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How to Layer Your Brightening Products for Glowing, Even Tone

We know how to layer our skincare products for acne (and if you don’t, read our guide) but what about the dark spots and post-breakout marks that remain long after our pimples have healed? Or perhaps you’re looking to take a magic wand to an overall dull complexion and turn it into one that’s bright and glowy.

Either way, there isn’t a skin type that wouldn’t benefit from some of the star players in skincare routines for brightening dullness. We’re talking exfoliators (both of the physical and chemical variety), vitamin C, resurfacing masks, and more. And before you worry about stinging or tingling, there are gentler, yet effective, modifications for sensitive skin, too. 

Bookmark this complete AM to PM skincare routine for dullness, dark spots, acne scars, and uneven tone below. 

AM Skincare Routine

Step 1: Ceramide Cleanser (Daily)
Start with a clean slate by sweeping away dirt, oil, and other impurities. For dark spot prevention, use an everyday face wash that’s made with barrier-strengthening ingredients, like our Antioxidant Cleanser. A strong moisture barrier is vital for fending off damage (like hyperpigmentation) before it can occur.

Step 2: Exfoliating Toner (2x per week)
Don’t just follow up with any old toner, but one that gently exfoliates while brightening tone, as Weekend Glow does. Pair with a Reusable Cotton Pad to replace cotton balls and cut back on waste.

Step 3: Turmeric Mask (1x per week)
Once per week (or whenever skin could use a reboot), take 10 minutes to mask. We recommend one formulated with turmeric, like Photos, Please, which helps reduce discoloration and redness.

Step 4: Dark Spot Gel (Daily)
Now is your time to target specific dark spots and post-acne marks. Use our Dark Spot Gel’s precision applicator to apply its brightening, repairing formula. It’s made with kojic and tranexamic acid, a derm-approved ingredient known to improve melasma.

Step 5: Undereye Dark Circle Gel (Optional)
Sometimes discoloration can extend to other areas of your skin too, such as undereye circles. Energize tired eyes by tapping on a cooling gel; Vacation Eyes is specifically designed to help flush out trapped liquid beneath the eyes, brightening dark circles and bags.

Step 6: Moisturizer (Daily)
After waiting 2-3 minutes for the gel to sink in, smooth on a scoop of moisturizer like our Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Moisturizer. Its made with two types of stabilized vitamin C to brighten up dullness and treat lingering dark spots and post-acne marks.

Step 7: Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen (Daily) 
It’s the most important step in any skincare routine, but it especially cannot be skipped if you’re focused on treating hyperpigmentation. Without protecting skin from sun damage, all the hard work your brightening formulas and treatments have been doing is pretty much for nothing. Look for a mineral sunscreen that’s also broad-spectrum, as this type of SPF defends against all kinds of UV rays, not just the sun’s.

Step 8: Luminizing Glow Drops (Optional)
Evening out tone is great, but for that dewy, glowy look, apply a drop or two of Mood Lighting to bare skin or mix into makeup. More than just a bottle of glow, it’s made with peptides and blackberry extract to hydrate and strengthen the skin’s surface and the layers beneath it. 

PM Skincare Routine

Step 1: Ceramide Cleanser (Nightly)
Cleanse again to remove dirt or impurities from the day, as well as any makeup or sunscreen. If you have a dry skin type, you can skip this step and cleanse with Baby Cheeks or micellar water instead. 

Step 2: Physical Exfoliator (1x per week)
Incorporate physical exfoliation into your nighttime routine to slough off dull, damaged skin cells and reveal a brighter complexion underneath. You can use a physical scrub like Day Maker (it’s gentle enough even for sensitive skin) or opt for an At-Home Dermaplaning Tool if you want to remove facial hair, too. Stick with 1x per week max to avoid over-exfoliating and damaging your skin barrier.

Step 3: Resurfacing Peel (1x per week)
Once a week, on a night you aren’t using retinol or any other exfoliators (including AHAs), apply a resurfacing peel. Pro-grade facial peels are more effective than your average mask; ours can deliver a brighter tone in minutes.

If you’re sensitive, we don’t recommend using Doctor’s Visit. Instead, skip steps 3-6 and smooth on our Overnight Facial instead. It’s made with both lactic acid (the most hydrating AHA out there) and vitamin E to brighten skin without irritation or dryness. 

Step 4: Brightening Serum (6x per week)
Serums are great at targeting damage since they can penetrate deep into the layers of skin. We suggest looking for a serum formulated with niacinamide or vitamin C, which are two scientifically-proven ingredients for evening out tone. Our Brightening Serum uses a blend of both, but you can also opt for a vitamin C booster to make any existing serum turn into a brightening one. The Found the Light serum booster is a shelf-stable vitamin C powder with a talc-free formula that blends seamlessly into any liquid, gel, or cream. 

Step 5: Dark Spot Gel (Nightly)
Once again, apply Out of Sight to areas of discoloration. It’s important to use this type of treatment twice a day for at least 6-8 weeks to see results. That’s because hyperpigmentation, especially old acne marks and lingering dark spots, can take a while to heal. So stick with it. 

Step 6: Antioxidant Oil-Serum (Nightly)
Instead of moisturizer (or right before or after it, depending on how dry your skin is), shake and press 2-3 drops of our Antioxidant Oil-Serum. It hydrates, calms redness, and infuses dull skin with a dewy burst of glow. Hack: Incorporate it into your makeup routine by using a few drops on the cheekbones instead of a highlighter.