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Beauty

12 Serums That Actually Work – And They’re All Under $50

The beauty serums that'll protect your skin and stop you from breaking the bank too.

Serums are an integral part of every skincare routine. Packed with powerful ingredients they help tackle a variety of skin conditions from dullness and dehydration to inflammation. And even though they come fortified with potent ingredients, they don’t always have to cost a small fortune. We’ve rounded some of the best serums under $50, that will save your skin, and help you save some money too.

This article first appeared in Cleo.

Dr. Belmeur Advanced Cica Recovery Serum, $48, The Face Shop
Ideal for all skin types, especially those with sensitive skin, this serum helps to strengthen the skin’s natural defences to keep out bacteria and other harmful elements. It has ceramides that create a moisture barrier, panthenol that helps soothe skin with its anti-inflammatory benefits, and madecaddoside (one of the compounds found in Centella asiatica extracts) that helps soothe irritated skin and repair skin damage. Green Tea Seed Serum, $37, Innisfree
This cult-favourite serum has a new and improved formula that has 100 per cent Fresh Green Tea Water 2.0, extracted from the brand’s proprietary Beauty Green Tea. The upgraded formula has 16 different moisture amino acids and is three and half times more concentrated amino acids than the original. This is important because amino acids help maintain the skin’s hydration and texture to keep it supple and healthy. It also has green tea seed oil that helps lock in hydration so skin is comfortable for hours. Derma Lab Hydraceutic Double Power Vitamin Concentrate, $49.90, Watsons
With two powerful ingredients – vitamin B5 and vitamin B3 – this serum works to reduce irritation and restore hydration. Five per cent vitamin B5 helps boost skin regeneration attracts and seals in hydration, and protects skin from external irritants. The serum also has anti-oxidant benefits, prevents dryness and inhibits melanin production to reduce pigmentation thanks to five per cent vitamin B3 in the formula. Fresh Vitamin Nectar Antioxidant Face Serum, $45, Sephora
Think of this as a big green smoothie packed with anti-oxidants for your face. A vitamin complex comprising vitamins C, E and B5, as well as lemon and orange extracts and minerals helps rejuvenate skin for a healthier complexion. It also has jicama root juice, chicory root juice, ginger water, beta carotene and coconut oil that together hydrate, reduce damage from free radicals, nourish and soften skin. Estelle & Thild Biocalm Anti-Redness Rescue Serum, US$23.78 (S$33), www.net-a-porter.com
This calms and soothes sensitive skin while boosting its hydration and radiance. It’s also packed with certified organic apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, oat kernel extract oil, and elderflower extract to nourish and rebalance sensitive skin and reduce skin irritation. Niod Survival 30, US$35 ($49), niod.deciem.com
NIOD, which stands for Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science, is a brand under the US-based Deciem, which also owns the popular The Ordinary skincare brand. This serum not only has tomato carotenoid complex to reduce redness caused by light exposure and algae extract to combat free radicals from pollution and stress, it also has SPF30 to shield skin from UVA and UVB rays. Lixirskin Night Switch PHA/AHA 10%, US$21.15 (S$29), www.net-a-porter.com
There are only six ingredients in this serum, including lactic acid, lactobionic acid and phytic acid–being the three main ingredients. Lactic acid improves skin hydration, lactobionic acid combats oxidative stress and phytic acid detoxifies skin. The blend of acids also helps exfoliate dead skin cells to encourage skin cell renewal for healthier-looking skin and to diminish the appearance of fine lines, hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores. Pixi Glow Tonic Serum, $38, Sephora
This lightweight serum has glycolic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells while aloe vera calms and soothes skin. It also has ginseng extracts to revitalise and rebalance skin. After use, skin feels hydrated, nourished and softer. Revitalift Micronized Centella Essence Water, $35.90, L’Oréeal Paris
This booster is formulated with 92 per cent pure centella asiatica extract (also known as cica or tiger grass), to help speed up skin healing to alleviate ageing signs such as hyperpigmentation and sagging skin. It also helps keep skin moisturised and clear. The breakthrough technology in this essence-water allows for better penetration into deeper skin layers thanks to droplets that are five times smaller. Bio-Essence Bio-Gold 24K Gold Gold Water, $36, Watsons
Herbal extracts and the brand’s Bio Energy Complex help skin combat free radical damage to stave off premature skin ageing. It also deeply nourishes skin to smooth it and impart a healthy glow. Skin’s elasticity is also improved, while enlarged pores are diminished. This also helps rebalance skin to regulate moisture and sebum balance Sephora Collection Ultra Glow Serum, $29, Sephora
With a blend of vitamin C and E, this helps to impart a natural, healthy glow to skin while nourishing it and protecting it against environmental aggressors. Marine algae also helps firm and tighten skin. The texture is light and non-oily, and easily absorbed into skin so it’s great as a makeup primer too. Plus, it is suitable for sensitive skin types too. Dr Sebagh Supreme Maintenance Youth Serum, US$33.97 (S$47), www.net-a-porter.com
This lightweight and oil-free serum from Dr. Sebagh, a British doctor brand, has a whopping 95 per cent active ingredients that include resveratrol to combat free radical damage, vitamin C to even out skin tone and impart skin radiance, three anti-ageing peptides to hydrate and firm skin, and hyaluronic acid to plump up the skin and diminish the appearance of fine lines.