You’ve seen it in Sephora, at Target, and Diecem.com. You’ve scrutinized the before/after comparisons on Reddit. You’ve even pored over every 4- and 5-star customer review. Now, you’re thinking if you should take the plunge and get your first bottle of The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.
So, should you? (Drum roll, please.)
As a long-time beauty writer — who’s using said niacinamide serum, by the way — I have only one word for you: Definitely.
About me: I’m *blessed* with an oily, sensitive, and acne-prone skin type (thanks Mum for the genes). For me, The Ordinary Niacinamide is THE holy grail product in my skincare line-up right now. It’s the multi-tasking serum that tackles my concerns (think excess shine, pimples, and redness) all at once.
In this review, I’m going to break it down to you on what niacinamide is and why you need to get your hands on The Ordinary Niacinamide, stat.
What is niacinamide?
Niacinamide is a well-known skincare ingredient that goes by many names. In scientific circles, niacinamide is often referred to as nicotinamide. To the average person, it’s vitamin B3.
Yet, why does your skin need this specific B vitamin? That’s because the human body doesn’t produce vitamin B3. This makes it an essential vitamin that you’ll have to get through your diet. Or, in the case of skincare, through topical products like The Ordinary Niacinamide.
What does The Ordinary niacinamide do?
To understand what The Ordinary Niacinamide can do for your skin, we first have to take a bird’s eye view of this water-soluble B vitamin. Turns out, it’s versatile in a way that has earned itself legions of die-hard fans.
Improve skin barrier + hydration levels
In recent years, skin barrier-strengthening ingredients like niacinamide have become increasingly popular.
Research shows niacinamide enhances the production of vital lipids. Think ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids that make up the skin layers. This includes the outermost protective skin barrier. A stronger epidermal barrier is synonymous with reduced moisture loss, abating the risks of dry skin.
I can personally attest to that. After using The Ordinary Niacinamide every night, I find that my skin health is improving.
Niacinamide is your go-to ingredient for dark spots or hyperpigmentation. That’s because vitamin B3 does wonders for banishing skin blemishes and redness.
That’s because niacinamide reduces melanin deposits in skin cells. ICYDK, excess melanin is usually to blame for skin discoloration issues. Plus, niacinamide also naturally has anti-inflammatory properties to lighten redness.
It’s why I’ve been seeing immense improvements in clearing up my post-acne marks (no thanks to maskne). Simply applying half a dropper to my skin has helped lighten said redness over time.
Another reason why niacinamide is such a widely loved beauty ingredient is its anti-aging benefits. We know that our body naturally produces collagen. But that innate ability decreases by 1-1.5% per year as we age.
That’s where The Ordinary Niacinamide comes in handy. It gives us the best chance of delaying the signs of aging for as long as possible.
In fact, scientific evidence indicates that niacinamide boosts your skin’s collagen production. This leads to a huge difference in fine lines and wrinkles. Studies also reported additional benefits like a clearer, more radiant skin tone.
An oily complexion often means your facial sebum activity is in overdrive. This heralds the coming of unwanted pimples and acne breakouts. Not to mention, the unflattering appearance of enlarged pores.
Thankfully, niacinamide is well-known for its ability to regulate sebum production with the added benefit of minimizing pores. Clinical trials in Japan and the U.S. found that just a 2% niacinamide moisturizer (way lower than the 10% concentration used in The Ordinary Niacinamide) significantly reduced sebum levels after 4-6 weeks.
As an oily-skinned gal living year-round in a tropical climate, incorporating The Ordinary Niacinamide into my routine has balanced out my facial sebum levels. I’ve noticed a significantly less shiny complexion, both indoors and out.
As a result, I’ve been able to cut down my reliance on blotting papers. Plus, the slowdown in acne scars and pop-ups is the proverbial cherry on the top.
Best for: Oily, acne-prone, dry, and mature skin types.
Can I use The Ordinary Niacinamide every day?
Niacinamide is safe to use every day as part of your morning and nighttime skincare ritual. That said, you may need to take into account the actual concentration used in the product formulation.
Take The Ordinary Niacinamide as an example. This water-based, oil-free serum is a “high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula.” It contains 10% niacinamide and 1% zinc. The product recommends a twice-a-day application (once in the morning and then again at night) for best results.
Still, some users have reported redness, itching, peeling, or even purging when using The Ordinary Niacinamide at the suggested frequency. This is likely because their skin isn’t used to the product’s high concentration.
If your skin is new to niacinamide or used to a concentration lower than 10%, slowly introduce The Ordinary Niacinamide into your routine. You can start with once every 2-3 days before working it up to twice a day, every day.
On a personal note, I experienced redness, mild flaking, and even a slight burning sensation when I used the serum on its own every night. After some trial and error, I’ve learned that the best way for me to get the most out of The Ordinary Niacinamide is to mix it with two pumps of COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.
Doing so helped to dial down the serum’s high-strength formula while still letting my skin reap the benefits of niacinamide. You can easily replicate this trick with any other lightweight moisturizer. Make sure it doesn’t include another active ingredient, such as retinol or vitamin C.
The color, scent, and texture of The Ordinary Niacinamide
Once I’ve opened the petite bottle of The Ordinary Niacinamide, I’m immediately hit by a glue-like smell. NGL, to this day, I’m still not a fan of its strong smell, even though my nose has gotten used to it.
Using the applicator, I usually squeeze out half a dropper of serum onto my palm. It’s a translucent, slightly milky liquid that’s mildly viscous. The serum does dry down fast to a clear finish but can pill a little under certain skincare and makeup products.
How to use niacinamide
Niacinamide is easy to incorporate into your routine. After cleansing and toning, you can apply the serum on its own (or mix it with other skincare products like I did). Follow up with heavier layers like moisturizers and creams.
Are there any products I can’t use with niacinamide?
The short answer is, no. That’s because niacinamide is the ultimate team player in the world of skincare. It’s one of the safest active ingredients out there. Whether you want to layer niacinamide with retinol, vitamin C, or even exfoliants like salicylic acid or glycolic acid, experts have given their nod of approval.
That said, you should take your skin type into consideration. For skin that’s sensitive or prone to redness and dryness, it may not do so well with more than one active in the same routine.
If that’s the case, use niacinamide on its own and reserve the actives for other times. For instance, you can use niacinamide both in the morning and at night.
Remember, always do what’s best for you and your skin 😉
Key takeaways on The Ordinary niacinamide
To recap, if you want to join in on the goodness of niacinamide, give The Ordinary Niacinamide a shot. This niacinamide serum is affordable, accessible, cruelty-free, and most importantly, it works. It does everything from strengthening your skin barrier to reducing redness to delaying skin aging. In other words, this is the multi-tasker you need in your regime.
But, don’t take my word for it. On the Diecem.com website, there are 1k+ reviews for the product alone. That’s how good The Ordinary Niacinamide is, all worth its hype in the skincare community.
Felicia is a Singapore-based freelance writer specializing in beauty, health & wellness, and lifestyle. When she isn’t crafting exceptional beauty content, you can usually find her reading up on the latest skincare trends, indulging in good books and baked goods, and going on long walks.