A couple of months ago, I wrote about my biggest current skincare concern, and my plan of action for dealing with it in this post, and I was so surprised at the feedback I received. So many of you sent me emails or commented on my Facebook and Instagram posts, asking me to keep you posted on how the Neostrata Enlighten range works, and to share my tips for dealing with pigmentation, dark spots, and an uneven skin tone.
It’s been just over six weeks since that post, and I’ve been using the Neostrata Enlighten range religiously ever since. Despite the fact that I’ve been using these products twice daily for over two months, I’m amazed that I still have product left… I haven’t had to stock up on any products just yet, though my cleanser feels as though it only has another two or three days’ use left. Still, it’s not bad if you bear in mind that I’ve been using these products morning and night for 10 – 11 weeks. (I’ve even got over half a tube of the Neostrata Enlighten Pigment Lightening Gel left!)
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I’d already started to notice an improvement in the overall clarity of my skin, and my complexion was a whole lot brighter just three weeks in. But how has the Neostrata Enlighten range fared since then? Hit ‘play’ on the video below, where I’ll talk you through my current skincare routine and I’ll share my thoughts on the products.
As I mentioned in my video, I’ve absolutely loved using Neostrata Enlighten Ultra Brightening Cleanser (R505). A cleanser may seem like the most basic skincare product there is, and I know so many women who choose to settle for just any old cleanser off the shelf at the supermarket and who refuse to spend more than between R80 to R100 on a cleanser. However, in my mind, there is no greater investment than a decent cleanser that won’t strip your skin and will ensure that your skin’s natural barrier function is maintained.
Too often, cleansers and face washes contain harsh ingredients that strip your skin of vital lipids that would otherwise help prevent moisture loss and ensure that your skin is healthy and protected. These harmful ingredients damage your skin’s barrier function and this results in dryness, itchiness, sensitivity, and inflammation… and if you’ve ever battled with pigmentation, you’ll know just how exacerbating inflammation can be!
Neostrata Enligh Ultra Brightening Cleanser is packed with powerful ingredients that help to target dark spots and an uneven skin tone, but it’s gentle enough to be used every day, both morning and night. It didn’t leave my skin feeling dry, tight, or itchy, and I also found that it removed makeup like a champ! (Not essential, but always handy for those nights that you couldn’t be bothered to use a makeup remover).
Once I’ve cleansed my skin, I apply Neostrata Enlighten Illuminating Serum (R982). This lightweight serum contains a slew of potent ingredients, including NeoGlucosamine to help increase cell turnover (and get rid of brown spots faster) and powerful peptides that prevent further pigmentation from developing.
The serum feels slightly sticky when you first apply it, but this soon settles down and I feel that it gives my skin a bit of a glow almost instantly. It also sits really well underneath my makeup, and there’s no pilling in site! (‘Pilling’ is when your serum and moisturiser – or foundation – react to one another and result in little balls of product forming on your skin. It makes makeup application impossible, and it’s the fastest way to put me off a product).
As anyone who has ever battled pigmentation will attest, sunscreen is an absolute essential when it comes to taking care of your skin. Although my dark spots and pigmentation were brought on by hormones during pregnancy, I’ve definitely noticed that my dark spots tend to get darker when I’ve spent time in the sun. As a result, I often stick to sitting in the shade of a tree or an umbrella when outdoors, and I’ve taken to keeping a wide-brim hat in the boot of my car… just in case.
Since I started using the Neostrate Enlighten range, I’ve been using the Skin Brightener SPF25 (R747) every single morning, come rain or shine. Even when I know that I won’t be heading outdoors at all that day, I’ll still apply this beauty… the sun’s damaging rays can penetrate glass as well, remember? The thing I love most about this product? The fact that it doesn’t have that tell-tale sunscreen scent, and it absorbs into your skin in a flash. It won’t leave you feeling like an oil-slick, and it certainly doesn’t leave a white residue on the surface of my skin.
For those days when I know that I’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors, I switch to a dedicated facial sunscreen with an SPF50 – otherwise I find that the Neostrata Enlighten Skin Brightener is ideal for every day. It also contains a slew of anti-pigmentation and skin-brightening ingredients, so it’s basically protecting your skin while reducing uneven skin tone at the same time. Bonus!
Last, but not least, I am obsessed with Neostrata Enlighten Pigment Controller (R842), an advanced treatment product that contains incredibly powerful ingredients that target dark spots and pigmentation. One such ingredient? Retinol, the famed anti-aging ingredient that zaps lines, wrinkles, and dark spots in an instant.
I’ve had ‘try a Retinol product’ on my to-do list for years, but I’ve always been too scared to try it because I’ve heard horror stories. Retinol can have an incredibly drying effect on the skin, and you really need to know what you’re doing and to introduce is slowly for best results. With this in mind, I started off by using this product (after cleansing and applying the Illuminating Serum) every second night for the first couple of weeks, and then started using it on a nightly basis after that. I’m thrilled to report that I didn’t have any reactions to this product – it’s incredibly gentle given that it contains Retinol, so if you’re weary of trying Retinol (like I was), I’d highly recommend this one. That said, this product is definitely not for use on sensitive or rosacea prone skin, and you should steer clear of using products that contain Retinol when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Another thing to bear in mind when using products that contain Retinol is to protect your skin using a good quality, broad spectrum sunscreen.
These products are pretty pricey when compared to other, run-of-the-mill skincare ranges, but they really work. They also last a lot longer than many other products do, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. If you’re keen on trying the range and would like to save money at the same time, I recommend that you check out Dermastore and look into the Neostrata Enlighten Starter Kit, which retails at R1 204 and contains the Ultra Brightening Cleanser, Skin Brightener SPF25, and the Enlighten Pigment Gel. This means that you save a whopping R505, so you’re getting the Ultra Brightening Cleanser for free!
Dermastore is also offering their Neostrata Enlighten Pigmentation Promotion, which includes the Ultra Brightening Cleanser, the Illuminating Serum, the Skin Brightener SPF25 and the Enlighten Pigment Gel for just R2 075 – that’s a saving of R1 000! (You’ll need to complete the founder of Dermastore, Dr Ian Webster’s free Facial Skin Assessment before purchasing this promotion – register here to complete the assessment).
I’ve still got a bit of product left, so I’m going to be continuing with the Neostrata Enlighten range, and I’ll definitely be staying out of the sun and wearing sunscreen every single day this summer in the hopes that my dark spots and pigmentation finally disappear. After years of searching high and low for something to treat my dark spots and uneven skin tone, I’m really excited to have finally stumbled upon the winning formula!
Have you tried Neostrata’s Enlighten range, and did you find that it lightened your dark spots and pigmentation? Are there any other products or treatments that worked for you that you think I should know about? I’d love to hear more!
*This post is in paid collaboration with Dermastore. Despite this, all thoughts and opinions remain my own and are 100% honest at that.