Twenty bucks can buy you six Scrub Daddy sponges, a can of hairspray beloved by Megan Markle, or—should skin care be more your thing—a supercharged treatment serum at Sephora. Take a gander at the beauty retailer’s “treatment serum” section of its website, and you’ll notice a bevy of products at surprisingly low prices—many 20 dollars or less.
Whether you’re in the market for a quenching hyaluronic acid serum or something to brighten up dull skin, this (not-so) secret smattering of serums at Sephora likely holds the ticket—and for far less than you’d expect. Five of our favorites from the selection of best Sephora skin-care products under $20, below.
Shop the top treatment serums at Sephora
Hero ingredient: Niacinamide, a buzzy form of vitamin B known for brightening hyperpigmentation, soothing inflammation, and aiding collagen production.
Why people love it: One reviewer, who says they’re on their “fourth or fifth bottle” claims this serum “reduces redness and acne overnight.” While lofty, this claim might just check out. As Joshua Zeichner, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City, previously told Well+Good, niacinamide “helps lighten dark spots.” Additionally, he shared, niacinamide calms inflammation and can be tolerated by many skin types.
Hero ingredients: Polyhydroxy acid; beta-hydroxy acid
Why people love it: Perhaps you’ve heard of polyhydroxy acid or PHA? If not, definitely consider giving it a go. Because PHA molecules are too large to penetrate the surface of your skin, it’s gentler than its cousins in the alpha and beta hydroxy acid families, but still serves a similar purpose. It works to dissolve the “stuff” that holds dead skin cells together, thereby providing a light resurfacing effect. This formula pairs the ingredient with BHAs, which has smaller molecules that go deep into your pores to clear them from the inside out, and the combination of the two will leave your complexion clear and radiant.
Hero ingredients: Vitamin C, vitamin E
Why people love it: Lightweight and decidedly non-sticky, this vitamin C+E serum can easily be slotted into any existing skin-care routine. You’ll often find the two ingredients paired in a single formula, thanks to the fact that vitamin E helps keep vitamin C stable while also adding some moisture to your skin. Many reviewers say they’ve noticed some serious luminosity in their complexions after using this serum for only a few weeks.
Hero ingredients: Alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids
Why people love it: With high concentrations of lactic and glycolic acids—AHAs that help to resurface your skin via chemical exfoliation—this peel is particularly powerful. It’s also got salicylic acid, which helps to fend off breakouts. Altogether, this combination delivers positively radiant results after only a few uses.
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