When Deepica Mutyala posted a video of herself applying red lipstick to her under eyes to cancel out dark circles in 2015, it went viral. The hack resonated with people of color struggling to cover their own hyperpigmentation. Fast-forward to 2019, and Mutyala launched Live Tinted, a beauty line dedicated to melanated people like herself. The brand's hero product has been the Huestick, a color-correcting makeup cream with a more sophisticated formulation than the aforementioned red lipstick. Now, Mutyala wants to do more than cover up discoloration—she wants to eliminate it. Enter Live Tinted's newest (and first skin-care!) product: A serum stick packed with niacinamide, bakuchiol, and vitamin C.
"Since the creation of the Huestick...we were always working behind the scenes on developing a skin-care solution for the same concern," Mutyala said during a virtual press event. "It's a very beautiful balm-to-serum formula that we're very proud of. And it has incredible active ingredients in it to really target discoloration."
Mutyala created this serum stick in collaboration with Caroline Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicago. The pair worked to develop a formula that addresses hyperpigmentation in a gentle yet effective way. Once the product was created, Robinson conducted a small study with nine of her patients, all of whom are women of color. After only four weeks, seven of them saw an improvement in the evenness of their skin tones.
The main active in the Superhue Stick is niacinamide. A form of vitamin B3, this ingredient helps fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation, brighten dull skin, calm inflammation, and support healthy collagen and ceramide production. Next up is bakuchiol, an antioxidant-packed ingredient often pegged as a natural alternative to retinol, as it follows some of the same pathways in the skin and can yield similar results. "Bakuchiol being a part of [the formula] was really important to me because it goes back to my Indian culture and heritage," says Mutyala. "It's heavily used in Ayurveda and it's derived from a plant that's in India."
The formula also features THD ascorbate, a gentle and highly stable form of vitamin C. Derms love vitamin C because it helps prevent the free radical damage that can cause wrinkles and discoloration while promoting cellular turnover. With regular use, it will help fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots to give you a brighter, more even complexion. "Because of how stable THD, is it does not create the same irritation that some other vitamin C serums do, so that makes this balm-to-serum very, very stable—the active ingredients are potent from your first use to your last use," Dr. Robinson said at the event.
Also in the mix is hyaluronic acid, which hydrates and plumps the skin; plus willow bark extract, glycolic acid, licorice root, and lemon peel ferment extract, all of which offer brightening benefits.
Applying the Live Tinted Superhue serum stick
Unlike most serums, which come in liquid form, this one uses a stick delivery system. It kind of looks like a giant tube of Chapstick and gives you a ton of control over how (and where) you apply. To use it, all you have to do is rub it directly onto clean skin, then pat in any excess product with your hands. It goes on like a balm and has an immediate cooling effect, then melts seamlessly into your skin. Personally, I like to apply it all over my face and put a second layer over the dark spots I have on my temples and chin.
Superhue is a great product to use at night, as it's best able to work its magic while your skin is in "repair" mode. That said, if you've already got other intense ingredients in your p.m. routine (think: retinol and AHAs), you'll probably want to use it in the morning to ensure you're not overdoing it on actives. Either way, be extra diligent about applying sunscreen while using this serum, as the ingredients will make your skin more susceptible to UV damage (yes, even if you only use it at night).
Whether you're just getting into products to treat hyperpigmentation or want to beef up the dark-spot-fighting regime you've already got going, Superhue makes an A+ addition to any routine. Shop the link above to try it out for yourself.
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