16 Budget Face Serums That Are Just As Good As Their Expensive Counterparts (Yes, Really)

These savvy serums get the job done without breaking the bank...

best cheap serums

by Emma Stoddart |

Ask any dermatologist and they will tell you that a good skincare regime should include a targeted, potent serum. ‘Serums are an excellent way of delivering active ingredients into the skin,’ says aesthetic doctor and skincare expert, Dr Sophie Shotter. ‘They are lightweight and deliver hydration deep into the dermis, whereas thicker moisturising creams sit closer to the surface.’

Serums should be applied to cleansed skin, before moisturiser. ‘Pat your chosen potion in with your fingertips to avoid excess product wastage on your palms,’ advises Dr Shotter, ‘and always finish with an SPF product for the day.’

READ MORE: 7 Bargain Mascaras That Are Just As Good As Their Top-Selling Luxury Equivalents

To ensure the serum caters to your specific skincare needs, look out for certain ingredients, as Dr Shotter explains below.

Antioxidant serum: When it comes to skincare, antioxidants are a must. They help ward off environmental aggressors like pollution and keep skin in check. ‘A good antioxidant serum will contain ingredients such as vitamin C and/or E, resveratrol and ferulic acid.'

Anti-ageing serum: If your skincare goal is to target fine lines and visible signs of ageing, opt for retinol. 'Anti-ageing serums will often contain retinol. Retinol increases cell turnover, collagen production and the skin's resilience - making it firmer, plumper and more youthful.'

Pigmentation: 'A good serum for pigmentation may contain arbutin.'

Hydrating serum: Thirsty, dry skin? Dose up on hydration with a serum laced with hyaluronic acid or snow mushroom.

Clarifying serum: When it comes to congestion and breakouts, AHAs and BHAs are your best friend. 'Specifically, look out for salicylic acid or niacinamide.'

READ MORE: Our Beauty Team's Favourite Bargain Beauty Products For Under £15

Several experts say that, rather than a moisturiser, it’s a serum you should reserve more cash for. But actually, there’s a whole of bunch of brilliant serums that deliver on results and don't cost an arm and a leg. Shop your perfect purse-friendly serum from our curated edit below…

SHOP: The Best Budget Skincare Serums


Best Budget Skincare Serums 2022

best cheap face serums
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Treat your thirsty skin to a morning smoothie, as Scientia's CBD Vegi-Tox Smoothie Serum is packed with antioxidant green goodness to awaken and brighten your complexion. Think all of the nutrients of Avocado, Kiwi, Pistachio, Broccoli, Aloe and kale, blended with caffeine, CBD and hyaluronic acid, for smooth, bright skin ready for anything the day has in store.

Best cheap face serums
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Minimalist french brand, Typology, recently landed in the UK with its effective, simple formulas that are made from at least 80% natural ingredients. For a serious dose of hydration, try this Hyaluronic Acid gel-like serum which helps skin retain moisture.

Best cheap face serums
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New in from Olay, the collagen peptide range has literally flown off the (virtual) shelves at a rapid rate of more than 1 per minute. Get in on the action with the lightweight, fragrance-free serum that smooths and strengthens skin.

Best cheap face serums
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Powered by a natural AHA, Lactic Acid, this potent serum sloughs away dulling dead skin cells to a reveal a brighter, more radiant complexion.

Best cheap face serums
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If your skin isn't play ball right now, turn your attention to new brand on the block - Versed. Targeting a variety of skincare concerns, this blue bottle calms inflammation, decongests pores and soothes with niacinamide and zinc. It's a firm favourite for our stress-out complexions.

Best cheap face serums
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This handy serum stick is great for on-the-go hydration when skin is feeling a little parched. Watermelon and hyaluronic acid boost moisture while antioxidants protect skin.

Best cheap face serums
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Starring 23% pure L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in an airless pump to prevent oxidation - this bargainous skincare serum brightens skin and wards against pollutants.

Best cheap face serums
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Use this serum daily, packed with vitamin C and magnesium, to brighten and re-energise lack lustre skin.

Best cheap face serums
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Serums shouldn't be solely reserved for your face. Let your lips get in the action too with this 98% natural, nourishing lip serum.

Best cheap face serums
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Vitamin C = skin's best brightening friend and can be found in abundance in this purse-friendly serum. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, it will hydrate as well as boost radiance.

Best cheap face serums
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For a serious hit of hydration, look no further than this super serum. With two different sized molecules of hyaluronic acid (one to work on the surface and one to hydrate deep below), skin looks plump and healthy after a single use.

Best cheap face serums
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A cult classic for good reason, this 'Buffet' serum boasts an impressive line-up of peptides that stimulate collagen synthesis, plump up fine lines and smooth skin over time.

Best cheap face serums
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Ideal for dry skin, this serum hydrates with hyaluronic acid and absorbs quickly without leaving any sticky residue behind. Use after toner for a radiant glow.

Best cheap face serums
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Salicylic Acid is a BHA that's great for tackling spots. It works by exfoliating the skin inside the pores as well as on the surface to reduce congestion. And at just £7 it's an absolute steal.

Best cheap face serums
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This serum is great because the low-molecular structure of the sodium hyaluronate (a salt derived from hyaluronic acid) means it can deeply penetrate the skin.

Best cheap face serums
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Perk up under eyes with this powerful serum that harnesses caffeine to de-puff and brighten as well as hyaluronic acid to plump fine lines. Double win.

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