After 1 Month of Using This $34 ‘Brighten Up’ Toner, My Skin Tone Is Visibly Brighter and More Even

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I’ve pretty much dealt with breakouts and an uneven skin tone for as long as I can remember. While my skin is currently under control (for the most part), I’ve been on the hunt for a product that can help resurface my skin and achieve a more even-looking, scar-free complexion—without spending hundreds of dollars on in-office laser treatments and peels.

In what feels like divine timing, Farmacy (one of my favorite natural skin-care brands) dropped a gentle brightening toner: The Brighten Up 3% TXA Toner ($34) After using it at home for a few weeks, I can vouch for the fact that it has sped up my skin’s healing process and even helped me achieve a smoother complexion.

This is a gentle yet effective exfoliant

When I first unboxed this toner, my skin had finally calmed down from months of raging hormonal acne. With the help of my dermatologist, I was able to get breakouts under control, but I was left with lots of red scars in their wake. I was more than happy to accept the scars and move on, knowing my skin would heal itself, but I was tempted by the idea of speeding the process along. My dermatologist told me that I could consider Fraxel laser treatments—an in-office resurfacing treatment that costs upwards of 500 dollars per session—but I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of dropping thousands of bucks on something I wasn’t sure I needed.

So, to save a little money and take matters into my own hands, I decided to try out this new toner from Farmacy. I knew tranexamic acid (or, TXA) to be a popular dark spot-diminishing ingredient, and seeing as this formula is made with a whole lot of it, I figured I had nothing to lose. I was also really intrigued by the fact that the formula also contains azelaic acid and tangerine peel, both of which help achieve a more even skin tone.

farmacy toner
Photo: Caitlyn Martyn

My skin tone is much more even now

After about a month of using the toner morning and night, my skin feels incredibly soft and looks way more calm. While time is definitely on my side, I believe the toner helped speed things along, especially in the scar department. I asked board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick how exactly tranexamic acid works on dark spots and discoloration. She explained to me that initially, tranexamic acid was used in oral form to help the treatment of moderate to severe melasma. “Now, it’s used as a topical ingredient to help address hyperpigmentation and discoloration,” she says.

What makes it stand out from the pack

While the gentle yet effective ingredients reeled me in, what really hooked me is the fact that the toner was easy to integrate into my existing routine. The formula is intended to be used morning and night after cleansing—I just dab a bit on a cotton pad and sweep it across my face—and it settles into the skin nicely, sans film or residue. I love that the toner dries quickly, allowing me to layer my moisturizer and sunscreen on top within seconds (and not adding any additional time to my routine). Plus, the fact that the brand prioritizes natural ingredients, sustainable sourcing, responsible packaging, and environmental giving is the cherry on top.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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