Niacinamide Serums Review & Comparison: Glossier, the Ordinary, and Cosmetic Skin Solutions
I have been using Niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) for about three years now to treat my acne spots. We all know how stubborn those brownish acne spots can be. And Niacinamide has been an absolute holy grail in my skincare regimen in terms of removing those acne spots.
If you don't know what it is, Niacinamide is a great antioxidant. It improves the appearance of large pores and evens out your skin tone. From my experience, it is much more effective than Vitamin C or hydroquinone in terms of treating hyper-pigmentation from acne.
In any case, here are some of my favorite B3 serums:
- Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% by The Ordinary
- Super Pure by Glossier
- Renewal B3 by Cosmetic Skin Solutions
I have repurchased all 3 serums and I see results from all 3 in terms of treating hyper-pigmentation from acnes. But there’s a huge price difference between them. Here’s my experience with them.
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% by The Ordinary
The Ordinary has been one of the most popular beauty brands since 2017. At an unbelievably affordable price point (most products are around $5-10 US), their formulas are quite impressive and all very straightforward. The Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% by The Ordinary is only $6, making it one of the most inexpensive Vitamin B3 serums on the market.
I've gone through 4 bottles of the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% by The Ordinary by now. My personal experience with it is that it definitely helps remove those acne spots. The fact that it works and is so cheap is exactly the reason why I keep repurchasing them. If you're looking for something that does the job well without breaking your bank, this is the one for you.
The Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is a milky, gel-like solution. It has the thickest consistency out of the 3 Niacinamide Serums here. It is quite moisturizing so on some days I'd even skip my day moisturizer if I use it in the morning. It also takes awhile to dry down (about a minute for me). Oddly enough, it is somewhat mattifying despite the fact that solution itself is actually quite sticky.
There are a few flaws in this products. For starter, the most off-putting thing about the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is that it foams even if you rub it gently. The foam does go away so it's not a deal breaker for me.
Another thing is that it sometimes burns your skin, especially if you have any small wounds. I feel the sensation every time I apply the product right after I shave my face. Again, it's not a huge issue for me. Just an annoying thing to note.
Overall, I think Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% by The Ordinary is a decent product because it does work for such good price. Just a few things to note.
- The solution is sticky
- It foams (though it goes away)
- It may burn your skin
- Takes longer than your average serum to sink in
- It works!
- Quite hydrating
- Somewhat mattifying
Super Pure by Glossier
Glossier is another hottest brand right now. I absolutely love their brand aesthetic and I have purchased a lot of their skincare products. But it comes with a cost. Super Pure, which is Glossier's Niacinamide + Zinc serum, is almost 10 times expensive than the Ordinary one! For $28 USD, you get only 15ml of product (the Ordinary one is $6 for 30ml).
So is Super Pure so amazing that it justifies its high price point? My opinion on it is...maybe?
The Super Pure by Glossier also helps remove my acne spots. I have repurchased two bottles so far. Aside from the price tag, I think the biggest difference is it has a MUCH thinner formula than the Ordinary one. The Super Pure is an extremely watery solution that almost feels like a toner. It literally sinks into skin within seconds. It does not foam or burn like the Ordinary one. So I have to say that in terms of the consistency of the product, the Glossier's Super Pure seems to have a much more sophisticated formula - it works just as well the Ordinary one but minus the cons. So kudos to Glossier.
Price is definitely the biggest flaw of this product in my opinion. I also can't help but think how costing it is to the environment. Super Pure only comes in one size (15ml) and it lasts me about 2 weeks only (if I use it every day and night). The amount of packaging for such a small amount of product irks me a little.
Another thing to note is that, unlike the Ordinary, the percentage of Niacinamide in Glossier's Super Pure is unknown. I actually emailed Glossier about it but they said it was top secret. Fair though.
- 15ml so it doesn't last long
- Not so great to the environment - so much packaging for such a small amount of product!
- Unknown Niacinamide percentage
- It works!
- Literally takes seconds to sink into my skin
- Feels like nothing (can be a con for some? I personally like how light this product is)
- Very cute packaging
Renewal B3 by Cosmetic Skin Solutions
This is actually the very first Niacinamide serum I have ever used. I used to have pretty bad skin (oily, full of acne spots, etc) and the Renewal B3 by Cosmetic Skin Solutions SAVED my skin. It works like a charm in terms of removing acne spots. It is one of the my all time favorite beauty products.
The best way to describe this product is that everything about it lies somewhere between the Glossier and the Ordinary. The Renewal B3 by Cosmetic Skin Solutions is not as expensive as the Glossier one but more expensive than the Ordinary one. It is $30 USD for 30ml.
It is not as thin as Glossier's but definitely not as thick or sticky as the Ordinary's. It does not foam or burn. It has a gel-like consistency but once you start rubbing it on your face it becomes watery and sinks into your skin fairly quickly. It is also quite hydrating.
While it only has 5% percent of Niacinamide, half of what the Ordinary offers, from my personal experience it works just as well. Formula wise, the Renewal B3 is also a little different than the other two products. It does not contain Zinc but it does have Vitamin B5, which is a very hydrating skincare ingredient.
Personally, I recommend all three Niacinamide serums for different reasons. I think they are all decent products for different types of people.
Obviously, if you're on a budget, the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is the one for you. But you have to deal with the foaming issue. If you can get pass that, it is one of the most affordable Niacinamide serums that actually work.
If you're willing to splurge, I highly recommend the Renewal B3 by Cosmetic Skin Solutions. To me, it checks all the boxes for me: effective, hydrating yet lightweight, relatively affordable.
However, if you want something that is extremely lightweight and packaging is important to you, then Glossier is the one for you.
The bottom line is that all 3 serums work for my skin. They all remove those real stubborn spots from acne.
What's your thoughts? Have you tried any of these Niacinamide Serums? Comment down below to let me know your thoughts!