Like most black women, dark spots get on my last nerve. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say they are the bane of my existence. When one goes away, here comes another propping its feet up on my face. This Specific Beauty review is particularly special because it is the only brand thus far to tend to my biggest skincare woe in record time.
Fairly new and created by Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd, a black board-certified dermatologist (yas girl!), Specific Beauty is different from other brands in that it promotes a holistic approach toward dark spots. In other words, using the entire regimen is more likely to get rid of hyperpigmentation quickly. Though its lineup does include a dark spot corrector that I am head-over-heels obsessed with (more on this in a sec), Woolery-Lloyd designed her products to truly be used in tandem, thus giving you brighter, more even-toned skin in less than a few months.
I was immediately skeptical of such a grandiose promise, especially since I’m not new in these beauty streets. I’ve tried literally dozens of dark spot correctors and found no relief. More often than not, I simply waited for them to diminish naturally over the course of months. And whenever a pro mentioned hydroquinone, I ran for the hills. It’s perhaps the most popular and controversial ingredient for fading blemishes, partly because there are brands–mostly overseas–that promote lightening creams for completely altering skin tone. A big no-no in my beauty handbook.
The truth is, according to Dr. Woolery-Lloyd, that hydroquinone’s rep is partly due to miseducation. Dermatologists routinely prescribe it because it’s safe and actually works, but how you’re using it is especially important. Long story short: hydroquinone should always be used as a spot treatment and nothing else. Don’t ever rub it all over your face. I repeat: don’t rub it all over your face. You should also never use one more than 4-6 weeks at a time before switching out for a brightening serum (like vitamin C or kojic acid). Give your blemishes a break–it’s okay and healing takes time!
With that in mind, I felt way more comfortable and hopeful about taking Specific Beauty’s Accelerated Dark Spot Corrector ($24.99) for a spin. Its formula is 2 percent hydroquinone and recommended for nightly use before applying other serums and night cream. I figured that was easy enough to remember, especially since I took Dr. Woolery-Lloyd’s advice and used the entire regimen. So for 4 straight weeks, I religiously stepped out of the shower, dried my face and used a Q-Tip to apply teeny dots to each dark spot on left cheek, followed by retinol and moisturizer. It was also a reminder that I am impatient as hell and need to chill out.
But let’s talk about more important things, like how my dark spots were basically gone after just three weeks! Not only that, but because I combined it with other Specific Beauty staples, I’d dare to say my complexion looks a little brighter too. The moral of this story is pretty straight-forward: if you’re consistent and applying products correctly, dark spots shouldn’t take more than a month or two to get rid of. And when you combine a corrector with other brightening products, your entire face gets a glowy boost too.
If you’ve got brown skin like me, the rest of the products in my Specific regimen can be found in the Daily Brightening Skincare Essentials Kit ($49.99). The entire brand is available at Target and if you don’t want to throw all of your eggs in one basket, test-drive these travel-friendly versions.