It’s no secret that brown skin is beautiful. But because darker skin has more melanin than lighter skin, It’s often prone to discoloration. When we don’t wear sunscreen daily, melanin-rich skin can struggle with dark spots most commonly referenced as hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory pigmentation.
“Hyperpigmentation is a term used to describe facial discoloration,” says dermatological nurse and celebrity aesthetician Natalie Aguilar. “Hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase in melanin and natural factors such as the sun, hormones, and age can cause these dark spots.”
On the flip side, post-inflammatory pigmentation is a discoloration caused by inflammation after an injury, says Aguilar. “Unnatural factors such as laser burns, chemical burns, sunburns, waxing injuries, acne, mosquito bites, and even constant irritation from clothing can cause post-inflammatory discoloration.”
Regardless of how you achieved the discoloration, it’s annoying and it needs to go. Enter face serums. Serums may seem like just another beauty product you can live without, but they are actually clutch for dark skin. Serums provide an extra layer of moisture and can help aid in reducing the look of aging skin. Additionally, they generally contain active ingredients that can visibly change and enhance our skin.
So what exactly should you look for in a serum? “Darker skin tones are prone to discoloration because of the excess melanin in cells. Because of this, darker skin tones should avoid strong skin lighteners, such as hydroquinone, and focus more on skin brighteners such as Vitamin B3 serum or Vitamin C serums,” says Aguilar. “Using strong lightening serums will not only lighten pigmentation, but can also lighten normal skin tone unevenly making the skin look blotchy. Therefore, it’s best to use a skin brightener, rather than a lightener, as brightening serums are more gentle and can brighten the skin in a uniform manner.”
Ready to enhance your beautiful skin? To help you make an educated decision, we’ve compiled a list of the best face serum for Black skin. Grab a pen, pad, or bookmark this page, because this is one you don’t want to forget:
1. Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore Refining Toner + SerumSource:Courtesy of Brand
This beauty comes live and direct from the Bad Gal herself, Rihanna. Fenty Beauty’s 2-in-1 offering provides the benefits of a toner and serum. It’s made with niacinamide, barbados cherry, green tea and fig, and witch hazel that comes together to give your skin the royal treatment. It helps refine the look of pores, reduces the look of dark spots, and evens skin tone. It’s also worth noting that Rihanna calls it “fat” because of its unique thick texture that absorbs instantly. For best results, we like to apply to our palm, then pat and press over our face—letting it absorb.
2. Urban Skin Rx HydraFirm Brightening SerumSource:Courtesy of Brand
Rachel Roff, the founder of Urban Skin Rx, recommends using the Urban Skin Rx HydraFirm Serum as a final step in your skincare routine. This oil-free serum is infused with moisturizing and firming ingredients such as peptides, seaweed extract, green tea leaf extract, and hyaluronic acid which work together to provide a smooth and bright glow for all skin types.
Note: This serum contains an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that may increase your sensitivity to the sun and heighten the possibility of sunburn. Use a sunscreen and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterward.
Urban Skin Rx
3. Face by Camille Rose Youth Burst Age Reversing SerumSource:Courtesy of Brand
Camille Rose, the Black-owned, gourmet hair and body beauty brand, handcrafted by CEO and mom of five, Janell Stephens, has the midas touch on haircare and skincare. Camille Rose was founded in 2011 in Janell’s kitchen and recently expanded into body and skincare. Needless to say, we’re obsessed.
This night serum is made with ceramide-3 and East Asian Baikal Skullcap plant extracts that come together to stimulate natural collagen production and protect delicate facial skin from sun damage. It also gives your skin a healthy and moisturized glow that lasts longer than most serums. Use it in the evening after cleansing and toning.
4. Pure Tropix Brightening ElixirSource:Courtesy of Brand
This elixir was created with all skin types in mind. With each use, it creates a protective moisture barrier while naturally stimulating the production of collagen and elastin giving you a gorgeous glow every time. And don’t let the packaging fool you, this serum is a heavy hitter that actually works. Prepared to be pleasantly surprised at how well it stacks up against other serums that are double its price.
One Google reviewer says it’s “my holy grail for clear skin. No cap!” Without question, it’s one of the best affordable face serums.
5. The Ordinary. Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%Source:Courtesy of Brand
If you stay on top of the skincare game, then you may be familiar with this offering. This is one of The Ordinary’s best-selling items—and for a good reason. The Ordinary’s serum is a highly-stable, water-soluble vitamin C derivative that has been shown to brighten skin over time. It’s free of alcohol and other harsh ingredients, which makes this cult-favorite a gentle option for all skin types. Reviewers even loved that it works great on sensitive skin. Our favorite reviewer tip? Mix it with your daily moisturizer cream if you find the vitamin C to be too harsh on bare skin.
6. Beneath Your Mask Nourish Skin & Hair SerumSource:Courtesy of Brand
Beneath Your Skin has changed the game on us. Not only can we use this serum on our face, you can also show your strands some love, too.
This blend is supercharged with a potent cocktail of pure plant and essential oils that balances moisture levels and restores elasticity to skin and hair. In it, you’ll find vitamins b, C and E as well as anti-aging properties, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that repair skin and protect from environmental stressors. It also smells amazing and won’t interfere with your perfume when getting a little closer to others. Genius!
Beneath Your Mask
7. Buttah Skin Vitamin C SerumSource:Courtesy of Brand
For long-lasting serum that gives you a perfect glow, try this skin revitalizer from Buttah Skin. It features a proprietary blend of retexturizing vitamin C and antioxidants that work to make our melanin shine through while improving the appearance of dark spots. It’s only available in a 1oz bottle, but you only need 4-5 drops on freshly cleansed skin to see a big pay off.
And if you think this serum is only for ladies, think again. One reviewer says, “I bought it for my boyfriend who loves it. It’s easy to use, non-irritating, and a great step in protecting his beautiful skin as he gets a little older.” Finally, we can kiss dull skin goodbye.