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. Suitable for combination skin, this lightweight serum contains vitamin C to brighten skin and fade dark spots, as well as marshmallow flower, a hydrating antioxidant that helps soothe irritation and redness. Not only does this serum quench super-dry skin with hyaluronic acid, it contains niacinamide and vitamin E, both of which are powerful antioxidants that help to improve the skin’s natural moisture barrier and even out the complexion. It left our complexion glowy and hydrated right away, improved texture after a day, evened out our skin tone, and boosted overall radiance after a few weeks. While we did like the light grapefruit scent, it does bear mentioning that this does contain fragrance brightening serum.
Melanin is the pigment responsible for our skin color, and an overproduction of melanin can lead to uneven skin tone or dark spots. Brightening serums contain active ingredients, such as vitamin C, niacinamide, and alpha hydroxy acids , which help to inhibit melanin production, exfoliate dead skin cells, and promote cell turnover. As far as buzzy skincare ingredients go, vitamin C is one of the most talked about — and for good reason. As you may know, vitamin C is one of the top power players in terms of brightening effects “since it acts as an antioxidant by reducing free radical formation and preventing future sun damage,” says Dr. Caufield. Other glow-getting ingredients to look for in a brightening serum include vitamin E, glycolic acid, and even lightening agents like kojic acid.
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy. If your skin looks dull because of dead skin buildup, then check out this next category, as well. This serum contains natural orange and lavender fragrances which make it quite pleasant to use, but add a small sensitivity risk. Women’s Health may earn commission from the links on this page, but we only feature products we believe in.
She loves writing about all things beauty since it gives her the excuse to play with makeup all day – and scare her husband while she’s testing out the latest face masks. Not only will its playful pineapple shaped bottle look great in your medicine cabinet, but also its formulation is infused with—you guessed it—pineapple juice. Pineapple juice isn’t just a good cocktail mixer, it also seriously brightens, smooths, and hydrates skin. Lopez, fresh from the shower, says she sees a “profound” difference in her skin whenever she uses the glow serum. Each product is hand-selected by our editors because we think you’ll love it. If you buy something through our link, we may earn a commission from the retailer or it may be a product that we produce or promote through one of our affiliated companies.
This creamy serum contains tranexamic acid, an antioxidant known for its dark mark-fading properties, and kojic acid, another exfoliating additive that targets hyperpigmentation. If brightening, moisturizing, firming, and tone-evening benefits are all a must for you, allow us to introduce you to the Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Serum. This serum covers all your bases with an intensive blend of, you guessed it, antioxidants. Along with vitamin C, the serum is infused with vitamin E to defend the skin against environmental aggressors while coenzyme Q10 calms the skin and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Not to mention, it also contains ceramides to replenish moisture and support the skin barrier.
Alpha-arbutin is another great ingredient, and you can find it in The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% HA, a super affordable and effective pick. This is a great choice for anyone on a budget, as well as if you have dry skin, as it’s not as harsh as its counterparts, thanks to the use of alpha arbutin. Almost anyone can benefit from this multi-tasking formula, which actually addresses a variety of complexion concerns. Just take note that it may cause a bit of irritation if you have sensitive skin. Melanie Rud is a Chicago-based writer with 10 years of experience covering beauty. Even in the winter, UVA rays can penetrate through the clouds and worsen your skin issues, rendering your brightening serum useless.
I’ve personally only been using Sunday Riley’s B3 Nice Serum for a few months, and I already see a noticeable improvement in my skin’s texture and tone. My dark spots and redness have faded, my skin texture is significantly smoother, and my pores are mostly invisible, especially underneath foundation. And the product itself doesn’t clog my pores or irritate my skin in the slightest. B3 Nice has definitely earned itself a permanent spot in my daily skin care regimen.
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. I have super-oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin, and have struggled to find a product that adequately curbs breakouts without irritating my skin. But Glow Recipe’s Strawberry Serum is the first clarifying serum I’ve used that banishes blemishes without drying me out. I can use it daytime or nighttime, and it never stings or aggravates my skin—instead it calms, soothes, and brightens while the salicylic acid clears my complexion.
This gets rid of damaged or rose water toner pigmented skin cells and allows other brightening serums to penetrate more deeply into the skin. Using a brightening serum like the CeraVe Vitamin C Serum or The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA will brighten the skin slowly, but adding this glycolic acid serum to the mix will speed the process. Because of its simple, lightweight texture and fragrance-free formula, we can safely recommend this brightening serum for all skin types. If you have sensitive skin, we recommend introducing it slowly and gradually to avoid irritation. This innovative powder combines vitamin C, ferulic acid, and glutathione to create a powerful antioxidant-rich formula.
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. Putting so many potent compounds in one tiny bottle is an ambitious endeavor, and it resulted in a powerful skin-renewing product that has the potential to irritate. As with other vitamin C serums, you can boost results by using this in conjunction with a more intense skin renewer like the L’Oreal Revitalift 10% Glycolic Acid Serum or the Eva Naturals Skin Clearing Serum in the evening. 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.
Whatever the cause, our complexions need a major tune-up to bring back a lively glow—one that will convince us that we’re not slowly morphing into Nosferatu with every passing day. Brightening products, brightening serums specifically, can add an illuminating boost to any routine regardless of your skin type. And if you’re prone todark spots,acne scars, or uneven skin tone, the best skin-brightening serums can be especially helpful for bringing your skin back to baseline. In conclusion, skin-brightening serums as well as skin-lightening and skin-whitening products can be an effective solution for addressing various skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and uneven skin tone.
“It’s widely available, gentle on the skin and contains grapefruit, which adds another citrus ingredient into the mix!” You can use it directly on your skin or mix a few drops into your favorite moisturizer. A few reviewers noted they had to use a lot of product to nourish their skin, though, so it may not be best for very dry skin. Dr. Wang also suggests grabbing Eau Thermale Avène’s A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defense Serum, which has an intensive antioxidant mix of vitamins C and E that’s suitable for sensitive skin types. “This product absorbs quickly into the skin and contains thermal spring water, which has anti-inflammatory properties,” he says. Skin-care ingredients can get tricky, especially if we’re talking about umbrella terms like antioxidants. Chances are, you might be acquainted with some of the most popular antioxidants in skin care already, like vitamin C and niacinamide.
Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum
According to Dr. Garshick, CeraVe’s gentle yet effective retinol serum works to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles without leading to skin irritation—or breaking the bank. “It contains ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to help sooth the skin,” Dr. Garshick says. Plus, the encapsulated retinol makes it a great option even for those with sensitive skin. If you’re struggling with redness, hyperpigmentation, and/or oversized pores, Sunday Riley’s niacinimide serum might be your serum match made in heaven—at least such was the case for me.
Danusia (she/her) is a senior chemist in the Beauty, Health and Sustainability Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she evaluates haircare, skincare, cosmetics and beauty tools. In pharmaceutical sciences with concentration in cosmetic science from the University of Cincinnati. Danusia has over 10 years of experience in the personal care industry including formulation, product development, claim evaluation and efficacy testing. We found the application dropper intuitive and the formula sunk into our skin quickly without leaving behind a sticky or greasy residue. After just a week or two, we recognized a real difference in the brightness of our skin, noting that our complexions looked more radiant even when we weren’t wearing it.
Outside of prescriptions and in-office laser procedures, your first line of defense against hyperpigmentation should be one of these dermatologist-approved targeted treatments. Turn up the brightness on your skin and fade discoloration with these glow-boosting formulas from Caudalie, Versed, SkinCeuticals and more. The answer is no one, and now, we can get one step closer to our impossible goal.
The formula is packed with antioxidant-rich grapefruit and vitamin C, as well as polyhydroxy Acids , which work to gently break down dead skin cells. This SkinCeuticals serum is a winner for anyone concerned about fine lines and photoaging. The addition of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and ferulic acid helps enhance this formula’s protective qualities, guarding against environmental damage caused by free radicals. We noticed a real improvement in the texture of our skin when we used SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, as well as a reduction in the appearance of fine lines. However, we weren’t convinced that contributed to the glowiness of our complexions significantly more than other, more affordable options we’ve used.
And it goes without saying, but always apply your makeup after you have completed your entire skincare routine. But you might want to skip using an illuminating serum under makeup if your product contains potentially irritating ingredients that can cause initial redness. No matter your skin type or tone, this is ideal for helping to target hyperpigmentation and illuminate the skin. Vitamin C works synergistically with other antioxidants for both corrective benefits and protective ones, too. We were big fans of how beautifully it absorbed into the skin, as well as how soft, smooth, and hydrated our complexion looked and felt after using it regularly. If you’re not dealing with hyperpigmentation, you might be looking for a brightening serum that can just get rid of dullness and make your skin glow.
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. 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. This overnight treatment uses glycolic acid and lactic acid to gently exfoliate, refine texture and improve clarity. Use sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from further damage and enhance the brightening effects of the serum. Always apply serums on clean, dry skin to maximize absorption and effectiveness.
- While it doesn’t have hard claims on firming benefits, we would love it if the product provided a bit more of a firming benefit, especially considering that it contains marine peptides.
- The plant is known for its hydrating, anti-inflammatory effects that balance the Vitamin Cg that packs an exfoliating punch.
- Microscopically encapsulated vitamin C prevents degradation from light and air in this potent and pricey serum from BeautyStat.
- “It interferes with pigment production and keeps inflammation at bay.” Not only that, but it can also support collagen production.
- GH Beauty Lab experts think it’s especially great for targeting hyperpigmentation (a.k.a. dark spots) since you can use the precise, pointed applicator to spot treat problem areas.
- This serum, while not a bad choice, doesn’t quite measure up to their usual standards.
Its re-texturizing effect on the skin helps reverse dullness, dryness, discoloration, uneven texture and loss of firmness. Not only is it great for dark spots, acne scars and other sources of discoloration, but it also plumps fine lines and wrinkles as well. Oil-free to suit those with acne and oily-prone skin types, this top-rated serum also soothes away redness and boosts your skin’s moisture levels, making it great for sensitive and dry skin types as well.
Dead skin build-up makes the skin look dull, so exfoliation can brighten it quickly. Glycolic acid also has moisture-attracting effects , which is another way that this serum helps to increase glow. This serum from L’Oreal is a little different from the rest of our selection. It’s not an alternative to the other brightening serums on this list, but instead, it’s a complementary serum that can significantly boost their efficacy. There are clinical studies backing the efficacy of this specific formula when it comes to repairing photodamage (i.e. sun-induced skin damage), protecting from the aging effects of sun exposure, and lightening pigmentation. While formulas like CeraVe’s Vitamin C Serum are also stable and effective, this one is stronger so you can expect faster results, although you won’t enjoy the same level of moisturization.
I’ve used this almost every night for about six months , and it’s made such a difference in my skin. This brightening serum by SkinCeuticals reduces the appearance of dark spots and discoloration through its blend of kojic acid, tranexamic acid, and niacinamide. It also contains 5% HEPES, a synthetically-derived acid that acts as goo-gone for the skin, unsticking dead skin cells for even exfoliation. 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 goal with brightening serums isn’t to lighten the overall skin tone, but rather, create an even skin tone by reducing overactive areas,” says Dan Belkin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. It has a patented antioxidant that helps brighten dark spots from sun damage, right through to fading stubborn post-acne dark spots.
Powered by a potent blend of ferulic acid and vitamins C and E, the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum penetrates deep into the skin to stimulate collagen and reduce the appearance of dark spots, wrinkles and sun damage. It also provides a rich antioxidant defense for the skin, helping to reduce and prevent the premature aging side effects of environmental damage and free radical exposure. GH Beauty Lab Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann loves this splurge-worthy SkinCeuticals serum, a dermatologist gold standard, for its gentle yet effective performance. “Even with a high concentration of 15% of L-Ascorbic acid — an outstanding and proven form of vitamin C — this serum doesn’t irritate my skin like other products I’ve tried,” she says. “It firms and brightens skin, and leaves it supple and glowy,” thanks to the conditioning and anti-inflammatory properties of added vitamin E. “It contains vitamin E and ferulic acid, and this combination has been shown to complement sunscreens and reduce the effects of environmental stressors on the skin,” she says.
MG Skin Labs Essential Antioxidant Infusion
Based on a clinical study, 91 per cent of participants noted an improvement in the look of their skin’s firmness and elasticity, and 100 per cent agreed it improved skin hydration and texture. Earning an average rating of 4.1 out of five from Sephora shoppers, reviewers call the JLo beauty product the “holy grail of serums.” The “difference in my skin is so profound when I’m using it and when I’m not,” a fresh-faced J.Lo tells the camera. “If you haven’t tried That JLo Glow yet, you need to. That with our moisturizer, in the evenings, in the night — and our sunscreen during the day is just a game-changer.” Jennifer Lopez says she sees a “profound” difference in her skin when she uses this JLo Beauty anti-aging serum (photos via Jennifer Lopez/Instagram). When she’s not covering all things product-related, the Queens native is an avid taco lover and proud beauty-hoarder.
All to say, radiance-boosting serums are a serious game changer in any routine. If we had to turn to one celebrity for beauty advice, it might be Jennifer Lopez . Whether it’s a blessing of genetics, the hard work of dermatologists, or it really is olive oil, the 54-year-old has seemingly cracked the code to eternal youth.
Often made with the same active ingredients that dermatologists use in prescription compounds, these serums and creams contribute to more even-toned skin and reduced hyperpigmentation with consistent use. It also uses marine extracts to prevent new dark spots from forming as it improves your skin’s overall brightness and tone. This Yes To serum is dermatologist-recommended for those who are new to vitamin C treatments. “For something a little more accessible, and a great entry into vitamin C, I love this treatment,” says Dr. Yadav.