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Dark spot serums are a dime a dozen these days but they’re not created equal — at all. Some have potentially harmful ingredients that can lighten your skin instead of evening the tone, or just don’t do anything at all. That’s why Lion Pose launched Unspotted 4X Dark Spot + Hyperpigmentation AHA Serum, exclusively at Sephora. It’s such an exciting new product, Mindy Kaling is an investor in the brand.

Madhu Punjabi and Nisha Phatak founded Lion Pose to change the way the beauty industry creates products for melanated skin. They both went to Harvard Business School and work with Harvard-trained dermatologists to formulate products to target hyperpigmentation, melasma, acne, and eczema on all skin tones.

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On their medical board is Dr. Laura Scott, who was the Associate Director of the Skin of Color, Division at the University of Miami’s Dept. of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery and currently serves as co-chair of the Skin of Color Society’s Technology and Media Committee. There’s also Dr. Suchismita (Tia) Paul, who authored several scientific publications and book chapters.

Kaling was so impressed, she invested right away.

Founders Madhu Punjabi and Nisha Phatak. Image: Lion Pose.
Founders Madhu Punjabi and Nisha Phatak. Image: Lion Pose.

The need for more inclusive skincare is why Lion Pose was founded, but the product is a need on its own as well. People of color are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation and it’s even tougher for them to get rid of. That’s why all skincare should be tested on diverse skin tones, something Lion Pose promises its customers.

 Lion Pose launched Unspotted 4X Dark Spot + Hyperpigmentation AHA Serum,
Image: Lion Pose.

At the launch party for Lion Pose in Los Angeles, I caught up with Kaling. She explained how hard it was for her to find a dark spot serum that didn’t lighten her skin or irritate it. She’s able to use Unspotted every day.

“Lion Pose is my second to last step before I put on my nighttime moisturizer,” she said. “I’m using it every day because I have some hyperpigmentation marks I want to take care of on my neck and my face. It’s gentle enough on my skin, I don’t have any irritation but it tingles so I feel like something is happening.”

She washes her face, applies a toner, Unspotted, and then a moisturizer. She likes to cleanse with Tatcha The Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder ($68 at Sephora) and tone and moisturize with brands such as La Mer and Cetaphil. We love a high-low routine.

So, what exactly is in this magical serum? Well, there’s a 15 percent blend of azelaic, glycolic, lactic, and tranexamic acids to reduce the look of hyperpigmentation and dark spots while exfoliating skin. Glutathione is an antioxidant that protects skin from free radical damage, and a blend of hyaluronic acid, tiger grass, and aloe boosts hydration and calms irritated skin.

It’s vegan, cruelty-free, and part of Clean at Sephora.

I’ve been using Unspotted for a few weeks now and I’m already seeing a more even skin tone. There are a few dark spots around my eyes that I’m looking forward to seeing fade over time as I use it. I have fair skin that’s very sensitive and eczema-prone but so far, I don’t have any redness or sensitized areas. (I did start by applying every other day.) To minimize irritation, I’ve been focusing on hydration with my other products, such as Shani Darden’s Hydration Peptide Cream. You can use what you like, of course.

Lion Pose Unspotted 4X Dark Spot + Hyperpigmentation AHA Serum is now available at Sephora.