Brightening Serums for Healthy, Radiant Skin

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

  • 12 Best Brightening Serums – Reviews
  • What To Look For In A Good Brightening Serum

12 Best Brightening Serums – Reviews

1. TruSkin Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C brightens the skin and improves collagen turnover. Hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Vitamin E nourishes the skin and protects it from oxidative damage and premature aging.

This face serum improves skin tone, clarity, and the appearance of pores, breakouts, fine lines, and dark spots. It is free of synthetic color additives, stabilizers, and fragrance. It is made in the USA and is cruelty-free.

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Key Ingredients: Vitamins C & E and Hyaluronic acid Pros

  • Reduces large pores
  • Does not cause breakouts
  • Cruelty-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Free of color additives
  • Free of stabilizers

Cons

2. CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

If you have acne marks and want to lighten those spots, try the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum. It is formulated with encapsulated retinol, ceramides, licorice root extract, and niacinamide to make the skin look brighter, smoother, and even-toned.

It also reduces acne breakouts, refines skin texture, and improves acne scars and enlarged pores. However, avoid applying this serum on active acne breakouts. This non-comedogenic face serum is paraben-free and fragrance-free.

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Key Ingredients: Encapsulated retinol, Ceramides, Licorice root extract, and Niacinamide

Pros

  • Improves skin texture
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Allergy tested
  • Developed with dermatologists

Cons

3. OZNaturals Vitamin C Facial Serum

It has a blend of essential vitamins that combat free radicals and visibly reduce the signs of aging. This non-GMO formula with Biopreserve Complex is free of harmful preservatives, and the ingredients are cold-processed to retain their potency.

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Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, Astaxanthin, Hyaluronic acid, Vitamin E, Rose hip, and Green tea extracts Pros

  • Provides antioxidant protection
  • Prevents UV damage
  • Lightens dark spots and hyperpigmentation
  • Non-GMO proprietary Bio Preserve Complex
  • No harmful preservatives
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Lightweight
  • Gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free (Leaping Bunny Certified)
  • Paraben-free

Cons

4. LilyAna Naturals Vitamin C Serum

The LilyAna Naturals Vitamin C Serum contains 20% vitamin C that visibly rejuvenates dull and tired skin. This potent serum also encourages healthy collagen production and improves skin elasticity. This vitamin C brightening serum hydrates and delivers potent antioxidants that make the skin radiant and glowing.

It contains vitamin E, aloe vera juice, wild geranium, horsetail, dandelion extract, jojoba oil, and botanical hyaluronic acid that help hydrate and smoothen rough texture. It is gentle on sensitive skin and is suitable for all skin types, including mature skin.

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Key Ingredients: Vitamin C ester, Vitamin E, Jojoba oil, Wild geranium extract, and Aloe leaf juice

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • SLS/SLES-free
  • Petroleum-free
  • Fragrance- free
  • Color-free

Cons

5. Amara Beauty Vitamin C Serum

With regular application, the serum reduces dark spots, pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles and leaves the skin firmer, brighter, and smoother. It gets absorbed quickly, penetrating the deepest layer. It is paraben-free, free of dyes and fragrance, cruelty-free, and vegan. The serum comes with a 100% money- back guarantee.

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Key Ingredients: Vitamins C & E and Hyaluronic acid

Pros

  • Gets absorbed quickly
  • Non-sticky
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Vegan
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dye- free

Cons

6. Neutrogena Bright Boost Illuminating Face Serum

This serum is one of the best drugstore brightening serums. The Neutrogena Bright Boost Illuminating Face Serum contains turmeric extract and neoglucosamine that gently exfoliate and reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven pigmentation. The unique formula increases skin cell turnover, improves skin texture and clarity, and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

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Neoglucosamine, a building block of hyaluronic acid, plumps the skin and makes it look youthful. This hydrating and brightening face serum works on all skin tones and reduces redness. It can provide the boost that tired and dull skin needs.

Key Ingredients: Turmeric extract and Neoglucosamine

Pros

  • Reduces acne scars and hyperpigmentation
  • Reduces redness
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Oil- free
  • Alcohol-free

Cons

7. Acure Brightening Glowing Serum
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The Acure Brightening Glowing Serum is formulated with argan oil, kale, Cica, chlorella, niacinamide, and pomegranate. The antioxidants in the ingredients and vitamins A, E, and C prevent free radical damage and protect the skin’s natural barrier.

The niacinamide rejuvenates the skin and boosts radiance by fading pigmentation and dark spots, while chlorella provides anti-aging benefits by improving wrinkles and fine lines. This serum unclogs pores and hydrates and plumps the skin to give it a youthful glow. It is suitable for all skin types and can also be used on the neck.

Key Ingredients: Argan oil, Chlorella, Cica, Kale, Niacinamide, and Pomegranate

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Petroleum-free
  • Mineral oil- free
  • Formaldehyde-free
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Cons

8. ZONE 365 CE Ferulic Acid Brightening Serum

The ZONE 365 CE Ferulic Acid Brightening Serum has an advanced anti-aging formula and is excellent for reducing skin imperfections. It is formulated with 0.5% ferulic acid that diminishes fine lines and prevents free radical damage. The serum also contains 15% vitamin C and 2% vitamin E to boost hydration and renew skin cells, and 12% hyaluronic acid for intense hydration.

All the ingredients leave the skin rejuvenated and fresh with a hard-to-miss youthful glow. The serum stimulates collagen production, reduces acne breakouts, and improves acne scars. It has a normal pH level of 5.5 and is safe even on the most delicate skin types.

Key Ingredients: Ferulic acid, Vitamins C and E, and Hyaluronic acid

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Pros

  • pH 5.5
  • Plumping effect
  • Reduces acne breakouts
  • Fades acne scars
  • Suitable for most skin types
  • Eliminates dark spots under the eyes

Cons

9. ANAIRUI Vitamin C Serum

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This Vitamin C Serum by ANAIRUI contains collagen, vitamin B5, witch hazel, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid. It targets aging signs such as dark spots, enlarged pores, sun damages, acne, hyperpigmentation, breakouts, and blemishes, revealing bright and younger-looking skin.

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Vitamin C protects your skin from dehydration and dark spots caused by UV rays. The 1% pure hyaluronic acid locks skin moisture, and witch hazel extract relieves puffiness, soothes inflammation, and detoxifies the skin. Aloe vera juice hydrates the skin, and collagen boosts skin elasticity. Vitamin B5 repairs damaged skin, making it smooth and firm.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, Hyaluronic acid, Witch hazel, Aloe vera, Collagen, and Vitamin B5.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Non- irritating
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • No synthetic colors and fragrances

Cons

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10. Burt’s Bees Dark Spot Corrector

The Burt’s Bees Dark Sport Corrector is infused with vitamin C to brighten and refresh the skin. It contains daisy extract that is clinically shown to even out skin tone and diminish dark spots’ appearance.

The serum reduces fine lines and wrinkles and makes the skin look younger, firmer, and radiant. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients in this serum hydrate, nourish, exfoliate, protect, and rejuvenate the skin to give you a lit-from-within glow.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C and Daisy extract

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Pros

  • 6% natural
  • Reduces dark spots
  • Rejuvenates dull and tired skin
  • Non- irritating
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free

Cons

11. Ebanel Liposomal Vitamin C 20% Serum

The Ebanel Liposomal Vitamin C 20% Serum is infused with potent L-ascorbic acid and vitamins E and B5 to refine and brighten uneven skin tone. This serum visibly fades dark spots, dullness, sunspots, and hyperpigmentation.

Ferulic acid helps fight free radicals and reduce the blemishes from sun damage and acne breakouts. It promotes collagen and elastin production to make the skin firmer and youthful. This serum is infused with hyaluronic acid and retinol, which penetrate the skin’s deepest layer to deliver moisture, preventing it from drying, flaking, and breaking out. It is gentle enough to be used on the eye area and the skin around the lips.

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Key Ingredients: Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), Vitamins B5 and E

Pros

  • Skin firming effect
  • Vegan
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Cruelty-free
  • cGMP certified
  • Affordable
  • Suitable for acne-prone skin

Cons

  • Sticky
  • Contains phenoxyethanol
12. PCA SKIN Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum

The PCA SKIN Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum is a multifunctional formula that helps reduce all forms of discoloration. Niacinamide, mulberry extract, green tea extract, morus alba leaf extract, and other ingredients in the serum helps even out skin tone, reduce hyperpigmentation, hydrate, and leave the skin with a youthful glow. It can be applied during the day and at night. The serum visibly reduces redness, acne scars, dark spots, sunspots, fine lines, and wrinkles.

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Key Ingredients: Vitamin B3

Pros

  • Reduces redness
  • Reduces dark spots, sunspots
  • Improves skin texture

Cons

These are the 12 best brightening serums of 2021 that you can buy to improve skin tone, texture, and health. But before you add them to your cart, here are a few points to keep in mind.

What To Look For In A Good Brightening Serum

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Caution: If a serum is making you break out, immediately stop using it.

Serums are a boon to those who need that extra boost of nourishment. If sun, pollution, and hours of screen time are making your skin dull, lifeless, and pigmented, brightening serums are your best bet. Get yourself a good brightening face serum and see how juicy your skin gets! Happy shopping!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does vitamin C serum brighten skin?

Yes, vitamin C helps gently exfoliate dead skin, revealing the new skin underneath. This provides an instant glowing effect on the skin. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant and protects the skin from sun damage.

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Is vitamin C or E better for skin?

Both are equally good for your skin and give the best results when used together. Vitamin C brightens the skin while vitamin E nourishes and fights free radical damage to reduce aging signs.

When should I apply brightening serum?

You can apply it during the day and at night after cleansing and before moisturizing.

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What ingredients brighten skin?

Vitamin C and retinol can brighten the skin.

How long does it take for brightening serum to work?

It will take at least two to four weeks for a brightening serum to show visible results.

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