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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Itwar

5 Summer Skincare Must-Haves for Brown Skin

It’s about halfway through summer in Toronto, and if you’re a dog mom like me, COVID-19 hasn’t kept you from getting roasted outside during thrice daily walks. Unfortunately, if you’re also a darker skinned gal (or guy) like me, summer time tans also come with increased hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone that makes blemishes appear more prominent, and scars super dark.


I tend to feel pretty self-conscious about the strong hyperpigmentation on my chin and under-eyes, and still struggle with sporadic acne that leaves dark scars that take forever to fade. I find it hard to not feel like I look just a little bit haggard in photos without a full face of makeup - but even makeup artists don’t want to have to wear makeup all the time, especially in the heat! (I’m a sweaty lady)


So, over the years, I’ve tried and searched, and am now sharing some of my favourite skincare products that help clarify and even out melanated skin so that it glows (and make a 10 minute face for the office possible - really!)


1. Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

For me, this is the holy grail of face scrubs when it comes to hyperpigmentation. I first used this years ago after a resort vacation in Punta Cana where I came back with the most ridiculously uneven tan. Long story short, I used it in the shower, and emerged in awe! I kid you not, the difference was instantly noticeable, and after just a few uses, I had an even, sexy, post-vacay glow.


This wonderful gem of a product is uniquely fortified with papaya - a fruit that is exceptionally rich in Vitamin C, which is a key ingredient in clearing hyperpigmentation, scars and dark spots, and your best friend if you are a brown-skinned beauty. Papaya also contains copper, which is known to stimulate collagen production for younger, tighter-looking skin - bonus, right? Pair it with the Brighten Up! Amplify Moisturizer for a daily hit of arbutin, which prevents excess melanin formation before it even starts.



2. Dr. Brandt Needles No More, No More Baggage Eye Depuffing Gel

Sometime into my thirties, I realized the darkness and puffiness under my eyes that had previously only appeared during the most severe hangovers were now a permanent fixture in life (oh, joy). Now, I started using this for the bags, expecting that only a thick layer of orange colour corrector and foundation would tackle the Corpse Bride-like shadows. This stuff gets an A++ for the de-puff, but get this:


To my surprise, while simultaneously, sleepily slurping coffee in the office restroom before my boss arrived, I noticed that somehow, my deflated eyes were also less dark; it was then I finally noticed that the gel was orange. It effectively served as a light layer of orange colour corrector in addition to depuffing, making it a great cheat product for your everyday, roll-out-of-bed-an-hour-before-work face, even if you decide not to wear makeup.


Get it at Sephora.com


3. Yeouth Hyaluronic Acid Plus Vitamin C Tripeptide-31 for Night

I love the Yeouth brand for its higher than average concentration of active ingredients in all their products, but this one offers a bigger bang for its buck, in more ways than the obvious. Slathering this on before bedtime lets your skin rejuvenate while you sleep with pigment-reducing Vitamin C, while Hyaluronic Acid feeds your thirsty skin moisture so that it’s less likely to produce excess oil and sebum to compensate during the day. Less oil = less blemishes. Less blemishes = less nasty scars to clear.


Remember my highly melanated chin I mentioned earlier? I was pretty floored to see it clearing up after just one week, and it’s only gotten better since. My under-eyes probably match my cheeks the most they ever have, and I’ve literally never had anything make my chin lighter without masking it in makeup.



Get it at Amazon.ca


4. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rosehip Seed Oil

I know, I know - oil on the skin sounds counter intuitive, but hear me out. One of the other quirks that come with darker skin in the summer heat is excess oil, and those lovely whiteheads that contrast so nicely against our brown skin. Seriously, I have a patch under my chin that can be popped daily without fail.


Rosehip seed oil contains anti-inflammatory linoleic acid and is super lightweight so it absorbs quickly into the skin. The Ordinary’s version being cold-pressed means it retains much of this linoleic goodness. Why is this important? Acne-prone skin is proven to have less linoleic acid present, so adding it back with this excellent source of hydration reduces the production of the oils and oleic acid that cause pimples and whiteheads. While I do enjoy a good pop session, the skin damage and stubborn scars that come with it aren’t my fave. This stuff also fades existing scars way better than Bio Oil, js.


Get it at TheOrdinary.com



5. Vasanti Liquid VO2 Colour Correcting Concealer

This product blows my mind. It’s quite clear how I feel about orange colour corrector at this point, and I am notoriously devoted to Cover FX’s contribution. I was also a snobbishly thorough believer that there’s no way to cheat the full "corrector, setting powder, foundation, concealer process" - till now.


I don’t know how, but Vasanti has managed to infuse enough orange into this workable, buildable formula to create a 2-in-1 product that cancels out dark circles while also brightening the skin, without having to top it with additional foundation and concealer. It only comes in one universal shade for medium to deep skin tones, so it won’t replace the precision of your exact match, but it is an awesome staple to speed up your day-to-day routine. There’s no orange bounceback or glare in pictures that happens when your corrector hasn’t been properly covered with makeup, so you can blend it out and forego additional foundation if you want - or don’t, and go ultra glam. You do you, boo.




Have you tried these, and love them? Do you have any brown skin favourites? Comment below and make the next Must-Haves list!


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1 Comment


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Aug 04, 2020

Awesome blog Mel!! I definitely want to try out the rosehip oil to fade acne scars. I’m also a fan of using oil on my face, it’s a myth that is will create more pimples, as long as you use the right one.

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