Estée Lauder - Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum

12:27 AM

Estée Lauder, the serum specialist, has launched a new serum last spring and I had the chance to try it! So here is my review of Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum by Estée Lauder.

A sun spot-, redness-fading serum, perfect for people with uneven skin texture and dull skin. It also works to fade acne scars and other skin discolorations. This serum falls within the new Estée Lauder "whitening" line, i.e. skin brightening and  skin tone correcting line. This new line consists of a serum (the subject of this review), a cream, and a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen protection (EE cream). I will review the cream and the tinted moisturizer in an upcoming article. 

It evens out skin tone over a period of a few weeks and helps prevent new spots from forming.

The serum comes in an opaque bottle with a pump for an convenient product delievery. The serum contains many antioxidants and this type of packaging is the best to preserve the activity of these useful ingredients.

It is a lightweight milky serum. It spread easily on skin and  doesn't leave any sticky residues. It is quicky absorbed. It has a hint of flower scent, but it's quite subtle and it doesn't linger. I usually don't like scented skin care products but it's so subtle I don't mind it at all. It's also quite moisturizing. For oily skin types, you could almost skip the cream part of your routine.

Sorry of the uneven lightening of my pictures... You can click on them to see them in larger format.

Although it's called a "night serum", you have to apply it in the morning and in the evening. To that sense, I think the name of the serum is a bit misleading...According to Estée Lauder, the process that leads to dark spots and other pigmentary disorders is increased at night and that's why they call it a night serum...

A vitamin C derivative (spot lightener, improvement of the appearance of sun-damaged skin, reduction of inflammation, promotion of collagen production);  mulberry extract (spot lightener); tumeric extract (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, prevention of sun-induced skin aging); many plant extracts with antioxidant properties.

So yes, the key ingredients of the serum are in line with its claims! Good point.


Water - Dimethicone (emollient) - Isododecane (emollient) - Polysilicone-11 (film-former) - Butylene Glycol (humectant) - Ascorbyl Glucoside (a form of vitamin C, antioxidant, whitening) - PEG-10 Dimethicone (emollient) - Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract (antioxidant, photoprotective) - Morus Bombycis (Mulberry) Root Extract (whitening) - Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root Extract (anti-inflammatory, wound healing) - Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (antioxidant) - Sutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract (antioxidant) - Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract (antioxidant) - Yeast Extract/Faex (skin conditioning) - Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract (antioxidant) - Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract (antioxidant) - Salicylic Acid (exfoliant) - Caffeine (antioxidant) - Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Extract (antioxidant) - Sodium PCA (Skin-Identical/Repairing Ingredient/water-binding agent) - Resveratryl Ferulate (skin lightener, antioxidant) - Molasses Extract/Saccharum Officinarum - Polysorbate 20 - Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer - Propylene Glycol Dicaprate - Sodium Hyaluronate - Sorbitan Sesquioleate - Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake - Xanthan Gum - Tocopheryl Acetate - Acetyl Glucosamine - Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer - Caprylyl Glycol - Hydrolyzed Prunus Domestica - Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol - Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride - Isohexadecane - Glycyrrhetinic Acid - Di-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride - PEG-6 - Polysorbate 80 - Polymethyl Methacrylate - Fragrance - Sodium Hydroxide - Sodium Sulfite - Sodium Metabisulfite - Tromethamine - Hexylene Glycol - Silica - Dimethicone Silylate - Disodium EDTA - BHT - Phenoxyehtanol - Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891) - Mica <ILN40763>.

As ingredients are listed in order of decreasing concentration, the ingredients listed at the top of the list are the most concentrated ones and ingredients at the bottom of the list are generally preservatives, chelating agents, opacifiers, color correcting agents,  fragrance, and so on...So I will mostly skip the end of the list in this ingredient analysis.

As you can see the first ingredients (except water) are mainly emollients (dimethicone, isodecane) and humectants (butylene glycol). The emollients will make the skin feel smooth and soft and the humectants, simply said, attract water and draw it into the skin. Isododecane is  interesting because it enhances the spreadability of the serum and has a weightless feel on skin. Polysilicone-11 is a film former, which prevent the evaporation of water from the skin. These basic ingredients make a serum that is both humectant and emollient, as well as lightweight.

An important ingredient in this serum is Ascorbyl Glucoside. Ascorbyl Glucoside is a form of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an excellent ingredient because it improves the appearance of sun-damaged skin. It protects skin cells and skin's support structure from UV-related damage. It strengthen skin's barrier response and reduces inflammation. It also promotes collagen production and lessens hyperpigmentation. Anti-spot here you are :D
This ingrdient is very well-know in cosmetics and many scientific studies showed vitamin C's positive effect on skin.

Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract: reduces inflammation and has some antioxidant properties. I also found a few studies that showed that Tumeric extract could have some photoprotective properties and prevents UVB-induced skin aging. Curcumin, the main curcuminoid present in turmeric, has also been shown to have significant wound healing properties and to be useful in skin dyspigmentation treatment.
Scientific literature: J Cosmet Dermatol., Topical vesicular formulations of Curcuma longa extract on recuperating the ultraviolet radiation-damaged skin, 10:260-5 (2011) / Phytomedicine, Effects of a turmeric extract (Curcuma longa) on chronic ultraviolet B irradiation-induced skin damage in melanin-possessing hairless mice, 16:1137-43 (2009) / Life Siences, Curcumin as a wound healing agent, 116:1-7 (2014) / J Drugs Dermatol., Curcumin: a novel treatment for skin-related disorders, 12:1131-7 (2013).

Mulberry Root Extract: Has been found to lighten age spots and uneven skin tone. It has antioxidant and antiseptic properties.
Scientific literature: LWT - Food Science and Technology, Physiochemical, antioxidant and whitening properties of extract from root cortices of mulberry as affected by membrane process, 40:900-907 (2007) / Food and Chemical Toxicology, Antioxidant and antityrosinase activity of mulberry (Morus alba L.) twigs and root bark, 49:785-790 (2011).
Gentian Root Extract and Cucumber Fruit Extract have antioxidant, ant-inflammatory and wound healing properties. Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Barley Extract, Grapefruit Peel Extract, and Rice Bran Extract also have antioxidant properties. I have to note that I didn't find as many scientific publications for barley extract as for the other plant extracts of this serum. I just found one publication that demonstrated that barley extract can inhibit oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis via its antioxidant activity. I also found on Paula's choice's Beautypedia that grapefruit peel extract contains furanocoumarins and coumarins which are primarily responsible for what’s known as a phototoxic reaction when skin is exposed to the sun. However low amounts (like in this serum) aren't likely to be problematic, so no worry.
Scientific literature: Pharmaceutical Biology, Evaluation of Anti-inflammatory and Wound Healing Activity of Gentiana lutea Rhizome Extracts in Animals, 42:8-12 (2004) / Chronicles of Young Scientists, Pharmacological evaluation of ameliorative effect of aqueous extract of Cucumis sativus L. fruit formulation on wound healing in Wistar rats, 2:207-213 (2011) / Archives of Dermatological Research, Cucumis sativus fruit-potential antioxidant, anti-hyaluronidase, and anti-elastase agent, 303:247-252 (2011) / Life Sciences, Antioxidant activity of anti-inflammatory plant extracts, 70:1023-1033 / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Anticancer activity of extracts derived from the mature roots of Scutellaria baicalensis on human malignant brain tumor cells, 6:27 (2006) / A Patent: Liposomes containing scutellaria extracts, US 5443839 A, A composition having anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic or anti-aging activity comprising hydrated lipidic lamellar phases or liposomes containing an extract of Scutellaria and a method for treating inflammation, allergies or aging by topical administration of the composition / Phytomedicine, 3,4-Dihydroxybenzaldehyde purified from the barley seeds (Hordeum vulgare) inhibits oxidative DNA damage and apoptosis via its antioxidant activity, 16:85-94 (2009) / Food Chemistry, Antioxidant components and properties of five long-grained rice bran extracts from commercial available cultivars in Thailand, 111:636-641 (2008) / Food Chemistry, Antioxidative activities of bran extracts from twenty one pigmented rice cultivars, 94:613-620 (2006).

Yeast Extract/Faex: It is said to have a stimulating and activating effect on cell metabolism by means of an increased production of ATP, the most important energy source of the cells. There are quite a lot of essences that use yeast extracts (e.g., SKII Treatment Essence, Missha First Treatment Essence, IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning) but I didn't find any particular publication about Faex. However I did find one study that showed Saccharomyces cerevisiae extract (a different yeast, but in the same family as those contained in this serum) to be effective for improving skin micro-relief (small wrinkles) and moisture.
Scientific literature: J Med Food, Anti-Inflammatory Properties of a Dried Fermentate In Vitro and In Vivo, [Epub ahead of print] (2014)

Salicylic Acid (BHA) is another interesting ingredient here. It's an effective keratolytic/exfoliant, but it's also an anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory molecule. It can unclog pores and improve skin cell turnover rate and it's one of my favorite skincare ingredients.

Caffeine is an antioxidant. Applied to skin, it may have anti-inflammatory properties. It has a constricting effect on skin, which can help reduce redness but may also be irritating.
Resveratrol Ferulate: I found 2 patents about resveratrol ferulate that state it is a skin lightener and antioxidant.
Scientific literature: Patent US 5824326 A and US 20090068132 A1.

If you want to prevent new sun spots from forming, I highly recommend that you pair this serum with a sunscreen. Suncreen is your best friend to avoid sun damage and skin aging!

On my nails: Estée Lauder Bête Noire and Midnight Metal.

This serum is lightweight and moisturizing and therefore suitable for all skin types. It has a very nice feel on skin and a very convenient packaging (for use and to preserve the active ingredients) and that's why it's a pleasure to use it.
This serum is loaded with antioxidants and  ingredients that reduce the appearance of dark spots. The ingredients match the claims of the serum and if you use it daily, you will see that gradully your skin will become more even and brighter. Typically with this kind of serums to fade dark spots and even skin tone, you will need about 1 month to see results. Personnally, I saw maximal results after about 1 to 1.5 month. Am I happy with this serum? Yes, and I even got a second bottle. If you are wondering, I used it twice a day and finished a  bottle in 3 months. 

Purchase info
Estée Lauder products can be purchased from autorized retailers (Nordstrom, Selfridges, Marionnaud, Douglas, Manor, Globus). For Switzerland, you can find a list of them here.

*PR Samples*

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