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Skincare 101: The Difference Between Brightening & Bleaching

Your July ESSENCE Beauty Box is packed with skin goodies, but one particular product is a standout on the market when it comes to brightening. Here, we break down the difference between brightening and bleaching and prove once and for all that they are not the same!

Amazing makeup starts with healthy skin; a beauty mantra that is both cliche and true. For those who don’t know their toners from their moisturizers, putting together a beauty routine can take an eternity. In addition to discovering what works for your skin type, there are other factors to consider: seasonal changes, price points and much more. Before you can even scratch the skincare surface, it’s absolutely necessary to understand how the most basic products work.

This month’s BeautyBox includes a host of skincare starters, all courtesy of Pur~lisse, a brand grounded by Asian beauty wisdom. Whether you’ve been treated to a face mask, lip balm, eye serum, moisturizer or brightening serum, brand founder Jennifer Yen has the 411 on how to incorporate each product into your routine.

First up: the Pur~lisse Ultra Skin Brightening Serum. One of the biggest assumptions made about brighteners is that they are skin bleachers. Spoiler alert: that’s false! Keep reading for three simple things to keep in mind as you start using.

1. “Skin brightening” and “skin bleaching” are not the same:  Brighteners add radiance to dull skin, typically deliver a natural glow and come in the form of serums or exfoliators. These are safe to use.

Skin lighteners do the same thing in addition to diminishing discoloration, darks spots and acne scars. It achieves this by utilizing ingredients that inhibit melanin (pigment) production. Skin “whiteners” or bleachers take it a step further by completely blocking melanin production with harmful ingredients. Stay away from these!

“Avoid any product with harsh bleaches or that is marketed as ‘skin whitening,’ which will alter your skin tone entirely,” says Jennifer.”One of many ingredients to avoid is hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is meant to inhibit melanin production, which in turn lightens skin.”

If your July box includes the Pur~lisse Serum, know that it will brighten your glow using only the safest, natural ingredients. We want that melanin to pop!

2. Always apply serums before moisturizers: Those who are new to multi-step routines may have no idea how and when to apply the serum. Once you’ve removed makeup and cleansed, remember that it should always precede moisturizer.

According to Jennifer, “serums have smaller molecules that penetrate deeper in the skin, compared to a moisturizer, which is why you apply a serum first.” Think of it as an extra boost of hydration, with the brightening benefits.

3. The more natural ingredients, the better: Lastly, remember to always read labels! If you can’t understand most of the listed ingredients, it’s likely that what you’re using is harmful. What makes the Pur~lisse Serum so easy to love is that harnesses the power of botanicals–anything obtained from a plant– to treat skin.

Not only is it hydroquinone free; it also features Vitamin C and Alpha Arbutin to brighten and even skin tone along with Neem and Prune extracts to fade hyper-pigmentation and sun damage.

Stay tuned as we continue to unpack the skincare from our July box!