I’ve been trying products from The Ordinary, the budget-friendly, actives-focused skincare line from Deciem that’s just launched in Australia. I posted my review of Advanced Retinoid 2% and Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% a few days ago – now, here’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.
A quick recap of the general notes I made on the products overall:
- Lots of ingredients backed by scientific research
- Only a few actives in each product (generally… Buffet is a different story), so the products give you lots of options for customising your routine
- Dropper packaging is convenient for dispensing small amounts easily
- No parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, animal oils, benzalkonium chloride, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde, mercury, oxybenzone, alcohol, silicone, nuts; not tested on animals and vegan.
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Price: $9.90 for 30 mL
Good for: congested skin, hyperpigmentation (dark scars, sun spots), oily skin
Like for Advanced Retinoid 2%, there’s a big warning that this product isn’t intended for acne treatment, and to use benzoyl peroxide or tretinoin instead (they also say they don’t recommend salicylic acid, but I’m not sure why). It might be to preemptively ward off a warning about drug-like claims, but most companies do that by simply not mentioning acne, instead of making a big disclaimer. They do use “reduce the look of” and “visible” in their directions, which is definitely to avoid those drug-like claims that cosmetic products aren’t allowed to make (it’s pretty silly and outdated regulation in my opinion since consumers ignore that disclaimer and it means any company can claim anything, so I’m looking forward to the day it gets overhauled).
Niacinamide: aka vitamin B3. According to peer-reviewed studies, it does a whole bunch of everything in skincare:
- evens out skin tone
- improves barrier function
- improves skin hydration
- reduces sebum production
- reduces acne
- reduces fine lines and wrinkles
The main side effect is that it often comes with niacin, either as an impurity in the original product, or from breakdown over time. Niacin makes your skin flush and tingle, but it’s mostly just an annoyance. There’s been some talk of niacinamide not interacting well with vitamin C, but most likely this is only relevant for products where the two are stored together for a long time, rather than when you mix them on your skin for less than a day.
Zinc: Zinc ions are in this product as zinc pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, also known as zinc PCA. Zinc’s skin benefits aren’t backed up by as much evidence as for niacinamide (except of course in the context of zinc oxide in sunscreen), but it does seem to have some antiinflammatory effects. There’s also some evidence that it could reduce the production of hormones that cause sebum production, so potentially it could reduce skin oiliness.
The older version of Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% contained carrageenan and hydrogenated castor oil which some people blamed for incompatibility and comedogenicity issues. I have the reformulated version without those two ingredients.
Scent: Virtually undetectable! A properly fragrance-free product.
Texture: Very light and watery, very slightly tacky. I’ve worn this comfortably during the day, and I’m usually very hesitant to use daytime products.
How to use: Apply before heavier serums and moisturisers.
In use: I’ve read a lot of reviews where people complained about this pilling up under moisturiser, even with the new formulation, so I was prepared for the worst. Surprisingly I had zero pilling, with three different moisturisers but then I did have some pilling on my face after using a cleansing balm, so I suspect that this just doesn’t play well with oily products (I use very watery moisturisers).
Effects-wise, I did have faster fading of pigmentation, which generally doesn’t happen with niacinamide products for me – perhaps I just needed to boost it up to 10% consistently. My face seemed a little less oily as well, but it coincided with a cool bout of weather so I can’t confidently say it helped. This is one of the least expensive products in this already budget-friendly line, so if you’re on the fence about this product I’d say just go for it!
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Zinc PCA, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Xanthan Gum, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
Price: $24.90 for 30 mL
Good for: decreasing signs of aging (wrinkles)
Ingredients: Buffet has a much longer ingredients list than the other products, hence its name. It boasts 5 different peptide ingredients (many of these names are trademarked but I couldn’t insert all the TM and R symbols without looking like a massive shill, so please note that they should be there…):
- Matrixyl 3000 (palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7)
- Matrixyl Synthe’6 peptide complex (palmitoyl tripeptide-38)
- Syn-Ake peptide complex (dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate)
- Relistase peptide complex (acetylarginyltryptophyl diphenylglycine)
- Argirelox peptide complex (acetyl hexapeptide-8 and pentapeptide-18)
There’s a mix of ingredients with peer-reviewed studies on them, and ingredients which only have manufacturer studies (partly because they’re too new to have been studied much yet). Of those with peer reviewed studies (i.e. take these claims with a grain of salt, because the fact the studies are peer-reviewed doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re unbiased, or well-designed, or are applicable to this product):
- Dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate (tripeptide-3 or Syn-Ake) has antiwrinkle effects due to its ability to mimic Temple viper venom.
- Acetyl hexapeptide-8 (also confusingly called acetyl hexapeptide-3, or Argireline) and pentapeptide-18 (Leuphasyl) both have antiwrinkle effects especially in the eye area, and improve skin firmness and tone.
The ones with only manufacturer studies (take these claims with a heaping tablespoon of salt):
- Palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 (Matrixyl 3000) reduce deep wrinkles
- Palmitoyl tripeptide-38 reduces forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet
- Acetylarginyltryptophyl diphenylglycine (Relistase) improves skin elasticity and tightness
There’s also a probiotic complex (Lactococcus lactis lysate) which is meant to renew skin and increase production of proteins and enzymes, and 11 skin-friendly amino acids and multiple hyaluronic acid complexes. These all add up to 25.1% by weight.
Deciem states that this product isn’t quite as effective against signs of aging as Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age, which I’ve reviewed before.
Scent: A very faint “beer” smell probably from the ferment.
Texture: Light and watery, very slightly tacky after drying.
How to use: Apply to skin after cleansing, morning and night.
In use: Unfortunately my wrinkles and fine lines aren’t that bad (yet), and I haven’t used this enough to notice any changes, so I can’t comment on the effectiveness of the peptides. I did find that my skin felt hydrated, bouncy and glowy, which is probably the work of all the humectants and the Lactococcus ferment lysate. It also plays really nicely with other products – I had no problems using this under make-up. I’d recommend this if you’ve been meaning to incorporate some anti-aging peptides into your routine, as most peptide products are in the $100 region. Even as a humectant serum this is worth it!
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Pentapeptide-18, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Trehalose, Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, Urea, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
Overall Thoughts on The Ordinary
I haven’t been this excited about a skincare range since… possibly ever. It ticks all my boxes: effective ingredients, budget-friendly prices, formulas that work well with other products, light texture, highly hydrating. There isn’t much I can point to that I’d like to change. I’ve been recommending The Ordinary to pretty much everyone without hesitation.
These products were provided for editorial consideration, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.