Are They Dupes?: Paula’s Choice Niacinamide 10% Booster VS The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

by Gio
dupes paula's choice vs the ordinary niacinamide serums

Is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% a dupe for Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster?

I get this question a lot. I totally get it. Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster is one of the best skincare products I’ve ever tried in my life.

But it costs an arm and a leg. If there’s a cheaper option, why not take it?

Truth bomb: just because two products use the same ingredient, doesn’t mean they work in the same way.

Case in point: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster. Niacinamide aside, these two have nothing in common. Here’s what I mean:

What Ingredients Do The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster Have In Common?

NIACINAMIDE

Niacinamide is the most versatile ingredient in skincare. It can do everything. I’m not exaggerating. Studies show that Niacinamide:

  • Hydrates skin: It’s more effective than petrolatum at preventing water loss.
  • Soothes skin: It alleviates the symptoms of rosacea and irritations.
  • Lightens skin: It reduces dark spots, blotchiness (redness) and sallowness (yellowing).
  • Helps treat wrinkles: Preliminary research shows it can boost the production of skin-firming collagen.
  • Treats acne: Its effects are similar to those of 1% clindamycin gel.

You know what this mean? Niacinamide is suitable for all skin types:

  • Dry skin: It helps keep it soft and hydrated.
  • Oily skin: It helps shrink large pores and heal pimples faster.
  • Sensitive skin: It helps soothe redness and irritations.
  • Mature, sun-damaged skin: It helps lighten dark spots and keep wrinkles at bay.

Both Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster and The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% have 10% niacinamide – more than enough to do all these jobs (and do them well).

Related: The Complete Guide To Niacinamide: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It

What Else Is In Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster and The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%?

THE ORDINARY NIACINAMIDE 10% + ZINC 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% keeps it simple. Niacinamide aside, the only other ingredient of note is Zinc PCA. It’s made up of two things:

  • Zinc: A mineral that regulates oil production and limits the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria.
  • L-PCA: Short for Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid, it’s a natural moisturising factor that hydrates skin. Plus, it helps increase the bioavailability and effectiveness of zinc.

The catch? So far, the only study I’ve found on its effectiveness comes from the manufacturer. They found that using 1% of Zinc PCA every day for 28 days reduces sebum production significantly.

Zinc PCA is the reason why so many people find this product drying. Absorbing excess oil is all well and good when your skin pumps out too much. But when it doesn’t have enough? That’s a recipe for disaster.

Related: Does Zinc Really Help Treat Acne?

PAULA’S CHOICE 10% NIACINAMIDE BOOSTER

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster is more expensive for a reason. It’s loaded with goodies that hydrate, brighten, and fight premature aging. Here are the highlights:

You can see now why you can’t compare these two niacinamide products?

Related: Can You Really Use Niacinamide And Vitamin C Together?

What’s The Texture Like?

Paula’s Choice Niacinamide 10% Booster has a fantastic texture: clear and lightweight, it sinks in quickly without leaving a tacky residue behind.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% has a lightweight texture that’s similar to water, but more viscous. It sinks in quickly, too.

Related: My Full Review Of Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

paula's choice 10% niacinamide booster 01

What’s The Packaging Like?

Both Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster and The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% come in a small bottles with a dropper application. The difference? Paula’s Choice’s is opaque, The Ordinary’s is see-through.

How To Use Them

You can use both serums both morning and evening.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% goes after cleansing but before heavier serums and moisturisers.

Paula’s Choice is more versatile. You can use it alone in between cleanser and moisturiser, or you can mix it with your face serums and lotions (NEVER sunscreen! It dilutes the SPF).

Related: How To Layer Serums: The Complete Guide

Which Of The Two Should You Go For?

It depends on your skin type and needs. Go for The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% if:

  • You have oily skin that pumps out too much oil
  • You have acne and want to do everything you can to fight it

Opt for Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster if:

  • You have dry skin and need something a little more hydrating
  • You have dark spots or dull skin you want to brighten
  • You have sensitive skin that needs some soothing action
  • You want to slow down premature aging

Availability

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster ($44.00/£41.00): Available at Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom, and Paula’s Choice

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($5.90/£5.00): Available at Asos, Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Escentual, Sephora, and Ulta

Is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% A Dupe For Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster?

Absolutely not! The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is strictly to absorb excess oil in oily and acne-prone skin. For all other skin types, it’s way too drying. If you need something hydrating, antiaging, brightening, or soothing, go with Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster. It’s more expensive because it delivers more benefits for your skin.

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Water (Aqua), Niacinamide (vitamin B3, skin-restoring ), Acetyl Glucosamine (skin replenishing/antioxidant), Ascorbyl Glucoside (vitamin C/antioxidant), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Phospholipids (skin replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (skin-soothing), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (skin-soothing), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (licorice extract/skin-soothing), Ubiquinone (antioxidant), Epigallocatechin Gallate (antioxidant), Beta-Glucan (skin-soothing/antioxidant), Panthenol (skin replenishing), Carnosine (antioxidant), Genistein (antioxidant), Citric Acid (pH balancing), Sodium Citrate (pH balancing), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

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

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2 comments

christabel williams May 15, 2020 - 2:20 pm

hi gio , just wondering , i have quite dry skin , with some blackheads in my t -zone and suffer from pimples all across my face and a very tight budget . i was wondering if you could recommend a serum as I don’t really have a skincare routine and want to make it better . i have already purchased the ordinary lactic acid from one of your articles as I have quite sensitive skin and it is coming in the mail soon . i was wi=ondering if you could possibly recommend me a few affordable products to boost my skincare game . love you and your advice but cant quite afford your consultation . i know this a bit naught and you don’t have to reply to this but … xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Reply
Gio May 17, 2020 - 3:44 pm

Christabel, I honestly can’t answer this question without knowing more about your skin type and needs. Skincare products need to be tailored to your specific needs cos even the best products can’t boost your skincare game if they’re not suitable for you. But I’ll tell you that every acne-prone person needs salicylic acid. So I’d swap lactic acid for a salicylic acid exfoliant. The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acids is an affordable option.

Reply

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