The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Review

Last modified: Sunday, Jun 9, 2019

Daisy Marie Clay

Author: Daisy Marie Clay

I recently decided to test out adding Niacinamide into my routine. After a bit of research, I decided it’d be best to try out the Niacinamide & Zinc product by The Ordinary.

Described on their website as a "High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula", this product is 10% Niacinamide and 1% Zinc.

Who Should Use This Product?

While this product is probably great for all-round skincare, I bought it looking to help treat a recent breakout of acne that I’d been having. I would say that this product is mostly going to be beneficial for those suffering from acne, alongside another acne treatment such as Benzoyl Peroxide, Retinoic Acid (as recommended on their website) or even Salicylic Acid.

In the main that’s because this product is aimed at helping with the appearance of acne, rather than preventing it as a whole…

This is made possible by Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid, a natural amino acid which is included to help the absorption of the Vitamin B3 rich Niacinamide.

This can help reduce the visible effects of acne by controlling excess sebum production. With independent studies purportedly claiming that Niacinamide is an effective ingredient for helping brighten the skin… Improved brightness of our skin tone can additionally help reduce the visibility of acne scars.

So this product has all the ingredients, and potential effects that you’d want if you were looking to improve the appearance of your skin, especially if you’re an acne sufferer.

What You Should Know

In terms of offering a fair review, it’s important that I state some of the product characteristics and facts.

  • pH 5.5 - 6.5
  • alcohol-free
  • oil-free
  • silicone-free
  • nut-free
  • vegan-friendly
  • gluten-free
  • cruelty-free

These facts are part of the reason I chose this product as it’s important to support products that accommodate others and are inclusive, it is also vitally important to pick cruelty free products as that’s just the right thing to do. This is one of the reasons I love The Ordinary as a whole.

My First Impressions

I have to admit that my first impressions were not good, and this wasn’t because of anything superficial such as the packaging, which is actually absolutely fine.

My first impression wasn’t too great because during the patch test (which I recommend you do), the serum didn’t apply well. It felt kind of greasy, and not very smooth to apply.

It also didn’t smell great… BUT that isn’t a good reason to not persist with giving the product a fair test.

What I did find was that it absorbed very quickly and doesn’t stay greasy once absorbed. The speed of absorption does mean you need to work quickly, but that shouldn’t be an issue as a little goes a long way.

The Test Phase

As with all products, it’s only fair to test them as scientifically as possible…

This means not drastically changing anything about your routine, except for the inclusion of the new product. In this case I was introducing the niacinamide serum to my routine for around 10-14 days.

It’s always important to pay attention to the instructions and look for any contraindications, which in this case there is an important one…

"If topical Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid and/or Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid) is used as part of skincare, it should be applied at alternate times with this formula (ideally Vitamin C in the PM and this formula in the AM). Otherwise, Niacinamide can affect the integrity of the Vitamin C."

*Taken from the niacinamide + zinc product page on The Ordinary website.

As I do personally use a Vitamin C Serum, I decided to use the Niacinamide in the morning and continue using my Vitamin C Serum at night as per the instructions.


When I started using it I was dealing with a hormonal breakout. The product visibly calmed swelling and inflammation, and seemed to speed up the healing process of the spots that I currently had. My pores seemed visibly smaller and my skin felt smoother.

Within a few days: I noticed that my skin was visibly less oily.

Within the first week: Swelling and inflammation had calmed significantly, pimples/spots had cleared up.

Within two weeks: My prior spots had healed much quicker than usual and my pores looked visibly smaller, while my skin felt smoother all over.

My Final Thoughts

At the time of writing, it’s been slightly over two weeks since I started using The Ordinary’s Niacinamide. Am I pleased? Definitely! I was more than pleased, and pleasantly surprised by how effective this product was.

My skin is definitely looking and feeling better, and I intend on continuing to use the product as it’s actually a very good price for the value I’ve got from it. Whether it’s going to offer long-term improvements or whether it’s just something to use now and then during a breakout I can’t say as yet. But I will be updating this review with any further findings over the coming month or so.

Overall, I give this a 5/5 and rate it as one of the best products I have tried EVER.