Sometimes, an impromptu conversation with a stranger, leads to an unexpected discovery. About 15 years ago, I was sitting at Sting and Trudy Styler’s magnificent Manhattan home, waiting to give them customized facial treatments. 

While I waited, I started chatting with their Pilates instructor-- a beautiful young woman who had travelled with the couple from London. I told her why I was waiting and what I do, and she shared an amazing skincare find with me: A South African skincare brand called Environ. She described Environ as a miracle treatment for hyper-pigmentation and dark circles, which caught my attention.

To be completely honest, a lot of people tell me about their amazing skincare finds. I usually take the view that people should use whatever works – everyone is different – but I rarely hunt down recommendations. However, hyper-pigmentation and dark circles are both really common and really tricky to effectively treat, so I was intrigued and wanted to find out more.

Eventually, I found a rep for the label (15 years ago the world wide web was not what it is now and South Africa is far from New York!) and soon enough, it became a go-to. I began using the creams and serums on my clients, and myself. It wasn’t long after that I began selling them at my studio.

Founded by Cape Town-based plastic surgeon Dr. Des Fernandes in 1990, the award-winning line features potent anti-aging and skin-revitalizing formulas designed to replace essential skin nutrients depleted by exposure to sun and environmental factors.

The products have an extremely active combination of anti-oxidants. The star ingredient of the range is vitamin A, combined with antioxidants and peptides. The vitamin A penetrates the skin, speeding up cellular turnover. Over time, lines become shallower, pores become less noticeable, and skin tone is more even and radiant.

And while vitamin A-related retinoids are often associated with redness and irritation, Dr. Fernandes’ innovative “step-up system” allows the user to become accustomed to a low dose of the vitamin, before ramping up to progressively higher potencies. For example, the Youth EssentiA range features Vita-Peptide C-Quence Serum in five consecutive levels. I also really like that most of the products in the range are fragrance- and preservative-free, making them suitable for a broader range of clients.

Although I love many of the products in the Environ range if I had to pick favorites, these would be the ones:

Derma-Lac + Body A, C & E Oil

I cannot live without their body treatment, Derma-Lac Lotion, and I like to combine it with Body A, C & E Oil. Pour one into your hand, add a little bit of the other, mix them together and then apply it right after your shower from your toes to your jawline. The décolleté and neck can get double treatment. It speeds up cellular turnover, so skin looks healthier and stronger. When the skin is glowing, it doesn’t show imperfections so easily.

Intensive Hydrating Oil Capsules

I love these capsules, which contain a blend of rosemary leaf extract and vitamins A, C, E. They’re so pampering for dry and tired skin, and make skin look less dehydrated, and they can be used on a daily basis. The packaging is also great for traveling - making it easy to get your daily vitamin boost, no matter where you are in the world!

Clarifying Lotion + C-Boost + C-Quence Serum

I squeeze a little bit of C-Boost cream in my hand, add a pump of C-Quence Serum, mix together and apply on my face after cleansing and toning and before my final moisturizer. I notice a significant difference: The skin looks smoother, healthier and more glowing right away. After using it for 4 to 6 weeks, the skin will become brighter, more even-toned and fine lines will appear reduced, and the appearance of pores is minimized.

This Clarifying Lotion is great for hyper-pigmentation. If you feel like you’re looking patchy, use it on the face and décolleté after cleansing and toning, and before moisturizing. It probably will not get rid of sunspots completely, but it will definitely aid in reducing the appearance of them. It’s terrific for post-acne pigmentation, as well as post-scratch and other mechanical problems.

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