Reviewed: Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

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4.9

Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Treatment Serum

glow recipe guava c serum

Glow Recipe / Byrdie

Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

What We Like
  • Evens skin tone

  • Fades dark spots

  • Fragrance-free, but has a clean, fresh scent 

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing

Glow Recipe’s Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum helps reduce dark spots while promoting a radiant and even complexion. It’s perfect for those with sensitive skin looking for a gentle, worthwhile serum.

4.9

Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Treatment Serum

glow recipe guava c serum

Glow Recipe / Byrdie

Vitamin C is known as a hero ingredient in the beauty space for adding radiance and fading dark spots. Unfortunately, for those of us with sensitive skin, vitamin C is also known as an ingredient that can irritate and cause redness. As someone who struggles with post-acne marks and has a notably reactive complexion, I have to work extra hard to find a serum with the ingredient that proves compatible with my skin type. So when I heard that beloved K-beauty brand Glow Recipe came out with a new vitamin C serum—the Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum—that works for all skin types, I could not have been more thrilled.

I tested it out for about two weeks and enlisted the help of Glow Recipe co-founders Sarah Lee and Christine Chang to find out what sets this product apart from others on the market. Read on to find out my honest thoughts on this superfruit-packed serum. 

Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

Best for: All skin types, even those with sensitive skin  

Uses: Visibly brightens and evens out skin, helps fade post-acne marks and dark spots 

Star Rating: 4.9

Potential allergens: Fruit extracts 

Active ingredients: Vitamin C, guava seed oil, fruit extract, tranexamic acid, ferulic acid, and vitamin E. 

Clean?: Yes

Price: $45

About the brand: Glow Recipe is a fruit-forward Korean beauty brand created by Sarah Lee and Christine Chang. All of Glow Recipe’s products are clean, vegan, and cruelty-free.

About My Skin: Breakout-prone and sensitive

I’ve always had sensitive skin that’s prone to breaking out at any given moment and, of course, with breakouts comes areas of redness and hyperpigmentation. Even though I’ve become a bit of a pro at controlling zits (special thanks to hydrocolloid patches), I haven’t been able to find an easy way to deal with the aftermath that follows.

I’d tried tons of serums, from retinoids to various vitamin C products, but because of my sensitive skin, some of these have also come with irritation that makes me ditch them. Vitamin C, specifically, has been known to cause trouble for those with sensitivity, and leaves my skin tingly and red.

The Feel: Lightweight with slip

The formula is lightweight and quick-absorbing, allowing my skin to have a subtle glow without looking overly shiny. It's also great for layering with other serums or moisturizers during the daytime because it doesn't feel like you have an absurd amount of product on. 

Curious about what makes this formula so lightweight and non-greasy, I consulted Lee and Chang. "We infused this potent blend of skincare ingredients into a very lightweight, silky gel texture, which is quite different compared to some of the other vitamin C's out there, because we wanted this to quickly absorb into the skin again without grease, oiliness, or tackiness," says Lee. "We really believe that if people enjoy using the texture and the experience of vitamin C application, they're going to use vitamin C more frequently—creating longer-term results."

The Ingredients: Efficacious and gentle

This serum's claim to fame is its use of superfruits and other ingredients known to pack a punch. Lee and Chang share more on the specifics of these ingredients and how they made a vitamin C serum play well with sensitive skin.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has been known to help reduce signs of aging and dark spots while also brightening and evenly toning skin. "We encapsulated the vitamin C ingredient in order to deliver optimal potency because when you encapsulate an ingredient, it gently releases over time," says Lee. "That helps to minimize any irritation while helping to provide lasting results."

Guava Seed Oil and Fruit Extract: These ingredients are naturally rich in vitamin C and help soften skin. They also give this formula a fresh scent.

Tranexamic Acid: "Tranexamic acid is a new ingredient that we've introduced in the portfolio and it is truly hyperpigmentation treatment," according to Chang. "It specifically targets the concerns of hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and uneven tone because it works to directly block the infusion of melanin that comes with extra sun exposure or different sort of UV exposure."

Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E: Both of these ingredients work hand-in-hand with vitamin C to boost skin’s radiance.

The Results

melony forcier

Melony Forcier / Byrdie

When I started using the serum, my skin was in the process of healing from a particularly harsh breakout in the lower-left corner of my face (my usual breakout spot). While there weren't any more pimples to deal with, I still had small red marks all over. After about a week or so, that is when I began to see a real change. The red spots started to shrink, with a few of the smaller ones disappearing completely. 

Plus, the formula is perfect for layering with other serums, which Chang says was one of the inspirations for making this serum. Layering serums is a skincare method that goes back years and years in Korean skincare. "This was a way to tackle multiple concerns that you have with by layering or cocktail different serum within the same skincare routine," shares Chang. "If you're wearing [multiple serums], the rule of thumb is always to go from light to heavy in terms of the consistency," says Chang. So not only did I get real results from this product, but I also picked up a new skincare trick, which is definitely a win-win.

The Value: Reasonably priced

While this serum may seem pricey at first glance, it’s actually a bit more of a budget-friendly option compared to other similar vitamin C serums. For $45, you get 1 fl. oz. of product packed with high-quality, skin-nourishing ingredients. Plus, a little of the product goes a long way, so one to two squirts is more than enough to cover your entire face. One bottle will be sure to last you at least a couple of months. All things considered, I think that the price tag makes sense for this serum, especially when stacked up against its competitors, which tend to cost double that.

Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum Vs. Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum

If you’re familiar with Glow Recipe, you may know that they already carry a vitamin C serum called the Pineapple-C Bright Serum and may be wondering what differs between the two. “In a nutshell, both the serums—the guava, and the pineapple serum—bring the power of vitamin C alongside the superfruits, which are hero and clinically-effective ingredients for slightly different needs,” explains Lee. The guava serum truly targets those who have hyperpigmentation and really want to brighten the dark spots. It is because it has a blend of dual encapsulated vitamin C and also the antioxidant powerhouse guava extract."

So, is one better than the other? It comes down to the skin concerns you are looking to target in your skin. As mentioned, the Guava Vitamin-C Dark Spot Serum is best for those who are looking for help with hyperpigmentation. The Pineapple-C Bright Serum is great for those looking for an entryway into incorporating vitamin C into their skincare routine. Also, the textures between the two differ. The guava serum has a bouncier feel, while the pineapple serum is a clear serum that feels sticky upon application, but dries down smooth.

Similar Products: You have options

Sunday Riley C.E.O Vitamin C Brightening Serum: This vitamin C serum ($85) is a splurge compared to Glow Recipe’s, but it’s made with 15 percent vitamin C and targets dark spots and signs of aging. 

La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum with Salicylic Acid: For a vitamin C serum that does more than brighten and target dark spots, La Roche Posay’s Pure Vitamin C Face Serum ($40) is a great option. It’s formulated with salicylic acid, which helps promote clear skin, and hyaluronic acid, which helps with hydration.

The Final Verdict

Glow Recipe’s Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum truly helps with reducing dark spots and adding radiance to skin, while maintaining a lightweight texture that is perfect for everyday use. It’s also packed with tons of skin-improving ingredients. Suffice to say: this is one of my new favorite serums. 

Specs

  • Product Name Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Treatment Serum
  • Product Brand Glow Recipe
  • Price $45.00
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. Desai S, Ayres E, Bak H, et al. Effect of a tranexamic acid, kojic acid, and niacinamide containing serum on facial dyschromia: a clinical evaluation. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(5):454-459.

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