Billion-dollar beauty question: Are all those brightening lotions and potions you’re splashing out on savvy skin investments, or are you quite literally washing money down the drain?

Short answer: Yes, they do work, but you need to be prudent with your purchases. Bookmark this handy e-guide for easy reference the next time you’re browsing the beauty aisles, and cheers to a brighter future.

Brightening products can help to “undo” past damage

Skin damage from environmental stressors such as UV exposure causes the development of both visible and hidden spot formations. As these ‘clouds’ can take years to coalesce into visible clumps on the skin’s surface, they also take time to reduce – which means slow and steady wins the race. Be patient and follow through with your regimen religiously, which can help to diminish dullness and discolouration, both visible and invisible.

This vitamin is vital

A heroine ingredient to keep a mascaraed eye out for is niacinamide, also known as good ol’ vitamin B3. This particular powerhouse vitamin’s anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory abilities work in tandem to calm your complexion and purge it of excess melanin for smooth and spot-free skin.

An extract sourced from prunes – it’s found in SK-II’s GenOptics Aura Essence – promises to be the next big It ingredient; the Japanese skincare specialist says the extract is packed with a suite of skin-friendly antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and is extraordinarily effective at relieving oxidative stress and eradicating the signs of premature ageing.

An essence is essential

Priming your skin for better penetration of the other products in your regime is absolutely crucial. SK-II’s signature Facial Treatment Essence is perfect for this purpose – the formula is fortified with the brand’s legendary Pitera, a concentrated concoction of over 50 micronutrients that work to soothe and soften stressed out skin.

Ace your application

To maximise the mileage out of your GenOptics Aura Essence, pump the handy auto-fill dropper just once to dispense the recommended dosage into the palms before pressing it into your face. Use gentle patting motions for optimal absorption of the ambrosia; avoid rubbing it in roughly at all costs – your face is fragile and deserves to be treated with tender loving care!

A comforting cream like the Cellumination Deep Surge EX will boost the brightening benefits of your serum. In the AM, never leave the house without a quality sunscreen; SK-II’s Atmosphere Airy Light UV Emulsion SPF30/PA+++ is a delightfully lightweight product that protects against UV rays and other baddies like infrared light and pollution, both of which can contribute to a dull and aged appearance over time. Best bit? The formula is the very definition of instant gratification, with iridescent pigments lending a lovely luminosity and that elusive lit-from-within glow.

Expert information courtesy of Kazumi Toyama, Global SK-II Senior Manager, Technical Marketing & Scientific Communications.

Brought to you by SK-II