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The Best Natural & Clean Antioxidant Serums For Glowing Skin

November 26, 2021
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Antioxidants—we know them, we love them, we eat and drink 'em up, and slather them on our complexions. And if you're not doing that last one, you really should.

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Antioxidants are some of the best little bioactive compounds you can feed your skin, as they neutralize free radicals on the skin. In doing so, antioxidants can help calm the skin, improve tone and texture, strengthen the barrier, brighten up dullness, and buffer against premature aging. (We love to see it.) What's more, all antioxidants have unique functions unto themselves, meaning you can expect to see more targeted results based on which concoction you select.

Want more info on these spectacular little compounds? See our full guide to antioxidants and the top skin care antioxidants.

Now, antioxidants are formulated into many kinds of products—from body products and hand creams to face washes and masks. But if you're looking for the most effective way to deliver them to your facial skin, a serum is your best bet. Serums are highly concentrated formulas that are meant to be applied directly onto clean skin to supply your cells with actives. (Consider these your daily treatment step.) And you'll want to select one that has an antioxidant, or combination of antioxidants, that addresses your goals. 

Don't worry: We've done the hard work for you. Here are our favorite antioxidant serums and everything about their wonderful benefits. 

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Quick list:

True Botanicals Chebula Active Immunity Face Serum

This pillowy serum came recommended from not one, not two, but three highly trusted sources—so of course I had to get my hands on it. Well, it certainly did not disappoint—it quickly skyrocketed to one of my favorite serums of all time. The hero is the namesake's chebula, a superfruit extract that has impressive antioxidant abilities that improve signs of aging, calms redness, and smooths fine lines.

Best for: Mature & sensitive skin | Use: Day & night

Chebula Active Immunity Face Serum, True Botanicals ($90)

True Botanicals Chebula Active Immunity Face Serum
True Botanicals
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Marie Veronique Vitamin C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum

In terms of ingredient combinations, vitamins C and E and ferulic acid is about as famous as they come for collagen production. Vitamin C is a necessary part of the collagen synthesis and cross-linking process. Vitamin E crucially stabilizes the notoriously volatile molecule. Ferulic acid is not only an antioxidant but can help power up other antioxidants—meaning the entire formula becomes more effective. A hat trick, if you will. 

Best for: Any skin type | Use: Day & night

Vitamin C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum, Marie Veronique ($90)

Marie Veronique Vitamin C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum
Marie Veronique

Burt's Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum

A dynamic combination of hyaluronic acid and bakuchiol is ideal for those who want to improve cell turnover but are prone to dryness. The former is a humectant that attracts and holds up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture. The latter is a natural alternative to retinol, but it doesn't make your skin photosensitive and it's considered to be far gentler. 

Best for: Dry & mature skin | Use: Day & night

Renewal Intensive Firming Serum, Burt's Bees ($19.99)

Burt’s Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum
Burt’s Bees

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

We simply adore a multiuse product here. This niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and watermelon extract tincture can be used as your standard serum or as a last-step finishing highlighter. The niacinamide is an excellent antioxidant that soothes reactive skin, hyaluronic acid can help with hydration, and watermelon extract feeds your skin amino acids (and some more antioxidants to boot).

Best for: Dull skin | Use: Daily

Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, Glow Recipe ($34) 

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops
Glow Recipe
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SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Hyaluronate Serum

Barrier strength and function are of the utmost importance for healthy skin. Unfortunately, too, so many people struggle with fortifying their shields. (If you have sensitive skin, those are pretty clear indications that you might struggle with this.) The hero of this formula is a lipid complex that restores ceramides and fatty acid levels in the skin. The peony and seaweed extract additionally help with fine lines and visible signs of stressed skin thanks to their antioxidant potential.

Best for: Dry & sensitive skin | Use: Day & night

Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Hyaluronate Serum, SkinFix ($50) 

SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Hyaluronate Serum
SkinFix

Caudalie Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Pore Minimizing Serum

For the oily and blemish-prone among us, salicylic acid is an amazing derm-approved ingredient that helps break down oil, clears out pores, and exfoliates dead skin cells. For an all-natural version, look for willow bark, found in this serum. It also contains calming niacinamide (supporting a normal inflammatory response is a vital part of any skin care routine) and a smart polyphenol blend for antioxidant protection. 

Best for: Oily & blemish-prone skin | Use: Nightly

Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Pore Minimizing Serum, Caudalie ($49) 

Caudalie Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Pore Minimizing Serum
Caudalie

The INKEY List Q10 Antioxidant Serum

Coenzyme Q10 is a trendy antioxidant at the moment, but it's actually one the body makes on its own, although levels decrease with age. It has several functions in the body, but the one we see for skin is energizing cells and reducing lipid peroxidation (or oxidative stress in lipid structures of the cell membrane). This also contains the oil squalane and a peptide complex. 

Best for: Any skin type | Use: Day & night

Q10 Antioxidant Serum, The INKEY List ($6.99)

The INKEY List Q10 Antioxidant Serum
The INKEY List
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Typology Antioxidant Serum

Containing 3% resveratrol derived from a Japanese knotweed, this serum actually plays double-duty with antioxidant protection: It neutralizes the existing ones, as well as prevents the formation of new ones in the skin (taking on a sort of proactive antioxidant role). Additionally, it contains ferulic acid, which contains anti-inflammatory properties that improve the formula's free-radical-fighting power.

Best for: Any skin type | Use: Day & night

Antioxidant Serum, Typology ($22.40) 

Typology Antioxidant Serum
Typology

ArtNaturals Hyaluronic Acid Serum

While the name indicates that it's chock-full of the hydrating humectant HA, we also adore it for the antioxidant-rich ingredient list. It contains vitamin C, green tea extract, vitamin E, jojoba oil, and aloe vera—all of which come with impressive abilities to brighten, tone, condition, and yes, deal with free radicals. 

Best for: Dry skin | Use: Day & night

Hyaluronic Acid Serum, ArtNaturals ($12.99)

ArtNaturals Hyaluronic Acid Serum
ArtNaturals

Mad Hippie AHA Exfoliating Peel

If you're looking for gentle exfoliation while infusing your skin with antioxidants—this alpha-hydroxy acid number just might do the trick. AHAs tend to be gentler acids: This one contains glycolic acid, which is generally well tolerated by those with healthy skin. After sloughing off the excess debris, this nourishes skin with apple stem cells (which are known for their rejuvenating and antioxidant abilities) among several other botanicals.

Best for: Oily & blemish-prone skin | Use: Nightly

AHA Exfoliating Peel, Mad Hippie ($34.99)     

Mad Hippie AHA Exfoliating Peel
Mad Hippie

Versed Auto-Save Advanced Restoring Serum

This uses the power of an antioxidant complex (of ferulic acid phloretin, and stabilized vitamin C) as well as microalgae to visibly firm and restore mature complexions. If you have several areas of concern as you age—be it dark spots, fine lines, or sagging skin—this option may be beneficial for you. 

Best for: Mature skin | Use: Day & night

Auto-Save Advanced Restoring Serum, Versed ($30)

Versed Auto-Save Advanced Restoring Serum
Versed

UpCircle Organic Face Serum With Coffee

Sometimes we turn to serums to wake up dull, tired skin. This one does just that with loads of antioxidants and a coffee extract (made with upcycled coffee!). The sea buckthorn and rosehip oils contain high amounts of vitamin C—and coffee itself contains high amounts of the free radical fighters. Your skin will feel perked up almost instantly. 

Best for: Dull skin | Use: Daily

Organic Face Serum With Coffee, UpCircle ($19.99)

UpCircle Organic Face Serum With Coffee
UpCircle

January Labs Triple Active Reclaiming Serum

A serum with three powerful ingredients that work synergistically to rejuvenate skin from all angles. Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, increases the rate of skin cell turnover and improves collagen production. Vitamin C is an antioxidant superstar. And niacinamide helps calm the skin—since the two former ingredients aren't always the easiest to tolerate. 

Best for: Any skin type | Use: Nightly

Triple Active Reclaiming Serum, January Labs ($86)

January Labs Triple Active Reclaiming Serum
January Labs

mbg's review process. 

At mbg, high standards are earned—and there are no shortcuts. Our beauty editors stay up to date on the latest ingredient research and innovation. It's a dynamic, continuously evolving space, and it's important we look into the science so we can make informed choices about which formulas earn our stamp of approval (figuratively speaking).

Our high standards also come from testing products—many, many products. Our editors and writers rigorously test and research the products featured in our roundups to offer you the best, most informed recommendations. When we write reviews, you can trust we spend quality time with the formulas: We don't simply rave about products we've slathered on the back of our hand. We endorse products we've tried and loved. 

Learn more about our testing process and clean beauty standards here

Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.