While they have a ton of different skin-brightening options, we think their alpha-arbutin serum stands out as both unique and quite effective. Now that you know our selection criteria, you must be curious about the brightening serums we picked! Any company can take a liquid, slap the word “brightening serum” on its label, and charge big bucks for it. We don’t want you to spend a ton of money and end up disappointed, so we kept some important factors in mind when selecting the best brightening serums for our list. The lactic acid in Biossance’s vegan overnight resurfacing serum breaks down dead skin cells as you sleep, leaving skin more smooth and soft by morning. Ciara recently launched a skincare brand, and this vitamin C serum from the new collection does not disappoint brightening serum.
22 Best Face Serums to Target All Skin-Care ConcernsFirming formulas and hydrating concoctions are right this way. Byrdie editor and wellness expert Esme Benjamin helped update this article, ensuring all the products selected truly deserved a place on Byrdie’s list. Allow the serum to sink into your skin completely, and then follow it up with a moisturizer or sunscreen. If your skin looks dull because of dead skin buildup, then check out this next category, as well.
As avid vitamin C serum enthusiasts, we know a good formula when we try one. Sometimes the most buzz-worthy products don’t live up to expectations, but this one absolutely does. It has a lightweight, fast-absorbing formula that doesn’t feel sticky or drying on the skin, it’s easy to apply and layer in a skincare routine and yielded some really impressive results. As for the texture of the product, it’s not liquidy nor oily; rather, it almost feels like a lightweight paste.
Another pick that’s suitable for all skin types, this gel contains vitamin C and asafetida extract, an ancient Asian powerhouse that’s highly effective at improving dull skin and hyperpigmentation. “Plus, it can be used anywhere else on the body, making it a great ‘bang for your buck’ multipurpose product,” says Omaha-based board-certified dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, M.D., founder of the brand. You can use an illuminating serum as a primer, as some may help makeup apply more evenly and look smoother. And it goes without saying, but always apply your makeup after you have completed your entire skincare routine.
Serums with alpha hydroxy acids, like lactic acid or glycolic acid, provide a much-needed exfoliating effect. Dark spots can result from many things—like post-acne scarring and sun damage—and they can often be tricky to fade. But if you have fairly surface-level dark spots, we highly recommend incorporating a vitamin C serum into your routine because the powerful antioxidant has been known to help lighten hyperpigmentation.
After six weeks of using it, our skin looked and felt softer and smoother. However, we weren’t convinced that contributed to the glowiness of our complexions significantly more than other, more affordable options we’ve used. There’s no denying that we adore this serum, but it’s worth noting that while it doesn’t contain fragrance, it doesn’t have a particularly appealing smell.
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Whether you have oily, dry or sensitive skin (or all the above – skin can be picky!) there’s a brightening serum for your skin type and budget below. Ideal for dry skin, this serum from La Roche-Posay has a creamier formula that contains 10% vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which is great for hydrating and plumping skin. La Roche-Posay thermal spring water is said to “repel free radicals and soothe skin.” After using it daily for a little over a month, one reviewer shares that her skin looks brighter and feels smoother.
Along with regular exfoliating and moisturizing, adding a brightening serum to your skincare routine can give your complexion an added boost in the vibrance department. The main ingredient in here is alpha-arbutin, a derivative of the much more intense and slightly controversial hydroquinone. It’s a promising pigmentation treatment, and many users find that it helps brightening serum reduce post-acne marks, melasma, and sunspots. The formula also includes hyaluronic acid, so it gives a boost to your moisturizing routine and adds luminosity to the skin. Our 5% Retexturizing Complex—a Green Coffee Seed and AHA/BHA blend—helps support skin’s natural enzymatic action to boost cell turnover for smoother skin texture and less visible pores over time.
- If you’re a vitamin C newbie and worry about the adjustment period when skin might be slightly more irritated this product is ideal.
- The best pigmentation fighting ingredients, like vitamin C, arbutin, azelaic acid, and hydroquinone, disrupt the melanin-production process which evens out the skin tone over time.
- This brightening serum does more than create a radiant complexion by reducing visible signs of pigmentation .
- More specifically, it evens out skin tone, lightens it, reduces visible flaws and leaves skin nourished.
Paired with moisturizing glycerin and dimethicone, it doubles as a skin-illuminating primer that gives a dewy look whether it’s worn alone or under makeup. It can work for all skin types, but those with oily skin may find that it makes them look greasy rather than dewy. K-beauty always offers something fun and exciting, and this also applies to brightening serums! This brightening serum, in particular, is a good entry-level option that will introduce you both to vitamin C serums and to Korean skincare. We love this specific hydroquinone formulation because it’s incredibly comprehensive, and features other skin brighteners that support its action, like azelaic acid and kojic acid.
Also, it can help to increase the solubility of some other ingredients in the formula. A helper ingredient that usually comes to the formula coupled withPEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil. It’s a non-sticky duo that works at low concentration and is often used to solubilize fragrance components into water-based formulas. Also, if your skin is sensitive, fragrance is again not your best friend.
Beyond its affordable price tag, this glow-inducing serum also prevents unwanted pigmentation because of ingredients like palmata extract and niacinamide. First, there’s hydrolyzed pearl powder to improve your face’s moisture levels and overall texture. Then, there’s elasticity-boosting hyaluronic acid, free radical fighting vitamin E, and hyperpigmentation reducing vitamin B3. Last, but not least there’s Camomile Extract Bisabolol, which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, and anti-microbial properties.
It’s a clinically-proven formula with three forms of vitamin C to brighten dull skin, vitamin E to help moisturize, and vitamin A to promote a smoother-looking complexion overall. Ahead learn all about brightening serums, including what they are and how to apply them. Then, keep scrolling to shop some of the best brightening serums available on the market at every price point. You can usually find it right in the very first spot of the ingredient list, meaning it’s the biggest thing out of all the stuff that makes up the product. We recommend our GinZing™ Energizing Gel Cream— one of our best-selling daily moisturizers for oily skin.
“Using a brightening serum at night aids in the natural repair process while sleeping,” explains Levin. When in doubt, make sure to consult with a dermatologist about the best treatment and maintenance plans. One product that deserves a spot in everyone’s daily skincare routine, regardless of skin type or concerns, is a brightening serum. It has a patented antioxidant that helps brighten dark spots from sun damage, right through to fading stubborn post-acne dark spots. It has a lightweight formula that doesn’t feel sticky on the skin, making it great to wear under makeup and it won’t irritate sensitive skin.
The brand recommends keeping it in the fridge to keep it fresh for longer, but even then it can oxidize (i.e. turn brown and lose its efficacy) within 4-6 months of opening. Users find that Klairs helps with pigmentation, but maybe not as quickly as higher-percentage serums like the CeraVe Vitamin C Serum. Smaller brands often formulate with higher amounts of vitamin C because they have a harder time keeping it stable. A larger brand like CeraVe is able to formulate and package their vitamin C in a way that prevents oxidation and keeps it fresh.
With concentrates designed to promote collagen production, vitamin A and peptides, the serum is designed to simultaneously strengthen your skin and reduce fine lines. Below, we’ve compiled the best brightening serums on the market, from the gentlest ceramide-rich serum to multi-purpose products we turn to time after time. Sometimes achieving a brighter complexion can feel like a full-time job. But if don’t have time for a multi-step routine, there’s one easy solution to get luminous fast—and no, it’s not highlighter.
EVEN TONE – ANTI-SPOT – 100% VEGAN A powerful anti-spot booster that reduces pigmentation for an even complexion. Uses the highest possible concentration of 2% Alpha-Arbutin, a more powerful version of classic arbutin used in cosmetology. It is the key that unlocks all doors leading to the swift exit of hyper-pigmentation, one of the most complex… Testers also share feedback on how their skin looks and feels during and after use and any perceived changes in skin.
In the “Quick Facts” section we’ll give a rundown of the main active ingredients in each serum, then, throughout the reviews, we’ll explain how they actually work. Vitamin C and vitamin B3 are the key ingredients in Olay’s brightening serum. When combined, the two vitamins penetrate your skin’s surface to brighten a dull and uneven complexion. French skincare brand Guinot is lauded for their intensive, nourishing products, and the liftosome serum does not disappoint.
Use the complementary cleansing powder — just mix with water — in the single use packets shown to help boost the serum’s efficacy. Reviewers say they saw acne scarring go away within a week — but a couple note that overuse can cause mild redness or dryness. Though this brightening serum did a nice job of boosting the radiance of our tester’s skin, she didn’t see an improvement in hyperpigmentation or firmness after the six-week testing period. While the serum claims to help with skin plumpness thanks to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid, we didn’t notice a visible improvement in this area.
Below, find the 12 best brightening serums that’ll give you the glowy skin of your dreams—no expensive facial required. INSTANT RADIANCE – FIRM SKIN – ANTI-SPOT A one-of-a-kind brightening serum with REAL visible diamond clusters – hard-science backed, yet indulgent and generous. A dual-chamber system of synergistic power-ingredients – glutathione, alpha-arbutin, vitamins C and E, clinically-tested multi peptides, soy isoflavones and… diamonds, so abundant even your eyes…
It’s easy to fix by submerging the serum in warm water, but we know that a serum from a larger company wouldn’t have such issues. It also includes a few essential oils that make it inappropriate for those with fragrance sensitivity. It breaks down the connective material between dead and live skin cells and helps the skin to shed its top layer. Brightening serums are rarely cheap, but they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either. While there are a few higher-priced options on our list, they offer something special that justifies their cost.
It won’t fade hyperpigmentation, but it can prevent it while giving your skin a glow and countering dullness. The formula is very hydrating thanks to plant-derived polysaccharides that pull water into the skin and make it look bouncy and healthy. The blend of ingredients gives it a texture somewhere between a lotion and a serum, which can be especially nice for dry skin, while those with oily skin could use it instead of moisturizer. It comes packaged in a hygienic metal tube that keeps all of the ingredients stable and fresh. Because the formula is dimethicone-based it might ball up if you apply sunscreen too soon after applying the serum.
With wrinkle-reducing bakuchiol and reishi, an adaptogen that improves cell rejuvenation to even out your tone. We noticed that our skin looked healthier, luminous, and generally more even after a few weeks—and saw an improvement in texture after just a few days. Dermatologist Dr. Alexis Stephens recommends that those with darker skin use arbutin, like in The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, or azelaic acid like in Cos de BAHA’s Azelaic Acid 10% Serum. We usually love Neutrogena for offering simple, affordable skincare without over-the-top claims. This serum, while not a bad choice, doesn’t quite measure up to their usual standards. It comes in a clear dropper bottle that doesn’t do a great job of keeping the serum stable.
While we struggled a bit to set up the dispensing part of the packaging for the initial use, once it was complete, the product was easy to use moving forward. We also loved that our skin looked slightly brighter after consistent use, and the fine lines near our mouths appeared to have smoothed out a bit. If you’re a vitamin C newbie and worry about the adjustment period when skin might be slightly more irritated this product is ideal.
So now that you know everything there is to know about brightening serums, go ahead and get your glow on! Whether you’re dealing with pigmentation and dullness, we also recommend skin renewers. These are serums that help the skin shed dead cells and trigger cell turnover. They include chemical exfoliants like glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, as well as retinol. Because of the lactic acid, it’s extremely important to use sunscreen diligently while using this serum. Be aware that hydroquinone is usually not recommended for those with darker skin tones because overuse can lead to ochronosis.
The hoopla surrounding its launch is thanks to its high concentration of pure vitamin C that’s so fresh each bottle is directly shipped from Korea. Women’s Health may earn commission from the links on this page, but we only feature products we believe in.
This serum is uniquely formulated to stimulate collagen production while you sleep. “It delivers a pure concentration of vitamins A, C, E, and other nutrients to exfoliate, renew, and replenish skin overnight,” says Dr. Green, who created the brand. “Retinol, or retinoids, can brighten the skin by reducing the synthesis of melanin, the pigments that make up dark spots,” says Dr. Belkin. Putting in the effort to figure out what will work for you is totally worth it.