Marshmallow gives this gentle, lightweight liquid its illuminating power. The plant is known for its hydrating, anti-inflammatory effects that balance the Vitamin Cg that packs an exfoliating punch. Alpha arbutin, a plant-based alternative to hydroquinone, is a serious radiance booster. And when combined with lactic and azelaic acid, we’re talking a complete reboot of your complexion

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. Overall, it helped us achieve more luminous, healthy, and youthful-looking skin. Those who have dryer skin and/or love skincare oils should try this winner. Melanie Rud is a Chicago-based writer with 10 years of experience covering beauty. She covers all things skincare for Byrdie, from ingredients to acne advice.

Like many brightening serums, this product also relies on vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to promote a glowing complexion. Apply the serum after cleansing and toning, and follow up with a hydrating moisturizer to lock in moisture. Dermatologists and skincare experts generally agree that skin brightening serums can be effective in addressing the aforementioned skin concerns when used correctly. However, it’s important to note that individual results may vary, and some people may experience side effects such as irritation or allergic reactions. It’s crucial to perform a patch test before incorporating a new product into your skincare routine and consult a dermatologist if you experience any adverse reactions.

A six amino acid peptide that is claimed to improve firmness and skin tone. Its amino acid sequence is Val-Gly-Val-Ala-Pro-Gly that is also called the “spring fragment” and is repeated six times in the important skin protein, elastin molecule. The 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.

Smaller amounts of L-Ascorbic acid and hyaluronic acid brighten, hydrate and moisturize for long-term results. This innovative powder combines vitamin C, ferulic acid, and glutathione to create a powerful antioxidant-rich formula. In case you don’t know, gluthatione is a buzzy ingredient that’s normally taken orally for its detoxifying benefits. When applied topically, though, it helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and dark spots. If your skincare goals include controlling sebum production, reducing the look of large pores, and brightening, this lightweight serum has you covered.

“My dark spots have reduced significantly.” It contains 15% vitamin C to help lighten dark spots, smooth fine lines and minimize the appearance of pores. It also uses marine extracts to prevent new dark spots from forming as it improves your skin’s overall brightness and tone. Alongside firsthand testing across our beauty editors , we asked board-certified dermatologists for their tried-and-tried picks that they recommend to patients to select the best topical skin-care products containing vitamin C. Ahead, the best vitamin C serums for an even skin tone and a glowy, radiant finish. This fragrance-free serum from Olay is formulated with protective antioxidants, such as niacinamide and vitamin C, that brighten and even out complexion.

Be sure to give each product enough time to be absorbed into the skin, before applying the next. Alyssa Kaplan is an experienced writer in the beauty industry and product tester specializing in cosmetics. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied marketing and product development in the cosmetics industry as well as fashion business marketing. Alyssa has been a commerce writer at Byrdie since 2022, where she covers all things beauty. As for the results after the testing period, we were really pleased with them.

Lightweight Formula & Non-sticky Face Serum

Otherwise, there are lots of hydrating agents and antioxidant-rich plant extracts that make the skin just generally bouncy and glowy. This formula is made with a not-so-potent but still helpful derivative of vitamin C. Sun exposure and pollution can brightening serum cause the skin to misbehave and produce melanin in an irregular manner, but the stabilized vitamin C offers antioxidant protection that prevents this damage. This ingredient is also helpful for preventing acne breakouts, so we’re happy to recommend this serum for acne-prone skin. However, if your skin is more on the dry side then you might prefer Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop, instead. As far as the brightening effects of this serum go, this is not the most powerful serum on our list.

Whether you’re dealing with uneven skin tone or pesky dark spots, this treatment is the answer to all your discoloration woes. It has Norwegian Kelp Extract in it, a property that’s known to increase controlled exfoliation and remove excess pigment, along with other anti-agers that promote cellular turnover and brighten. As the product activates on skin, you may experience a brief tingling or some minor sloughing, which is normal. Superficial dead skin cells are being lifted off by the active ingredients to unveil smoother, brighter skin.

  • No list of our favorite serums would be complete without this offering from SkinCeuticals.
  • Obagi Medical provides transformational skin care products formulated to minimize signs of skin aging, address dark spots, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and to protect and enhance skin tone and texture.
  • With continued use, you’ll find a noticeable difference in your skin tone and texture.

Its wild rose extract refines pores while its light-reflecting pigments blur their appearance and gives your face a lit-from-within finish. The vitamin C in this formula comes from spirulina, a form of blue algae that helps to even and brighten the complexion while reducing the appearance of blemishes. It also combines alguronic acid to reduce the look of fine lines and marine ferment, a protein that protects the skin matrix.

This is a skin-renewing and brightening serum that also targets acne and premature aging, especially for those with oily, non-sensitive skin. This anti-wrinkle brightening serum by Dr. Dennis Gross protects and restores damaged skin, with salicylic and azelaic amino acids that minimize acne scars and hyperpigmentation. For skincare obsessives, the concept of “glowing from within” starts with a routine that works double-time for your complexion. Versed is all about providing effective, clean skincare products — all for under $20.

How to select sunscreen and how much to apply

There is also lactic acid which exfoliates and speeds up the overall effects of this serum. This brightening serum is famous for its potent formula and its high price-point. It’s a great option for fading hyperpigmentation and it also has some serious anti-aging benefits.

This formulation is oil-free yet very hydrating, so it’s great if your skin is on the oiler side. It does have a citrus fragrance so if that’s not your bag – or if your skin is sensitive – you might prefer a fragrance-free brightening serum. Much like SkinCeutical’s C E Ferulic serum, this product also has a loyal following. It uses glycolic and lactic acid to brighten dark spots and improve skin texture and scarring. It is quite punchy so proceed with caution if you’re prone to irritation.

If you’d prefer a slightly stronger de-pigmenting product, even if it’ll be less moisturizing, we’d recommend you try SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. Okay, it’s expensive, but this serum is magical for targeting sun damage and discoloration. “It has kakadu plum, recognized as the world’s highest source of vitamin C for brightening,” says Rhea Souhleris, director of aesthetics at La Suite Skincare at Union Square Laser Dermatology. Some experts even think that regular exposure to alcohol damages skin barrier and causes inflammation though it’s a debated opinion. If you wanna know more, we wrote a more detailed explanation about what’s the deal with alcohol in skincare products at alcohol denat.(it’s also alcohol, but with some additives to make sure no one drinks it).

Beyond that, the serum is formulated with signature CeraVe ingredients that moisturize the skin and reinforce its barrier functions, like moisture-locking dimethicone, barrier-restoring ceramides, and hydrating hyaluronic acid. This brightening serum is a quintessential CeraVe product, which means that it’s reasonably-priced, gentle, and genuinely effective at its main purpose, which is to brighten the skin. SkinCeuticals’ iconic C E Ferulic serum could also be on this list, but if you’re dealing with serious discoloration, opt for this bottle instead.

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. 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.

The next strongest option is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum, while the CeraVe Vitamin C Serum presents a more gentle and affordable option. This serum contains natural orange and lavender fragrances which make it quite pleasant to use, but add a small sensitivity risk. 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. If your skin can handle really intense exfoliation, you can go even stronger and choose the Eva Naturals Skin Clearing Serum, instead. The generic term for nice smelling stuff put into cosmetic products so that the end product also smells nice. An often used glycol that works as a solvent, humectant, penetration enhancer and also gives a good slip to the products.

It also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and panthenol that give the skin a general glow. This serum is loaded with ingredients that ward off discoloration and dark spots, such as niacineamide, tranexamic acid, and kojic acid. It also includes hepes, which is an acid that offers gentle exfoliation. With continued use, you’ll find a noticeable difference in your skin tone and texture. Apply the skin brightening serum, focusing on areas with hyperpigmentation or dark spots. This serum is packed with brightening vitamin C and gives the skin a sought-after glow.

In the Lab, analysts use the Visia Complexion Analyzer device to track changes in skin during the product’s use, including hyperpigmentation, lines and wrinkles, and pores. Formulated for optimal skin absorption, the airtight packaging on this standout L’Oréal Paris product helps ensure that the vitamin C inside stays stable and therefore effective. 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. Reviewers rave that “skin looks brighter” and “smoother” after using this serum. The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum is our top pick due to its accessibility, functional packaging, and effectiveness at improving skin tone and texture. If you prefer an oil-based product that will really boost the radiance of your skin and keep it hydrated, we recommend the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Firming Oil.

This vitamin C serum has our stamp of approval for all skin types, skin tones, and ages, and our go-to for anyone looking to firm and smooth their skin. We appreciated that the serum had a lightweight texture that didn’t feel greasy on our already oily skin, and we noticed that after a few weeks of using it, our post-acne marks were visibly reduced. We love that this product is available at your local drugstore, relatively affordable, and highly effective.

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. By understanding the science behind these serums, choosing the right product, and incorporating it into your skincare routine, you can achieve a brighter, more even complexion.

It also speeds up the overall repair and renewal process that’s needed to eliminate pigmentation in the skin. The strongest anti-pigmentation serum on our list is the PCA Skin Pigment Gel, but it’s also the most likely to have negative side-effects. It’s claimed to be a serum that can target pigmentation while also giving the skin a glow. However, the depigmentation ingredients Neutrogena chose, though promising, are also under-researched. It seems to us as though they prioritized having an exclusive and easy-to-stabilize formula over having the same well-researched ingredients all the other brands use. The key ingredient in this serum is hydroquinone, which is a pigmentation-reducing medication with a ton of research proving its effectiveness.

Hyaluronic acid is another key ingredient in the formula that helps draw moisture into skin and hydrate. One reviewer shares that it “feels like a very light gel moisturizer” and “if you wear makeup, this is an excellent primer, too.” Other users note that it does oxidize quickly, making the formula turn orange. Microscopically encapsulated vitamin C prevents degradation from light and air in this potent and pricey serum from BeautyStat.

Visible results can take a few months to show up, but if your skin doesn’t respond well to vitamin C, it’s one of the best alternatives. The brightening effect comes from 10% ascorbic acid, which is the most potent form of vitamin C. While the amount isn’t huge, it’s enough to have an effect on hyperpigmentation. As we wait patiently for spas to reopen, Bliss is bringing the benefits of their signature facials straight home to us. The company’s brightening and protecting serum combines soothing vitamin C with anti-aging tri-peptides to visibly repair your skin’s surface while promoting a glowy complexion. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production and protection of the skin barrier.

Dr. Yadav explains that because vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient, it can be used topically in many different forms, including face serums. Boasting a unique oil-serum hybrid formula, the Versed Sunday Morning Antioxidant Oil-Serum refines the look of pores as it immerses your skin in brightening camellia oil, sea buckthorn extract, chamomile extract and vitamin E. As it increases your skin’s radiance, this antioxidant-rich serum also locks in hydration and smoothes away unwanted texture. Vitamin C serums don’t always provide a ton of hydration, but if you’re looking for one that truly pumps up the moisture, this is the one we recommend for you. The formula feels like a typical, lightweight face oil—as opposed to some vitamin C serums that have a grittier texture—and it nourishes the skin in addition to providing all of the wonderful antioxidant benefits.

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. Turn up the brightness on your skin and fade discoloration with these glow-boosting formulas from Caudalie, Versed, SkinCeuticals and more. This is a great choice for those on a budget, as well as those who have more mature skin and want a serum that delivers generally good anti-aging benefits.

Sometimes a gentle approach works best if your skin is particularly reactive, and this serum is case in point. It has brightening niacinamide, but is coupled with hydrating hyaluronic acid and skin-reinforcing ceramides to protect the skin barrier and reduce irritation, and at a great price-point too. Several online reviewers admit that this serum is a tad overpriced, but most agree that it really works. “In three weeks, I have seen a huge change in my skin,” shares one Sephora reviewer.

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