9 serums under $50 that actually work like wizardry

Phenomenal skin and change to spare

Digital Beauty Editor / October 12 2022

Looking your best sure isn’t cheap; in fact, keeping your skin glowing, your hair glossy and your makeup stash going strong can certainly cost a (fittingly) pretty penny.

And though you are, of course, worth every cent, there’s nothing wrong with cutting down costs where you can.

Because while discovering a phenomenal skin care formula that legitimately works wonders is a win at any price, there’s not much better than stumbling upon one that delivers all the benefits for a fraction of the cost.

So, in the name of keeping both your face and your savings accounts in prime condition, here are eight budget-friendly serums you can fall in love with sans guilt, because restocking won’t be a blow to your bank account.

CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum


CeraVe’s new vitamin C serum combines the brand’s signature cocktail of ceramides, hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 with 10 per cent pure vitamin C (AKA L-ascorbic acid). The genius behind this particularly brightening vitamin C serum is that it’s formulated with sensitive skin in mind, meaning you can slather your skin in the stuff every morning before sunscreen. Why is this great news for your skin? Vitamin C and SPF have a symbiotic relationship that ensures your skin stays protected from harmful UV and free radicals, which contribute to premature ageing and the degradation of the skin barrier. 

$41.99 at Chemist Warehouse

Boost Lab Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Ever turned up the brightness on a selfie? Your face looks vibrant, sure, but every flaw (from dark spots to fine lines) also appears more exaggerated than ever. Rude, right? Luckily, that's not how this serum works. Not only will it leave skin luminous, but it also makes sure to decrease the appearance of any uneven tone and texture along the way. Shout-out to the vitamin C and niacinamide pairing for that.

$29.95 at Adore Beauty

Nip + Fab Vitamin C Serum


The price may be low, but this spritely serum is a very high achiever, considering its impressive all-rounder status. Vitamin C gets top billing (and you’ll soon see why; it’s not playing in the brightening arena) but the anti-inflammatory presence of acai berry also ensures your complexion stays smooth, soothed and moisturised.

$29.99 at Ry

Pixi Hydrating Milky Serum

After a silky skin solution that sends dehydration on its tight, flaky way? Featuring a wildly nourishing quartet of rose flower extract, jojoba oil, aloe vera and glycerin, this superstar serum leaves skin feeling (and looking) calm, plump and hydrated as hell. Bonus points for the milky texture, too – it feels way more expensive than it is.

$35 at Myer

Laneige Glowy Makeup Serum

If glow is your goal, this lightweight luminosity-booster is your face’s perfect fit. Not only does it keep oil in check (allowing you to swap the bad kind of shine for the good), but it’s also formulated with diamond mineral powder (pretty luxurious considering the price) in order to impart shimmer-spiked reflective radiance.

$45.18 at Stylevana or $42 at Sephora

Salt By Hendrix Botanical Facial Serum

This bargain-status botanic serum will work wonders for both your skin’s radiance and the vibe of your vanity; the glass bottle screams luxury. Don’t let its water-light texture fool you, though; it’s a heavy hitter in the texture-smoothing and tone-refining departments thanks to its high concentration of vit-C-rich Kakadu plum.

$39.95 at Adore Beauty

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Filler 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Craving a glass skin situation? This potent hyaluronic acid serum features two types of the stuff to help you hit your plumpness, smoothness and hydration targets with one formula. To get science-y for a sec, it’s loaded with 0.5 per cent Macro HA to moisturise and smooth the skin’s overall surface, plus one per cent Micro HA to plump out any fine lines. Genius.

$44.95 at Adore Beauty

Antipodes Hosanna H20 Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum

If ‘oil-free’ and ‘certified organic’ are factors you’re looking to tick off, this plumping delight definitely delivers. Loaded with a hefty dose of sauvignon blanc grapes, it works to hydrate, brighten and protect the complexion, while also easing stress levels in your skin the same way any good glass of white would after a long day.

$49.75 at Beauty Bay

Innisfree Jeju Pomegranate Revitalising Serum

This complexion-revitalising cocktail covers multiple bases – niacinamide helps to strengthen your skin’s barrier, and squalane quenches your face’s thirst and keeps moisture levels in tact, all while the formula’s namesake jeju pomegranate juice takes care of your luminosity levels; antioxidant-rich ingredients for the win.

$48 at Adore Beauty

Main image credit: @saltbyhendrix

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