Last summer, 24-year-olds Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng launched Topicals, an Instagram-friendly beauty brand addressing chronic skin conditions with clinically-tested, fragrance-free formulas. It even became available at Sephora last month, only to sell out in under 48 hours. Now, though, Topicals' debut products — including the customer-loved Faded Serum — are officially back in stock.
The brand's Sephora launch arose as part of Sephora Accelerate, the retailer's incubation program focused on founders of color. "Sephora Accelerate is really awesome because you get the behind-the-scenes of a lot of brands that are much older than you and have been successful at Sephora," Olowe, who also serves as Topicals' CEO, told InStyle. "We've gotten to speak with a lot of founders. It's really cool to just hear the unfiltered truth about what it's like to grow at Sephora, and how great the team there is."
The Topicals Faded Serum combats all forms of hyperpigmentation, the umbrella term used to describe discoloration and scarring that can arise from acne and other conditions. According to the brand, it was formulated through a series of third-party studies conducted by professionals like Dr. Joyce Teng, the Director of Pediatric Dermatology at Stanford.
All that testing clearly paid off: Take one look at the product page's before-and-after photos, and you'll see that Faded is nothing short of a magic eraser. The serum combines ingredients like damage-repairing niacinamide with lesser-known botanicals like centella asiatica leaf extract, an antioxidant that accelerates healing and collagen production, and kojic acid, a fungi-derived exfoliant that balances skin's color and texture. Plus, its adorable red and pink packaging is entirely recyclable.
Shop now: $36; sephora.com
"For me, I'm super happy about creating a product that works on a plethora of skin tones and works really quickly," said Olowe. "A lot of times, these products are created and don't actually work for darker-skinned people. Being a darker-skinned Black woman, I wanted to make sure our products were not only effective, but also safe for long-term use. I tell people all the time, when you make a product that works for people of color, you actually make a product that works better for everyone else."
According to reviewers, the serum's vaguely sulfuric smell takes some getting used to, but the results are totally worth it. "I have used a LOT of serums in the past that all sort of helped with fading dark marks, but not like this," one Sephora shopper wrote. "Faded has not only faded my dark marks and longtime acne scarring, but it has also improved my texture and not once disturbed my moisture barrier. I love, love, love this product."
"After completing my nightly routine with Faded, I noticed a difference in my skin OVERNIGHT," said another. "This product is great for people of color."
You can grab the Topicals Faded Serum for just $36 on Sephora's website. "I get really excited because our price point is accessible for people to get a product that performs either on par with or better than prescriptions, in some cases," Olowe added. "Instead of them having to build a routine with multiple single-ingredient products, they can get one power-packed formula that just knocks out discoloration."
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