.
As for today’s blog post, I’ll be introducing you to a new range of products from Clarins that I have been testing out for the past 2 weeks. The final results aren’t in as yet, because I like to test products for at least 4 to 6 weeks before writing up a detailed review. Think of this as a type of “This is what I’m testing at the moment, and here are my first impressions” blog post. So far the results aren’t very noticeable, because I’ve only been using this trio for 14 days – but I have high hopes for the end-result because I’ve already noticed a couple of things. I’ll cover my latest findings in this blog post, plus I also have ‘BEFORE’ and ‘AFTER’ photos to share with you.
About 3 or 4 years ago I decided to start investing in my skin, I should have started A LOT earlier (in my early twenties) but I never really understood just how important a good skincare routine was. I saved up my money, did a lot of research, and eventually bought a handful of skin care products to suit my specific needs. Clarins was actually one of the first brands I decided to invest in, and their Double Serum was the very first high-end skincare product I ever bought. Back then their Double Serum retailed for R695,00 and although it was very difficult for me to hand over my money to the sales assistant, I’m happy I did because I really loved that little serum!
Clarins South Africa recently launched their brand new Bright Plus Tri-Intensive Brightening Serum, which forms part of their Bright Plus range. According to Clarins, the Bright Plus range of products contain brightening plant extracts to help stop melanin in its tracks before it can be released into the skin’s surface. These exclusive products gently fade away hyperpigmentation, age spots and discolourations for a bright, even-toned complexion.
What is hyperpigmentation? Hyperpigmentation is usually a darkened area of skin caused by the overproduction of a pigment in the skin known as melanin. The main causes of hyperpigmentation are overexposure to the sun, picking at the skin, hormonal changes (i.e. pregnancy), certain medications such as antibiotics or hormone treatments, inflammation, or it could just be hereditary.
Although there is no ‘cure’ for hyperpigmentation, you can treat the condition by lightening the appearance with the help of a targeted skincare routine. First things first, it is extremely important to use a sunscreen (if you aren’t already) and look for key ingredients in brightening skincare products i.e. Ascorbyl Glucoside (which is much more stable and longer lasting than Ascorbic Acid), Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) such as Glycolic-, Citric- & Lactic Acid, and Azelaic Acid.
The secret to being good to your skin is finding products that address your specific skincare needs, and giving your skin a treat at least once a week (face masks are my favourite at-home skin treatment). As mentioned, I am currently testing the Clarins Bright Plus range, and these are the only lotions and creams I have used for the past 2 weeks. I’m only halfway through my testing period, and will provide my final results towards the middle of June.
The Clarins Bright Plus range combines 20 years of research with the discovery of a precious extract from the Acerola fruit (a tropical cherry, which is very high in Vitamin C). The result? A range of powerful products that help to reduce melanin production, fade dark marks and provide clarity and a healthy glow to the skin.
Here are my thoughts on each of the 3 products in the Bright Plus range:
BRIGHT PLUS TRI-INTENSIVE BRIGHTENING SERUM ♥ R660,00
First up on my beauty shelf is the Bright Plus Tri-Intensive Brightening Serum, and this is actually the product I am most excited about – not because it’s the new baby in the Bright Plus family, but because the ingredients list is so impressive. One of my beauty goals in life is to have even, naturally radiant skin. I long for the days when my skin was plump, clear and it had youthful glow. The innovative Clarins brightening serum rebalances the 3 dimensions of a perfect complexion – contrast, colour and luminosity. I can hear your thoughts, you’re thinking: “Wait, what!? Contrast?!” So, in essence it fades away certain contrasts in the skin i.e. dark marks, age spots etc. because it contains Acerola Seed Extract. It also rebalances skin colour to brighten up the complexion, and it infuses luminosity leaving you with even, naturally glowing skin.
Another active ingredient in the Bright Plus Tri-Intensive Brightening Serum is Ascorbyl Glucoside, mentioned above as an ingredient you should look for in a brightening skincare product. It’s a form of Vitamin C that is combined with glucose, and when applied to the skin this powerful antioxidant breaks down into pure Vitamin C which inhibits the synthesis of melanin. And then we also have Citric Acid as an ingredient, which is an AHA (mentioned above) that sloughs off dead skin cells, speeds up the process of new cell turnover and in turn boosts collagen synthesis. Almost like a natural exfoliant, but without the scrubbing – so it helps to alleviate the appearance of uneven tone and texture, small wrinkles and dark spots to brighten dull skin.
The stunning opaque bottle comes with a pump dispenser (which I love), this keeps the active ingredients safe from UV exposure and oxidation. The serum itself is a milky lotion with a very subtle botanical scent. Clarins is known for their plant-based skincare, and I’ve become quite a fan of the soothing herbaceous scent. I like to apply 1 pump of this serum with light pressing motions before my day- and night cream, and I find it absorbs quickly without any greasy or sticky residue.
Did you know? The skin on your neck can be thinner than the skin on your face, and just as prone to changes in texture, pigment, and elasticity. Always remember to apply your skincare products to the neck as well, as it shows signs of aging quicker than the rest of your face. Ahem…noone wants a wrinkly, saggy turkey neck. Am I right, or am I right?
BRIGHT PLUS DAY LOTION SPF20 ♥ R630,00
I have also been using the Bright Plus Day Lotion, which is a very smooth fluid that literally melts into the skin. This lightweight daytime lotion contains an SPF20 to help protect the skin against harmful UV rays (known to cause hyperpigmentation), and also contains an active ingredient called Sea Lily Botanical Extract, which helps to correct uneven skin tone by gently fading away dark spots. Clarins enriched Bright Plus Day Lotion with other active ingredients i.e. Alchemilla Extract, Biotin, Raspberry Extract and White Tea Extract to reduce the production of melanin and protect the skin against free radicals.
What I really like about it is that it gives the skin a beautiful semi-matte finish, with absolutely no oily or sticky residue. It also doesn’t interfere with the texture or finish of any makeup applied on top, and leaves my skin feeling nourished, plump, and looking fresh. Every morning I apply it to my face and neck with gentle pressing motions (after cleansing, toning & the Bright Plus Tri-Intensive Brightening Serum) and then leave it to absorb before I start with my makeup routine. The Bright Plus Day Lotion hydrates the skin, and since it is a lightweight lotion, it’s perfect for normal, combo, oily and perhaps even dry skin types if combined with the serum. It clarifies the skin, all while adding a natural glow to the face.
BRIGHT PLUS NIGHT CREAM ♥ R650,00
I’ve also added the Bright Plus Night Cream to my night-time skincare routine. This has a rich formula to help soothe and refresh tired skin, all while slowing down the production of melanin during the night. It contains 2 active brightening ingredients, Sea Lily and Daisy Extract, to help repair any damage caused by UV rays and environmental stressors. Even though the Bright Plus Night Cream is incredibly moisturising, it fortunately also feels quite light on the skin. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s when a night cream leaves your skin looking greasy – this one from Clarins gives the skin a healthy-looking, glowy finish, but definitely not oily.
During the colder months my skin tends to be quite dull and dry (especially on my cheek area) and I find that after using this night cream my skin not only feels, but also looks hydrated and glowing in the morning. In a way it calms the skin and absorbs relatively quickly (it can feel a little tacky for a few seconds but that disappears after a couple of minutes). I apply Bright Plus Night Cream to my face and neck as the 4th step in my evening skin care routine – first cleanse, then tone, then the Bright Plus Tri-Intensive Brightening Serum, and then my night cream. It instantly smoothes and plumps the skin, and I’ve noticed I wake up with my skin feeling pampered, as it adds a serious dose of nourishment.
There’s only one thing that I think Clarins can improve upon with this specific product – the jar packaging. I will always prefer skincare products that are housed in opaque glass bottles with a pump dispenser, especially in the case of brightening products. Jar packaging causes Vitamin C to degrade once the lid is removed, and that will most definitely have an effect on how effective the product is in the long run.
A small amount of the Bright Plus Night Cream goes a long way and it looks almost untouched after 14 days of use. So even though this product might be a bit pricey for some, I have a feeling it’ll be a while until I even have to think about stocking up again.
Below are Before & After photos to show you exactly what my skin looks like at the moment after using the Clarins Bright Plus Tri-Intensive Brightening Serum, Bright Plus Day Lotion SPF20, and Bright Plus Night Cream for 2 weeks.
Eeeek! Let me tell you, it took a lot of guts for me to take these photos and post them up on the blog for the world to see. These photos have not been edited at all – niks, nothing, nada. Side note: I’m 33 years old. Just putting that out there…
I took both photos at the same time during the day (11am in the morning), but obviously 2 weeks apart because I wanted the lighting to be as similar as possible.
I’ve been using the Clarins Bright Plus range for less than a month, so I can’t really report back on any major changes in the pigmentation areas yet. There’s a very subtle healthy glow to my skin after using this for 2 weeks, and have also noticed some of the lighter spots on my upper right cheek have started to fade ever so slightly. Overall my complexion is starting to look more radiant, and I’m really hoping that the products will continue to break down and fade my pigmentation.
The ultimate test, for me, will be to see if I reach for my sheerer foundations in the future. If my skin looks and feels fresher and more radiant, I won’t need the coverage of a heavier foundation.
I know the products in the Clarins Bright Plus range might seem a bit pricey, but investing in your skin is very important – think about it this way: You only have one face for the rest of your life, you might as well take care of it. Spending that little extra on skin care products is a great investment.
If you’re on a tight budget, and you can only afford to invest in one of the products in the range, then I would highly recommend the new Bright Plus Tri-Intensive Brightening Serum – it totally gets my seal of approval!
SKINCARE TIPS TO PREVENT HYPERPIGMENTATION:
♥ Wearing a good sunscreen of at least SPF20 and avoiding sun exposure is the most important step in preventing hyperpigmentation. Dark marks darken up with ultra violet exposure, so don’t go thinking getting a bit of a tan will blend everything together, because the dark areas will darken even more.
♥ Darker pigmentation is also in dead skin cells, so exfoliating regularly will slough off the buildup and will help to minimise hyperpigmentation. If you have dry, sensitive or mature skin, it is best to exfoliate once a week. If you have combination or oily skin, exfoliating 2 to 3 times a week will be beneficial. Exfoliating cleansers gently buff away the darkened top layers of skin, I like using an all-natural product like the Tous Les Jours Le Exfoliator Beads (which can be added to any cleanser to turn it into an exfoliator). A cleansing brush (like the Clarisonic) is another great option, it gently exfoliates the skin to make it smoother and brighter. Remember, getting rid of the dead surface cells will also help your skin care products to penetrate deeper, making them more effective.
Speaking of exfoliators, did you know microbeads (those teeny tiny non-biodegradable plastic balls that give a scrubby effect to cleansers) is actually bad for the environment? Once you rinse them off your face they end up in rivers and oceans, and fish end up ingesting them (plastic is toxic to fish). Then think about the fact that someone might end up eating that fish – it won’t have an immediate effect BUT imagine the damage of ingesting plastic for a long period of time. You want to avoid exfoliating scrubs / cleansers that have ‘polyethylene’ listed in the ingredients list – rather opt for natural alternatives i.e. coconut husks, jojoba beads (like the Tous Les Jours one), or fruit acids.
♥ Last but certainly not least, melanin (the pigment in dark spots) moves deeper into skin over time, so it’s easiest to erase when it’s still relatively new. Start early (as soon as you see the first signs of hyperpigmenttion) and it may be nearly gone in 2 or 3 months.
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by Clarins South Africa.