Health care

The 12 Very Best Natural Face Serums For Glowing Skin by Word-of-Mouth

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No doubt, you feed your skin well. Choosing the highest quality skincare made with hard-working naturals. Eating a diet of healthy, organic foods. Stocking up on the best dietitian-approved supplements and powders. Is there more you could be doing to keep your skin looking and feeling its best? This is where face serum comes in.

Here’s Why We Love Face Serums

Think of face serum as the true beauty of your skincare ritual. These powerful ingredient blends feel luxe and indulgent on the skin. But face serum benefits also tackle pretty much any skin concern you face. From balancing and smoothing to boosting the appearance of collagen production … yes, there’s a serum for that. Another tip: Try adding a marine collagen peptide powder to your beauty roster. There are even options for vegan and vegetarian collagen support.

Let’s talk finding the best face serum for your skin. It’s essential that the face serum you choose is formulated with superior ingredients from brands you can trust that don’t use ingredients like toxic petroleum jelly (ew). With a lack of cosmetic regulation and misuse of terms like “natural,” “clean,” and even “organic,” shopping for skincare products you feel good about can get confusing, not to mention time-consuming. That’s why we’ve done the asking around and reviewing for you.

Our natural facial serum guide is a compilation of popular product recommendations from industry experts for every skin type and issue. You’ll find the best face serums to address concerns of aging and wrinkles, sensitive skin, oily skin, acne, brightening and evening out skin tone, hydrating and nourishing, and tinted serums. We also share juicy ingredient knowledge and application info to help you save time and money while locating the best serum for your skin.

Never miss a science-backed clean beauty round-up or breakdown of ingredients to look for (and what to avoid). Sign up for our newsletter here. (We pinky promise not to spam you.)

What are Natural Face Serums?

Natural face serums feature two types of moisturizing ingredients, humectants and emollients.

Face serums are lightweight, concentrated formulas comprised of powerful ingredients. While face serums offer hydration, they are less moisturizing than a face lotion or cream. There are two types of moisturizing ingredients—humectants and emollients. Humectants draw water to the skin and emollients moisturize the skin.1 Serums often include humectant ingredients—like aloe vera, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)—and have a light, almost gel-like feel on skin. 

That doesn’t mean that serums can’t be oil-based. Natural plant oils are emollient ingredients that are often used to make these types of serums, good for lending moisture to the skin as well as the individual benefits of each particular oil added to the formula.

Because face serums are most often applied to clean skin before moisturizing, this allows these valuable ingredients to better penetrate skin and provide face serum benefits, like diminishing signs of dullness or hyperpigmentation, smoothing the appearance of lines, balancing an oily complexion, and many other advantages.

Is There a Best Face Serum for Glowing Skin?

While there are many face serums to choose from, there are certain products that will be best for your particular skin type and concerns. This doesn’t mean you have to stop at one. For instance, you might like a brightening serum in the morning and a hydrating serum at night. Or opt for a blemish-fighting serum as needed. Feel free to stock your serum arsenal as you please with face serums that benefit your skin and are a pleasurable addition to your self-care ritual.

What You Need to Know Before You Shop Natural and Organic Face Serums

Around 200 conventional cosmetic brands are owned by seven big companies, so it’s important to do your homework before buying so-called natural face serums.

Not who they seem:

You may be surprised to learn that most cosmetic brands are under umbrella conglomerates. For instance, Aveda is owned by Estee Lauder, as are Le Labo and Rodin. Around 200 conventional cosmetic brands are owned by seven big companies. So, if you think Kiehl’s is a smallish apothecary, as its vibe suggests, think again. All creating and advertising is done by L’Oreal.

Cosmetic products are not FDA approved:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of regulating the cosmetics industry, as well as food and drugs. But there is no law requiring cosmetic products and ingredients (with the exception of color additives) to have FDA approval before hitting store shelves. This is why it is ultra important to read product ingredient listings prior to purchase.

What it means to be organic and natural:

The FDA has no legal definitions for the terms “organic” and “natural” when applied to cosmetics. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates organic agriculture, and if a cosmetic product contains agricultural ingredients, it can seek certification from the National Organic Program (NOP). But the bottom line is, the terms “organic” and “natural” on cosmetic product labels do not equal a synthetic-free product.

What “clean” means:

The term “clean” shows up in cosmetic advertising a lot these days. But what’s the difference between clean and natural, and is it legally defined? As with other healthy-sounding terms, clean has no definition pertaining to cosmetics either by the FDA or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which oversees the advertising of cosmetics and personal care. 

The most widely accepted view of clean beauty is formulas that contain natural ingredients as well as some lab-produced ingredients generally viewed as safer than synthetic ingredients with the worst reputation in the beauty industry. Again, the safety of these formulas is left up to user discretion, which is why it’s a good idea to know your way around a cosmetic ingredient label.

Watch out for unsubstantiated claims: 

As the natural and organic cosmetics market continues to grow—Future Market Insights, Inc. projects a 5.1% annual growth rate over the next 10 years—greenwashing will likely continue to be practiced. Crafty marketing is no replacement for authentic natural products. Again, read product ingredient listings and follow brands you can trust.

Know Your Serum Ingredients

There are beneficial ingredients used to make natural face serums and then there are those that are … well … not so beneficial. Let’s take a look at what you do want to see on a serum ingredient listing and those that you’ll want to avoid.

Best Serum Ingredients

Vitamin C is a natural, hard working skin brightening ingredient found in many natural skin serums.

Natural plant oils:

Plant and seed oils make skin feel smooth, soft, and moisturized, and are much more natural options than petro-ingredients. Natural oils are also more closely matched to the skin’s own oils.2

Natural botanical extracts:

Concentrated components are extracted from plants, teas, berries, fruits, and flowers to offer distinct benefits to the complexion. For instance, willow bark improves the appearance of acne and is much milder than harsh chemical ingredients often used in mainstream acne products.

Natural skin supporters:

Natural ingredients high in vitamins and antioxidants offer skin-supportive benefits for a youthful, glowing appearance. Did you know that vitamin C is a natural skin brightener and green tea helps to fight signs of premature aging?

Natural skin calmers:

When treating sensitive or troubled skin, try natural skin calmers, like chamomile and aloe. They not only help to settle feelings of irritation and inflammation but are much gentler on skin than synthetics.

Natural essential oils:

These beauties are highly concentrated and come with a wide array of benefits, from adding natural fragrance to fighting signs of acne and aging to acting as natural preservatives.

Ingredients to Avoid In Natural Face Serums

Be sure you check the label of your natural skin serum before purchasing. 


Petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin are common petro-ingredients. Not only are these ingredients often contaminated with carcinogenic impurities, according to Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, but they can also lead to skin irritation and acne.3 Looking for a better alternative to petroleum jelly? Check out our natural Vaseline alternatives.


These are the ingredients that make your skin feel super soft and silky, but they come with a slippery reputation. Silicones in skincare have links to skin irritation and can cause breakouts in those with acne, according to The Good Face Project. Head to your local beauty store and it won’t be difficult to find a face serum that contains dimethicone. This silicone ingredient is semi-occlusive, and while there is a time and place for occlusive ingredients (natural occlusives include beeswax and shea butter), applying a semi-occlusive in a serum may diminish the hydrating feel of your moisturizer because of the barrier-like effect they have on skin. Spy silicones on product labels by watching for ingredients ending in “-cone”, “-conol”, “-silane”, or “-siloxane”.

Synthetic preservatives:

Chemical preservatives are found in many conventional cosmetic products and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics showed that they are linked to everything from hormonal disruption to cancer. Authentic natural beauty brands use ingredients like vitamin E, certain essential oils, grapefruit seed extract, and antioxidants to preserve their products.

Artificial fragrance:

These ingredient cocktails can cause such health risks as dizziness, hormonal disruption, eye and skin irritation, and asthma-like symptoms, as stated by Campaign for Cosmetics. Some even have links to cancer. And these ingredients can be difficult to identify on ingredient listings due to a trade secret loophole. Read up on more reasons to avoid synthetic fragrance ingredients.

To learn more about the hazards of harmful cosmetic ingredients and safer alternatives, read our guide on identifying toxins in your cosmetics.

How We Choose the Best Face Serums

To bring you the best word-of-mouth, expert-backed guide on natural face serums, we did some asking around. And who better to poll than industry experts? We went to natural beauty insiders for their picks on the best face serums, why they love them, and which skin types they perform best on.

We’ve also researched other facial serum guides. While other guides may tell you what’s best for each skin type, it’s important to remember that natural ingredients provide powerful benefits to skin. The best way to ensure you are purchasing the highest quality serums is by choosing authentic natural brands. All products we recommend in this guide are made with natural and organic ingredients by brands committed to safety in cosmetics and are free from ingredients we deem harmful.

12 Expert and OA Team Favorite Natural Facial Serum Recommendations

Prepare to feast your eyes (and skin!) on the best natural facial serums. We offer a selection of price ranges for each skin type. See what the experts we spoke with have to say about their favorites.

Hydrate & Nourish

We love that this facial oil is made with a sustainable and vegan version of squalene. 

1. Biossance 100% Squalane Oil

This oil provides hydration without weighing down your skin,” says Katey Denno, celeb green beauty makeup artist. “We’re all born with squalene and it decreases over time, so when you put it on your skin, your body recognizes it and it absorbs it quickly and easily. You’re not left with that heavy or greasy feeling that you can get from other oils.” Paige Padgett, clean beauty expert and author of “The Green Beauty Rules,” is also a fan. “I love the Biossance 100% Squalene Oil,” she said. “It’s made with renewable sugarcane which is important to me. Squalene is not always sustainable. Plus, it’s lightweight and absorbs quickly, so it doesn’t feel heavy or oily on the skin.” $34

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This lightweight natural face serum is suitable for all skin types.

2. RMS Beauty Beauty Oil

This oil serum is the perfect skincare staple for everyone’s beauty kit. Made with jojoba, rosehip, and buriti oils, it makes skin feel ultra nourished and hydrated with no greasy after feel. $64

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Brightening & Evening

Rosehip works wonders on calming the skin and Pai’s is one of the best serums for sensitive skin that we’ve found.

3. Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil

Paige recommends this serum, which is excellent for repairing skin as it contains a high amount of vitamin A. “Vitamin A repairs skin by encouraging cellular turnover,” says Paige. “It’s great for fine lines, sun damage, and scars. I like it because you get all the benefits of the vitamin A, yet it’s gentler than a retinal.” Suzi Swope, clean beauty expert and natural blogger at Gurl Gone Green, loves this one too. “Rosehip seed oil is great for so many things, from hydrating skin to calming inflammation. It’s known for its healing properties and rich omega 3, 6, 7, and 9, plus antioxidant carotenoids. And it’s a budget friendly oil! It truly hydrates the driest skin and doesn’t feel irritating at all. Perfect for the most sensitive skin types,” she says. $44

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We love this skin-brightening face serum as part of a rejuvenating bedtime routine. 

4. 100% PURE’S Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants Potent PM Serum

For nighttime, try this skin perker-upper. 100% Pure Cosmetic Chemist and Founder Susie Wang says this baby contains a high concentration of Vitamin C to give skin a healthy, glowing appearance. “Serums should be the first thing that goes on the skin, or immediately after using a facial toner or emulsion, as you want the concentrated serum to be what your skin absorbs most,” says Wang. $72

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Sensitive, Oily & Troubled Skin

Ready to shine? Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil is hands down one of the best serums for glowing skin.

5. Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil

This beautiful, blue-hued serum does a whole lot more than look pretty on your bathroom shelf. Blue tansy decreases signs of inflammation and breakouts while giving a clear, calm look to the complexion. Jasmine oil makes skin feel soft and supple. $74

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True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil face serum works wonders for acne-prone skin.

6. True Botanicals Clear Pure Radiance Oil

“Clear from True Botanicals has become one of my go-to hydrators for my acne-prone, yet dry skin,” says Denno. “I didn’t love the scent at first, but now I crave it and I love what it’s done for my skin.” Swope also keeps this one in her beauty kit. “Where do I start with this oil? Gahh…I really love it,” she said. “It’s True Botanical’s number one product and for good reason. It seeps right into your skin, leaves no greasy residue behind, and makes your skin feel hydrated day and night. 

Besides being highly hydrating, it also helps smooth wrinkles, shrinks the appearance of large pores, and fights free radical damage. I love the scent as well. Not heavy at all, but with notes of frankincense, neroli, rose, and jasmine.” Wondering if it’s right for your acne-prone skin? “Often people say they can’t use oils because it makes them breakout,” Swope said, “but once they use True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil they understand the power of oils!” $110

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Ultra soothing by all accounts, Marie Veronique’s face serum may be protective against environmental stressors.

7. Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum

“I love this serum for its cool revitalizing effect,” said Amy Galper, Clean Beauty Expert and Author of “Plant Powered Beauty” and “Ultimate Guide of Aromatherapy.” “I have very sensitive skin on my face, so I find this is really helpful when my skin needs extra calming down from stress, sun, or other environmental stressors. The ingredients are simple, clean, and layered with botanicals and vitamins that I find calm, protect, and fortify my skin.” $115

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Aging & Wrinkles

Our pick for the best face serum for aging skin? Osmosis Beauty StemFactor leaves skin looking plump and smooth.

8. Osmosis Beauty StemFactor – Growth Factor Serum

Pursoma Founder Shannon Vaughn knows skin and loves StemFactor – Growth Factor Serum by Osmosis Beauty. This beauty may fit snuggly into the aging and mature skin category, but it’s truly an all-round hit. Designed to diminish the appearance of aging with the innovative use of growth factors and skin proteins, this lightweight serum creates a plumped, firmed, and smoothed look. It also improves the look of free radical damage and brightens the complexion and, as Shannon notes, it’s “oncology-friendly and doesn’t contain nasties.” $136

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The Crowd Pleasers

People love Supernal Cosmic Glow face serum because it smells amazing. We love it because it blends silkily and seamlessly into your skin. 

9. Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil

Galper favors oil serums because they strengthen the skin barrier, and make skin look more supple and glowy. Cosmic Glow is a favorite and, as an added bonus, smells amazing. “The blend of oils, like cranberry, baobab, and camellia (green tea seed), have a beautiful glowy feel and are packed with essential fatty acids that support and enhance the resiliency of the skin,” she says. “The aroma and therapeutic benefits of the essential oil blend also boosts the feel and appearance of my skin, and I find the aroma very calming and stress relieving.” $108

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10. Maya Chia Straight A Serum

Featuring plant-derived retinol, Maya Chia’s face serum brightens and smooths. No wonder it’s a best seller!

Maya Chia’s newest product is a nighttime retinol serum made for all skin types. But since it does everything from smoothing to brightening to moisturizing, it’s an all-round beauty must-have. “This serum contains the plant retinol bakuchiol and moth bean extract, another plant-derived retinol,” says Swope. “It also contains an advanced encapsulated Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A without BHT. BHT has been shown to cause liver damage in rats even in small amounts. Plus, the supply chain with BHT is very unstable.” Swope goes on to talk about the other beauty benefits of The Straight A. 

“Besides the powerful retinols, it also contains Vitamin C and Vitamin E,” she said. “These brighten the skin and help fade hyperpigmentation. You’re also going to get some serious hydration from this serum with buriti and chia seed oils. I could tell a difference in my skin after my first use. My skin was brighter, smoother, and overall glowing. With continued use I noticed hyperpigmentation fade. This serum doesn’t mess around.” $125

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Tinted Serums

Vitamin C lends a brightening boost to this lightly tinted face serum.

11. ILIA C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C 10% + Niacinamide

A true triple threat. All the beautiful skin benefits of the best face serum meet lightly tinted SPF coverage. Stabilized vitamin C (meaning the benefits don’t break down in the formula) and niacinamide combine to visibly brighten and firm the skin while creating a smoother, more refined texture. “I love using vitamin C on my skin,” Laura said. “It brightens, visibly removes dark spots, and brings back a natural glow. But finding a stable solution in bottle form that doesn’t deteriorate and oxidize quickly is tough to come by. When I discovered ILIA’s encapsulated form I had to try it, and with an added clean SPF it was a no-brainer.” 

This lightweight, super-wearable serum provides non-nano zinc UV protection. “It doesn’t provide any color coverage, which is another reason I like it. It leaves my skin feeling healthy and protected with a natural all-over glow,” Laura added. Perfect for normal, dry, and combination skin types, it’s available in three natural shades, best for medium to medium-deep skin tones. $64

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The Splurge Serum

With a dreamy combination of soothing botanicals, Vintner’s Daughter’s natural face serum is worth its weighty price tag. 

12. Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

Ever wondered if those high-priced serums are worth it? Well, this one is definitely worthy of splurging on. Vintner’s Daughter has designed this serum to address a variety of skin concerns for all skin types and ages, giving it universal appeal. 

But the best part is the wide array of botanicals used to create this dream serum. The luxe texture of avocado oil lends a softening and cushiony feel to skin, while rosehip oil visibly improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and discoloration. And sea buckthorn oil and turmeric are added to bestow that lit-from-within glow. A truly luxurious experience in a bottle. $195

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*Note! This article contains affiliate and shopable links that are independently sourced and vetted by our editorial team which we may earn a commission on. This helps us reduce the number of ads we serve on Organic Authority and help deliver you a better user experience. We are here to help you navigate the overwhelming world of consumer products to source and uncover thoughtfully made, conscious clean products.

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