Before the holidays, I became obsessed with trying Estee Lauder’s new Enlighten products. I found very few blogger reviews (except for Pixiwoo‘s rave for the EE Skintone Corrector). Estee Lauder’s Enlighten series includes three items– the Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum ($62), the Enlighten Even Effect Skintone Corrector ($40) and the Enlighten Even Skintone Correcting Creme ($55). I’ve been using these three items for about two and one-half weeks. The Estee Lauder Enlighten line is available at all Estee sources, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora.
I want to preface my review by noting that, at the same time, I switched to Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Toner ($42) and Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective White Skin Brightening Exfoliator ($29) as part of my daily cleansing routine. Because these are used to address the very same concern, I want to let you know that.
The Estee Lauder Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum is the cornerstone of the system. Despite the name designating this as “Night Serum,” Estee Lauder’s website recommends using both day and night. The line says that this takes four weeks to see results (actually, they say “If you could see your skin 4 weeks from now, you’d start tonight.”) Personally, I used this serum only at night topped with the moisturizing Correcting Creme.
It’s lightweight, easily absorbed, and has a gentle scent that fades. The serum is easy to forget once it’s applied–it really does seem to disappear into my skin. The ingredient list is here.
The second item is the Estee Lauder Correcting Creme. I didn’t buy this at first, because I thought that it would be very heavy. I did grab it the evening before I started the regime, because I felt that to fully assess the system I had to try it all together. I’ve used this night and day.
Although the creme wasn’t quite as heavy as I feared, the Correcting Creme is on the very rich side. There is a strong perfumed scent. This feels a little old school.
Compared to some other moisturizers that I’ve tried, this isn’t one that I’d necessarily re-purchase. Nonetheless, the results that I’m getting from the whole system might persuade me otherwise.
Finally, Estee Lauder has created an “EE Creme” (groan! that name!) that works with the other products. This comes in three colors only–I used 01 Light (its also sold in Medium and Dark). As luck would have it, Light seemed to work fine for my warm, fair skin. Unsurprisingly, it runs warm (I’m not sure how this would play on cool skin tones). Essentially, this feels like a tinted moisturizer that builds almost to medium coverage. The finish is very, very glowy (get ready to powder down if you have oily skin). I’ve mostly worn this by itself, the formula has something that optically blurs discolorations. That part works. Whenever I wore it, any areas of skin discolorations were significantly less apparent without a heavy or mask-like overall coverage. It’s nice to be able to see a touch of skin, have sheer coverage, and mimize discolorations at the same time. This EE cream can be worn under foundation if you prefer to add a different finish–I’ve done this several times, and it seems to work well. The optical blurring properties continue to work, even under another product.This product is listed as SPF 30 (and its ingredient list is here).
Above is a heavy swatch comparison with Estee Lauder Enlighten in #01 Light, against Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 20 Beige. As you can see, the Chanel 20 Beige is actually slightly warmer.
The Enlighten EE creme photographs well for casual pictures (Pixioo was right on about that!), but I personally find it too dewy for more formal pictures. Worn alone, my forehead is glowy all day (morning to night) unless I powder it down. Applying the iPhone and white collar shirt test, I don’t seem to be getting huge transfer (it’s not perfect). The longevity of coverage and correction is quite good. This feels slightly on the heavy side; it’s not cake batter time but it isn’t weightless either. The weight is especially noticeable if you layer it up for more coverage. It’s scented (sort of sunscreen-ish), but it fades eventually.
Unlike MAC’s CC correctors, which are spot-color-correctors , Estee’s EE cream is actually foundation-like and attacks all imperfections in a single product–redness, darkness, blue discoloration. As I said earlier, this aspect of the product does work on me. Of course, you can supplement its effect even more with a color corrector or concealer.
My verdict so far on the system as a whole is a positive. I don’t want to gush over the line or create false hopes–there are downsides to the formulations as I’ve attempted to note. Note that I have added the Kiehl’s products mentioned above (which include Vitamin C) and wore this Chanel sunscreen consistently. Also, tackling discolorations can feel like a “two steps forward, one step back.” It’s a tough problem and there’s a plethora of offerings (Guerlain just began offering a new Pearl line, as one example).
My skin is without a doubt more even toned. Areas of discoloration after using this combination of products for 2 1/2 weeks has faded a good 60-7o%. Using the EE cream, it’s barely noticeable even in harsh bright light. I’m getting “did you do something different?” comments. It’s always nice to find solutions that don’t rely on hydroquinone and exfoliation as their primary actives. Estee Lauder’s Enlighten line actually feels quite gentle and hydrating and does not seem to be exfoliating at all. Indeed, when I add an at-home peel, my skin now looks really good. I should note that I don’t know how the system would work if I’d only used one or two products in the line.
My apologies for not being able to include more images (including the ingredient images) in this review. I discarded the boxes on my trip, unfortunately, and obtained these too quickly to set up a camera among the home renovation chaos that’s happening here before catching a flight. There are so few in-depth reviews for these products at present, I thought it best to write something for those considering the line. The Estee Lauder Enlighten line is available at all Estee sources, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora.
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