In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, beauty writer Khera Alexander is testing the ALASTIN A-LUMINATE Brightening Serum.
Considering the fact that I’ve been a beauty lover for as long as I can remember, it’s no surprise that I parlayed that passion into a career as a beauty writer and makeup artist. After years of learning about different products, ingredients, and techniques, I still find it incredible to be able to do something I enjoy so much as a profession. And while testing out new makeup drops never gets old, I’ve always had to be selective in my approach to skin care.
With my specific skin issues (mainly breakouts and acne), I haven’t been able to experiment with different products the same way I could experiment with makeup — whatever my dermatologist told me to do is what I would stick to. This year, I made the decision to use an oral acne medication, and that’s created more opportunities for me as a beauty writer (and overall product fan) to try new things while addressing other skin concerns in the process.
Now that my skin is improving, I’ve been able to correct my hyperpigmentation concerns without experiencing more breakouts, and serums have proven to be a huge help. I decided to give a new one a try: The ALASTIN A-LUMINATE Brightening Serum. Created to brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, brown spots, and sun spots, A-LUMINATE is ideal for anyone dealing with post-acne scarring, dark patches, or melasma. To learn more about this serum — and my experience with it — keep scrolling through.
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- Price: $168
- Size: 50 ml
- Clean/Cruelty-Free? Yes
- Best for: brightening the skin, reducing the look of dark spots, sun spots, age spots, redness, and general discoloration
- Ingredient highlights: moisture-retaining squalane, antioxidant milk thistle extract, ashwagandha root extract to fight inflammation, and tranexamic acid for brightening,
- What we like: Weightless, feels comfortable, doesn’t irritate the skin
- What we don’t like: Pricey
- Your rating: 3.8/5
After trying to remedy my skin issues on my own for a long time, I started using Accutane this year and my skin has improved significantly. Now that I’m using the treatment, I’m focused on fading the stubborn scars on my cheekbones and temples. I’ve used a few different serums that address hyperpigmentation, but I was curious to see what my skin would look like after trying A-LUMINATE.
The ALASTIN A-LUMINATE Brightening Serum
ALASTIN’s A-LUMINATE Brightening Serum is a product made specifically for addressing discoloration in the skin like dark spots, age spots, redness, hyperpigmentation, and brown patches. This serum is non-irritating and is intended for long-term, daily use. A specific blend of active ingredients and antioxidants work to address hyperpigmentation, and protect against future damage and discoloration.
The Science Behind ALASTIN’s A-LUMINATE Brightening Serum
The A-LUMINATE Brightening Serum features a handful of buzzy key ingredients: squalane, niacinamide, tranexamic acid, ashwagandha root extract, milk thistle extract, and peptides. Squalane, a non-comedogenic oil, helps protect the skin’s moisture barrier, and niacinamide is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that calms the skin and addresses hyperpigmentation.
Dr. Geeta Yadav, board-certified dermatologist and founder of the FACET Dermatology Clinic, expands on the products formulation: “Ashwagandha contains a compound called glabridin,” she says. “Glabridin offers anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation can cause hyperpigmentation, especially in the case of acne.” A powerful antioxidant, Dr. Yadav notes that milk thistle extract “contains compounds that help protect skin against collagen degradation and prevents the formation of hyperpigmentation.” Basically, these extracts work to soothe irritation and maintain the skin’s health while tackling discoloration — pretty impressive.
Powerful and gentle, tranexamic acid is another brightening agent. “Tranexamic [acid] is what is called a tyrosinase inhibitor — the enzyme responsible for triggering melanin production in skin. By inhibiting this enzyme, it reduces the formation of dark spots,” Dr. Yadav says. “Tranexamic acid also reduces the communication between our melanocytes, [the] pigment-producing cells, and keratinocytes, [the] skin cells, that are triggered by UV exposure, making this an effective ingredient to treat UV-induced hyperpigmentation, including melasma.” In other words, if you have sun spots or dark patches, tranexamic acid is an amazing, slightly slept-on ingredient that you may want to check out.
Peptides are another set of key ingredients that complete the serum, coming with a host of benefits that contribute to the overall health and look of the skin. “Peptides are the building blocks of amino acids — the foundation of proteins,” Dr. Yadav says. “Collagen, elastin, and keratin are all proteins, so supporting them with peptides can help smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles while making skin appear firmer and more resilient.”
The ALASTIN serum has a sleek design: It’s housed in a compact bottle with a retractable pump. You twist the top of the bottle to reveal the pump and twist it back down to lock the dispenser in place — that way, you don’t have any leaks or waste any product.
My First Impressions
The first time I pumped the ALASTIN serum into my hands and applied it on my face, the product had a texture and look I wasn’t expecting. I was anticipating a watery feel, but A-LUMINATE is more like a lotion and has a pearlized, radiant look to it. It feels very hydrating and lightweight, rubbing into the skin easily, and absorbing quickly.
How I Used It
To really get a sense of how the product would work on my skin, I stopped using my current serum and replaced it with A-LUMINATE for two weeks. After cleansing my face morning and night, I would use two pumps of the serum on my skin and apply my moisturizer or SPF on top.
Though my skin clarity has improved since using Accutane, it can still look dull and my dark spots remain a concern. In the two weeks that I’ve used ALASTIN’s serum, my skin looks more radiant and the dark spots on my temples are noticeably lighter. I’m looking forward to seeing what my skin will look like after two or three month of consistent use.
Is It Worth it?
A-LUMINATE is priced at around $168 for 50 ml, which is expensive, but for a prestige serum, it’s to be expected. The last two serums I’ve used — the Omorovicza Even Tone Serum and the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum — are around the same price as A-LUMINATE. I think this serum is a good investment, especially if someone has dark spots or melasma.
BDG product reviews and recommendations are written and conducted by writers and editors with expertise in their fields. Testers often have specific experience with the situation or product at hand, and/or their review or recommendation is provided in consultation with experts. You can learn more about our standards here.