Is the New Fenty Skincare Dark Spot Serum a Holy Grail Beauty Buy? An Investigation

Fenty Dark Spot Serum Review

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Confession: I am only human and thus — despite being a jaded beauty writer who rolls her eyes at celebrity skincare launches weekly — I’m as subject to Rihanna’s irresistible charisma as anyone. Additionally, I’ve had many previous good experiences with Fenty products, so I always sit up straight at the news of a new Fenty Beauty or Fenty Skin launch. When I heard a new serum was on the horizon (a dark spot serum, and just in time for summer, no less!), I jumped at the opportunity to try it.

Watch Ya Tone: 5% Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum With Vitamin C” ($62) launches in Australia today with some impressive claims.

In a consumer trial on 54 people, Watch Ya Tone achieved 30 per cent brighter skin and 31 per cent more even-looking tone in eight weeks. Of the 54, 78 per cent had improved dark spots.

I’ve been using it twice daily for a week now, and am here to report back with my verdict.

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What’s the Secret Sauce?

Watch Ya Tone: 5% Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum With Vitamin C" ($62) Rihanna wears Cookies N' Clean clay mask from Fenty Skincare.
Will Cookies n’ Clean with Ri forever. Image Credit: Fenty Skin

Watch Your Tone is all about inhibiting the production of melanin that results in hyperpigmentation, or dark spots. Dark spots are triggered when an injury occurs in your skin; sun exposure, hormonal changes, or physical damage like a cut or blemish are all prompting events for a melanin-meltdown.

When these injuries occur, an enzyme called tyrosinase is released and stimulates melanin production — a process that is a wonderful example of function over form in the human body. You see, dark spots serve a protective benefit: melanin production provides some protection against ultraviolet rays, for example, but they leave much room to be desired in the cosmetic department.

Indeed, in a study I am obsessed with, dark spots and discolouration were shown to superficially age study participants by up to 12 years, far outstripping wrinkles. As someone with fair skin who spent many (unwilling) hours at Nippers growing up, this is very concerning.

Watch Ya Tone contains 5 per cent niacinamide, a known anti-inflammatory and melanin inhibitor, as well as vitamin C (3-0-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid), a highly stable vitamin C derivative and a potent antioxidant that stimulates collagen production while inhibiting melanin production. These actives are combined with licorice root extract, yet another inhibitor ingredient. Your melanocytes are literally hemmed in with nowhere to go. Finally, camu camu and barbados cherry extracts provide further antioxidant filters, protecting your skin from free radicals and oxidative stress caused by pollution.

The Deal With My Skin:

Fenty dark spot serum reviewed
Reflecting on my nippers career. Image Credit: Supplied

So, what was Watch Ya Tone dealing with?

My skincare goal, above everything else on earth, is achieving an even skin tone. Rihanna said in a press statement that the serums were inspired by a her “obsession” with a “smooth, bright complexion”. It’s is one of many interests Rih and I share, and I choose to believe that we’ll one day have a chance to sit down and discuss them all.

I was keen to see if Watch Ya Tone would give me the Liv Tyler in Lord of the Rings complexion of my dreams, but I was also full of trepidation.

Sadly, I’d pre-prepped my skin by completely eviscerating my skin barrier in your typical beauty writer cocktail of too many new products (retinol and vitamin C, no less) and, well, too many cocktails. It’s that time of year!

Products that are designed to lift dark spots are often intense, just like the ones I’d been using. Adding another product into the mix flew in the face of expert advice, and it seemed like I’d be tempting fate.

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What Happened When I Tried Watch Ya Tone:

I do have a dark spot, but I only had a week, not eight weeks, to trial the product, so I can’t speak to drastic spot lightening properties — I’ll report back on that in eight weeks. I steeled myself, benched my retinol and vitamin C serum, and replaced them with Watch Ya Tone morning and night. Following usage instructions, I toned, applied eye cream, then popped it on before following with SPF during the day.

The serum has a gel-emulsion texture that will be familiar to lovers of Fenty Skin’s Fat Water. It has a glycerin and aloe vera water-heavy base, making it instantly hydrating and comforting.

While I haven’t been using the serum long enough to notice a difference in my much-maligned dark spot, I did see clearer, brighter-looking skin. I have the high levels of niacinamide to thank for these fast results. Niacinamide is a well-known anti-inflammatory and barrier-supportive antioxidant, which was much appreciated given the compromised state of my face. Watch Ya Tone provided a nice buffer between my raw, angry skin and the rest of the world.

F-Yes Refillables:

'Watch Ya Tone': 5% Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum With Vitamin C" ($62) refillable packaging.
Iconically refillable and exceptionally convenient packaging from Fenty Skin, Image Credit: Fenty Skin

Other than a stellar ingredients list, one of my favourite things about Watch Ya Tone is the packaging: a cylindrical vessel with a replaceable double compartment. I’m personally a huge believer in refilling over recycling when it comes to waste reduction in the beauty industry. Apparently that is yet another thing Rihanna and I have in common. Our girl told the press that her packaging was designed to be “as earth conscience and efficient as possible”.

Sitting somewhere between a canister and a syringe, one click will deposit the perfect amount of product, which means no wastage. As the pump is airless, it’s guaranteed to keep ingredients fresh and, unlike my many glass dropper bottle serums, would travel well, also.

I would follow RiRi anywhere, and just like the Cookies ‘N Clean, Whipped Clay Detox Face Mask ($49) I tried and fell in love with early this year, this is a great product, particularly for summer.

It’s perfect for someone who wants to control or lift dark spots, but can’t tolerate ingredients like vitamin C and retinol (or in my case, someone who needed a break from them). Watch Ya Tone is water-based and non-comedogenic, and the high percentage of retinol is ideal for someone who struggles with acne and dark spots. One ingredient to note is dimethicone. While this is fine for most people and gives sensitised skin barrier support, you may want to patch test this first if you’re easily irritated by silicones.

Is Watch Ya Tone *THE* Dark Spot Serum for Summer?

From my POV, Watch Ya Tone arrived just in time for summer and a skin disaster, and I’ll be adding it to my regular rotation. Praise be RiRi.

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