12 Best Brightening Serums For Healthy, Radiant Skin

by Charushila B
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 Dull, dry, pigmented, and uneven skin tone needs one solution – a brightening serum. It contains skin-beneficial ingredients like antioxidants, vitamins, and acids that reduce fine lines, hydrate the skin, and color correct.

Juice up your skin with this concoction after cleansing and before moisturizing to rejuvenate and make it look lit-from-within. Wondering which one to buy? Take a look at these 12 top-rated brightening serums of 2020 for nourished and glowing skin. Scroll down!

TOP 10 PRODUCTS
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TruSkin Vitamin C Serum
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CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
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OZNaturals Vitamin C Facial Serum
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LilyAna Naturals Vitamin C Serum
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Amara Beauty Vitamin C Serum
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Neutrogena Bright Boost Illuminating Face Serum
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Acure Brightening Glowing Serum
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ZONE 365 CE Ferulic Acid Brightening Serum
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Tetyana Dark Spot Corrector Brightening Serum
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Burt's Bees Dark Spot Corrector
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12 Best Brightening Serums – Reviews

1. TruSkin Vitamin C Serum



Vitamin C is an essential ingredient for brightening and reducing dark spots and uneven skin tone. The TruSkin Vitamin C Serum is formulated with vitamin C, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid.

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. 

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

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin 

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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.

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

  • May irritate the skin

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3. OZNaturals Vitamin C Facial Serum



Can a brightening serum also be anti-aging? Of course, yes! The OZNaturals Vitamin C Facial Serum is a firming topical serum that brightens the skin tone and encourages collagen production. This effective skin treatment helps fade and prevent dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone.

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.

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

  • Contains fragrance 

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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.

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

  • May cause redness 

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5. Amara Beauty Vitamin C Serum



If you want a radiant glow and flawless skin, Amara Beauty Vitamin C Serum is one of the best brightening serums to try. It is formulated with aloe vera juice, vitamin C, witch hazel, and botanical hyaluronic acid.

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.

Key Ingredients: Vitamins C & E and Hyaluronic acid

Pros

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

Cons

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin 

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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.

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

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin 

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7. Acure Brightening Glowing Serum

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

Cons

  • Not suitable for people with active cystic acne 

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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 

Pros

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

Cons

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin 

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9. Tetyana Dark Spot Corrector Brightening Serum


Not just your face, your body also needs brightening and hydration. The Tetyana Dark Spot Corrector Brightening Serum evens out your skin tone all over. The ingredients penetrate deep into the skin and reduce acne scars, dark spots, age spots, wrinkles, freckles, and sunspots.

This serum contains 4-butylresorcinol, kojic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and morinda citrifolia extract. These ingredients work together to improve hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone and restore damaged skin. The skin looks more fresh, youthful, and lively after using this serum for a few weeks.

Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, Salicylic acid, Morinda citrofolia, 4-butylresorcinol, and Kojic acid

Pros

  • Reduces acne scars
  • Blocks melanin regeneration
  • Improves hydration levels 

Cons

  • Expensive 

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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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Expensive

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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.

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 

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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.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin B3

Pros

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

Cons

  • Expensive 

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These are the 12 best brightening serums of 2020 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

  • Ingredients: A good brightening and lightening serum contains acids and vitamins that help exfoliate the dead and dry upper layer and nourish the skin from within. Peptides also help firm the skin. Antioxidants like green tea extract and vitamin E protect the skin from free radical damage. Avoid harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and SLS/SLES.
  • Texture: Most serums contain hyaluronic acid, which helps hydrate the skin and lock moisture. However, it may have a sticky feeling. Hence, do not worry if the texture feels a little thick and weird.
  • Fragrance: A good serum will not have a strong fruity/citrusy or flowery smell. The artificial fragrance also tends to aggravate inflammation, which can trigger acne breakouts in sensitive skin types.
  • Price: This list includes serums from $10 to $120. Choose a serum in your budget. Give it at least two weeks to see if the product suits you or not.

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! 

Expert’s Answers for Readers 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.

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.

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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