You Don't Have to Bleach Your Skin Like Lil Kim for Fairer Skin

The troubled star's unsettling Instagram snaps are putting a big global beauty problem under the spotlight.

When 41-year-old Lil' Kim (aka Kimberly Denise Jones) posted a series of photos on Instagram with peroxide blonde hair, bubble gum pink, plumped up lips and porcelain skin, the internet went into overdrive - one camp slammed her all-too-obvious transformation, the other rushed to her defense.

Love her or simply confused by her, Lil' Kim's MJ-style makeover speaks volumes about the pressures women feel to conform to mass-marketed beauty ideals. Any attempt to celebrate diversity is marred by the whitewashing of our cinema, our TV shows, our magazines and our advertising campaigns. Sure, a number of black women are beauty ambassadors (think Lupita N'yongo's dazzling work for Lancôme), but they remain the exception, not the norm.

Whether Lil' Kim's porcelain skin is the result of hardcore bleaching treatments or heavy Instagram filtering (most likely, a mix of both), it's rendered her unrecognisable from the star who shot to fame in the '90s. While Lil' Kim's skin whitening is on the extreme end of the scale, thousands of women spend a small fortune on whitening and lightening products, particularly across Asia and Africa, because they think their natural skin tone isn't good enough. 

It's easy to judge Lil' Kim, but just think: how many of us have chosen the Valencia filter on Instagram because it made us look more tanned? Or spent hundreds a year on spray tans, gradual tan and bronzer if we're not buying up big on whiteners? We all want what we don't naturally have, and the beauty industry is worth billions because of it.

On the bright side (pun intended), there’s no shortage of skin-lightening, complexion-perfecting options out there. Whether you have a collection of brown spots invading your forehead or you’re just looking to get in front of the issue, there’s a skin-brightening solution for you. Scroll through to find it!


#1. Professional Solution: Remove Unwanted Pigmentation with Divine Whitening Program 
While a few strategically-placed freckles might look adorable on a no-trace face, a graffitied mess of irregular pigmentation will rob away skin’s pure luminosity and add years to the face. The pairing of the stain-dissolving Pigment Laser and radiance-infusing Vitamin Therapy remains an all-time favourite in The Sloane Clinic's signature Divine Whitening Program to promote a head-turning translucent glow. Based on a landmark Japanese study, this crowd-pleaser targets spots and rebalances the colour tone deep within skin while boosting and realigning collagen strands in a parallel fashion that can reflect light optimally.

SGD$4066, available at all The Sloane Clinic branches.
Program Details: 8 sessions Pigment laser, 4 sessions Vitamin Therapy, 4 times whitening facial wraps

 



#2: Potent Dark Spot Corrector: Sloane Inc Instant Pigment Corrector S6.3
This transformative cream serum combines the power of three to combat stubborn spots and restore youthful brilliance: Vitamin A revitalizes drab, lined skin; potent lighteners pulverizes pigment splodges; while soothing botanicals quells inflammation triggered by environmental damage to bring balance and a beautifully calm, clear luminosity to the skin. Our beauty future is so bright with this skincare superhero, shades might be required.

$80 SGD, available at all The Sloane Clinic branches.



#3. Brightening Face Wash: NUDE Skincare Brightening Fizzy Powder Wash
Nude’s brightening fizzy powder wash is another vitamin C soldier, with scorbic acid, lemon and lime extracts, and Brazilian acerola fruit—all mega-brighteners. The scrubby bits are vanilla orchid and rose hip seeds crushed up. This powder becomes effervescent with water and feels like an energizing fizzy treat for your face in the morning.

$42 USD, available at Nudeskincare.com


#4. Brightening Peel: Rodial Super Acids x-treme Acid Rush Peel
The star of the show is the X-Treme Acid Rush Peel ($94); using 100% active Azelaic, plus Glycolic and Lactic acids, it resurfaces skin and increases cell turnover to reduce the appearance of blotches and blemishes for a dramatically more luminous complexion. Think of it as an at-home version of those costly professional peels. I expected some sort of tingling sensation but shockingly enough felt really gentle on my sensitive skin.

£75.00, available at Rodial.co.uk


#5. Brightening Serum: Yoshimomo Botanique Supernatural Serum
It's never too early to combat signs of aging and Yoshimomo Botanique's serum is just what we need. Formulated with vitamin C, hyaluronic acid + alpha hydroxyl acids to minimize the appearance of fine lines, decrease spots + discoloration, moisturize, improve skin's elasticity, firm + protect against age-accelerating static and stress for a picture perfect, ageless complexion.

$54 USD, available at Urban Outfitters.com

#6. Brightening Sheet Mask: Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Brightening Mask
Sheet masks are a terrific way to get skincare ingredients to sink into your skin, wasting no drop of what can sometimes be an expensive treatment. This would be one of those treatments. Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Brightening Masks contain the brand’s trademarked Snowise Tri-White Complex as well as Korean herbs—each mask is fermented for two weeks in white ginseng to bring out its most potent brightening powers. The mask itself is made from compressed plant pulp and is much more delicate that your run-of-the-mill sheet mask. All of this stuff boosts circulation in your skin, imparts instant brightening appearance, and minimizes age spots.

 $130 USD (10 masks), available at Nordstorm.com 


#7. Brightening Make Up:  The Estée Edit by Estée Lauder Skin Glowing Balm Makeup with Pink Peony
The creators of this line purposefully left out foundation (it's been done, and you probably already have one). Instead, they made trend-forward skin balm that sits on the epidermis like a sheer second layer. But let's be real: if you're a millennial, you probably don't want heavy coverage and this product will make your naturally gorgeous skin glow, thanks to shea butter, evening primrose oil, and murumuru seed.

$36 USD, available at Sephora.com




#8. Brightening Supplement: Crystal Tomato 
This highly effective 100% natural supplement is bursting with powerful skin brightening and whitening benefits. Each pill contains a powerhouse of three naturally cultivated crystal tomatoes rich in youth-enhancing colourless carotenoids that are proven to inhibit melanin synthesis and deliver complexion whitening goodness from within. Potent antioxidants also act as an invisible UV shield, protecting the skin from the Apollo’s omnipresent harmful rays so you stay effortlessly fair and radiant, from top to toe.

Available at The Sloane Clinic's branches.




#9. Brightening Facial Oil: KORRES Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil
This innovative brightening oil infused with real wild rose petals pays homage to the legendary wild rose oil ingredient that started it all. This ultra-concentrated vitamin C oil is rich in omega 3, 6, 9, fatty acids, and vitamins A and C. It provides significant antioxidant action while repairing the look of fine lines and wrinkles and improving skin's overall tone and texture. The formula is boosted with super C which increases skin's vitamin C absorption by 1,000 percent to support natural collagen synthesis, powerful skin brightening, tone repair, and antioxidant protection against free radical and UV damage. Camapu, a plant derived extract delivers anti-thermal aging activity and anti-inflammatory benefits while improving skin's luminosity. The silky oil easily absorbs into skin, delivering a fresh, dewy, enviable glow

$54 USD, available at Sephora.com



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The Skin Radar is an online avenue which documents my tumbling thoughts, ideas and musings from my daily life, mainly based on skincare and beauty. It is designed to take the clutter out of beauty journalism to provide trustworthy and objective insights, new finds and sneak peaks- all in a beautiful and clean platform.

I test all products & treatments with age and skin colour in mind, break down the latest health fads, and source for expert opinions from international skincare leaders. All in all, my goal is to make sure that I am on top of every beauty innovation and skincare trend the world has to offer.