Dark-spot correctors are the savings bonds of beauty: They're not particularly sexy, and gratification is typically delayed. So I wasn't exactly excited when the Clarins Mission Perfect Serum first crossed my desk. Makeup artist Robin Black of Beauty Is Boring advised me to give it a chance, though, so I brought it home and dutifully slathered it on the left side of my face, where a constellation of small dark spots had appeared after a breakout.
About two months later, I was halfway through the serum, and the left side of my face was looking notably more luminous. Better yet, my Cassiopeia of dark spots had disappeared. It's not like I was Benjamin Button–ing, but it was enough that a dermatologist would notice. Clarins attributes the serum's brightening nature to acerola extract, a type of Mexican tropical berry that purportedly has antioxidant properties. In this day and age, it's impressive when anything is truly dependable — even a serum.
Clarins Mission Perfect Serum, $72 at Sephora.com