Review: Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

You know that saying “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone?” This is my skincare equivalent. It really works, and I learned the hard way that the fact that it works is kind of rare.

About a year and a half ago I developed melasma on my forehead as a result of changing birth control pills. Coincidentally, around the same, time the PR team at Kiehl’s sent me a review sample of their big new thing – Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, a dark spot reducing serum. Nice timing.

Until that point I had never had need of a dark spot reducing product and thus had no preconceived notions about the spot reducing product industry. Contrast this with, say, the cellulite reducing product industry, which I’ve found over the course of the last 15 years to be a complete racket. I assumed the new Kiehl’s product would accomplish its main purpose, reducing the appearance of the icky dark blob on my forehead.

I dutifully applied the Clearly Corrective serum twice daily as a first step in my skincare routine. By the time I finished the bottle, even my (non-Kiehl’s-affiliated) esthetician was proclaiming me melasma-free. My problem had been solved. So, why didn’t I review the product then? I didn’t find it particularly special, other than the fact that it worked. This, to me, was like saying a new moisturizer generally moisturized my skin, but I didn’t find it otherwise remarkable – no real reason to expound on that revelation in words. Little did I know…

Fast forward a few months. My friendly local melasma patch was back in action. Armed with my newly formed, and completely mistaken, belief that dark spot correctors were kind of like moisturizers – generally useful for their main purpose – I purchased a fun new product from the Sephora website. Four months later I was no lighter in the spot department. I purchased another (quite expensive) Sephora best seller. Six months later, still no luck. Evidently a good dark spot reducer is hard to find.

So, that brings me to the moral of my story. Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution works. Well, at least I’ve found that it works quite well on hormone-induced melasma. And now, a year and half later and much smarter, I’ve just ordered my second bottle.

→ Buy the Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, $52.00 – $135.00, at

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on January 23, 2013; it has since been updated.

Leave a Reply