My skin brightening routine: 4 products + 3 tips to get your skin glowing

Written by Jenny Wu
Jenny Wu

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  1. Syafiqah says:

    I used to be really bad with sunscreen (even though i live in a place with strong sun all year round??) but i’m starting to repent now. LOVE the inclusion of the Sekkisei Lotion – I incorporated it into my skincare regime about 6 months back, but within 2 weeks I already could see that it worked wonders for my skin, it looks brighter and smoother. I pat it on first with cotton pad, and then a second layer using my hands.

    I find that it works wonderfully when paired with the Sekkisei serum, or the DHC P2H4 Watergel. Until today I’m not exactly sure how the Sekkisei Lotion works, but it works and it’s become the core of my holy grail skincare regime.

    Tempted to try SKII, but I doubt whether my skin can accept ferment. Since it’s so pricey anyway, I might hold it off for a bit longer…

    • Jenny says:

      Thanks for reading! The Sekkisei Lotion definitely deserves more love, especially since it’s such an effective brightening product. Glad to hear it worked well for you as well! I haven’t tried their serum yet, but I’m definitely curious now! Unfortunately the DHC P2H4 Watergel isn’t sold in the US, but I will have to check it out when I go back to Taiwan next year.

      See if you can get a sample of the SK-II, or a decant from a friend who owns one. It should only take a few days (at most) to see the results!

  2. Whitney says:

    It was so sunny when I walked out the door today and I was like “darn I wish I wore sunscreen.” It’s a bad habit I got to stop! I definitely want to try the Vitamin E mask and the Sekkisei Lotion!

    • Jenny says:

      Once you get into the habit it’ll come so naturally you won’t even think twice about it! :P I can’t recommend the Vitamin E Mask enough, it’s such an amazing + affordable product!

  3. Nora Gouma says:

    Great post, truly inspiring, I love it, love your blog as well, thank you for sharing!!!


  4. Valerie says:

    Love this post! I’m on the same page as you on the SK-II essence. I stopped using it because I wasn’t seeing any results, but this time around it feels different! Their packaging is to die for!

  5. Yiotou_La says:

    I used to not wear sunscreen a few years back but this has changed now, I cannot leave the house without applying some and it’s became a habit of mine. I really need to get my hands on the Klairs Vitamin E mask!


  6. Merel van Poorten says:

    Aaah you picked amazing products! haven’t tried the Mask though! I’m definitely going to!

    X Merel

  7. Skin brightening is such a necessary thing for me! I’m always picking up products to help with my acne scars. I’ll have to try some of these. PS new site, Jenny?! Love!

    S | Je M’appelle Chanel

    • Jenny says:

      I know a lot of people also have success with Vitamin C products for fading acne scars, so those are worth looking into as well :) I randomly tweak the site designs here and there, so I’m glad you noticed and like it! Thank you!

  8. Kasie says:

    It sounds like you and I are both recovering sun worshipers! I’m SO horrified to admit that, it’s awful! I’ll have to try all of these products, I have some sun damage as well that I could definitely stand to fade.

    • Jenny says:

      Better late than never though right? ;) I hope you’ll get the same great results I do if you do use these products! Thanks for reading Kasie!

  9. Some really great tips here and your photos are so useful I think you cans the difference in your skin x

  10. Alyssa says:

    I haven’t tried any of these products yet but OMG! I love how your skin brightened :) I may consider to try some of these you featured :)

    xx Alyssa | STYLE VANITY

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you so much Alyssa! I was super excited to see the change in the photos as well :D I hope you’ll get the same great results I did if you do try these products!

  11. Veron says:

    All of these products I frankly haven’t heard of, but gosh, the results are amazing. In our country, everybody’s obsessed about brightening their skin, mostly because we are a tropical country and everyone’s naturally tan. Can’t stress enough the need for SPF though.

    Joy to the World

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you Veron! The obsession with brightening is huge in Asia, and and I feel like there are so many more options there. But like you said, applying SPF is half the battle!

  12. Cat L says:

    Such a great post Jenny! I love the SK-II essence as well. It is pricey but my skin seems to really enjoy the benefits. I would also like to try the Klairs Vitamin E mask. I don’t think I’ve ever tried something similar to it before, but love all the ingredients.
    ~ Cat L.

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you so much Cat! I agree, you can’t put a price on great skin, so I’m willing to pay (albeit painfully) the high prices for SK-II. The Klairs mask is wonderful, I think you’ll really enjoy it! :)

  13. Emily says:

    I reallyyyy want to try the SK-II one. I’ve heard a bagillion good things about it. I actually have never heard of anyone hating it. But damn does it look harsh on the bank account. The rest I haven’t heard of. Currently I am holding out for the Sephora VIB sale, I think it’s next month? It’s so hard to not buy anything until then!


    • Jenny says:

      I actually hated SK-II when I first tried it a few years back, not because it was horrible per se, but that it didn’t do much for my skin then despite the ridiculously high price! I’m thinking of getting another bottle at the Sephora VIB sale as well, along with a bunch of other stuff, haha. You’re right, this waiting period is the hardest!

  14. These are all new products to me but they sound really great. I’m not good with skincare and I’m trying to learn more. I’m also not the best at remembering sunscreen.

    Jennifer | Mrs Q Beauty

    • Jenny says:

      Maybe you can try a day time moisturizer with SPF built in? I usually prefer at least SPF30 or higher, but some SPF is always better than no SPF :) Thanks for stopping by Jennifer!

  15. Marina Rosie says:

    I don’t really like tanning myself but like you, i can definitely relate 100% – If tanning was an Olympic event, I’d win gold. The difference is clear Jenny, although you had stunning skin before as well! xx I apply sunscreen everyday in order to protect my skin and quite frankly reap the benefits, as it’s a lot less patchy than it used to be. I love to exfoliate from time to time – works wonders! xx
    Marina xx

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you so much Marina! It’s amazing how applying sunscreen regularly can really improve your skin, or rather, allow you to see the difference other products are making on your skin!

  16. Kiri Yanchenko says:

    Oh yeah – self tanning or tanning in the sun is just not me.
    I love finding new brightening products to try. So far the things that have worked for me have been laser and tretinoin cream/vitamin A except I have to stop using that now coz we are going into summer in oz.
    Set to Glow

    • Jenny says:

      I think one of these days I might just get laser to remove my stubborn dark spots, it’d definitely be the quickest option! I use tretinoin as well, though not everyday since my skin can’t handle it, so it takes a long time to notice any changes in the spots.

  17. I am the WORST with remembering to apply sunscreen. It’s not so bad in the winter, but in the Summer it’s not good at all. I don’t tan, I burn haha! Pretty impressive to see the difference these products make!

    • Jenny says:

      I forget to apply SPF on my body as well sometimes, and the resulting tan looks extra silly because it’s so much darker than my face. Oops!

  18. Wow, I do see the difference. I’ve heard great things about all of these products. Definitely saving this post and will try them. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  19. I definitely need to start wearing sunscreen everyday! I’ve been told by so many people to start, but I always forget! I now only buy foundation with SPF in it so at least there’s some sort of protection there! x

    Georgia Megan

    • Jenny says:

      It took some time for me to get used applying SPF as well, but the results were totally worth it, and some SPF is always better than none :)

  20. Prettypeach Blossom says:

    Wow Jenny your thorough reviews are always so welcome especially when we have indulged in the sun all summer. SK11 I should really take the plunge and try it myself so many people swear by it.
    I am nodding my head as I read, too much of a good thing ie exfoliation, everything in moderation those are wise words.
    Wonderful post Jen thank you. X

    Esnath @

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you Esnath! I can’t recommend trying the SK-II enough, it’s one of those products that when it works, it *really* works! And yes, I learned the hard way that too much exfoliating is worse than no exfoliating!

  21. Oh Jenny, me too! And I totally regret all the time I spent in the sun without proper sun protection to this day O_o I feel like I always have some sort of brightening product in my routine to correct my past sins LOL Currently I’m very high on a Cailyn Vitamin C serum and a retinol oil which I will be introducing on my blog soon. most of my sheet masks are usually geared towards brightening. The SK-II FTE is one of my faves and I need to get back to it at some point. I really wanted to try the Klairs mask after your glowing review of it. Great point about not over exfoliating. That is such a slippery slope.

    • Jenny says:

      Yes, I forgot to mention my ridiculous collection of brightening masks in this post! I’ve tried a lot of vitamin c serums but for some reason they just don’t seem to provide any brightening benefits :( Still I’m super intrigued by the Cailyn Vitamin C serum ever since I read about it on your blog!

  22. Sam Hodgett says:

    wow your skin has really brightened and looks amazing! I love the the SKII essence, such a classic x

  23. Sal UmmBaby says:

    I really want to try that Klairs mask – I use their Vitamin C serum and love it, and their toner is one of my favourite products so I have high hopes about the mask. The SKII is on my wish list xxx

    • Jenny says:

      I believe this mask was designed to layer with the Vitamin C serum, so I’m sure you’ll get really great results if you use both! The SK-II is fantastic as well, definitely recommend trying a sample if you can!

  24. Amanda says:

    All these products look great!

  25. Ladyofashion says:

    I like Klairs and will have to use more of that brand. I did not favour the SK II, although my sister loves it so much. My skin can get very tanned up to like seven shades darker in summer, but I use sun protection pretty much everyday. P.S. I love Disqus by the way. It’s also helpful since do blogging mobile/tablet and you can keep up with comments easier.

    • Jenny says:

      Klairs is one of my favorite brands, and I hope they’ll release more brightening products in the future soon! I tan very easily as well, even with sunscreen daily, but using these products definitely helped prevent the dullness and unevenness associated with past tans.
      Glad you liked the switch to disqus! I figured it might be good for you guys as well since a lot of other blogs already use it :)

  26. Hannah says:

    I haven’t heard of any of these before, but they seem amazing! You can’t argue with the results, as your skin looks so good!xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush

  27. Shireen says:

    I am one of the them who are not a fab of SK-II Treatment Essence, it does nothing for my skin to be honest and I guess I am lucky that my skin doesn’t like it. Lose is a huge brand back in Malaysia but I don’t read about it much here in Canada or on beauty blogs. I’ll have to look into the brand again and see where and what I want to try.

    ps: And I noticed you are using Disqus! Why the change?

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

    • Jenny says:

      I used to be in the same camp a few years ago, and I’m pretty sure my wallet still wishes I was! Kose is really popular in Asia, and I think they’ve recently started establishing a presence in the US market with some of their most popular products, so hopefully it’ll be more widely accessible soon!

      My reason for switching to Disqus is super nerdy, haha. Basically having WordPress/PHP load 50+ comments on a single page can be a server intensive task, so I wanted to offload that burden onto a third party site, ie. Disqus. The tradeoff is having to load all the resources from Disqus, but I use a plugin that basically only loads Disqus when the user scrolls to the comment section. So if they never scroll down, Disqus never loads and doesn’t impact the page loading speed :) That and I like being able to reply to comments via email!

    • Becky says:

      (^ also curious of the change)

  28. Becky says:

    lmao @ operation restore dat glow. I’ve heard that drying alcohols just really depend on your skin type, some people are sensitive to it and it burns and some are okay with it. Personally I try to avoid them just because my skin is dry. My sunscreen has alcohol pretty high up and I’m trying to lie to myself that it’s okay because I have a lot of skincare underneath LOL but I’m trying to find a replacement!

    hoooLY crap I was hoping you wouldn’t mention the SKII essence. It’s so pricey for what it is, but so many people swear by it. There’s so many times I’ve wanted to order those little sets that have the essence in it just to try it out, my heart flutters but my wallet says no :(

    Are you familiar with the skincareaddiction subreddit? I know sun care is important and all, but they take that shit to a whole other level. I went there for help asking if I should use SPF for a certain body product I used once a week (it contained aha or bha), saying that I usually don’t because I don’t like how it feels even though I know I should, and the first comment was “you should always wear sunscreen” like okay I KNOW I ALREADY MENTIONED THAT. Just a lil rant hahaha, but anyway my point is that they used to do this thing where it’d be lighter skinned people comparing themselves to friends or family that tanned/didn’t use sunscreen and they were like, “look how light I am compared to so and so!” Then someone called all of that out, saying that it’s an inconsiderate thing to do since not everyone is born with a light skin tone.

    and holy crap, your skin changed so much!!!

    • Jenny says:

      Just curious, do you notice any dryness with your sunscreen? I’m in the boat where if I don’t notice any issues with certain debatable ingredients on my skin (eg. alcohol or parabens), I’m fine with them being part of the formula. But if it does dry your skin out then yes, time for a new sunscreen!

      Trust me I didn’t want to mention the SK-II essence either, and I’ve tried several other dupes like the Missha one before in hopes that my skin would like those better. I did like the Naruko one, but it’s brightening/skin-refining abilities just pales in comparison the SK-II. I know a lot of people have had success with these SK-II dupes, so maybe try those? I’m starting to think my skin just has expensive taste now, haha
      I used to frequent the reddit skincare subs, but honestly some people in there are such fucking pricks that I’ve stopped. Most people are nice, but the few with a holier-than-thou attitude about skincare really rub me the wrong way. Comparing skin tones with other people is the perfect example of this crap, like you said, everyone is born with different complexions, and honestly you can be pale AF but still with worse skin than someone who’s naturally tan.

      And yeah, I don’t really notice it myself looking in the mirror daily, but when I took these comparison shots I was surprised myself!

  29. Emily Vyse says:

    Such a great, in depth review! I’ve wanted to try the SK-II essence for FOREVER, but it’s hard to justify the price. I’ll try and get my hands on a travel size like you recommend.

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you Emily! Honestly even though the SK-II works really well for me, I still find the price a bit insane. I might consider investing in their huge pump bottles which have a better value (albeit still super expensive!).

  30. Beautifully written Jenny. I also don’t like what tan does to my skin (be it my face or body). At the moment I look like 50 shades of beige lol so will make sure to try some of these! Thanks for the recommendation xx

  31. I used to be the same: No SPF, hours in the sun, burn before the tan and all these things. I pay the price not so much in dull skil, but in hyperpigmentation. Now I wear SPF every day and in the summer use selftanner and bronzer. And the klairs mask, which I love! Another product that worked really well for me is the Instytutum Serum.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

    • Jenny says:

      I paid the price in hyperpigmentation as well, as you can see from the spots in my photo that stubbornly refuse to go away. But it did happen with years of damage, so I’m sure it’ll take just as long to see significant improvements there. I definitely need to try that Instytutum Serum once I finish my current serum stash, it’s been on my wishlist ever since I heard about it from you!

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