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Beauty/Skin/Moisturizers/Face Creams & Oils

Top 10 Brightening Creams And Moisturizers

Here Are The Best Brightening Creams And Moisturizers For Enhancing Your Skin's Natural Glow

Image credits: sephora

Whether due to excessive sun exposure, overindulgence in alcohol, chronic stress, or the relentless passing of time, every now and then our complexions look a little worse for wear. So, if you recently looked in the mirror and felt like an extra in The Last of Us was staring back at you, it might be time to invest in a skin-brightening moisturizer. 

Skin-brightening moisturizers (sometimes called lightening or whitening creams) are a special category of skincare products formulated to address issues like dullness and dark spots. They’re typically packed with a variety of vitamins and deeply-hydrating ingredients, as well as exfoliants that help gently wash away the layers of dead skin and sunscreen you’ve been accruing since early spring.

And contrary to what the name suggests, whitening creams don't actually change the color of your skin tone—rather, they work to correct hyperpigmentation and brighten dark spots and circles so that you can achieve the glowy, dewy, flawless complexion of your dreams. Sounds pretty great, right? Well, it’s about to get even better, because we’ve done our research and rounded up a list of the 10 best brightening creams and face moisturizers on the internet.

How We Found The Best Brightening Creams Around

As is true for each of our Top 10 lists, the products below were chosen with the help of our data-powered ranking algorithm. This tool uses information from various sources (including user reviews and best-seller lists) to find and score the top products in a given category. Today, the category is brightening creams and moisturizers, and we think there’s a good chance that the glow-inducing miracle product you’ve been waiting for is featured in the lineup below.

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May 26, 2023

Written By:Sierra Rogers

Product Expert:Georgia Jones

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Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.

The Rankings


10
Image credits: walmart
Rank & Style Approved

walmart

Advanced Clinicals Vitamin C Cream

Overall Score

4.5

10

Advanced Clinicals Vitamin C Cream

4.4

70699 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

0

Industry Recognition

4

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

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Best Brightening Cream For Face And Body

HOW IT WORKS
This skin-brightening face cream from Advanced Clinicals features nourishing ingredients like vitamin C, coconut oil, aloe vera, and ferulic acid. These supplements work together to create a formula that hydrates dry skin and creates a protective moisture barrier, all while diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

FORMULA FACT
This product contains pure vitamin C, a skincare super ingredient recognized for its ability to reduce redness and stimulate collagen production.


Dr. Barbara Sturm Brightening Face Cream

Overall Score

4.5

09

Dr. Barbara Sturm Brightening Face Cream

4.69

36 User Reviews

2.3

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

3

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Brightening Cream For Dark And Yellowish Spots

MUST-KNOW INFO
Dr. Barbara Sturm, the expert behind this top-rated Brightening Face Cream, is committed to developing skincare products with scientifically-proven ingredients. In the case of this product, that means vitamin E, cress sprouts extract, and hyaluronic acid. 

MORE TO LOVE
According to reviewers, this cream works well for whitening dark spots. For the best results, apply this product twice a day to clean skin.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free

Clean Beauty

Clean Beauty


Sunday Riley C.E.O. Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C Cream

Overall Score

4.55

08

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C Cream

4.68

1832 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

0

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Brightening Cream For Plump Skin

HOW IT WORKS
Boss up, babes, because Sunday Riley's C.E.O. Brightening Cream is about to revolutionize your skincare routine. Featuring a stable, advanced form of vitamin C, this moisturizer brightens and evens skin tone while simultaneously protecting you from life's daily skin stressors (such as the blue light beaming out of your smartphone).

MORE TO LOVE
Here's a tip straight from Sunday Riley: Try using this skin-lightening cream in the morning after washing your face as a primer and enjoy the flawless makeup application that follows. 

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Fenty Skin Instant Reset Brightening Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream

Overall Score

4.65

07

Fenty Skin Instant Reset Brightening Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream

4.67

7649 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

3

Industry Recognition

3

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Brightening Cream For Oily Skin

MUST-KNOW INFO
It's rumored that when Rihanna sings "shine bright like a diamond," she's referring to Fenty's Instant Reset Brightening Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream. A best-selling product from the brand's collection, this skin-brightening moisturizer promises to deliver smaller-looking pores and an even skin tone after just one week of use. 

REVIEW HIGHLIGHT
"What a difference this product has made with my dull, oily skin. I wake up with a brighter, more youthful glow every morning. My skin tone is more even and the darkness under my nose and around my chin has lightened significantly."

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Ole Henrikson C-Rush Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer

Overall Score

4.65

06

Ole Henrikson C-Rush Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer

4.37

8124 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

3

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Brightening Cream For Under Makeup

HOW IT WORKS
This peach-tinted gel moisturizer from Ole Henrikson is said to be inspired by fresh-squeezed juice. Combining three sources of vitamin C with rose of winter extract, this best-selling moisturizer instantly brightens skin and diminishes the appearance of signs of aging by providing unmatched hydration.

MORE TO LOVE
Here's the thing: If you're looking for a skin-lightening cream that works fast, this is the best option for you. In an independent, clinical study on 35 women using C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème over a period of four weeks, 97% of users experienced hydration for up to 24 hours.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream

Overall Score

4.7

05

Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream

4.4

16196 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

3

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Drugstore Brightening Cream

MUST-KNOW INFO
Not only is this one of the most affordable brightening creams on our list, but it's also one of the top-rated options overall. In fact, Neutrogena's Bright Boost Gel Cream has over 3,500 perfect 5-star reviews.

FORMULA FACT
Touted as the brand's best brightening cream, this gel-like moisturizer is formulated to wake you up with gentle exfoliation and long-lasting hydration. The primary ingredient in the cream's formula, neoglucosamine, is an element of hyaluronic acid that helps firm, exfoliate, and plump the skin.


Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting & Brightening Moisturizer

Overall Score

4.7

04

Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting & Brightening Moisturizer

4.5

29589 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

3

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Brightening Cream For Dry Skin

MUST-KNOW INFO
Here's a Bright Idea: Invest in a glow-giving daily moisturizer that actively works to protect your skin's natural collagen. Bliss's Bright Idea Brightening Moisturizer is a citrus-scented super product designed to do just that by way of a potent tri-peptide blend and vitamin C.

MORE TO LOVE
According to reviews, this product works well for whitening dark spots or circles under the eyes without bleaching. Here's an excerpt from a promising review: "I love this moisturizer. It brightens my skin to a nice shine. My skin looks dewy, hydrated, and youthful."

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Fresh Vitamin Nectar Moisture Glow Face Cream

Overall Score

4.7

03

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Moisture Glow Face Cream

4.64

722 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

4

Industry Recognition

3

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Brightening Cream For Sensitive Skin

HOW IT WORKS
Powered by natural ingredients, fresh's Vitamin Nectar Moisture Glow Face Cream is described as a multivitamin for your skin. In addition to providing a refreshing boost of hydration, this skin-brightening moisturizer is design to address concerns such as dullness, dark spots, and uneven skin texture. 

FORMULA FACT
One of the key ingredients behind this lightening cream is glucosyl hesperidin, a flavanoid derived from citrus fruits known for its skin-soothing properties. 

Clean Beauty

Clean Beauty


The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

Overall Score

4.75

02

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

4.38

4811 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

5

Industry Recognition

3

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Brightening Cream For Acne

HOW IT WORKS
The Ordinary's Azelaic Acid Brightening Cream has a few tricks up its sleeves. Azelaic acid is known to neutralize free radicals that cause inflammation which is why it's often used to treat acne and rosacea. But in this case, the acid has been put to use in a multifunctional moisturizer that is effective against dullness, dark spots, and uneven texture. 

MORE TO LOVE
Priced just over $11, this is the most affordable brightening moisturizer on our list. 

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Lancôme Absolue Revitalizing & Brightening Soft Cream

Overall Score

4.8

01

Lancôme Absolue Revitalizing & Brightening Soft Cream

4.59

4931 User Reviews

5

Best Seller

5

Industry Recognition

3

Social Buzz

About Our Scoring System

In order for any product to be featured on Rank & Style, it must first meet the requirements set by our algorithm—a vetting process that allocates points based on consumer and industry data to score and rank products within a given category.

Best Brightening Cream Overall

HOW IT WORKS
Meet the internet's best brightening cream (according to our algorithm, at least). Designed to accelerate the surface-cell renewal process, Lancôme's Absolue Revitalizing & Brightening Soft Cream exfoliates away impurities to reveal radiant, smooth skin underneath. 

FORMULA FACT
Pro-Xylane, a sugar protein that defends the skin against water loss, is the powerhouse ingredient behind Lancôme’s Revitalizing & Brightening Soft Cream. There's also hand-harvested grand rose extract (which has a skin-regenerating effect), as well as shea butter, a deeply-hydrating emollient. 

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