I Tried Garnier's SkinActive Dark Spot Corrector to Fade My Hyperpigmentation

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Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector

 Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector

Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

What We Like
  • Reasonable price

  • Effective ingredients

  • Cruelty-free

  • Smooth feel

What We Don't Like
  • Strong, artificial fragrance

  • Contains parabens

Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector helps clear dark spots and even skin tone, but the strong fragrance may be irritating to some.

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Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector

 Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector

Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

We put the Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review. 

Discoloration and dark spots can be difficult to fade. But whether acne or sun damage caused uneven skin tone, the ingredients in Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector can help. 

With a combination of vitamin C, a known brightener, and lipo-hydroxyl acid (LHA), an exfoliant, this serum is designed to fade dark spots. The twice-a-day treatment should, in theory, clear skin quickly. But as someone with hyperpigmentation from acne, I know that finding a product that actually works can be difficult.

To find out whether this product does as it claims, I used Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector on my skin to see if it would fade my dark spots.

Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector

Best for: All skin types

Uses: Dark spots, uneven skin tone

Potential allergens: Fragrance, citral, lemon extract

Active ingredients: Vitamin C, lipo-hydroxyl acid

Byrdie Clean?: No

Cruelty-Free?: Yes

Price: $13

About the brand: Garnier is a drugstore beauty brand under the cosmetics company L'Oréal. It produces haircare and skincare products.

About My Skin: Dark spots from acne

Even once I cleared my acne breakouts, I was left with dark spots they left behind. I’ve had professional treatments to manage my hyperpigmentation, but in between, I like to use brightening products that could help speed up the process. I use a low percentage of tretinoin a few times a week, but my favorite ingredient to reduce my dark spots has been vitamin C. Peach & Lily Transparen-C Pro Spot Treatment is my current favorite, with Good (Skin) Day's C's The Day Serum following close behind. Between the two of them, they’ve done wonders on my skin, but I was interested in seeing if a new product would push my progress further.

The Feel & Scent: Smooth, strong-smelling 

My first impression of Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector was its texture. It amazed me how flawlessly it rubbed into my skin. It’s creamier than most other products that call themselves serums, but it still had a slickness that made it easy to use.

However, as I worked the formula into my skin, the fragrance took over. I’m typically not a fan of scent in my skincare products, especially when it’s from an artificial source. This serum uses an added fragrance, and it smells a bit like perfume to me.

If you don’t mind scents in your products, this won’t be a dealbreaker for you. But you might want to give it a sniff test first or take a peek at the ingredient list.

 Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector

Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

Ingredients: C-packed

In the tube are super ingredients like ascorbic acid, the most potent form of vitamin C, and LHA, which is a gentle exfoliator. This can help slough off pigmented skin and can be good for overall skin brightening. Just make sure you're using sunscreen since this might make skin more sensitive. Not to mention, it’s also a good idea to wear sunscreen all the time, especially if you don’t want dark spots to become deeper.

The Results: Too soon to tell

For most topicals, it takes time to see a difference in dark spots. In products I’ve used successfully in the past, it takes weeks before I notice a difference in my dark spots, so patience is key.

The brand claims that it takes just one week to begin noticing a more even skin tone, but I didn’t notice any major changes in this time. Those who are just diving into the world of dark spot correcting may notice a quicker change than me since their skin is new to these ingredients.

Testing Insight

Thanks to the ingredients, there’s good evidence that the serum should produce results.

Thanks to the ingredients, there’s good evidence that the serum should produce results.

garnier skinactive dark spot corrector

Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

The Value: Budget-friendly

The 1 fl. oz tube of Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector sells for about $13. This is on the lower end for a formula with these ingredients, but if you're looking for something less expensive, there are great picks from budget-conscious brands like Inkey List and The Ordinary. Overall though, it’s a good price for what it claims to do.

garnier skinactive dark spot corrector

Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

Competition: You've got options

The Inkey List 15% Vitamin C and EGF Brightening Serum ($15): For just under the price of Garnier’s, try this vitamin C serum. Instead of exfoliating acids, this one includes plant-derived Epidermal Growth Factor, which is meant to help produce new collagen.

Peach & Lily Transparen-C Pro Spot Treatment ($43): This has been my most recent favorite product for correcting dark spots. It leaves behind an oily feel and costs quite a bit more than the Garnier product, but I’ve found it to be worth it for the results. It contains a 20 percent concentration of vitamin C, so new users should take it slow.

Heading

The price and proven ingredients make the Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector worth a try, but if you’re sensitive to fragrances you might want to seek out a similar product.

Specs

  • Product Name SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector
  • Product Brand Garnier
  • SKU 603084461134
  • Price $17
  • Weight 1 oz.
  • Ingredients Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cyclohexasiloxane, Potassium Hydroxide, Dimethicone, Sodium Styrene/Ma Copolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Carbomer, Citral, Citrus Medica Limonum Extract/Lemon Fruit Extract, Disodium EDTA, Gentiana Lutea Extract/Gentiana Lutea Root Extract, Geraniol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Limonene, Linalool, Nylon-12, Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Methylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Parfum/Fragrance
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical vitamin C and the skin: mechanisms of action and clinical applicationsJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(7):14-17.

  2. Zeichner JA. The use of lipohydroxy acid in skin care and acne treatmentJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016;9(11):40-43.

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