In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews.
Last month, buzzy melanin-rich skin care brand Ustawi Skincare launched with an array of products from a vitamin C serum to a red algae detoxifying toner. All of Ustawi’s products are formulated with natural ingredients and family recipes from Africa with an aim to help close the gap in the beauty industry for people of color (as it’s clear to see that Black-owned skin care brands are few and far between, even in 2021). As a Black woman myself, I couldn’t have been more excited to experience the new line — especially when it came to the new Niacinamide Dark Spot Corrector.
First, I think it’s super easy to assume that skin care is more inclusive for people of color than makeup products, but the reality is that it can still be quite tricky — from determining if all the formulated ingredients will work safely on darker skin tones to the misinformation of whether dark skin tones need SPF or not (to clarify, yes). So it’s always nice to see a Black-owned brand that really takes the needs of darker skin tones into consideration when designing a new product.
For as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from hyperpigmentation on the high points of my cheeks. It was never something that really bothered me that much, but as I’ve gotten more into skin care and added more products into my daily routine, my hyperpigmentation became a lot more noticeable to me and something of which I am very aware of. I’d always been quite skeptical that I’d never find a product that could help to reduce my hyperpigmentation since in the past I’ve used serums that claimed to reduce hyperpigmentation, but to no avail. Since the spot corrector claims to help reduce pigmentation and improve the texture of the skin, I felt that the timing was perfect to test it out. I’ve been using the product morning and night for about three weeks now — here’s how I got on.
What’s In The Niacinamide Dark Spot Corrector?
The cruelty-free and vegan dark spot corrector has the consistency of a cream-gel hybrid, and the key ingredients include increasingly popular niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that is best known for its soothing, redness-reducing, and inflammation-calming benefits. It’s one of those skin care ingredients that pretty much every skin type can utilize safely, and it’s particularly beneficial for those suffering from skin conditions like eczema, acne and other inflammatory skin conditions (which often flare when the weather turns colder).
The corrector is also formulated with licorice root extract which is key for helping to reduce pigmentation, dark spots, and evening out skin tone. It even has skin brightening properties, which is a must if you’re dealing with dullness and dark spots. According to the brand’s literature, 95.1% of the ingredients are naturally derived. All in all, the corrector has some of the best skin-loving ingredients that even dermatologists rave about — which is why I was so eager to test it for myself.
How To Use It
The brand recommends using the Niacinamide Dark Spot Corrector during your morning and evening routine, making sure your skin is clean and dry before application. You then dispense 1-2 drops onto your fingertips and spread a thin layer all over your face or on problem areas. I personally stuck to just using it as a targeted treatment on the upper parts of my cheeks due to that being where my darker areas are located (no reason to use unnecessary product). It took only two to three minutes to fully absorb into the skin and then I followed it up with an SPF in the morning and a moisturizer at night.
Testing The Niacinamide Dark Spot Corrector
The brand recommends using the Niacinamide Dark Spot Corrector during your morning and evening routine, making sure your skin is clean and dry before application. Then dispense 1-2 drops onto your fingertips and spread a thin layer all over your face or on problem areas. I personally stuck to just using it as a targeted treatment on the upper parts of my cheeks due to that being where my darker areas are located (no reason to use unnecessary product).
The first thing I noticed about this product was just how lightweight the consistency is and how it blended into the skin within a matter of seconds. It even left a subtle glow, which I love from skin care products, but it never felt greasy or oily. Once it’s absorbed into the skin, I followed it up with a moisturizer (and SPF in the morning).
Upon first pump, I was instantly hit with a pleasant odor that I can only describe as fresh with a subtle sweet hint. The extra boost of hydration was an unexpected, but welcomed, benefit as well, especially since in the past I’ve found that targeted treatments (since they’re often more potent) can be somewhat drying.
As to be expected from a Black-owned brand, there was no white cast in sight when applying the corrector, just like the brand states, even though the product is white at first — you just need a few seconds to blend it into the skin. The corrector comes in a tube with a pump, making it easy to dispense and keeps the formula air-tight (and stable, longer). In terms of my pigmentation after a week and a half, I was pleasantly surprised at the visible difference in just a few days. Now, it’s not as if my pigmentation has completely gone but it has definitely reduced on my face — the surface area feels smoother than ever, which I think is thanks to both the niacinamide and licorice root extract.
Is This Product Worth The Price Tag?
I would definitely say that Niacinamide Dark Spot Corrector is worth the $55 price as it met my expectations and so much more. While I was originally skeptical that I wouldn’t see any results with my pigmentation, the corrector did such a wonderful job of reducing a lot of the darkness in that area of my face. I was able to see those results in only a week and a half, and I’m excited to continue incorporating it into my skin care routine and compare my results after longer use.
Additionally, as someone who usually incorporates a serum into their morning and night routine, it was really nice to have the option of just using the corrector — I would usually turn to my other serums to get as much moisture retention as possible, but the corrector allowed me to completely skip out on using my regular ultra-hydrating serums. However, if, like me, your skin takes on a mind of its own during the colder months, (aka it’s drier than the Sahara desert), just using the corrector might not be enough and you might want to also opt for using a hydrating serum with it. For now, I’ll continue reaching for the corrector down to the very last drop.
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