Best serum in Australia
We’ve put in hours of research, comparing and testing to come up with a list of the nine best serums in Australia for every skin concern, type and budget.
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The best serum in Australia
- Best for anti-ageing: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex Serum
- Best for pigmentation: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum
- Best for hydrating: La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Ageing Serum
- Best for brightening: Youth to the People 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum
- Best for plumping: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
- Best for acne: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
- Best for texture: Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment
- Best for sensitive skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum
- Best budget-friendly face serum: The Inkey List Q10 Serum
How did we pick this list?
Alongside extensive research, our editorial team have tried and tested an array of different serums to find the best performing ones. This was dependent on the specific skin concern they target, what skin type they're best suited for and what kind of budget they fit into. This is how we came up with a list of the nine best serums in Australia.
Best for anti-ageing: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex Serum
Why we chose it
Our top pick for the best anti-ageing serum is the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex Serum. This product promises to fight multiple signs of ageing and works for all skin types.
It's formulated with Chronolux Power Signal Technology, which encourages your skin's natural renewal process. Hyaluronic acid works to lock in moisture and keep your skin hydrated, while the array of antioxidants helps to protect your skin from environmental factors.
After continued use of this fast-absorbing serum, your skin will look smoother, younger, more radiant and more evenly toned.
Best for pigmentation: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum
Why we chose it
Our choice for the best serum to target pigmentation is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum. This is the type of product that addresses multiple skin concerns and is loved by dermatologists, celebrities and beauty editors.
It's formulated with 15% l-ascorbic acid, more commonly known as vitamin C, which helps provide antioxidant protection and helps minimise the look of hyperpigmentation. Alpha tocopherol is a specialised form of vitamin E, which defends against free radical damage. The inclusion of ferulic acid enhances the efficacy of both vitamin C and E.
While the results are not overnight, with prolonged use, you'll notice a reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, hydrated and brighter skin and, most importantly, an improvement in pigmentation.
Best for hydrating: La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Ageing Serum
Why we chose it
If you're looking for the best hydrating serum, our pick is the La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Ageing Serum. It's formulated with two types of hyaluronic acid as well as vitamin B5 to plump and hydrate the skin.
This face serum works to repair and replenish the skin's natural moisture barrier. The two types of hyaluronic acid include one with a high molecular weight, which creates an invisible barrier to lock in moisture. The other type is a low molecular weight, which helps to plump up the skin.
It has a water-gel texture that absorbs into the skin with ease.
Best for brightening: Youth to the People 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Comes in a glass bottle that helps keep the formulation stable
- High price tag
- Some users claim they had a bad skin reaction
Price (RRP): $104Buy at Sephora
Why we chose it
Our top pick for the best brightening serum is Youth to the People's 15% Vitamin C Serum. It promises to brighten, tighten and depuff the skin, reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and even out the overall complexion.
It's formulated with 15% vitamin C, which is produced from three powerful sources: ethyl ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.
It also has passion fruit for antioxidants, dragon fruit for moisture, squalane for hydration and a combination of yerba mate and guayuse, which is naturally high in caffeine and works to reduce that dreaded morning puffiness.
The formulation is lightweight, non-sticky and absorbs into the skin with ease. This serum is so good that it got its own review.
Best for plumping: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Why we chose it
Our choice for the best plumping serum is The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. Anything with hyaluronic acid will visibly work to plump the skin as these molecules attract 1,000 times their weight in water, drawing moisture into the skin.
This serum from The Ordinary gets the job done for under $15. The addition of vitamin B5 boosts surface hydration. It's a lightweight formulation that absorbs quickly into the skin. It layers amazingly underneath your moisturiser, SPF and makeup.
Best for acne: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Why we chose it
If you're looking for a face serum to treat acne, our pick is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. It's designed to transform your skin's texture and clear signs of congestion.
Niacinamide boosts the skin's natural defence system, while zinc repairs skin damaged by acne and congestion. These ingredients work harmoniously together in this serum to clear blemish-forming bacteria, balance sebum production and minimise enlarged pores.
If you suffer from acne-prone and sensitive skin, this is a great product for you. Instead of removing a layer of damaged and acne-prone skin, which is what retinol and acids do, this serum simply decongests the skin and helps prevent future breakouts.
Best for texture: Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment
Why we chose it
Our top pick for the best serum to treat all kinds of texture is the Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment.
This exfoliating serum is formulated with purified lactic acid, which works to refine and clarify the skin. The addition of liquorice also works to naturally brighten age spots and discolouration, while arnica soothes the skin and boosts circulation.
This powerful combination of ingredients helps reveal a clearer complexion, especially after continued use.
Best for sensitive skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum
- Works amazing for dry skin types
- Suitable for morning and night
- Some reviewers claim the texture is too sticky
Price (RRP): $62Buy at Sephora
Why we chose it
Our choice for the best serum for sensitive skin is the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum. This brand is known for its exclusion of irritating ingredients – including fragrance, parabens and denatured alcohol. That's why we love this beauty brand for sensitive skin types.
The Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum promises to give the skin its daily dose of moisture. It's a water-based gel that's lightweight and absorbs into the skin with ease.
It's formulated with hyaluronic acid, peptides and collagen, which all work to hydrate and plump the skin. Colloidal oatmeal and aloe leaf juice help to calm and soothe irritated skin.
Best budget-friendly face serum: The Inkey List Q10 Serum
Why we chose it
If you're on the hunt for a face serum that gets the job done while being kind to your wallet, our recommendation is The Inkey List Q10 Serum.
Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that's naturally found in the body. It's an essential enzyme that works in the upper layers of your skin to repair cells, hydrate the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Over time, our levels of this decrease, which is why we love the idea of this in a serum form – and thanks to The Inkey List, it comes with an incredibly affordable price tag. After continued use and alongside a good skincare routine, you'll begin to notice a reduction in visible signs of ageing.
What is a serum?
A serum is a type of skincare product that offers targeted results through potent formulations. There's a bunch of different types on the market, and they're typically the consistency of a light oil, gel or liquid lotion.
You can get both daytime and nighttime serums, and they're meant to be applied before a facial moisturiser.
Why should you use a serum?
While a serum isn't essential to a good skincare routine, serums are a great way of boosting the efficacy of your skincare routine or addressing a specific concern.
Serums have a lighter and runnier consistency than moisturisers so they can sink more deeply into the skin than moisturisers, which may only reach the top layer or two. Serums can penetrate the deep layers of skin and deliver high-performance ingredients to the areas moisturisers can't reach.
Different types of serum and what they can do for you:
Choosing the right serum is all about working out what concerns you have about your skin. Most serums have the active ingredients used in the serum listed on the bottle. So it's easy to work out what will be good for your skin as long as you know what active ingredients you need.
- For dryness. Look for hyaluronic acid, which draws water into the skin, or ingredients like rosewater. Oils such as rosehip, grape seed and camellia can be very nourishing. If your skin is really dry, try an argan oil serum.
- For ageing reversal. Try a retinoid, retinol or vitamin A serum. These ingredients have been proven to make new skin grow faster and repair lines, spots and other signs of ageing. Peptides are another ingredient that has been said to have ageing reversal effects, although there's been a lot less research into these for skincare use. Also, high doses of vitamin C can trigger an increased production of collagen, which can help to fight ageing.
- For ageing prevention. Look for antioxidants. These are things that stop oxidisation, which is the chemical reaction that causes your skin to age. These won't reverse any existing signs of ageing, but they'll work real hard to stop more signs of ageing from appearing. Vitamin E, vitamin C, lycopene, green tea and resveratrol are just a few.
- For pigmentation, spots or discolouration. Try a retinoid, retinol or vitamin A serum that will help fade spots by helping your skin make new fresh skin. Or try an acid-like glycolic or lactic acid that can help your skin shed the dead top layers and help reduce pigmentation and spots.
- For acne. A specialised form of vitamin A, like trans-retinoic acid, can help keep acne at bay. You can also try a gentle lactic-acid serum to help bring blemishes to the surface. Non-comedogenic oils like grape seed can help keep your skin healthy without making it more oily.
- For brighter skin. Acids such as glycolic or lactic acid are your best bet. They can clear off all the old dull skin. Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid can also lead to a brighter complexion.
Best products chosen
- Our editorial team has experience in beauty comparing and testing, having looked at over 30 products from 20 beauty brands.
- We excluded some brands that aren't widely available across Australia.
- The products on this list were chosen by our editorial team and were not selected based on commercial relationships.
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