Niacinamide Showdown – Paula’s Choice VS The Ordinary!

Leslie here with a comparison / review! I have already reviewed The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (and LOVED it), so I wanted to see how it compared to Paula’s Choice Niacinamide! Keep reading to see my thoughts!

The Contenders:


I don’t feel I need to point this out, as it is obvious you get more product for less $$ with The Ordinary. They are both packaged in a nice bottle with dropper, and who knows if the non-opaqueness of The Ordinary has any effect on the ingredients?

The Claims:


  • dramatically improves uneven skin tone and refines the appearance of pore size, skin texture, and fine lines.
  • For All Skin Types, targeting¬†Anti-Aging & Enlarged Pores
  • Sheer ultra-light liquid formula
  • Use alone or add a few drops to your moisturizer after cleansing, toning, and exfoliating

The Ordinary:

  • High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion.
  • A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.

So both promise to do different things – Paula’s more concerned with pore size (yes please!) while the Ordinary focuses on its ability to reduce blemishes, congestion, and sebum.

The Ingredients:

PC: (Paula’s Choice likes to list out WHAT every ingredient is for. I have removed all that extra jargon so we can just see how LONG the deck is)

Water (Aqua), Niacinamide, Acetyl Glucosamine, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Butylene Glycol, Phospholipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Glycerin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Ubiquinone, Epigallocatechin Gallate, Beta-Glucan, Panthenol, Carnosine, Genistein, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.

The Ordinary:

Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Zinc PCA, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Xanthan Gum, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

I am really digging the shorter ingredient deck of The Ordinary. I know that Paula’s Choice takes great pride in their formulas and try not to include anything without purpose, but lately I’ve noticed with my skin, less is more!

The Application:


This super light, water weight formula definitely sinks in immediately. So much so, that I almost feel as if I’m wasting it by even using my hands as a carrier. Even mixing it with something in my palm, I feel like the water booster just sinks away to nothing before I can get it on my face. After application, by face got really dry, itchy, and splotchy! It was super weird, but has happened every time. I don’t notice any immediate reduction in pore size, and if my face didn’t react that way, I would honestly feel like a just put water on my face.

The Ordinary:

This formula is much thicker, but still sinks in very quickly like a serum. I much prefer the consistency of this one, as I don’t feel like it is literally a bottle of water. After application, I noticed no irritation, but rather an almost immediate reduction in pore size and shine! As far as blemish remedy – I have been having WAY less breakouts, but I can’t say for sure if it is due to this product alone. But it definitely isn’t hurting!

The Verdict:

I was super excited to try the Paula’s Choice Booster- and I love SO many things from that brand! But even if you disregard the INSANE cost difference, I prefer The Ordinary. The Paula’s Choice is not a bad product, and I think it is more of an effect over time kind of situation. But The Ordinary, for me, is just far superior.


Ingredients, consistency, cost, and IMMEDIATE results- The Ordinary wins for me in all categories! (I do secretly like the packaging of PC’s better – but that is a minor detail!)

Has anyone else tried the Paula’s Choice Niacinamide? Do you feel like its too watery?? How should I use it?


4 thoughts on “Niacinamide Showdown – Paula’s Choice VS The Ordinary!

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