Kate Somerville
Spot Reducing Concentrate Skin Lightening Treatment (Discontinued)
0.5 fl. oz. for $48
Category:Skin Care > Retinol Products > Lighteners With Hydroquinone
Last Updated:12.17.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No

This is an excellent, though expensive, skin-lightening product whose formula is best for normal to dry skin. The lotion-like texture is medicated with 2% hydroquinone, the gold standard active for lightening brown spots and other discolorations from sun damage. Kudos to Somerville for omitting fragrance and fragrant plants and for including additional anti-aging ingredients such as antioxidants and some good repairing agents.

For what this costs for a smaller-than-usual size for this type of product, those extra yet essential ingredients should be present in greater amounts, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is an overall well done formula for those struggling with discolorations. As for cost, you will find less expensive options with hydroquinone on our list of Best Skin-Lightening Products.

Note: Formerly known as Complexion Correction Spot Reducing Concentrate.


Spot Reducing Concentrate balances skin tone and gradually fades the appearance of discolorations of the skin, such as freckles, age and liver spots, and pigment in the skin that may occur in pregnancy or from the use of oral contraceptives.


Active: Hydroquinone 2%, Inactive:Water/Aqua/Eau, Ethoxydiglycol, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isopentyldiol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearic Acid, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Hydrogenated Lecithin, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Oligopeptide-68, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Bisulfite, Sodium Sulfite, Sorbic Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, PEG-100 Stearate, Benzoic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol

Brand Overview

Kate Somerville At-A-Glance

Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on their website; effective Anti Bac Clearing Lotion for acne; good eczema cream; some fantastic serums and moisturizers chock-full of beneficial ingredients.

Weaknesses: Expensive; irritating cleansers and scrubs; several products contain irritating ingredients with no proven benefit for skin; disappointing CC cream.

The woman behind this line is a Los Angeles–based aesthetician who owns her own clinic, which specializes not only in aesthetic services but also in cosmetic corrective procedures involving injections (dermal fillers), lasers, Botox, and the like. The clinic is staffed with a doctor and nurses, which is definitely what you want if you're considering services beyond a facial or a massage.

The selling points of this line are Somerville's years of experience in the aesthetics industry and her allegedly devoted celebrity clientele. As such, her products and famous clientele get press in the pages of fashion magazines, which explains why we routinely get asked about this skin-care line. Somerville herself is every bit as attractive as her star clients, and the information on her Web site is presented in such a way that you sincerely believe she has your skin's best interests in mind. And wouldn't you want to trust your skin's needs to a professional who also tends to celebrities?

Knowing all these details, we were anticipating that most of the products bearing Somerville's name would be state-of-the-art slam dunks. Alas, many of them are far afield from that level of formulation. When it comes to giving skin what it needs to function as healthily and normally as possible (and, at these prices, that's what you should expect), this line is, unfortunately, hit or miss. What Somerville knows about giving an amazing facial is one thing, but she clearly missed the research that proves how problematic several of the plant oils that she uses can be. A professional concerned with the health of her clients' skin shouldn't be formulating products with cinnamon, grapefruit, and lavender oils, among others.

If we were one of Somerville's clients, we'd certainly take her to task for that oversight, but we'd also want to know why she offers only one sunscreen and doesn't offer any effective AHA or BHA exfoliants. A discussion of advanced skin science and state-of-the-art ingredients is not sufficient if your product line has gaps: limited sun protection options, no reliable exfoliants, no non-drying cleansers, and a complete lack of options to treat skin discolorations (pigment irregularities, unlike blackheads, cannot be manually extracted, which makes the absence of a skin lightening product an issue).

This product line may not be the one you want to build your skin-care routine around, but there are some exceptional products. Of all the aesthetician-backed lines we've reviewed, none come as close to providing the level of formulary excellence of many of Somerville's moisturizers and serums. They're pricey, but if you're going to spend in excess for skin-care products, you should be doing so on products that stand a very good chance of markedly improving your skin’s appearance. We are curious to see how this product line will expand and (hopefully) improve over the years. The current mishmash of awesome and awful products makes it risky to shop this line blindly (or on the sole rationale of a celebrity endorsement), but with careful consideration to avoid irritants you can find some products of value. Hopefully, she will expand the line to fill in the current gaps (especially for sun protection) and eliminate the irritants.

For more information about Kate Somerville, call (800) 984-5283 or visit www.katesomerville.com

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

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After reading the review on here, I wanted to really try but it has been discontinued I think because it is not on Sephora's website and on Kate's website it says, "this product is no longer available" :(

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