April 20, 2024

MaeLove Fade Away Brightening Serum Review With Before/after Photos

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Blame it on the time I spent recklessly sunbathing on beaches and in tanning beds during my 20s, but over the last few years, sunspots have been popping up all over my face. While I’m far more responsible about protecting my skin with high-SPF sunscreen these days, these dark spots remain a source of insecurity. I often try covering them up with thick layers of foundation, and I’m on a seemingly neverending quest for skincare products that can help me lighten them. 

Enter: Maelove. We swear by their products, and you can check our our Maelove glow maker review, Maelove Hydrator review, and our general Maelove skincare review to see exactly why. Unsurprisingly, Maelove’s Fade Away Brightening Serum is another winner. It contains a potent trio of pigmentation-fighting ingredients. What’s more — it also contains over 40 different phyto-compounds aimed at preventing further dark spots from forming. So I conducted a thorough Maelove Fade Away review by testing out the serum for three full weeks and monitoring my progress.

Previously, I’ve used dermatologist-prescribed hydroquinone cream to lighten my sun spots. While this medicated treatment did yield impressive results, it also came with some unpleasant side effects — like redness, dryness, and irritation for the first week or two of using it. Using hydroquinone is basically like bleaching your skin. Maelove Fade Away promises to be an effective yet much gentler alternative. Plus, Fade Away Brightening Serum is safe for long-term daily use, whereas hydroquinone should only be used for up to four months at a time.

So, did this brightening serum live up to its promises? Read on for my honest Maelove Fade Away review.

Does the MaeLove Fade Away serum work?

The editor showing the after effects of Maelove Fade Away Brightening Serum on her hair.

Before and after using the MaeLove Fade Away Brightening Serum.

Samantha Crozier/Insider



After using the Fade Away brightening serum daily for three full weeks, I definitely noticed a difference in my dark spots. While they didn’t disappear completely, most of them had faded to a lighter hue, making them less noticeable. 

That said, according to Dr. Vicki Rapaport, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice and co-host of the podcast Facially Conscious, the full benefits of this product might take six months or more. So, only time will tell if the spots will fade even further with continued use of the serum.

I also found that overall, my skin looked brighter and more even in tone. The best part? I reaped these benefits without any irritation, dryness, or other side effects despite my ultra-sensitive skin.

The key ingredients 

When looking at the label on any skincare product, Rapaport advises paying attention to the first half of the ingredients listed, since they make up the vast majority of the product. More specifically, she advises making sure that the first five ingredients are proven to be beneficial for the skin.

With that in mind, Rapaport notes that Maelove Fade Away contains three well-studied skincare workhorses — alpha-arbutin, kojic acid, and glycerin — in the top five ingredients after water. Here’s what to know about these key ingredients. 

Alpha-Arbutin

Dark spots occur when there’s an overproduction of melanin—the pigment that gives skin its color. Alpha arbutin is a derivative of hydroquinone, and it works by suppressing the production of melanin. A 2021 review found that it’s effective for lightening dark spots.

Kojic acid

Another ingredient that limits the production of melanin is kojic acid, which is derived from mushrooms and has anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties. It’s considered one of the best ingredients for hyperpigmentation, as well as one of the best exfoliating ingredients.

Research has also shown that kojic acid doesn’t typically cause significant side effects or adverse reactions in concentrations up to 1%. While it’s generally well tolerated, however, it can still cause irritation in some people — especially those with sensitive skin.

Kojic acid can also lessen the appearance of dark spots because it’s a chemical exfoliant. It’s considered an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), and AHAs help slough away dead skin cells on the top layer of the skin.

For all of these reasons, kojic acid is one of the top recommended ingredients by the American Academy of Dermatology for fading dark spots.

Glycerin

Glycerin is a humectant, meaning that it attracts moisture to the skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, glycerin is one of the best ingredients for combatting dry skin. A 2016 study also found that it’s the most effective ingredient for increasing hydration in the top layer of your skin.

How it feels to use it

For this Maelove Fade Away review, I applied the product every night after cleansing and before moisturizing. When I dispensed a dropper full of the product into my hand on day one, the first thing I noticed was the striking green color. I smoothed the serum all over my face and gently massaged it in. To my relief, the product didn’t make my skin turn green and absorbed very quickly — in less than two minutes.

The next thing I noticed was the uniquely herbal scent. Maelove Fade Away smells like an Italian herb garden, with notes of oregano, rosemary, and black pepper.

The serum even left my skin feeling somewhat hydrated — a nice unexpected perk.

Cons to consider

There’s only one potential con to this serum, as far as I’m concerned. On night one of this Maelove Fade Away review, I experienced a very slight stinging sensation. As someone with sensitive skin, I got a little nervous that I was having an allergic reaction. Fortunately, the feeling was fairly subtle and went away after a minute or two.

It’s rare, but not impossible, to experience a burning or stinging sensation upon applying kojic acid. I’m guessing my skin just needed a little time to get used to this new ingredient because I stopped experiencing the stinging altogether by the third day of applying the product.

The bottom line

According to Rapaport, this product could be helpful for anyone with sun spots, melasma, or an uneven skin tone. She believes that using this product for 6-12 months while also minimizing sun exposure and wearing SPF could help to fade hyperpigmentation.

I found that to be true in less than one month. My dark spots are still there, but they’re definitely lighter.

While I may not be able to entirely undo the years of damage I did to my skin, it turns out there are ways to at least start reversing it. 

And given that I reaped these benefits without any of the dreaded side effects that I battled when using hydroquinone, I’ll be continuing to use Maelove Fade Away daily.

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