Flawless skin without a lighting director and airbrush is an unfair goal. Most of us resort to makeup although camouflage, of course, isn’t really the answer. Getting under the skin of uneven skin tone gives clues to solutions that work. Bumps and blotches are due to the accumulation of dead cells on the surface of the skin, and pigmentation of the skin cells is due to exposure to the sun and weather. Daily power brushing is, as I am always saying, the foundation to great skin, and these proven topicals are the Five Best for even skin tone that I have found so far.

  • La Vie Céleste Éclairage Restorative Serum

    La Vie Céleste Éclairage Restorative Serum ($99 in the shop). La Vie Celeste’s first serum majors on addressing skin tone. As we have come to love and respect from LVC’s creams and cleansers, the ingredients are carefully chosen to be natural, gentle, yet effective. Skin brighteners in Eclairage are alpha arbutin, a tyrosinase blocker, and bearberry leaf extract, which is a source of arbutin and has properties that can protect the skin from sunlight, and B-White, a combination of amino acids derived from a growth factor (TGF-b). The result is a peptide called oligopeptide-68. The peptide binds to the TGF-b receptor in skin cells to inhibit the enzymes involved in skin pigmentation. Tetrahydrocurcumin, derived from the Indian spice turmeric, also has skin-lightening abilities, as well as being a powerful antioxidant. There are a ton of other antiagers, including LVC’s signature ChroNOline for firming and lifting.
  • Osmotics Micro Peel Skin Resurfacing System

    Osmotics Micro Peel Skin Resurfacing System ($86 in the shop). This new three-product kit from Osmotics is one of my favorite products of the year. There’s a charcoal mask, collagen-boosting peel and protecting cream, and they are designed to work together to resurface skin’s texture, refresh and brighten dull skin, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Even though its gentle enough for everyday use, it does what it says on the tin. Charcoal removes toxins, AHAs exfoliate and some interesting plant extracts provide potassium, calcium and antioxidants. Watch the video.
  • Your Best Face Advanced CE Concentrate

    Your Best Face Advanced CE Concentrate ($50 in the shop). This relative newcomer from Your Best Face has had a ton of love from our testers. I gave it the TIA new product launch of 2012 award and Nisha, in her review, said it was clear why; Ann found a new glow to her skin; and Karen was impressed enough by her results to send in her before and afters. There are no less than three forms of vitamin C, accumulating to a total of 8.7 percent. Unlike many skin-irritating C formulations, gentleness was not traded off for potency. Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (aka ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate), generously formulated into CE Concentrate, is an extremely gentle C derivative. The vitamin E is a special form of E succinate (also found in the YBF Private Reserve series) that has has been found to do a superior job of smoothing and toning skin.
  • E’shee Serum Intensive Brightening

    E’shee Serum Intensive Brightening ($119 in the shop). This serum uses a relatively unusual active for evening skin tone that is called m-tranexamic acid; it inhibits UV-induced hyperpigmentation and melanocyte activity. This active seems to work best on specific areas of hyperpigmentation, freckles or melasma. Be aware that it takes at least two months for results and, to start with, they will be subtle. But long-term use and patience pay off. The super simple formula also includes vitamin C, which works synergistically with tranexamic acid.
  • PureCeuticals Cherry Glycolic Peel

    PureCeuticals Cherry Glycolic Peel ($42 in the shop). This is a great mask for those that are looking to add some heft to their beauty regimen. But be warned: this is strong formulation that may not be well tolerated by those with sensitive skin. It ramps up the glycolic with 15% and if that wasn’t enough, this peel’s lactic acid is 15% with salicylic acid (also 15%), and cherry pulp and grape skin extract. For a doctor’s office peel at home, PureCeuticals offers brighter, smoother, and better-textured skin at a very reasonable price.