These Brightening Serums Deliver Radiant Skin That Glows 24/7

Give your complexion a boost with these face serums for all kinds of skin.

By Megan Gray Feb 16, 2024 2:00 PMTags
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TL;DR: The Best Brightening Serums:

There are a few goals I'm working towards in my little life. One is to find trendy pants that actually look good on me, two is to finally buy a dress for those bloaty days, and three is to achieve glowing skin. And while I've already achieved the first two, the third is right in my grasp for one reason: brightening serums. Sometimes referred to as face serums, vitamin C serums, glow serums, etc. brightening serums are concentrated products with ingredients designed to reduce dullness and discoloration in your face. They can also brighten an uneven skin tone and give you visibly glowing results. In order to help you find the right serum for your skin type and concern, I've rounded up a list of the products I love or have heard a lot about. And they all live up to the hype, so read on.

What Are the Benefits of a Brightening Serum?

When you use a brightening serum on your face, you're going to be left with a few great side effects. They're designed to target dark spots and discoloration, inflammation, skin dullness, dryness, and uneven skin tone and texture, and leave your skin more glowing and radiant. Most can be applied after you wash your face in the morning and night, but it's always good to read the instructions before use.

What Ingredients Should You Look for in Brightening Serums?

Look for brightening serums with a blend of ingredients. Some of them should be exfoliating ingredients, like glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids to slough away dead skin cells, so a brighter tone is revealed underneath. Next should be pigment blocking ingredients, like vitamin C, niacinamide, or licorice extract, that can fade discoloration and boost that glow. Then there's retinol for anti-aging, hyaluronic acid and vitamin F for moisture, and ceramides to protect the skin's barrier. 

So, keep on scrolling for the best brightening serums for your face. Your skin might just feel softer, smoother, and younger. What are you waiting for?

Editor's Pick

Farm to Skin Seeds of Today Facial Serum

Although it's technically not billed as a brightening serum, I love the way Farm to Skin's Seeds of Today serum absorbs into my skin and gives it a natural glow. It's packed with sea buckthorn and pomegranate oil (both rich in vitamin C) and grapeseed oil (loaded with vitamin E). The serum immediately smells fresh and leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated all day.

The Most Popular Brightening Serum

TruSkin Vitamin C Face Serum

Backed by over 92,000 5-star Amazon reviews, TruSkin is a fan favorite. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin C, it can help with collagen production, get rid of dark spots, and brighten your skin. I've used this lightweight formula before and found it gave my morning moisturizer a boost. One reviewer reported, "With or without makeup, my skin is bright, smooth and my spots are disappearing."

The Budget-Friendly Brightening Serum

Good Molecules Daily Brightening Serum

Popular on TikTok, Good Molecules' Brightening Serum is also a steal at just $8. It's formulated with beta arbutin to address dark spots and hyaluronic acid for moisture, so skin is left brighter and more radiant. The brand recommends applying in the AM and PM before oils and moisturizers.

The Brightening Serum for All Skin Types

CeraVe Vitamin C Serum

Not only does CeraVe's serum deliver brighter skin with highly concentrated vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, it also protects your skin's barrier with essential ceramides. It has a lightweight, gel texture and it's suitable for all skin types. This fan noted, "Love the consistency, spreads easily, not thick or sticky. Good for sensitive skin. Smells good. Great value for money!"

The Brightening Serum for Oily Skin

COSRX Niacinamide 15% Face Serum

Made by the brand that brought you snail mucin, COSRX's face serum is packed with niacinamide and zinc PCA to reduce excessive amounts of oil on your face, minimize pore size, and leave skin brighter and more radiant. One user wrote, "Only been using a week and the brightness is back in my face and my pores are almost nonexistent."

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The Best Brightening Serum for Dry Skin

BIOSSANCE Squalane and Vitamin C Rose Oil

Your dry skin can look visibly brighter and firmer with this Biossance oil. Packed with vitamin C to prevent dark spots, squalane for moisture, and rose exact for radiance, you can apply it in the morning and night after your moisturizer. This fan raved, "It has drastically changed my dry skin for the better. I mix it in with my makeup and always look like I'm glowing!"

The Best Brightening Serum for Acne-Prone Skin

Glo Beta-Clarity BHA Drops

Designed to target breakouts and blemishes, Glo's clarifying serum is a great pick for acne-prone skin. Formulated with glycolic and salicylic acid for mild exfoliation and retinol for anti-aging, it can leave your complexion brighter and smoother, while delivering a more even skin tone and texture. This shopper reported, "My skin is brighter and feels so smooth. Pores are smaller. I love the glow I get after I apply it."

The Best Brightening Serum for Melanin-Rich Skin

Ambi Even & Clear Vitamin C Infused Glow Serum

Although all of these serums are suitable for melanin-rich skin, the Ambi Glow Serum is specifically designed for it. Featuring niacinamide and licorice extract for even skin tone, salicylic acid for exfoliation, vitamin C for brightening, and naturally rich oils and butters, it's designed to hydrate skin and leave it glowing. 

The Best Brightening Serum with Active Ingredients

Fresh Chemistry Vitamin C Serum for Face

What sets Fresh Chemistry's serum apart is that the ingredients come in individual vials and you actively mix them together, ensuring freshness and potency. With a mix of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and alpha hydroxy, your skin's texture can become more even, moisturized, and glowing. The formula is lightweight and when I've used it I've seen immediately brighter results.

The Best Brightening Serum for Winter Skin

Medik8 Winter's Bright Duo

Dull winter skin is a thing of the past when you use Medik8's Bright Duo. One is packed with vitamin C and the other with hyaluronic acid for a one, two punch of moisture and radiance, that can leave skin feeling youthful and refreshed. I like using them together in the AM and PM when I want to give my complexion a natural glowing boost.

The Best Brightening Serum with a Light Citrus Scent

InstaNatural Vitamin C Face Serum

If you like a light citrus scent, and a serum packed with brightening vitamin C, then InstaNatural is for you. It also includes ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, and sea buckthorn oil, which nourishes the skin and keeps it looking fresh and glowing. Backed by over 10,000 5-star Amazon reviews, one fan reported, "This serum is gentle enough on my skin that I haven't had a single reaction, and my skin actually has a nice glow to it!"

The Best Brightening Serum with Vitamins C & F

NassifMD Radiance Booster

When I want my skin to look a little smoother and brighter, I reach for NassifMD's Radiance Booster. Formulated with antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins C and F, it can improve fine lines, skin texture, and the overall tone of your skin. It's very liquid-y, so it absorbs quickly into your skin and doesn't leave it feeling oily.

Reduce fine lines and wrinkles with these at-home red light therapy devices, recommended by a dermatologist.

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