4 Face Serums For $20 And Under That Actually Work

Everyone has probably heard of face serums by now, but does anyone actually know what they do and what makes them different than a facial lotion or oil? It’s fine. I didn’t either until I Googled the crap out of it. Contrary to popular belief, a serum is neither drying nor a contributing factor to oily skin. In fact, depending on your skin’s needs, you can find one that tailors to one or the other. Much like toner, face serums seem to be one of those products you know you can probably benefit from, but don’t use on a daily basis. Turns out, you should actually consider adding one to your everyday routine asap. The water-based product is intended to deliver results directly to your face almost immediately. Of course, this usually means what you’re looking for costs a ridiculous amount of money. However, there are plenty of serums on the market that are cheaper than your next Uber ride. Here are some of the best and most inexpensive face serums for healthier, younger-looking skin.

1. Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum Fragrance-Free

This fragrance-free formula is basically your anti-aging solution in a bottle. With ingredients like Vitamin E and green tea, this serum helps get rid of wrinkles, fine lines, and dry skin by plumping hydration and resorting your skins elasticity.

2. Burt’s Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum

Although this serum provides your skin with much-needed hydration, it’s totally non-oily so it won’t contribute to any midday greasiness. You really can have it all! This formula helps promote firmness and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines faster than you can say, “botox.”

3. Yes To Grapefruit Correct & Repair Dark Spot Correcting Serum


I have really tan skin, so I can definitely say I know how it feels to have annoying dark spots that never seem to fade. I’ve exhausted what feels like every option except a decent serum. Go f*cking figure. For all of you in the same boat, you’ll want to grab this super cheap one at your nearest Walgreen’s or whatever. It brightens any dark marks, evens your skin tone, and leaves you with a healthy-looking glow. Bless.

4. Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

Whether you suffer from the occasional breakout or you have generally acne-prone skin, you’ll want to go for a serum that has a ton of Vitamin C like this one. Not only does it minimize the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and basically any signs of aging, but it also balances your skin tone, clears up acne, and makes your skin feel silky smooth.

Photo: Jon Ly / Unsplash; Target (1); Burt’s Bees (1); Jet (1); Sephora (1); Ulta Beauty (1)

The Best Expensive Beauty Serums And Their Cheap Alternatives

Everytime I go into the wide interwebs, some other beauty blogger is telling me to smear oil or a fancy serum on my face. Look, I already have a strict skin care regimen and am v afraid of breaking out, so the idea of patting on literal oil is a lil frightening.

However, I will admit that there are quite a few serums and oils out there that totally work. The problem is that they’re weighing in at more than I care to afford (esp. when I need to spend money on important shit like Zara’s new Fall collection, mmkay?). We’ve rounded up the pricey shit that people like Gwyneth Paltrow slides on her face (I assume when she isn’t steaming her snatch) and the cheaper alternatives that, SHOCKER, work just as well.

Pricey Shiiiiit: Rodin Olio Lusso

Described as “rich and deluxe,” this serum made from what I assume are nearly extinct plants and animals will make you feel extra if you use it. It helps with dry skin and wrinkles, so you can look 25 for another few years. The scariest part of this shit is that a TEENY TINY BOTTLE will set you back $170. This better fix my dry skin, help me drop 20 pounds, and cook dinner for me, too.

Rodin Olio Lusso

For Your Cheap Ass: Botanics Hydration Burst with Clary Sage Light Serum

If you need a serum to get your dry, crusty skin to snap back into action, this shit it for you. It’s better for sensitive skin, too, than some of the heavier alternatives. The best part is the price tag—pick this shit up at Target for under $15.

Botanics Hydration Burst with Clary Sage Light Serum

Pricey Shiiiiit: de Mamiel Winter Facial Oil

For the low low price of $114, you can experience this “exquisite seasonal oil”—available four times a year—you know, for all the seaaaasons. The winter one has tons of essential oils, fruit and plant extracts, and all kinds of shit to “renew your spirit.” Like I said before, for that fucking price, it better come with a fur coat made of something exotic and extinct.

de Mamiel Winter Facial Oil

For Your Cheap Ass: Clinique Acne Solutions Acne + Line Correcting Serum

See, when you aren’t dishing out big bucks, you get products that straight-up call you out for having a few zits. Rude. However, at only about $45, I’ll take that side of shame with my serum. This shit is oil free, but the serum made from salicylic acid and other awesome pimple-popping meds helps to not just battle your face’s bumps, but also wrinkles. Win.

Clinique Acne Solutions Acne + Line Correcting Serum

Pricey Shiiiiit: Kypris Beauty Elixir I-1000 Roses

Described as “magic” for dull, tired, and dry skin, this shit has the “essential oil of 1000 organic and biodynamic Bulgarian roses.” I had no idea literally anything in Bulgaria was that valuable. Relax, I’m kidding. So with the expensive flowers also comes black raspberry and pomegranate seed extracts, antioxidants, and LOTS of vitamin C—which we all know is crack for your skin. This luxurious shit is the most expensive on our list at $225.

KYPRIS Beauty Elixir 1000 Roses

For Your Cheap Ass: John Masters Organics Vitamin C Anti-Aging Face Serum

If you’re familiar with John Masters, you know he makes a mean sea salt spray for your hair (yaaaaas!). The natural beauty carries into this serum, which, with its tons of vitamin C and nourishing antioxidants, helps chill out the wrinkles that may be starting AND add some brightness. For $26, I’ll take what I can get.