For some of us, spooky season brings the frightening reveal of sun damage from the summer past. When the August glow has faded, it often leaves behind melasma and hyperpigmentation—which means doubling down on gentle skin-tone evening ingredients like vitamin C and retinol.
To combat discoloration on my own complexion, I scooped up the StriVectin Brighten & Restore Discovery Kit, which is designed to—you guessed it—brighten and restore skin. The affordable trio contains generous sizes of three products—The Super-C Retinol Brighten & Correct Vitamin C Serum, Multi-Action Restorative Cream, and Super-C Dark Circle Brightening Eye Serum—all for $79. My goal with the set was to minimize sun damage, but the fact that it helps diminish wrinkles, too, is a huge bonus—multi-tasking is a must!
How it works
The products claim to work synergistically to brighten, hydrate, and tone the skin. The star ingredient in the set is vitamin C, which is known for its discoloration-fighting abilities. "Vitamin C brightens the skin by downregulating an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is a key enzyme in the process of melanin synthesis," says board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, MD, FAAD, Besides working on sun spots, it also helps brighten dark under-eye circles, which explains its prime billing in the eye product.
The serum pairs the powerhouse ingredient with retinol, which kicks its skin-tone evening prowess up a notch. "Vitamin C and retinol both stimulate collagen production, and retinol also inhibits collagen breakdown and improves cell turnover," says Dr. Marcus. "Combining them into a single serum could be beneficial because it cuts down on the number of steps in one's skincare routine."
Though the Multi-Action Restorative Cream is light on actives, it serves a very important purpose as a part of the overall regimen. "Using a cream over a serum may enhance the activity of the serum by reinforcing the skin barrier and preventing the evaporation of moisture from the skin," says Dr. Marcus. "The shea butter in the cream is an excellent emollient, and helps to support the skin barrier and decrease trans-epidermal water loss."
What happened when I tried it
Super-C Dark Circle Brightening Eye Serum is a lightweight, clear formula, and I noticed a brightening and tightening effect after using it for a few days. My skin leans dry, so I layer it under an eye cream at night. I appreciate the concentrated potency, but it causes zero irritation and glides on perfectly under concealer (which I've needed less of since dark circles are diminished!).
The face serum is also lightweight, and the smell reminds me of Vitamin C chewables! However, I was happy it was not overly perfumed and, best of all, not sticky. Since I've been using it, my skin is so smooth—like after a facial. Despite using the product daily, the retinol has (rather surprisingly!) not irritated my skin or caused any peeling. Rather, my complexion looks bright and the summer sun damage has noticeably started to fade. I'm thrilled with the low-pain, high-gain effect.
The Multi-Action Restorative Cream is very hydrating but quickly sinks in completely. I love this cream when my skin is dry, and use it day and night. It doesn't clog pores and is an ideal base under makeup. It also promises anti-aging benefits, and since I started using this set, my forehead looks like I had Botox (without the needles!), so it's a great buy.
From the first time I tried this trio, I was impressed with how radiant and smooth my skin looked. So now it's just me and the Strivectin power trio for a streamlined morning skin-care routine.
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