The Ordinary Niacinamide review: This $6 face serum helped transform my skin

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The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum. Image via Instagram/Deciem.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum. Image via Instagram/Deciem.

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The recipe for good skin can be difficult to nail down, and since it’s so individual there’s often a lot of trial and error involved before you find what truly works. Of course there are the basics like getting enough sleep and staying hydrated throughout the day, but finding a skincare routine that works for you can seem like a daunting task.

As someone who has been lucky enough to have avoided any severe skin issues throughout my teens and 20s, when I started inexplicably breaking out last fall I wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. After hours of research online, I settled on one inexpensive serum that’s won over thousands of shoppers and happens to only cost $6. I figured even if it didn’t end up making any difference to my skin, at the cost of a single latte, I’d be happy to still put it to the test.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum

The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. Image via Sephora.
The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. Image via Sephora.

SHOP IT: Deciem, from $6 CAD/USD 

What is niacinamide?

My research led me to The Ordinary’s The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum, a targeted serum that helps reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. As its name suggests, niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3 is the serum’s star ingredient.

A powerful ingredient that reduces inflammation and improves the skin’s barrier function, it helps diminish the look of blemishes and leaves skin looking smooth and healthy.

How do I add niacinamide to my skincare routine?

Since picking up The Ordinary’s Niacinamide serum, it’s become a staple as part of my daily skincare routine. It’s one of the rare skincare products that I’ve actually gone through the entire amount, and am now nearly at the end of my third bottle.

Following cleansing and toning, it’s the first product I apply before moisturizing and applying makeup for the day. The serum has a lightweight texture that sinks into the skin quickly, but doesn’t provide much hydration on its own, so unless you already have extremely oily skin you’ll likely need to layer on a facial oil or moisturizer to lock in moisture.

That said, I’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the appearance of my skin’s texture since using the serum, especially on my forehead. My skin is prone to closed comedone breakouts (otherwise known as the little flesh-coloured bumps that annoyingly seem to pop up out of nowhere) but I’ve found that they’re much less frequent with consistently using the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum.

What others are saying

I’m one of many fans of The Ordinary’s affordable blemish serum, which has earned a 4.5-star rating from more than 1,300 customer reviews.

“Yes yes yes! This product should be in everyone's bath," raved one reviewer. "It is well absorbed, the skin becomes smooth, it is good to fight redness and age spots. I have combination acne prone skin and this product works wonders!"

ALSO SEE: Amazon's 'holy grail' moisturizing cream is on sale for just $6

“I'm 66 and still plagued with breakouts and the discolouration they cause...with my first use, the discolourations were markedly reduced. I have never used a skin care product that produced such immediate results. I'm a The Ordinary fan for life now," shared another.

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In addition to helping with the appearance of breakouts, shoppers have also shared that the serum has helped improve the look of acne scars and discolouration.

“I’ve been struggling with acne scars pre-covid, which got worse during the pandemic. After using [this for] more than a month, my redness and scars are slowly healing. And the ugly bumps and textures are gone, too. Im into my second bottle, hopefully will show better results.”

Some reviewers with sensitive skin noted breakouts when they began using this serum, so be sure to perform a patch test on your wrist if you're trying it out for the very first time.

The verdict

While there’s no guarantee that one product will work for every person’s skin, The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum has earned a reputation for improving the look of blemish-prone skin. Its super affordable price tag certainly makes it worth giving it a shot, and you may just wind up with your best skin yet.

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