The five best facial serums under $30 to add to your skincare routine


*This story contains carefully curated selections from The Selection team and affiliate links which may earn NZ Herald a commission.

Budget-friendly skincare is in.

If the internet has taught us anything, it’s that a hefty price tag doesn’t equal a more effective product! Plenty of affordable skincare options work just as well for less.

Serums can target anything from premature ageing or dehydration to acne. Everyone’s skin is different, and so are their preferences. That’s why using a serum that’s tailored to your specific needs will help take your skin to the next level.


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Whether you’re already a serum fanatic, or you’re finally ready to try one for the first time, here are some great affordable choices to help elevate your skincare routine.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence – $27

Want your skin to look like you just ate a plate of vegetables and drank a litre of water? Look no further than the Cosrx Snail Mucin serum. This highly concentrated essence protects your skin from moisture loss while promoting a smooth and healthy skin barrier. While the concept of using snail mucin on your face may seem a tad peculiar, I guarantee the results are totally worth it! The lightweight texture absorbs into the skin fast, giving you a natural glow. Buy Now

Key Ingredients: The serum is created by snails that are left alone to roam freely, leaving their trails behind, so you can rest easy knowing no snails were harmed in the making of this serum. This alcohol-free, fragrance and essential oil-free serum is perfect for sensitive skin.

Bondi Sands Thirsty Skin Hyaluronic Acid Serum 30ml – $20

Want plump and perky skin but find it hard to remember to hydrate during the day? Bondi Sands Thirsty Skin has you covered. Designed to intensely hydrate your skin and lock in moisture, this hyaluronic acid serum is a classic that won’t break the bank. Buy Now

Key Ingredients: The serum is not only enriched with hyaluronic acid, but also contains algae extract, which is great for combating issues such as dryness, eczema and acne. This dermatologically tested formula is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, won’t clog pores and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

iUNIK Tea Tree Relief Serum – $29

Korean skincare is trending, from its natural ingredients to affordable prices. If you struggle with breakouts but find most products too harsh, this natural Korean formula is perfect for those with acne-prone, stressed skin that needs treatment but also soothing relief.

The iUNIK Tea Tree Relief Serum is a lightweight, sheer serum designed to calm sensitive skin, helping to reduce inflammation and brighten. Buy Now


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Key Ingredients: This natural serum contains 67% tea tree leaf water, hyaluronic acid and 19.5% Centella Asiatica leaf water.

The Ordinary Caffeine +EGCG 30ml – $14

If you’re sick of your under-eyes giving away your sleep schedule, or lack thereof, The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution might be for you! This under-eye serum can help to improve the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. The caffeine content will also help with inflammation, making your under-eye area appear brighter and more awake. Buy Now

Key Ingredients: This serum contains a high 5% concentration of caffeine from green tea leaves.

Inkey List Niacinamide Face Serum – $16

Niacinamide is a powerhouse ingredient that can target everything from enlarged pores and oily skin to premature ageing and dehydration, making it the perfect balancing serum. The Inkey List Niacinamide Face Serum is a lightweight serum formulated with 20% niacinamide to balance excess oil, improve skin texture and decrease the appearance of enlarged pores. Buy Now

Key Ingredients: Naturally occurring Vitamin B3, niacinamide, is a great choice for blemish-prone skin as it helps to reduce excess oil and redness. Formulated with 1% hyaluronic acid, it also helps to soothe and hydrate the skin.

* Prices are as stated at the time of publication, these prices may vary at the discretion of the listed brands.

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