Dull, uneven skin is one of the most common complexion concerns, but it can also be difficult to treat. Things like pigmentation, age spots, acne scarring, sluggish cell turnover and congestion all play a part — but the good news is you can reduce their occurrence with the right topical products, ingredients and formulations. So if you’re chasing brighter, smoother, more radiant skin, below you’ll find an edit of 10 editor-approved (and top-rated) products, from pigment-inhibiting serums to glow-inducing exfoliators.
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Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, $228. SHOP NOW
This cult-loved antioxidant serum brightens and improves skin tone, thanks to a simple but effective blend of vitamin C, E and ferulic acid. It’s watery and smells like ham, but it works. Pat it into dry skin of a morning under your sunscreen.
Aspect Pigment Punch, $150. SHOP NOW
If you have pigmentation (be it post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, sun damage or melasma) Aspect’s Pigment Punch is gold class. It’s a cocktail of vitamin C, niacinamide, peptides and a derivative of hydroquinone to prevent melanin uptake, thus preventing the look of dark, patchy spots. The trick is to be diligent, as it will likely take a few months before you see a noticeable improvement.
Royal Fern Phytoactive Illuminating Ampoules, $322. shop now
Royal Fern’s Illuminating Ampoules are a gentle but effective blend of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, Asian lizard tail and fern extract to brighten the skin and soften the look of uneven tone. The single-dose format ensure the formula retains its integrity, too.
Augustinus Bader The Essence, $141. SHOP NOW
Augustinus Bader’s iconic Cream gets all the attention, but this Essence is a beautiful way to refine and exfoliate your skin. It contains phytic and salicylic acid to decongest pores and smooth the skin, while the brand’s signature TFC8 restores radiance.
Chantecaille Purifying and Exfoliating Phytoactive Solution, $125. SHOP NOW
If you prefer a dedicated exfoliant, Chantecaille’s brand new Phytoactive Solution boasts a potent blend of glycolic, lactic and phytic acid, plus willow bark to brighten, smooth and refresh the skin. Pat it on before bed and you’ll wake up noticeably more glowy.
Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel, $125. SHOP NOW
And then there’s Dr. Dennis Gross — the GOAT exfoliator. These come as a dual-step peel pad, where one if soaked in an AHA/BHA solution, and the second is a deactivator so you don’t overdo it. Because the acids used are both oil and water soluble, you’ll get brighter skin and smaller-looking pores in one use.
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream, $85. SHOP NOW
Dull, dehydrated, lacklustre skin will drink up Drunk Elephant’s Lala Retro Whipped Cream. Think of it like a whipped face oil that seals in moisture and leaves you soft but radiant. It’s great at reducing inflammation as well.
Biologique Recherche Creme Iso-Placenta. SHOP NOW
Marked or pigmented skin will do well with Biologique’s Creme Iso-Placenta. It’s rich in niacinamide, vitamin C and yeast extract to encourage skin cell turnover, cleanse the pores, brighten the skin and reduce oil flow. It smells weird (almost vinegar-y) but with consistent use it promises calmer, more even skin.
Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque, $93. SHOP NOW
For those days your skin just needs an overhaul, there’s the Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque. Rich in vitamins, algae, liquorice, peptides and lactic acid, it will leave you clear, bright and baby soft. Slather it on after a warm shower for maximum benefits.
Chanel LE MASQUE Anti-Pollution Vitamin Clay Mask, $82. SHOP NOW
Chanel’s Vitamin Clay mask is unique in that it’s deeply cleansing but not drying. The key is French pink clay, which gently absorbs excess sebum and mattifies the skin. It will also soften and nourish thanks to a cocktail of maracuja extract, vitamin C and vitamin E.