Where to purchase: Available on the Good Molecules Website HERE
Made in: South Korea (Interesting for an American brand!).
What is it?: A ”Lightweight” Serum that aims to ”Improve the appearance of Uneven Skin Tone + Discolouration” – Containing an ”Advanced” Form of Cetyl Tranexamate Mesylate (so a more effective version, supposedly) + 4% Niacinamide.
What does it do?: Aims to improve the look of Acne Scars, Age Spots + Hyperpigmentation.
Note: The company states that the product reduces pigmentation by preventing skin inflammation turning into freckles, moles + hyperpigmentation.
- Niacinamide helps with dullness, enlarged pores and an uneven skin texture.
Supposedly Good for: There’s not a specific skin type but more of the specific skin problems one may have. So those with PIH, sun spots, dark spots etc.
What I think: In terms of the texture of the product, it is a bit thicker than the average watery serum as this does have some more of a stick/glycerin-type feel to it. So I think even dry skins could use this product as well as normal skin types and combo skins. I think oily skins could use this (but you wouldn’t need too many serums layered with this for extra hydration/moisturisation as an oily-skinned person). And I think if one lives in hot and humid weather, this would be more suited to use in the PM in terms of the wearability.
Cruelty Free?: Yes
Packaging: Glass bottle with a dropper. It also has a contraption inside (see the above photo) which prevents excess product from dripping all over the place when you pull the dropper out.
Directions: ‘Suitable for daily use – Apply a few drops in the morning and at night before oils and moisturisers.’ (From the Good Molecules Website).
How I use it: I used this in the PM (Found it a bit too thick as a serum to wear in the AM as it’s quite warm in the UK now) and was able to use this in conjunction with the Geek and Gorgeous Exfoliating Liquid (containing Mandelic Acid and Salicylic Acid) because I wanted to see if I could use this product with gentle exfoliating acids, and I could. I was also able to layer this (on another evening) with the Geek and Gorgeous aPAD serum (I wanted to see how it it did with another pigmentation-correcting serum) and I didn’t get any irritation. I avoided using high % exfoliating acids pure Vitamin C and retinol while using this, just in case. I cleansed, toned the skin and then applied this serum on after my Argireline Solution or the G&G Exfoliating liquid. I then applied a moisturiser on top.
Note: This is not sticky or tacky but it does have some gel-like weight to it. I would apply it as my last serum i.e. Solution –> Serum 1 –> THIS –> Moisturiser 1 –> (Moisturiser 2)
Key Ingredients: 4% Niacinamide (Improves the appearance of an uneven skin tone, texture, dullness and large pores). 2% Cetyl Tranexamate Mesylate (Aims to improve discolouration and improve the tone of the skin).
The star ingredient in here is Cetyl Tranexamate Mesylate (Tranexamic Acid Derivative). I was a little sceptical about whether this ingredient was just a hoax. So, I checked on PubMed and found a paper that even the Incidecoder website referred to HERE IS THE STUDY, In the study, 35 women applied 2% of Cetyl Tranexamate Mestylate onto the skin twice a day for 8 weeks. Photographs and self-questionnaires were done to check progress.
After 2 weeks (not even the full 8), the women reported a change in their skin. 27/35 women said they saw an improvement in their skin tone and 26/35 women said there was an improvement in dark spots and 25/35 said they saw a reduction in facial redness. This does show that 2% of product should be used (which is what is in this serum) and also to get results faster or to start to see improvements quicker, this serum should probably be used twice a day.
My thoughts: of course this is subject to human error and the sample size was small – HOWEVER I think this is a simple first study and I do hope more studies + papers are published using this specific derivative so there’s a bit more evidence to back up its effects. That’s why I do not recommend this product AS A SUBSTITUTE to something that has a lot of studies backing it up i.e. Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) BUT I think if one has the money, this is a good supplement to add to an anti-pigmentation routine AND also if one doesn’t like oily or greasy serums or if someone CAN’T use Vitamin C or Alpha Arbutin (may be a bit too irritating), this is a nice, gentle supplement!
Full Ingredients: Water – 77.0%
Butylene Glycol – 5.0%
Propanediol – 5.0%
Glycerin – 5.0%
Niacinamide – 4.0%
Cetyl Tranexamate Mesylate – 2.0%
Cetyl Alcohol – 0.8%
Ceratonia Siliqua (Carob) Gum – 0.4%
Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum – 0.4%
Phenoxyethanol – 0.2%
Ethylhexylglycerin – 0.1%
Caprylyl Glycol – 0.1%
NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient breakdown HERE
NOTE: This is the only product I can find (so far) that contains Cetyl Tranexamate Mesylate (Good Molecules perhaps have it patented?) The only other Tranexamic Acid Derivative I can find is Cetyl Tranexamate Hcl WHICH I think is also patented by Chanel! As Chanel is the only brand that offers products containing this derivative, and those products also aim to brighten the skin! (Link HERE).
As you can see, this is a water-based, lightweight texture. It does do that frothing up/ foaming up thing if you apply another product on top of this too quickly. Hence why I like to apply my even lighter, water-based serums/solutions underneath this, as I don’t like that frothing up and I just apply my moisturiser over this once it has settled down/absorbed a bit.
As you can see, this isn’t TOTALLY see-through. It is quite translucent and has almost what looks like little white dots in it (as if powder is dispersed in the formula). But it doesn’t make this gritty.
This is not sticky or tacky but it does have some gel-like weight to it. I would apply it as my last serum i.e. Solution –> Serum 1 –> THIS –> Moisturiser 1 –> (Moisturiser 2)
Fragrance?: No added fragrance / essential oils – This doesn’t smell of anything either.
Good Under Makeup?: I didn’t use it under makeup as I find the texture wouldn’t really go with foundation (may end up having powder cling to it).
How long have I been using this?: I used until completion (Almost every PM for 2-3 months).
The Effect?: I found that this helped reduce the chance of me getting dark spots after a pimple. It also helped overall slowly improve the tone of my skin. I did have to use this consistently and I did not use this as my sole product to skin tone correct and used it in conjunction with my aPAD serum from Geek and Gorgeous as one helps with dark spots and pigmentation while the other helps more with red spots/rosacea and skin tone. This serum also hydrated/moisturised my skin.
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What I like:
- Didn’t sting or irritate
- Great supplement to an anti-pigmentation routine
- Provides some hydration/moisturisation (doesn’t just disappear)
- No fragrance / essential oils
- Helped reduce the chance of PIH after a pimple and also slowly helped fade OBVIOUS pigmentation (please don’t expect this to cure pigmentation! and I do recommend using this alongside other pigmentation treatments, not as a substitute!)
- The Ingredient % are presented on the list.
What I don’t like:
- Doesn’t fully disappear into the skin – what I mean is if one is in hot + humid weather, the texture may not be too pleasant as someone with dry skin or living in dry-er, cooler weather (hence why I preferred to use this in the PM)
- I wouldn’t use this as a substitute but as a supplement to pigmentation correction.
Overall Rating and Conclusion: 3.9/5 – This is a new ingredient and no one (yet) seems to be talking too much about this Tranexamic Acid Derivative, but I am always happy to add ingredients like this to my routine as a supplement AND also because a product like this doesn’t get in the way of my routine i.e it doesn’t prevent me from layering other serums in and it’s not so strong and potent that I get irritation and have to cool off for a few days. It’s easy to incorporate, and if it is helping with pigmentation, then that’s great.
Of course, It’s not as proven as Alpha Arbutin or Vitamin C to brighten the skin (yet) as there doesn’t seem to be that many studies – but I think it’s because this seems to be quite a new ingredient.
So I do hope that more research is done and so far to me, it seems to have helped NOT create new dark spots and also reduce the chance of scarring after having a spot. I’m sure the Niacinamide also helps with this. So overall a nice all-round serum! I would say that this isn’t a replacement for Vitamin C or Alpha Arbutin and even Retinol BUT this is a good ADDITION to one’s pigmentation routine.
For instance I used this serum to help with my dark spots WHILE also using the Geek and Gorgeous aPAD (Azelaic Acid Derivative Serum) to help with redness. So it was a good double-whammy of pigmentation correcting/preventing and then on alternate days I used this with the Exfoliating Liquid from G&G for skin re-texturing + Pore care and kept swapping with the aPAD. And in the AM I can use a Vitamin C Serum to help with not just pigmentation, but photo damage. So overall this serum is a good addition to one’s pigmentation-fighting routine!
Would I repurchase?: I think I would, but as a supplement in conjunction with a routine that contains Vitamin C and other brightening ingredients. And who doesn’t want to add Niacinamide to their routine?
Available On the Good Molecules Website HERE
Dupe?: The Inkey List Tranexamic Overnight Treatment HERE – Another good brightening product is the Hada Labo Alpha Arbutin Lotion HERE / The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin Lotion HERE OR the Inkey List Arbutin Lotion HERE
My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have slightly dehydrated combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.
Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.
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