From The Straits Times    |
brightening booster

I’ve been a long-time fan of the Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions range, especially its Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate with 12.5 per cent vitamin C and the Clearly Corrective Dark Spots Solution that contains activated vitamin C 

So imagine my excitement when I received the new Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Accelerated Clarity Renewing Ampoules.

Its promise is simple: helping you achieve a clearer, more even-toned and radiant complexion – up to 33 per cent – in 14 days. 

It combines activated vitamin C with a trio of gentle acids – glycolic, lactic and phytic – to slough off melanin-laden dead skin cells, refine skin texture and reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.  

It comes in a set of 28 ampoules – two a day over 14 days, providing a dose-controlled amount of active ingredients, ensuring that the potency of the formula is efficient and just right every time.  

My first impressions

brightening booster

As with every new product I try, I spend some time looking at my face in the mirror before the very first application. I’m drawn to the old blemish marks around my chin and jawline, as well as a faint sprinkling of age spots near my left cheekbone. 

Each vial is tiny and my first thought is that I hope I don’t drop it or spill its precious contents with my clumsy hands. 

The instructions say to shake well before opening, which I follow. I proceed to pour out the contents and realise that there’s a lot of it. In fact, it feels like it’s too much, even for my face and neck. 

Upon application (the ampoule comes after toner), I instantly feel a slight prickling sensation on my skin. It is a little uncomfortable but bearable. I figure it must be the acids working, and when I check my face in the mirror, at least it isn’t red. 

I complete the rest of my skincare routine, and even boost its effects by adding Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spots Solution, per the brand’s recommendation. 

After two to three minutes, the prickling sensation subsides and I head to bed. 

I’m genuinely excited to look at my face in the mirror when I wake up. And when I do, I’m surprised that my complexion looks much more even from the night before. There is an obvious difference after the first use. And there’s even a soft glow on my skin.

In the morning, I continue with the same routine since the Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Accelerated Clarity Renewing Ampoules are meant to be used twice daily. I also make sure that I slather on enough sunscreen because the acids can make skin a little more sensitive to sun damage. 

In fact, Kiehl’s says to try to stay out of the sun as much as possible during the duration of using the booster treatment. 

One week in…

Five days in, and I’m seeing my complexion looking more even-toned. It also seems to be a bit brighter. In fact, some of my old stubborn acne scars are looking lighter too. 

However, my skin is also starting to get some small dry patches around my temples, and it feels a little itchy at times. So I wonder if the acids might be a little too harsh for my skin, with twice-daily usage. 

I make the decision to use the Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Accelerated Clarity Renewing Ampoules every other day instead, and the dryness/itching does go away. I also ensure that I use a gentle yet still-hydrating moisturiser. After a few days of this, it seems like the new routine is working well. 

I’m also getting better at applying the concentrate. I apportion each vial into three parts: the first is applied over my entire face, the second is applied on to my neck, and the third is applied over areas with pigmentation marks.  

Two weeks on…

It’s been 14 days since I started using Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Accelerated Clarity Renewing Ampoules, and I have to admit that my complexion looks a lot more even-toned when compared to day one. My old blemish spots have lightened considerably and some of my age spots look less obvious too. 

The irony though, is that my dark circles seem to appear more prominent in contrast to my brighter complexion. So it looks like I’ve now got to look for something to treat my panda eyes

My skin is smoother and more refined, so makeup sits a lot better and my complexion is radiant. In fact, there are days where  I skip base makeup altogether, well, with the exception of concealer.

Should you use it?

brightening booster

While the formula contains acids that are said to be gentle enough for nearly any skin type, you should still listen to what your skin is telling you, and make changes where necessary. 

For instance, if the prickly sensation upon application becomes really uncomfortable, wash the solution off immediately. Same if your skin starts turning red. If you are worried, you can do a patch test before starting on the course to ensure that your skin is okay with it.

And if you start to see dryness or if your skin skin is feeling tight, consider reducing the dosage – either use it nightly instead of twice daily, or on alternate days instead. 

Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Clearly Corrective Accelerated Clarity Renewing Ampoules $155 (box of 28 vials) is available at at and, and when stores re-open after circuit breaker, at all Kiehl’s boutiques and counters.