These Cheap Serums Are Just as Good as Their Expensive Counterparts

Working out what your skin really needs to look and feel its best can be tricky, but there are a few steps that skin experts unanimously agree should be part of a good skincare routine. First, a good cleanser; think of this step as the foundation on which the rest of your routine is built. Second, an SPF; wearing sun protection is the one piece of skincare advice that I hear most from dermatologists for preventing everything from signs of ageing to pigmentation. Third, moisturiser is vital for every skin type, from oily to dry, for repairing the skin's barrier and maintaining hydration levels. Finally, a serum, which is possibly one of my favourite steps in my skincare routine and one that Kate Moss's facialist told me is key to maintaining youthful, glowy skin.

However, serums undoubtedly have a bit of a bad reputation for being costly, so it's understandable that many people skip this step entirely and head straight for the moisturiser. But do you really have to pay upward of £100 to find a serum that will deliver results? Turns out you don't.

In fact, I've tried hundreds of serums over the years, and I'm confident that I can find you an affordable dupe for even the priciest of formulations.


(Image credit: @fongminliao)

Keep scrolling to shop seven of the best cheap serums that are just as good as their expensive counterparts in my eyes. This is ideal if you're just venturing into the world of serums or simply don't fancy taking out a mortgage on a bottle of skincare.

1. If you love… Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Try… First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum

2. If you love… Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

Try… The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

3. If you love… Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum

Try… Garden of Wisdom Mandelic Acid 10% Serum

4. If you love… La Mer The Regenerating Serum

Try… The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics

5. If you love… IS Clinical Active Serum

Try… Caudalie Vinopure Skin Perfecting Serum

6. If you love… Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform

Try… The Inkey List Retinol

7. If you love… SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic 

Try… Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster

More Affordable Serums

8. Vichy Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum

9. The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Revealing Serum

10. Byoma Hydrating Serum

11. Beauty Pie Genius Lift Elixir

12. Versed Just Breathe Clarifying Serum

13. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum

14. Typology Unifying Serum 12% Niacinamide

15. Skin Proud Bright Boost 2% Vitamin C Serum

Up next: My friend looks 10 years younger than she is, so I did her skincare for five months.

Mica Ricketts