11 best skin brighteners

If your skin's suffering in the colder weather, try one of these hardworking products to give your face a glow

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The Independent Online

The autumn/winter 2014 runways were packed with models looking polished and perfect, but seemingly unmade-up – there was simple glossy radiance. But luminous bare skin is easier said than done. Which is why we've sourced and tested the best brighteners on the block for creating a more even tone and reducing redness and pigmentation. From Bobbi Brown's Extra Bright discolouration-reducing Advanced Serum, to Olay's revitalising, light-reflecting pick-me-up for lacklustre skin, there's a brightener to suit your beauty budget.

 

1. Elemis Pro Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm: £33 for 50ml, timetospa.co.uk

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Another multi-award-winning moisturiser from the Elemis stable, this is packed with hardworking ingredients including moisturising, anti-ageing purple orchid and anti-oxidant acai. What I particularly liked is that there are no strong luminising ingredients – so it won't sparkle under light and makeup glides with no balling of product when foundation and moisturiser clash. It doesn't leave skin too dewy.  I was also a big fan of the scent – zingy zesty neroli, bergamot, bitter orange and lemon. Pure bliss!
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2. Olay Essentials Glow Perfectors Multi-Radiance: £7.65 for 75ml, feelunique.com

 

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The science behind this serum is seriously hi-tech and innovative - there's nothing else like it yet. With five years trial and research into skin repair, Clinique have come up with a formula that understands the signals sent out from damaged skin and delivers repairing ingredients to visibly correct. Not only can the serum repair damage you can see, but it also works on damage you can't see. It targets uneven skin tone, reduces fine lines, firms skin and maintains moisture and suppleness. Complete complexion perfection.
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3. Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum: £48 for 30ml, houseoffraser.co.uk

 

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The science behind this serum is seriously hi-tech and innovative - there's nothing else like it yet. With five years trial and research into skin repair, Clinique have come up with a formula that understands the signals sent out from damaged skin and delivers repairing ingredients to visibly correct. Not only can the serum repair damage you can see, but it also works on damage you can't see. It targets uneven skin tone, reduces fine lines, firms skin and maintains moisture and suppleness. Complete complexion perfection.
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4. Bobbi Brown Extra Bright Advanced Serum: £63.50 for 30ml, selfridges.com

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Around two weeks after using this every day, I noticed several darker patches of skin had lightened considerably. The effective cocktail of vitamin-enriched citrus ingredients - including orange, grapefruit and lime extract - help prevent the formation of dark age spots and reduce discolouration on the skin's surface. Glucosamine gently exfoliates the dulling surface skin cells, super moisturisers plump and hydrate, whey protein triggers natural collagen production, while yeast extract breaks up melanin clusters, which reduces the look of age spots. It is at the higher end of the price bracket, but performed beyond my expectations and delivered visible results.

 

5. Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector: £59 for 30ml, johnlewis.com

 

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This is one gem of a facelift in a bottle. Use this day and night and you will see a difference – my main result was a visible reduction in pore size after using it for two-three weeks. After testing on 133 women, Lancome found that over half said they would delay lasers, fillers and peels and use this instead.
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6. Oskia Get Up & Glow: £64.50 for 30ml, oskiaskincare.com

 

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Use this before or after moisturiser when lacklustre skin needs a boost. 12 beautifying actives illuminate, firm and even-out skin tone, as well as help protect against further damage. I used it for about two weeks every day and noticed my skin seemed more plumped up and smooth and definitely had more of a glow. It’s pricey, but worth the investment as a little goes a very long way.

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7. Eve Lom TLC Radiance Cream: £45 for 50ml, johnlewis.com

 

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Rose otto in this luxuriously scented radiance boosting, lifting moisturiser makes it an absolute treat to use. If you're prone to irritated or highly coloured skin, this is perfect for calming and soothing sensitive complexions. Lightweight and non-greasy, it's great for shiny skin, but may not have enough moisture for very dry skin in winter. I used it for about three weeks and fine lines and creases around my eyelids definitely looked smoothed out.
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8. Simple Kind to Skin+Illuminating Radiance Cream: £8.60 for 50ml, amazon.co.uk

 

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Another great high-street priced offering from Simple that's packed with multi-vitamins, light reflecting minerals and skin loving sweet almond and sunflower seed oils. It's a lightweight moisturiser perfect for days when your complexion just needs a bit of a boost. Free from harsh chemicals, artificial perfume and colour means it's great for sensitive skin too.
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9. Eucerin Even Brighter Clinical Concentrate: £19 for 6 x 5ml , escentual.com

 

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Not your usual glossy beautiful packaging, but this is a no-nonsense, high performing, results-driven product. Thanks to UV exposure, stress and hormones, hyper-pigmentation (freckles and age spots), appear as we  age. But this anti-pigment dermatological treatment delivers a potent shot of skin repairing ingredients that work to undo cell damage. It's fast and penetrates deep into the skin layers, so you see results quickly – Eucerin also have moisturisers in the same range if you want to speed up the process further.

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10. Wild About Beauty Rose Water Illuminating Serum: £22 for 30ml, feelunique.com

 

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Boost radiance and restore lustre with an anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, skin-enhancing serum. Packed with light-reflecting particles this floral scented luminiser will brighten even the dullest complexions. It feels ultra hydrating too, so you can apply on top of moisturiser if your skin is dry, but can easily be worn alone if you don't need an extra moisture boost. It leaves skin super smooth and supple.
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11. Dermalogica Pure Light SPF 30: £41.41 for 50ml, amazon.co.uk

 

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The powerful cocktail of skin-brightening ingredients – peptides, minerals and botanicals - in this medium-weight moisturiser dramatically improves skin tone and luminosity, and reduces hyper-pigmentation like age spots or redness. It also protects the skin against further pigment-inducing UV light. It leaves a lovely instant glow on the skin, too.
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Verdict
All 11 produced visible results in skin tone, texture and that well-known dermatological term glowy-ness! For instant impact and  long-term results correcting and preventing UV damage, Elemis Pro Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm and Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum had the edge in this line-up.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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