100% Niacinamide Powder
The Ordinary’s 100% Niacinamide Powder presents an interesting (and inexpensive) way to add this superhero ingredient to your routine. The challenging part is that it leaves room for human error (and mess) in becoming a DIY cosmetic chemist. User error could potentially result in unfortunate circumstances for your skin. However, if used correctly, this product could pay off. Hang with us, this is going to be a deep-dive review.
Research has established niacinamide’s significant benefits for skin, including reducing pore size, evening out tone, repairing skin’s barrier via ceramide synthesis, and diminishing wrinkles. That explains why it’s such a great ingredient, but do you want it in this 100% powder form? That’s where things get complicated…
100% Niacinamide Powder comes as a fine white powder in a darkly tinted glass jar with UV-protective coating. A tiny scoop is included in the box, and the brand instructs you to fill the scoop a quarter full and then mix with a water-based treatment in the palm of your hand.
We have to point out that measuring ¼ of a scoop of the powder is a bit of a guessing game: there are no measurement lines on the scooper itself to indicate a quarter fill. You just have to eyeball it and hope you’re right.
The other part of this equation is finding the right formula to mix it with. As The Ordinary points out, “Niacinamide is readily water-soluble and dissolves in water-based products, such as serums and creams, with ease.” We tested 100% Niacinamide Powder with a range of water-containing toners, moisturizers, serums, and milky-textured products—most of which worked well to emulsify the powder without any hint graininess. Sometimes it altered the after feel of the product ever-so-slightly but not terribly so.
The tricky part is that The Ordinary says you need to mix it with products that have a pH between 5.1 and 7. Here at Beautypedia we have pH testing devices so we can do that easily enough—but is that realistic to expect of most customers? We don’t think so, and most products don’t list their pH, so again it’s a guessing game (although The Ordinary does at least list a few of their own products you can successfully mix it with).
We asked cosmetic chemists for their opinion on the matter, and they indicated that the pH is less of an issue since this product will be applied immediately after mixing. (Niacinamide and pH instabilities tend to occur in emulsions when the formulation does not contain buffers to hold the pH for the shelf-life of the product.)
Also worth noting: new studies indicate that niacinamide can effectively fight signs of aging when in a lower pH emulsions. So, the pH may not be as big of an issue, but we can’t say that conclusively because we don’t know what you’ll be mixing it with.
We also don’t know how much product you’ll be mixing it into, and hence what strength of niacinamide you’re really getting. The Ordinary provides the following calculation on their website: “Given the powder format of the product, one may wonder how much Niacinamide is in the resulting mixture. From a theoretical standpoint, if ¼ scoop of the powder consists approximately of 0.05g Niacinamide, then when mixed with 4 drops of the selected base, the resulting mixture is estimated to yield a 10-15% concentration of Niacinamide.” In essence, the concentration will fluctuate depending on the proportions you’re using to mix it in with.
Our last word of caution is that there is a possibility you could end up with a reaction—especially if you’re mixing this with another highly active concentrated product or are using more than the suggested ¼ scoop. At one point in our testing phase we experienced peeling skin, which is something to watch out for during the trial and error phase of learning how to mix this product.
It boils down to this: If you don’t mind the extra effort it takes to get this product just right, it’s worth a shot, but just don’t overdo it! We recommend only mixing it with gentle, fragrance-free products and not using more than the amount indicated.
- Allows you to mix concentrated niacinamide into a water-based product of your choice.
- Can help with pore size, uneven tone and signs of aging.
- Budget-friendly price.
- Requires precise attention to detail when mixing.
- Included scoop does not come with a ¼ fill line, so you have to eyeball it.
- May take some trial and error to find the right pH-appropriate product to mix it with.
- Reactions may occur if you go overboard or blend it with another highly active formula.
Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is a well-studied, multi-faceted active ingredient that is renowned for its multiple benefits on the skin. It contributes to balancing visible sebum activity and supporting the production of components that play a central role in the structural and functional integrity of the skin.
It's not an overstatement to say that Canadian brand The Ordinary has taken the global beauty world by storm. In fact, no skincare line in recent memory has generated as much buzz as this brand!
Why all the commotion? Its because of The Ordinary's combination of clinical-looking products that contain high amounts of proven skincare ingredients and their unusually low prices (near rock-bottom prices). The curiosity to try these latte-priced products is intense; after all, you can assemble an impressive collection of anti-aging products for around the cost of one anti-aging product from a pricey department store brand!
The Ordinary is one of several brands that are part of a larger company, named DECIEM, whose tag line is The Abnormal Beauty Company, and with that we agree 100%. According to company founder Brandon Truaxe, DECIEM exists to create beauty brands with one mission common amongst them: to marry function, design and authenticity. Were not sure about the function, design, and authenticity part, but The Ordinary is certainly not ordinary at all in the world of beauty!
Frankly, we don't see how DECIEM can rationalize the low prices of The Ordinary products when the products from the other DECIEM skincare brands are so expensive. The difference is so glaringly strange it seems to border on a bait and switch - more about that in a moment.
Some of the ingredients in The Ordinary products are indeed inexpensive, but some of them absolutely qualify as expensive. These expensive ingredients are part of the reason why well-formulated anti-aging products, like serums and retinol treatments, typically cost much more than what The Ordinary charges.
The owner has been quoted as saying that the fill (fill is actual product inside the package) for his products costs less than $1 (less than $1 for how much? ). Depending on the formula, that can be true, but a skincare products retail price isn't just about whats inside the packaging, but also about how whats inside got there. There are costs for packaging, global regulatory testing, development, stability and safety testing, distribution, and on and on. Surely, The Ordinary didn't avoid some of these steps, but it does make us wonder.
We generally don't comment on a company's marketing strategy, but in this case its hard not to. We suspect The Ordinary is possibly a loss leader for the pricier DECIEM brands; that is, it gets DECIEM a ton of media and viral attention. Consumers, drawn by the low prices of The Ordinary, check out the site aiming to try the cheap stuff, but then, in sometimes not-so-subtle ways, they're lured into considering the expensive stuff from their other lines. Again, were just guessing here because its just so intriguing. Is The Ordinary a crusader for consumers or something else?
In terms of the quality of The Ordinary's products, the majority are one-note formulas. That is, rather than containing a robust mix of ingredients proven to help skin, most of their products focus on providing an efficacious amount of a single key ingredient, but to the exclusion of others. To give your skin an essential mix of antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients, you'd have to purchase several products from this line, and, since most of them have similar fluid-like serum textures, layering them, and knowing which product to apply first becomes a confusing guessing game. Plus, the Ordinary brand doesn't include sunscreens or cleansers, so it isn't one-stop shopping.
The Ordinary does one more unusual thing that reinforces their slogan of being The Abnormal Beauty Company: They routinely point out what they believe are the negative aspects of the very ingredients they use! For example, The Ordinary states clearly that it does not recommend exfoliating with AHA or BHA ingredients, but they sell AHA and BHA products. They also state they don't like silicones because of how they interact with certain ingredients, but they sell products that contain silicones.
They downplay retinol (vitamin A) as being inferior to other forms of vitamin A, but they still sell retinol products. Aside from the fact that these statements about retinol, AHAs, BHA, and silicones are wrong, its just bizarre to sell products you dont really want people to use, but then there's an allegedly superior, more expensive option from one of DECIEMs other brands, just waiting for you.
As you'll see from our reviews, there's a handful of The Ordinary's products worth checking out, but there are also several products that simply don't supply enough of what all skin types need to look and act younger, healthier, and more radiant. Low prices are great, but not when the trade-off is getting less than your skin deserves.
For more information about The Ordinary, call (800) 513-6088 or visit www.theordinary.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.