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Sephora's best-selling face serum is only $6 and it's helped transform my skin: 'This is honestly a game changer'

Kate Mendonca
·Shopping Editor
·4-min read

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The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is an affordable solution for blemish-prone skin.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is an affordable solution for blemish-prone skin.

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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: Sephora, $6

What is it?

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.

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

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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.

The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is my secret for clear skin.
The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is my secret for clear skin.

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 racked up a whopping 471K ‘loves’ on Sephora’s website.

“I can go on forever about how much I love this product and niacinamide,” raved one reviewer. “This product has benefited my skin and I use it as my first step in my morning skincare routine and my second step in my night routine. It helps with acne scars, blemishes and so much more!”

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“This is honestly a game changer. My skin was so bumpy and had so much congestion that never seemed to go away. It's gotten rid of so much of that and my skin is consistently improving,” added another. “For reference, I use two drops morning + night, pat it into my skin, and follow up with a moisturizer. Zero complaints, love it!”

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

“One drop directly on each cheek and I rub it all over. I have noticed my pores are smaller which is mind blowing to me in itself, and has also drastically dried up and faded my hormonal acne,” reads one review. “I absolutely love this line of products. For this price, can you afford not to try them?!”

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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