Could Dark Spots Become History with Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution?

There are not many things I regret in life, but not using proper sun protection for some years is one of them. I am blessed with skin that tans fast and doesn’t burn, but still. I have some pigmentation spots around my cheekbones as the result.

Besides using sunscreens with a decent SPF factor (I try to aim around 30), I have decided to make brightening serums an integral part of my skincare routine. The first one I sampled? Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution.

According to Kiehl’s, Clearly Corrective is a “fast-acting serum that evens skin tone and diminishes dark spots to impart overall radiance and luminosity to the skin.” It comes in a glass container with a dropper (do note that the dropper does not go all the way to the bottom, so at the end it could become a bit messy to use it). The consistency is very liquid. It smells like lavender in the bottle, but with the quantity for each use it has a faint smell that I can’t really describe.

Here is how I use it: I put 3 drops in my palm, warm it up slightly before patting it on my face. I also pat an extra drop onto where I have pigmentation spots. Clearly Corrective is light in texture and absorbed easily by the skin. There is no sticky residue. I find this serum hydrating, and since it’s not sticky it’s easy to layer a lotion on top.

So, does it work? The answer has to be yes and no. Yes because my skin tone is brighter after about 3 months (I even had a close friend commenting on how “fair” I had become, though I personally don’t think my skin tone had become lighter. It was most probably the brightness that fooled her a little), and no because I really don’t see any of my spots being lightened. This is really what I was hoping it to do, so I have to admit it is somewhat disappointing that all my spots are still just the way they were.

Here is the ingredient list:

Bottom line: If you want a hydrating serum that is absorbed quickly and brightens your skin tone, take a look at Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. I cannot personally guarantee this will lighten sun spots. However, I do realize things like these vary a lot for individuals, and lightening spots is tricky business that takes a lot of time!

Have you tried any brightening products? Did any work for you? What is a similar product you would recommend for me?

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

Disclosure: The product mentioned in this review is provided by the PR for my consideration. All opinions are honest and my own. I am in no way compensated for this review. I have always been, and will always be committed ONLY to my readers.

  • Miss Kwong

    Actually I had lots of dark spots before because of Acne of teenage years.
    But gradually they went away…
    and I tried a very mild laser programme at a beauty salon, and it worked really well to renew my skin cells.

    I think if you take care of your skin properly (hydrating, exfoliating), then the spots will go away soon.

    the point is I have to prevent new spots by suncreens and prevent eating deep fried food so I won’t have new acnes!

    Following u now via and blog lovin’. Follow me back if you like! ♥
    Say meow to me on:
    Miss Kwong: From Catwalk to Classroom

    • Sunny

      Thanks for the advice girly! I am practicing proper sun protection now, and I seldom eat fried food. I hope that with some time the spots will go away!

  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    ooooh…pity about all that alcohol in it :/ I’m not opposed to having alcohol in my skincare, but I do try to limit it only to “completely necessary” products and only in 1 skincare item–but NEVER in my serums. I’m very particular, I know 😛

    • Sunny

      Haha you should be! If you know what your skin doesn’t like, it makes total sense that you avoid it!

  • Astrid

    Oh too bad your spots didn’t lighten. I use this Dark Spot Solution for acne scars & that works for me! They are less visible after using this for 3 months

    • Sunny

      Glad to hear it worked so well for you, Astrid! This did brighten my skin tone a little so I should be happy with that! Maybe it’ll just take longer for my spots to fade.

  • Yak Man

    Such a pity, I am getting pigmentations spots lately. My mom asked me since we I have got 4 pigmentation spots on a row. I didn’t notice I have got one extra.. I’ve got a brighting serum but I have not used it yet :’).

    • Sunny

      Try it, Yak Man! Also, remember to use proper sun protection!

      • Yak Man

        haha, after that I’ve bought a sun protection 50 SPF :’). Oh, it wasn’t brighting but whitening, I’ve used it for once :).

  • ValleyDoll

    I luckily do not have any problems with dark spots. This does not seem like product for me, however, too bad it didn’t do anything for your dark spots.

    • Sunny

      Lucky you! It did brighten my skin tone though, so it wasn’t completely useless!

  • petra

    Ah, the picture with your cat is so cute!!
    Too bad it didn’t lighten the dark spots, I let you know when I found something better :)

    • Sunny

      Haha thanks Petra! Please keep me posted! I’ll keep experimenting too!

  • peggy timmermans visagie

    I’ve used this before and i must say…some of my spots have faded! Not gone entirely but like smoothed out or just faded away. And a radiant skin. I was happy with this product.

    • Sunny

      Ahhh see, I heard it does work for some people! Glad to hear you’re one of the lucky ones!

  • Esmay

    I think that sounds good! Never tried something like this before, but … My skin needs a little brightness in this typical Dutch weather (rain, rain, rain)!

    • Sunny

      LOL This did brighten my skin tone so I hope it’ll work for you too!

  • Sté | StyleLab (@StyleLab_)

    Bummer this didn’t work out. I’m looking for a product that can help me get rid of dark spots as well and I was curious to see if this would be my new holy grail. Even though I don’t go in the sun a lot, their number is increasing :( Lemme know when you find one that does do the trick!

    • Sunny

      I will, Ste! This did brighten my skin tone though, so it wasn’t totally in vain!

  • Beauty by Linde

    I also have quite a few spots thanks to my acne. They have faded a little over time, but I’ve started thinking about having microdermabrasia or laser treatment done and I’m currently leaning towards the latter. Both options are supposed to treat spots due to both acne and sun damage, but microdermabrasia seems to be going horribly wrong quite often (scars getting worse instead of better, irritated skin for months, etc).

    Too bad this serum doesn’t work. Would’ve been a lot easier. 😛

    • Sunny

      Oh wow, Linde, please keep me posted about how laser works! Mine really aren’t bad even if you look at them close-up, but things would be better if they weren’t there at all!

  • Larie

    These things definitely take time. I was using Clinique’s version for a while (Even Better Skin Tone Corrector, I think? It’s a serum, as well) and it does work. I recently switched to Vichy’s ProEven, which I also like, and I think this one also works. I have a few sun spots that I want to work on, and I do think they are fading – or at least, becoming slightly less noticeable.

    • Sunny

      Thanks for letting me know, Larie! I’ll keep working on them!

  • Teri

    Too bad this product has some flaws. I find that pigmentation spots are very hard to get rid off! Still looking for something that really works, but I guess it’s a matter of patience. And eeeeh Muffin is so cute <3!!!!

    • Sunny

      Thanks Teri! I’ll keep using similar products and hoping one of them will work!

  • Tracy@Beauty Reflections

    As someone who has loads os pigmentation issues and has tried just about everything I can say that most over the counter things work just a tiny bit, but that’s about it. After that the only way to get rid of them is Laser, which I am going to get done in the fall.
    I do like some of Kiehl’s skincare though! I find their stuff is hit or miss. Great review!

    • Sunny

      OOOO Keep us posted about the laser thing, Tracy! I don’t think I’ll have that done anytime soon, but if it works well I’ll be happy to know I still have a last resort!

  • Christine Brigid

    I actually was given a generous sample of this lately but haven’t tried it yet. Interesting to know that it isn’t really working on your pigmentation. I too really regret not paying more attention to my suncare regime when I was younger!

    • Sunny

      Gah I know! For some years I was SO sick of how much people avoid sunlight in Taiwan that I really wanted to do everything differently. I still think it’s not healthy to avoid sun altogether, but I wish I had been less drastic!

  • petrov

    I think my skin is prone to sun spots, there is something like this? No matter how much sunscreen i use i still get some spots. Recently i developed on my right cheek and close to left eye, that make me look older, even if i have 29 ans. Sunny day in Bruxelles is not to often but still got it.
    So i talked with a doctor and he told me to use from Neostrata, enlighten pigment lightening gel and if i can tolerate maybe AHA, but im really scare to use them cause there is a small chance to make them worst.

    Do u know some products that really work, but being less harsh ?


    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey, thanks so much for passing by and leaving a comment. I am so sorry to hear you are having sun spot problems. Yes, some skin is more prone to spots than others (I am East Asian and that is a good example of skin being prone to spots).

      This one didn’t work for me at all, but here are some products I’d recommend:

      1. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum: It doesn’t really lighten the spots, or maybe it just doesn’t do it fast enough, but it keeps the skin hydrated and makes it brighter.

      2. Verso: This line uses a patented form of retinol that is very gentle. I have reviewed several of their products so you might want to read those and figure out what your skin has a better chance of tolerating.

      3. I haven’t reviewed these yet, but I’ve been trying two products from the Darphin Melaperfect line. They actually make a difference!

      Besides using a sunscreen, you might need to use these products continuously to actually see the result. I hope this helps! Let me know if you decide to try any of them.