The ‘Perfect Serum for Hyperpigmentation’ That Took Two Years to Make

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When Maelove founder Jackie Kim introduces a product, it is not without a ton of testing, versions, feedback from friends and, above all, patience. (She calls the process an “obsessively formulated skin-care exploration,” and she should really run to copyright that term ASAP, because it honestly and accurately describes everything that goes into her entire line.)

While she’s shared behind-the-scenes lab info, waitlist numbers, customer request emails, SKU volumes and percentages of actives with me before, she’s never tacked on the big one: How long it actually takes to create something she deems effective from nuts to bolts.

Until now.

“Two-plus years,” she shares over a midday Zoom to discuss her latest—rather personal—product launch she calls Fade Away Brightening Serum ($30), which launches next week. “This one took me two years to make. And it fixed the number-one skin-care issue I’ve always been trying to tackle.”

As Kim recalls, after many years on hydroquinone, she still couldn’t shake her dark spots, discoloration and hyperpigmentation. “Hydroquinone just didn’t work for me, so I went with alpha arbutin, kojic acid and licorice root extract for a natural, gentle and safe alternative. These powerhouse actives, plus botanicals and oils, make it work for even sensitive skin types—it really is the perfect serum for hyperpigmentation; I’d even go as far to say it works on acne scars as well.”

She’s also realistic about how soon you’ll see results—a rather rare occurrence when it comes to skin-care claims: “It’s not going to happen overnight, but I did see a real difference after two months.”

But don’t take Kim’s word for it: She says even her test-subject friends were “blown away” by how well it worked. “A lot of them were saying it was treating and preventing spots. I know they were really impressed.”

As for the real-life review from those of us not related to Kim: Yes, it’s legit. The green-hued serum delivers that always-enviable silky-yet-not-stick consistency of a thick serum. I haven’t hit the one-month mark to really see results, but I do know my sensitive skin hasn’t had total havoc placed upon it (another rare occurrence), which I’m pretty sure can be chalked up to the added antioxidants and anti-inflammatories (and time and care) Kim added to the formula.

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