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When I received an invitation this August to try out a new millennial-focused skincare line, Younger and Clearer by Jessica Alba’s Honest Beauty, I’ll be honest — I rolled my eyes. Mostly because, as a millennial, I hate seeing brands create and sell us things that they think we need that we usually don’t.
But I went with it because, again, as a millennial, I’m still intrigued by anything attached to a celebrity name, and also because the line was created with real twentysomething skin problems in mind: the double whammy of adult acne breakouts and scarring along with fears of early fine lines and wrinkles. (Look at that — something tons of millennials actually need to address!)
“I saw that there was a gap in the marketplace for products that addressed both of these concerns,” says Alba over email. So she set out to do it herself (with a team of really intense scientists and brand developers, of course), following Honest Beauty’s clean ingredients-only rule to address post-teen breakouts and preventative measures for early aging at the same time.
The five-piece lineup consists of cleanser, spot treatment, toner, night serum, and moisturizer. When I tested out the line, I used them all in conjunction; as just about every beauty brand will tell you, their products work best when you use them all together. But since that’s not entirely true (gasp!), I substituted my own favorite toner and moisturizer after a week, seamlessly working them in with my favorite three products from Younger and Clearer. Let’s get into them, shall we?
The Resurfacing Cleanser ($18) is a gel formula with 0.5 percent salicylic acid (you know, the hero ingredient for conquering acne). It hardly lathers, which is nice because foaming cleansers can be pretty drying on skin that’s already having a hard time. It gets all the dirt, sweat, and makeup off my face without leaving it feeling stripped.
The next big win for me out of this line is the Spot-On Remedy ($14), a salicylic acid gel (ringing in at 2 percent) that you’ll wanna use — as the name suggests — to spot-treat any unruly breakouts. It also contains neem and rosehip extracts that help with the discomfort and tightness that can accompany these types of treatments. I get a stress breakout at least once a week, and this product has given me immediate, overnight results. If a blemish isn’t totally gone by the time I wake up, it’s noticeably reduced, not calling any puffy, red attention to itself.
As for the if-you-buy-anything-buy-this hero product, both Alba and I agree that it’s the $38 Night Serum. It’s great for a couple of reasons: It’s a retinol and it contains 0.5 percent salicylic acid, and if you know much about either ingredient, you’d know the pairing is a recipe for super red and irritated skin. This one, however, doesn’t cause any of that for me at all, because the brand’s trademarked Honestly Pure Retinol is encapsulated to make it more stable.
“The science behind our hero product, the Night Serum, is really cutting-edge,” says Alba. Science! Magic! Whatever, it really works. When I wake up, my face is noticeably smoother and more lively, and after about a week of continued use, I noticed the rough and dark areas around my chin and neck were less so.
I turned 25 this summer, and I have no idea what the hell is going on with my face. It’s nice to have these new additions to my medicine cabinet to address my worries about breakouts and dry spots, and my new habit of obsessing (albeit prematurely) over early signs of aging. If I’ve piqued your interest enough that you want to give it a try without being full-on committed, the brand offers a little sample kit for $29 that you can buy here.