Your Stylist: All-natural skin brightening treatments

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I don’t think I’m alone in wanting instant gratification from my beauty products, especially when it comes to items that claim to brighten, lighten and deliver overall radiance. If a product makes those claims, then I want to emerge from wearing a goopy mask or tingly serum on my face with skin so brilliant, it’s practically blinding.

Perhaps I exaggerate, but I am pretty impatient when it comes to the efficacy of skin brightening products and now that I’ve switched almost all my skincare to include a more natural regimen, sometimes the results take a little bit longer to surface.


Thankfully, I’ve found a few all-natural products and one treatment that deliver bright and shiny skin almost immediately. Whether they’re actually working or it’s all in my head I’m not totally sure, but I have gotten several comments on how “glowy” my skin has been looking and I’m chalking it up to the following products:

Ren Radiance Range: I’ve been using Ren’s top-selling Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask for a few years now and every time I wipe the orange-y slime off my face, I’ve got bright and beaming skin. It tingles a little and smells like orange-flavored Vicks cough drops and most importantly, like all Ren products, there are no petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens or synthetic dyes or fragrances.

Ren has recently expanded on the Glycolactic mask to encompass a whole range of treatments, which includes a micro-polish cleanser ($30), a resurfacing AHA concentrate ($45) and a radiance-perfecting serum ($55). Key ingredients in each product include glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids, hyaluaronic acid, licorice and Tyrosinase (an enzyme that disrupts the production of melanin so dark spots stop dead in their tracks).

For a nighttime treatment, a product from cult beauty brand Caudalie seems to be doing wonders for evening out my skin tone. It’s the Vinoperfect Cell Renewal Night Cream ($68) and the stuff seems to be lightening up some sun spots that love to gather mainly on the left side (driver’s side) of my face. It has a fresh green smell and soaks right into skin. Caudalie is another label that omits synthetic ingredients and focuses on the antioxidant-rich grape seed polyphenols that are at the center of all their products.

And if you’ve got the time and are looking for a relaxing treatment, Arcona Studio in Santa Monica has just started doing a brightening facial ($115) using their all natural blends and products. The 50-minute treatment targets uneven skin tone, melasma, acne scarring and hyper-pigmentation, aiming to eliminate all issues with a potent mix of fruit enzymes, lactic acid and Kojic acid (a skin brightener derived from mushrooms that helps to block the formation of pigment due to pregnancy or age). Not only do spots fade out a bit, skin looks fresh, shiny and revitalized.

Summer’s over, but that doesn’t mean we have to part with that summery glow. Plus, with awards season swirling and holiday parties upon us (well, sort of); bright and even-looking skin (achieved with all-natural products) might be something to think about.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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Photos, from top: REN Radiance Range/REN; Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic peel mask/Caudalie; Caudalie Vinoperfect Cell renewal night cream/Caudalie; Arcona Studio spa/Arcona.