The 7 Best Brightening Serums, Because We'd All Like to Be a Little Glowier

Updated 08/13/18
best brightening serum: woman with glowy skin
Mango

I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't want brighter skin. It's a universal plea—I'm almost certain of it. Whether you have a little patch of pigmentation or your skin has taken more than its fair share of late-night hits, we'd all quite like to be a bit glowier—and a brightening serum can really help with that. Yes, you want to make sure your skin is suitably hydrated (a hyaluronic acid serum will be your friend here), but a serum with specific brightening properties and ingredients will knock back discolouration and amp up luminance unlike anything else.

Having spent my entire beauty editor career in search of the best brightening serum, I think I've found some pretty sound options—these are the ones that really do the job.

best brightening serum: La Mer The Brilliance Brightening Essence
La Mer The Brilliance Brightening Essence $260
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Pricey though it may be, La Mer is one of the few über-luxe skincare brands whose products really do make a difference worthy of their price tags. This serum, for example, contains a shed-load of fermented marine extracts that not only brighten the complexion, erasing dark spots and hyperpigmentation, but the serum will also gently buff out fine lines too. When I'm feeling particularly OTT, I like to alternate between this and The Revitalizing Hydrating Serum (£155).

best brightening serum: Elemis White Brightening Even Tone Serum
Elemis White Brightening Even Tone Serum $64
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Elemis's serum contains daisy and pea extracts, as well as encapsulated vitamin C, which will buff away areas of hyperpigmentation and skin discolouration, leaving you suitably glowy.

best brightening serum: L'Occitane Reine Blanche Brightening Serum
L'Occitane Reine Blanche Brightening Serum $59
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At the heart of L'Occitane's formula is Reine de Prés, a flower that is high in salicylic acid, which gently nibbles away at the top layer of dull, dead skin cells encouraging the fresher, brighter cells to show their faces. It also makes skin feel plumper and bouncier and is hydrating enough to wear without moisturiser—which you might be thankful for in the hot weather.

best brightening serum: Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum $70
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When battling dullness, consider vitamin C your first line of defence. Just like a glass of OJ can perk up a hangover, this vitamin has the ability to shake tired skin back into glowy action. Sunday Riley's serum will knock back patches of hyperpigmentation by a few shades, and the antioxidants will aid the battle against sun damage and pollution.

best brightening serum: Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum
Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum $52
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If you've still not quite adjusted to the texture of a serum, Blithe's pressed versions feel more like a cream. This one contains fermented argan oil, fermented olive oil and chaga mushroom extract to brighten, nourish and strengthen skin by way of powerful antioxidants.

best brightening serum: Dr Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum
Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum $79
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As well as brightening vitamin C, Dr. Dennis Gross's serum contains collagen-building amino acids, so you'll not only end up with a brighter complexion but a bouncier one too.

best brightening serum: Clinique Fresh Pressed Pure Vitamin C 7-Day Multi-Potent Activator 10%
Clinique Fresh Pressed Pure Vitamin C 7-Day Multi-Potent Activator 10% $58
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Need brighter skin by next weekend? Clinique's clever booster shots each contain a week's worth of super-potent vitamin C, kept extra fresh thanks to its innovative mixing system. You can either apply a couple of drop on their own or mix it into your moisturiser every morning. ■

Glow on, my friend.

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