benefits of brightening serum

Best Brightening Serum: 9 Products To Achieve Glowing Skin

If you’re looking to give your complexion a boost, you may be wondering about the best brightening serum on the market. There are many different serums available. It can be difficult and confusing to decide which one is right for you.

In this blog post, I will discuss the best brightening serums and what makes them stand out from the rest. I’ll give you a breakdown of the ingredients in the products so you have an understanding of what is in the product you are using, as well as provide recommendations for the best brightening serums out there.

Let’s learn about brightening serums and enjoy glowy skin.

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What is a brightening serum?

A brightening serum is a targeted skincare product that can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and dullness. It works by exfoliating away dead skin cells, which helps to even out discoloration and reveal brighter, smoother skin beneath.

How does brightening serum work?

Brightening serums work by targeting specific issues, such as dark spots and dullness. They contain active ingredients that exfoliate away dead skin cells, revealing brighter skin beneath. These active ingredients also help to even out discoloration and reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation (sun spots).

What are the benefits of brightening serums?

They can refine skin texture, support skin elasticity, reduce signs of aging, correct uneven skin tone, and gently exfoliate the skin. Brightening serums can be used for all skin types.

What ingredients should I look for in brightening serums?

The best brightening serums contain active ingredients vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, niacinamide, and retinol.

Vitamin C

vitamin c serum for glowy skin

Vitamin C, an antioxidant, is one of the most important ingredients to look for when you are going to purchase a brightening serum. When reading the label you should look for the product to have up to 20% vitamin C.

Did you know your skin naturally has vitamin C? In fact, it is an important component in protecting against free radicals such as ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Free radical damage causes sun spots, wrinkles, fine lines, and damage to your DNA, resulting in cancer. Even though vitamin C can protect you from free radicals from the sun, you should always apply sunscreen as well.

Adding the best vitamin C serums to your skincare routine can help neutralize the oxidative stress of free radicals, giving you antioxidant protection. It also stimulates collagen production.

It is important to know that vitamin c is a fragile product. It must be protected from light, so it always comes in a dark, glass bottle. It should always be stored in a cool, dark place. Need more information on how vitamin C helps your skin? Click here for more information.

Hyaluronic acid

benefits of hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a skincare powerhouse. It prevents melanin production and also is a humectant product (meaning it draws water into the skin). When paired with vitamin C, the moisture from hyaluronic acid allows vitamin c to work more effectively. Sounds like a win-win to me.

It is a naturally occurring substance found in the body, particularly in connective tissues like the skin. It is essential for healthy skin and helps to keep it hydrated and supple. Proven benefits of hyaluronic acid include improving skin hydration, texture, and reducing signs of aging.

Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe inflamed skin caused by conditions such as acne.

Lactic acid

benefits of lactic acid for skin care

Lactic acid is great for exfoliating the skin. It works by dissolving the bonds holding your old, dead skin cells in place thus giving you radiant skin. It is particularly beneficial for those who have sensitive skin.

By utilizing this ingredient, you can effectively brighten your complexion, diminish hyperpigmentation, and smooth away any rough or uneven surface textures.

Glycolic acid

Glycolic acid reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentation. With its capacity to buff the top layer of skin and lessen indications of aging, like wrinkles and sunspots, it’s no surprise that this ingredient is frequently used in skincare products.

It’s also effective for improving skin tone and brightness, reducing hyperpigmentation, and smoothing out rough or uneven textures. Additionally, glycolic acid may help to unclog pores and reduce acne breakouts.


Niacinamide is a substance that helps make skin lighter. It does this by stopping cells in the skin from transferring color (melanin) to other cells.


Retinol helps calm down the cells in your skin. These cells make melanin, which can cause discoloration on your skin. Retinol helps turn over the cells in your skin so it looks healthier and brighter.

Please note that it is best to use retinol and vitamin C products separately. They can cause skin irritation if used together. I suggest using vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night.

How to choose the best brightening serum

From my own experience and knowledge, I strongly believe that incorporating vitamin C into your routine should be an absolute priority! Navigating through the world of skincare can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s always best to take things one ingredient at a time.

When shopping for a brightening serum, you’ll want to look for one with active ingredients such as those mentioned above.

When purchasing skincare products, make sure to verify that your selection is free of potentially irritating and/or harmful ingredients like parabens or alcohol. To ensure the product won’t cause redness or discomfort on your skin, do a patch test before full implementation.

Below you will find a list of my favorite brightening serums.

VERSED Stroke of Brilliance Brightening Serum

Photo credit: Amazon

I put this product on top because I believe it offers great value for a small price. It’s only $19.99 (price at the time of publication). This product uses all clean ingredients, which as I nurse I love.

It has antioxidant ingredients (sodium ascorbyl phosphate, Curcuma longa (turmeric) root extract) and skin brightening ingredients (glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, niacinamide, Curcuma longa (turmeric) root extract).

What I love most about this product is how it brings dull skin back to life. You will see a significant difference with continuous use of this product.


  • Price: $19.99
  • Vegan
  • Alcohol-Free
  • Fragrance & essential oil-free
  • Clean ingredients


  • What’s not to love?

Rooted Beauty Brightening Vitamin C Serum

Photo credit: Grove Collaborative

This is a fast-absorbing, lightweight formula for all skin types. Your skin’s texture will feel smoother while decreasing lines and evening your skin tone. It is proven to brighten skin in 4 weeks (with consistent use).


  • Price: $29.99
  • Cruelty-free
  • No synthetic fragrances
  • No parabens, phthalates, or sulfates


  • Packaged in opaque glass, which may cause breakdown of vitamin C

Olay Regenerist Brightening + Vitamin C Serum

Photo credit: OLAY

This is a great product from OLAY. It has vitamin C as well as antioxidant ingredients such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate and skin-brightening ingredients such as niacinamide. These ingredients will target fine lines and wrinkles.


  • Fragrance-free & essential oil-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • soothing
  • Price: $23.99 (at time of publication)


  • What’s not love?

Native Brightening Vitamin C and Niacinamide Facial Serum, Fragrance-Free

Photo credit: Target

I love the brand, Native. They make really great products at a very affordable price.

This product contains vitamin C as well as skin-brightening ingredients such as Niacinamide. I have found it to be great for sensitive skin and has helped decrease uneven pigmentation.


  • Fragrance-free, paraben-free
  • Silicone-free-dye-free
  • Vegan and cruelty free
  • Price: $19.99


  • The pump sometimes does not work
  • May feel sticky

OBAGI CLINICAL Vitamin C + Arbutin Brightening Serum

best brightening serum for your skin
Photo credit: OBAGI

If you are looking for a splurge-worthy brightening serum, this is the product for you! This product can be used on all different skin types. You may notice results in 24 hours. With continued use, you will be sure to have glowing skin.

OBAGI contains antioxidant and skin-brightening ingredients such as L ascorbic acid and arbutin.


  • Fragrance & essential oil-free
  • Quality, clean ingredients
  • Faster results that other options


  • Price: $90 (at time of publication) but it gets results, fast

Acure 2% Alpha Brightening Arbutin Serum

Photo credit: Amazon

This product has a light, refreshing aloe scent. It is great for combination skin. The ingredients that will brighten and improve skin are alpha arbutin and hyaluronic acid.

If you are looking for a facial serum that is really great quality for a low price, this is a great product for you.


  • Price: $19.99 (at time of publication)
  • Vegan
  • Paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Cruelty-free


  • What’s not to love?

Tree to Tub Triple Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Photo credit: Tree To Tub

Tree to tub combines 3 different types of vitamin C in this one product. It’s like a brightening serum on steroids!

Boosting your skin’s collagen just got a whole lot easier. This product has antioxidant and skin-brightening ingredients.


  • Fragrance-free, alcohol-free, & essential oil-free
  • Price: $25.99 (at time of publication)
  • High quality products


  • Avoid contact with eyes

Codex Beauty Brightening Face Serum

Photo credit: Saks Fifth Avenue

This is a very lightweight serum that protects your skin barrier. It has a refreshing citrus smell, which will enhance your morning skincare routine. You can use this product daily.


  • Refreshing smell
  • Lightweight
  • Cruelty-free product


  • Price: $50 (at time of publication)
  • Do not get into your eyes

Frequently asked questions

Are the ingredients in brightening serums safe?

I place a high priority on clean and natural skincare products. Chemicals in skin care products are absorbed directly into the skin and can be harmful to you and your health. Rest assured I always recommend clean skincare products that will have a positive impact on your health.

Are the ingredients in brightening serums natural?

No, not all ingredients in brightening serums are natural. For example, L-ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbyl phosphate are synthetic versions of vitamin C. It is important to remember that not all synthetic ingredients are bad for you.

When to apply brightening serums?

Always refer to your product’s label for instructions. In general, it is best to apply your brightening serum in the morning before you apply your moisturizer.

A board-certified dermatologist can help

If you are concerned about your skin or have questions regarding any of the products I liked, I highly recommend you talk with a board-certified dermatologist.

Wrap Up

Brightening serums can be a great way to improve the overall health and appearance of your skin. They can reduce fine lines and wrinkles, brighten skin, and help reduce uneven skin tone. There are many different brightening serums available that offer various benefits for all different types of skin and budgets. Be sure to read the labels on products and find out what best suits your needs.

I hope this guide to the best brightening serums helped you find the right product for you.

Struggle with acne? Check out my post on tips to prevent acne, here.

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