review chanel le blanc illuminating brightening concentrate

Chanel got the inspiration for its Le Blanc Brightening Illuminating Concentrate from the rows of precious pearls worn by Mademoiselle Chanel to light up a dress (and her face).

It’s a fascinating story, but how can that lighten dark spots better than hydroquinone or arbutin, two of the most effective skin-lighteners around?

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my skin, I want results, not hype. Especially if you’re charging me £100+ for it.

Does this deliver? Let’s find out:

What’s In Chanel Le Blanc Illuminating Brightening Concentrate?


Ascorbyl Glucoside is a form of Vitamin C. It’s made up of L-Ascorbic Acid (the pure form of Vitamin C) and a glucose (a monosaccharide sugar).

It’s not as effective as L-Ascorbic Acid at boosting collagen and fight wrinkles, but it IS a proven effective treatment against skin discolourations.

It works by inhibiting the synthesis of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin is natural colour. When its production goes into overdrive, you get a few dark spots here and there. Ascorbyl Glucoside halts production a little, helping your skin colour go back to normal.

Plus, it’s gentler on the skin than L-Ascorbic Acid, so everyone can use it.

Related: Types Of Vitamin C In Skincare: Which One Is Best For You?


Chanel says it’s the combination of Ascorbyl Glucoside, pearl extract and some other flower that brightens your skin tone. Nonsense. The real working duo here is Ascorbyl Glucoside + Licorice root extract.

Just like L-Ascorbic Acid, licorice too works by inhibiting melanin production. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation, one of the main causes of premature aging.

Related: 3 Reasons To Use Licorice For Brighter, Younger-Looking Skin


Alcohol has a bad rep. Critics say it’s drying and irritating.

Science doesn’t agree. A 2007 study shows that “alcohol-based hand rubs cause less skin irritation than hand washing.”

I’m still not convinced that alcohol is totally harmless because, when in my teens I used toners with it and little else, my skin always became drier and, in the long run, produced more oil. So frustrating!

So, who’s right? Both. Alcohol may not the devil incarnated, but overuse can dry out your skin, especially if it was already dry to begin with. As long as you moisturise well afterwards, you should be fine.

Why is Chanel using it? It’s the cheapest penetration enhancer. I wouldn’t mind it from Neutrogena, but if you’re charging me £100+, I do expect a better option. Just saying…

Related: What Does Alcohol-Free In Skincare Really Mean?

Need help creating an anti-aging routine that really works? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).


Milky. Watery. Lightweight. Sinks in quickly.


Perfumey. Just what you’d expect from Chanel. But it can irritate sensitive skin.

How To Use It

Morning and evening, after cleansing.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Chanel Le Blanc Illuminating Brightening Concentrate works better at brightening skin that reducing dark spots. What does this mean?

If your skin is dull and lacklustre, this serum can give it back its dewy glow. But if you’re dealing with melasma, sun spots or any other kind of hyperpigmentation – especially if it’s old -, this serum won’t cut it. You do need hydroquinone or arbutin for those.

Its milky, silky texture feels luxurious on the skin, leaving it softer and suppler. Suppleness + glow = instant younger-looking skin.

Too bad the heavy fragrance can seriously irritate sensitive skin. Do a patch test first!

Related: The Battle Of The Skin-Lighteners: What’s The Best Alternative To Hydroquinone?

chanel le blanc illuminating brightening concentrate review

Who Is This For?

  • Dull skin
  • Oily skin

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Dry skin
  • Sensitive skin
  • Melasma, dark spots and another old type of hyperpigmentation


A sleek white tube that evokes the idea of purity and brightness. It’s practical and keeps the antioxidants inside stable and effective, too.

Does Chanel Le Blanc Illuminating Brightening Serum Live Up To Its Claims?

The LE BLANC concentrate evens skin tone and boosts radiance to reveal a luminous and flawless complexion. It can brighten the complexion and give it a youthful glow, but it can’t fade away dark spots.
The LE BLANC concentrate is the complexion’s perfect ally to effectively correct dark spots. It may if they’re new. But for most people, this won’t work.
It offers a triple-antioxidant action for global brightening benefits: it prevents the appearance of dark spots, activates the radiance of the complexion and intensely hydrates the skin. It does make skin radiant and hydrated, but it can’t brighten dark spots.
Skin is supple and luminous. The complexion is even and radiant. Mostly true. It makes skin supple, luminous, and radiant. but not even.

Price & Availability

£103.00 at John Lewis

Do You Need It?

Not really. If you don’t mind spending this much for an illumination serum, go ahead. But there are cheaper options around.

Dupes & Alternatives


Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Glycerin, Diglycerin, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Hemerocallis Fulva Flower Extract, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein, Sodium Acrylates/C10-30 Acrylate Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Parfum (Fragrance), Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Carbomer, Sodium Citrate, Polyglycerin-3, Polyquaternium-51, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Glycol, Phytic Acid, Sodiu Benzoate, IL59A

Have you tried the Chanel Le Blanc range? Share your thoughts in the comments below.