Like many skin care brands, the story behind Specific Beauty starts with a dermatologist who noticed a trend in her patients’ skin concerns. In this case, board-certified dermatologist Heather Woolery-Lloyd, M.D. created Specific Beauty after listening to thousands of patients of different backgrounds, skin tones, and shades, complain about the lack of products that addressed their unique concerns — uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, and rough texture.
Due to these concerns, Dr. Heather created MelaTone therapy, a 3-step skincare system tailored to the unique needs of melanin-rich skin tones. This system is claimed to help reduce the appearance of dark marks, visibly brighten and even skin tone, calm irritation, and prevent future discoloration.
But can the Specific Beauty products really provide all of these benefits? To answer this question, we’ll review the top 10 best Specific Beauty products with a scientific lens, meaning we’ve evaluated the research that supports (or doesn’t support) the ingredients that you’ll find in these products. We’ll also share some Specific Beauty reviews so that you can get a better idea of what customers really think about these products.
What Are The Top 10 Best Specific Beauty Products?
If your goal is to create an entire skin care routine to address discoloration and uneven skin tone, look no further; Specific Beauty has products for every step of your routine, including cleansers, toners, serums, eye creams, treatments, and more.
The brand offers two different kits with their products:
- Specific Beauty Daily Brightening Essentials Kit (also called MelaTone therapy) contains 3 products
- Specific Beauty Day and Night Deluxe Collection contains 5 products
If you aren’t ready to invest in a kit, here’s a breakdown of each of the individual Specific Beauty products.
Specific Beauty Daily Gentle Cleanser
- Sulfate-free facial cleanser that is suitable for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin
- Claimed to gently whisk away dirt, oil, and pore-clogging impurities while maintaining the delicate moisture balance for skin that’s clean, smooth, and nourished
- Very basic formulation that includes emollients and surfactants; no ingredients to brighten or exfoliate the skin
- Fragrance free
Specific Beauty Intensive Skin Brightening Serum
- Targeted treatment that is claimed to help restore radiance while smoothing skin texture and tone for a more even-looking complexion
- Key ingredients include niacinamide, licorice root extract, phenylethyl resorcinol, bisabolol, ginger root extract, vitamin E, and retinol
- Does not contain hydroquinone
- Fragrance free
Specific Beauty Active Brightening Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30
- Lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that contains chemical sunscreen ingredients (avobenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone) to provide broad spectrum SPF 30 protection
- Additional key ingredients include niacinamide, vitamin E, licorice root extract, Indian gooseberry extract, and phospholipids
- Claimed to hydrate, protect, and illuminate your skin
- Fragrance free
Specific Beauty Lightening and Brightening Eye Cream
- Rich eye cream that is claimed to visibly diminish the appearance of dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles
- Key ingredients include glycerin, synthetic emollients, vitamin E, sodium hyaluronate, niacinamide, ubiquinone, green tea leaf extract, and retinyl palmitate
- Brand claims vitamin C is a key ingredient, but there’s a very low concentration of ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C derivative) in this formula
- Does not contain hydroquinone
- Fragrance free
Specific Beauty Replenishing Moisture Complex
- Hydrating facial moisturizer that is claimed to restore your skin’s protective moisture barrier, protect skin from free radical damage, and soothe skin
- Key ingredients include glycerin, synthetic emollients, olive oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, squalane, cholesterol, grape seed oil, and purslane
- Fragrance free
Specific Beauty Radiance Repair Night Treatment
- Nighttime anti-aging facial treatment that is claimed to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, enhance skin’s clarity, brighten and even skin tone, deeply hydrate, and provide soothing and calming benefits
- Key ingredients glycerin, synthetic emollients, niacinamide, squalane, shea butter, olive oil, vitamin E, licorice root extract, panthenol, and retinol
- Fragrance free
Specific Beauty Dark Spot Corrector Pads
- Single-use facial pads to be used after cleansing
- Claimed to help brighten skin for a more even-looking tone, protect against environmental damage, and help soothe skin for an overall healthy-looking, radiant complexion
- Key ingredients include green tea leaf extract, bearberry leaf extract, licorice root extract, Indian gooseberry extract, glycerin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), silybin, arbutin, and kojic acid
- Fragrance free
Specific Beauty Purifying Cleanser
- Gel cleanser formulated to gently but thoroughly cleanse skin and remove dirt, oil, impurities and unclog pores
- Claimed to help skin look and feel soft, refreshed and revitalized
- Key ingredients include surfactants, salicylic acid, chamomile flower extract, and aloe vera leaf extract
- Contains synthetic fragrance and dyes
Specific Beauty Advanced Brightening Overnight Mask
- Creamy leave-on facial mask
- Claimed to visibly plump, hydrate, and smooth skin while also reducing the appearance of dark spots
- Key ingredients include synthetic emollients, glycerin, hexylresorcinol, palm oil, cottonseed oil, licorice root extract, and linseed oil
Specific Beauty Skin Brightening Toner
- A gentle toner that is claimed to remove impurities and leave skin hydrated and revitalized
- Key ingredients include green tea leaf extract, orange fruit water, ascorbyl glucosamine (vitamin C derivative), Indian gooseberry extract, mulberry bark extract, bearberry leaf extract, arbutin, and ascorbic acid
- Contains a synthetic fragrance blend
What Are The Key Ingredients in Specific Beauty Products?
After evaluating the Specific Beauty products, we noticed that Specific Beauty products are formulated with ingredients to brighten skin without the use of hydroquinone.
While hydroquinone is the gold standard treatment option for hyperpigmentation, there’s a potential for exogenous ochronosis to occur when using hydroquinone products, especially if you have dark skin. Ochronosis is a reaction where the skin darkens in areas where the hydroquinone was applied; the exact opposite of what it is intended to do! Interestingly, this phenomenon has only been documented in darker-skinned patients. Remember that Specific Beauty products are formulated for those with melanin-rich skin, which is likely why Dr. Heather did not include hydroquinone in the formulations.
Even though Specific Beauty products don’t contain hydroquinone, they still may be able to help fade dark spots and even skin tone thanks to brightening ingredients like niacinamide, licorice root extract, and Indian gooseberry extract. Let’s take a closer look at each of these key ingredients in the Specific Beauty products.
Niacinamide, the amide form of vitamin B3, is one of the best skin brightening ingredients. It works by inhibiting melanosome transfer from melanocytes (melanin-forming cells) to keratinocytes (skin cells). A melanosome is an organelle found in cells and is the site for synthesis, storage, and transport of melanin. By inhibiting transfer of melanin to skin cells, niacinamide can help to prevent the formation of dark spots and discoloration.
Besides helping to brighten the skin, niacinamide provides quite a few additional benefits. For instance, a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, acne, and wrinkling.
Licorice root extract is used in Specific Beauty products because it is one of the best naturally-derived ingredients for hyperpigmentation. The active components in licorice extract are glabridin and glycyrrhiza glabra. Glabridin works by inhibiting the production of melanin. After repeated application, the outer layer of the darker skin is replaced by lighter skin. Glycyrrhiza glabra has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, therefore, it can soothe the skin and provide protection against environmental free radicals.
According to a publication in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, “Licorice extract improves hyperpigmentation by dispersing the melanin, inhibition of melanin biosynthesis, and inhibition of cyclooxygenase activity thereby decreasing free radical production.”
The final key ingredient that you’ll find in several Specific Beauty products is Indian gooseberry extract. Also known as amla, Indian gooseberry is the highest antioxidant food in the world. It trumps all fruits, vegetables, teas, and other foods. What is the Indian gooseberry antioxidant content in comparison to other superfoods? The antioxidant value of Indian Gooseberry (Amla Berries), Dried described in ORAC units is: 261,500 μ mol TE/100g. To put it in perspective, it’s 75x higher than goji berries, 50x higher than raw blueberries, and 2.5x higher than acai fruit. The antioxidants in Indian gooseberry help protect skin from the damaging effects of free radicals. This fruit extract is also known to be very soothing, thereby helping to calm redness and irritation.
Where to Buy Specific Beauty Products?
Specific Beauty products are sold online on the brand’s website and on Amazon. As for physical retail locations, Specific Beauty products are sold exclusively at Target.
What is The Specific Beauty Return Policy?
The Specific Beauty return policy states, “If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with any of our products, simply return them within 60 days of purchase for a full refund (less s&h).”
Is Specific Beauty Cruelty Free?
Yes, Specific Beauty is cruelty free.
Specific Beauty Reviews
Specific Beauty reviews on the brand’s website are mostly positive, with the brand as a whole receiving an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars after nearly 500 customer ratings (the brand does not display reviews for specific products, but rather groups all reviews together).
Many Specific Beauty reviews applaud the products for helping to dramatically fade dark spots, even the complexion, and help to keep skin looking youthful. For example, one very positive Specific Beauty review says, “I bought this two months ago and I am loving what it did to my face. The dark spots are gone and my skin tone is even, there’s no dark marks whatsoever.”
However, it’s important to take a look at the negative Specific Beauty reviews, too. While there aren’t many negative reviews, the ones that we did find are from customers who did not see the results they were hoping for after using Specific Beauty products. For example, one reviewer shares, “I bought the entire kit a month ago at Target. My Before and After results are the same; No changes are noted. I followed instructions to the letter.”
Specific Beauty products are formulated with evidence-based ingredients to help brighten the skin. The only drawbacks are that some products contain low concentrations of key ingredients, and a couple products contain synthetic fragrance blends.
- Products contain evidence-based ingredients
- Many positive Specific Beauty reviews
- Some products contain synthetic fragrance and dyes
- Some products contain low concentrations of key ingredients
What Are Some Alternatives to Specific Beauty Skin Care?
Overall, we think that Specific Beauty products can be a good option for those looking for a skin care routine to treat discoloration and uneven skin tone. But maybe you have other skin concerns, such as lines, wrinkles, and loss of firmness. If so, we’d recommend considering skin care products that are formulated to treat these signs of aging. One of our favorite products for aging skin is Formulyst’s Pro-Collagen Serum.
Pro-Collagen Serum is a lightweight, restorative serum specifically formulated for aging skin that has experienced a loss of collagen. Think of collagen as the scaffolding of the skin; it gives structure, support and suppleness. But collagen production naturally slows down as we age, causing wrinkles and fine lines to appear. Formulyst’s Pro-Collagen Serum contains a highly concentrated mix of peptides and proteins, derived from seaweed, wheat, and soy, to help tackle these signs of aging. Apply a few drops of this anti-aging serum to help skin look smoother and younger.
There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that is effective and safe. Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the power of plants with cutting edge science. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals as well as the preservatives, emulsifiers and thickeners commonly found in skincare products.