Niacinamide is always the odd one out, isn’t it? You’ve already got your skincare routine down to a T:
✅ AHA/BHA exfoliant? Check.
✅ Vitamin C serum? Check.
✅ Retinol serum? Check.
✅ Moisturising sunscreen? Check.
But none of them has niacinamide! Argh! How do you fit this antiaging superstar into your skincare routine, too?! 😵💫
Fret not. You don’t have to give up one or your staples and start the search all over again. Just get yourself a bottle of Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster. It’s a lightweight booster you can mix with any of your fave skincare products to supercharge it against wrinkles and large pores. Here’s how it works and why it’s a staple in my skincare routine:
- What’s In Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster?
- The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients
- How To Use It
- Performance & Personal Opinion
- How Does It Compare To…
- What I Like About Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster
- What DON’T I Like About Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster
- Who Should Use This?
- Does Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster Live Up To Its Claims?
- Is Paula’s Choice Cruelty-Free?
- Price & Availability
- The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
- Dupes & Alternatives
What’s In Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster?
NIACINAMIDE TO… EVERYTHING
Niacinamide wins the award for the “Most Versatile Skincare Ingredient.” I’m not exaggerating. Here are all the things science says this form of vitamin B3 can do:
- It hydrates skin: It’s more effective than petrolatum at preventing water loss.
- It soothes skin: It alleviates the symptoms of rosacea and irritations.
- It lightens skin: It reduces dark spots, blotchiness (redness) and sallowness (yellowing).
- It helps treat wrinkles: Preliminary research shows it can boost the production of skin-firming collagen.
- It treats acne: Its effects are similar to those of 1% clindamycin gel.
Told you, it did everything! No matter what your skin type is, it’s a must for everyone:
- 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.
Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster contains a generous 10% dose. That’s more than enough to do the job.
Related: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Niacinamide
VITAMIN C TO BRIGHTEN SKIN
Wait, what?! I thought you couldn’t use vitamin C and niacinamide together?! That’s a myth. Phew! I’ve written all about why it’s totally ok to use these two vitamins together. The only exception? If you’re one of the few people who gets a red flush when you use this combo together, don’t go there.
Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster uses ascorbyl glucoside, a derivative of vitamin C that fights free radicals (the little culprits that give you wrinkles) and reduces dark spots. FYI, ascorbyl glucoside is less effective than L-ascorbic acid (the pure form of vitamin C). But it’s more stable (read: doesn’t go bad within a month) and less irritating. A good trade off, if you ask me.
Related: Types Of Vitamin C In Skincare
HYALURONIC ACID TO HYDRATE SKIN
Ok, Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster uses sodium hyaluronate, a close cousin of hyaluronic acid. But, they work in the same way. Sodium hyaluronate is a moisture magnet: it attracts moisture from the air into the skin, drenching it in water. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water! The result? Your skin is plumper, so your wrinkles look smaller. Your complexion is softer to the touch. Your complexion is glowing. Instant anti-aging trick right there.
Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine
Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):
The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients
NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.
- Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
- Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
- Red: What is this doing here?!
- Water: The main solvent in the product.
- Acetyl Glucosamine: This simple sugar has powerful antioxidant properties that helps reduce discolourations, especially when paired with niacinamide. It needs to be used in 2-5% concentrations to do the job. Luckily, there’s enough of it here.
- Butylene Glycol: A solvent with hydrating properties that keeps skin softer and smoother for longer.
- Phospholipids: Types of lipids that naturally occur in your skin. They draw moisture from the air into your skin, helping to keep your skin hydrated without being occlusive and giving you acne.
- Allantoin: A byproduct of uric acid that naturally occurs in the comfrey plant, it has powerful soothing properties that calm down redness and irritation.
- Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract: It has powerful antioxidant properties that also help lighten discolourations.
- Glycerin: A powerful humectant that draws moisture from the air into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated for longer.
- Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate: Naturally found in liquorice, it has powerful soothing properties that calm down redness and irritation. It also helps lighten discolourations.
- Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract: Another component of licorice that soothes irritations and lightens dark spots.
- Ubiquinone: An antioxidants that fights free radicals before they can give you wrinkles.
- Epigallocatechin Gallate: A powerful antioxidant found in green tea, it fights free radicals and reduces the damaging effects of UV rays to prevent wrinkles and discolourations.
- Beta-Glucan: A hydrator that makes skin softer and smoother.
- Panthenol: A humectant that draws moisture from the air into the skin to keep it hydrated. It also soothes irritations.
- Carnosine: It protects against the oxidative stress that causes free radicals to prevent premature aging.
- Genistein: A component of soybean, it soothes UVB-induced redness in human skin.
- Citric Acid: It adjusts the pH of skincare products to help them work their best.
- Sodium Citrate: It helps adjust the pH of skincare products.
- Sodium Hydroxide: Another pH balancer.
- Xanthan Gum: It thickens the consistent of skincare products.
- Disodium EDTA: It enhances the stability of cosmetic formulas and helps preservative make the product safer for longer.
- Ethylhexylglycerin: It has hydrating properties but it’s used here mostly as a preservative to make the booster last longer.
- Phenoxyethanol: A preservative that helps your skincare products last longer.
I love the texture of Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster: it’s clear, lightweight as water and absorbs immediately into the skin without leaving a greasy or sticky residue behind. It tends to be runny, so you may need a cotton pad to apply it.
Like all Paula’s Choice products, it’s fragrance-free. I personally like it. It may not smell like a meadow in full bloom, but it’s safe for sensitive skin. Fragrances are the most irritating ingredients in skincare, so you want to avoid them whenever possible – just in case.
How To Use It
You can use this booster in several ways. I like to use it alone, in the morning, just after cleansing, to boost sun protection and get maximum benefits. You can also use mix it with your fave serum or moisturiser. It’ll dilute it a little, so you’ll see results more slowly, but it does save time in the morning or evening. If you want to use it in the evening, it goes after exfoliation (on exfoliation days) and before retinol (on retinol days).
The booster comes in a white bottle with green accents and a dropper applicator. I love how practical and easy to use it is. The only con? The small size. It makes it travel-friendly, but it also means you’ll have to buy the serum often.
Performance & Personal Opinion
I like to mix Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster with a hyaluronic acid serum or moisturiser in the evening, but you can use it in the mornings, too. Just don’t mix it with sunscreen. ANYTHING you mix with sunscreen will dilute the SPF. Don’t go there. Or, if you don’t like the idea of mixing your lotions and potions, use it alone. Like a serum. Either way, it works.
The results here depends on what it is you’re dealing with. For example, I have large pores on and around my nose. After a few applications, they already look smaller. I also noticed an improvement in the texture of my skin. Now it looks a little smoother all over. It’s also softer. While Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster isn’t the most hydrating product I’ve ever tried, it does helps strengthen my skin’s protective barrier so moisture can’t escape out.
I can’t personally vouch for its ability to reduce dark spots, just because I have none (lucky, I know!). As for wrinkles, that takes time. Wrinkles weren’t formed in a day and niacinamide won’t make them disappear in a day. You have to play the long game here.
My only complaint is the size. Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster contains only 20ml of product. Sure, you need so little that’s gonna last you a long time but I still want more. I’m greedy like that.
How Does It Compare To…
- The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($6.00): No comparison here. The Ordinary is specially developed to absorb excess sebum and treat acne in oily skin. If your skin is oily or acne-prone, this is your best bet. Everyone else, will find it to drying. Stick to Paula’s Choice instead. Available at Beauty Bay, Boots, Cult Beauty, Sephora, The Ordinary, and Ulta.
- The Inkey List Niacinamide (£9.99): A stripped down version of this serum. Super hydrating, it contains Niacinamide and nothing else. If you’re on a budget, go for it. Otherwise, it’s worth it to spend a little more and get the extra antioxidants benefits from Paula’s Choice. Available at Boots, Cult Beauty, Selfridges, Sephora, and The Inkey List.
What I Like About Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster
- Lightweight, fast-absorbing texture.
- Shrinks large pores.
- Hydrates skin and makes it softer.
- Helps lighten discolourations.
- Versatile, can use it on its own or mix it with other serums/moisturisers.
What DON’T I Like About Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster
- Small bottle, you need to repurchase it often.
Who Should Use This?
Anyone can use this booster, especially if niacinamide isn’t already part of your skincare routine. It helps with acne, dark spots, dehydration, irritations, large pores…. The only reason to avoid it is if you’re allergic to one of the ingredients.
Does Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster Live Up To Its Claims?
|This concentrated 10% niacinamide serum booster dramatically improves uneven skin tone and refines the appearance of pore size, skin texture and fine lines.||True.|
|Sheer, ultra-light liquid formula.||True.|
|Promotes a brighter, younger-looking appearance.||True.|
Is Paula’s Choice Cruelty-Free?
Yes, Paula’s Choice is truly cruelty-free. It doesn’t test on animals and doesn’t outsource the process to third parties either.
Price & Availability
$42.00/£40.00 at Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Net-A-Porter, Paula’s Choice, Selfridges, and SpaceNK
The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
You DO need niacinamide into your skincare routine. If you don’t know how to add it in, this is a great option for you. Just add a few drops to your moisturiser and you’re good to go.
Dupes & Alternatives
- The Inkey List Niacinamide (£9.99): A simple, no-frills, hydrating niacinamide serum for all skin types. Available at Boots, Cult Beauty, Selfridges, Sephora, and The Inkey List.
- The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($6.00): Suitable for oily skin ONLY, it absorbs excess oil and helps keep acne under control. Available at Beauty Bay, Boots, Cult Beauty, Sephora, The Ordinary, and Ulta.
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)
This is amazing!
Fatou, glad you enjoyed the article!
Love this booster for my oily acne prone large-pored skin! I usually use it twice a day layered with my other products and now don’t want to be without it!
Geo55, it’s fab isn’t it? I can’t believe how quickly my pores have shrunk since I’ve started using it. It’s a HG product for me too now.
Do you have an opinion on Nia products which contain niacinamide?
I use the mineral based sunscreen.
Claudia, I love their sunscreens and moisturisers. A bit pricy maybe but so moisturising and gentle.
Hi! I’am 26 years old, I have combination skin, with blackheads and large pores, and I still get pimples. Could you help me with my skin routine please?
This is what I normally do:
Paulas choice 2% BHA liquid
Clinique moisturizing gel
the same without the SPF
are they ok?
I do not if I should add the niacimide acid or a retinol or both.
Ana, your skincare routine sounds fine. But if you get pimples despite using BHA, I’m thinking there may be something in your skincare routine that’s comedogenic. Could it be the sunscreen?
I’d definitely add niacinamide. You can use it in the morning after or in place of BHA.
Hi, I am wondering which of these ingredients should be used first in the evening? Retinol, AHA, Niacinamide, Vit C and Hyaluronic. I am not using them all at once, but I wonder what should go first etc.?
Melly, exfoliation always go after cleansing so if you’re using an AHA, that goes first. After exfoliation – or better at alternate days/times – use actives that need to penetrate skin like vitamin C and retinol. I like to apply vitamin C in the morning and at night, alternate between retinol and AHA. After that, you can use Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.
Thanks Gio your blog has been so helpful in understanding the minefield that is skin care! I have irritated and dried my skin around my mouth with BHA and retinol products and this Niacinamide booster from PC has really helped visibly soothe the inflammation really quickly. Just need to find a sunscreen that doesn’t break me out and I think I’m sorted. Thank you 😊 xx
Hi gio! Keep reading your Whole page. Can’t stop! It’s so useful! You give si much needed information!
Regarding this post, I’d like to ask you if is it posible to do the same with the “the ordinary” niacinamide 10 + ziNc
Thank you very much!
Lucila, you mean mixing it with other skincare products? It’s not designed for that so I wouldn’t.
Does it mean that I can use Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid at the same time? And if yes, what should go first?
Melly, yes you can. And the order doesn’t really matter in this case.
How about just using CeraVe PM or Olay regenerist as nightly moisturizer which includes Hylauronic acid in addition to Niacinimide instead of buying a separate booster? Do these products contain enough Niacinimide?
Lauren, if you’re using a moisturizer or serum with niacinamide, you don’t need a separate booster too. This is for people who don’t already use it and don’t want to look for a new moisturizer/serum.
Hello Gio! Thank you so much for sharing this information. Regarding this post, I’d like to ask you the reason behind applying the T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum before the Ordinary niacinamide 10 + Zinc. Thanks again!!
Andrea, it’s an exfoliant. Exfoliants should always be used after cleansing. 🙂
Thank you, Gio! You’re the best!! 🙂
Andrea, you’re welcome. 😳
gio hi!!! would you recommend the ordinary niacinamide?
Camila, only if you have oily skin. It’s too drying for use on dry areas.
I am confused by this, why is the ordinary niacinamide more drying than the Paula’s Choice?
Shauna, because it contains zinc, which regulates oil production. Just because two products have the same ingredients doesn’t mean they’re dupes. Niacinamide + Zinc was especially formulated to absorb excess oil from oily skin so it doesn’t make sense for other skin types to use it. It may do more harm than good.
I dont´t see any green tea in the ingredients list? Am I missing it? And do you know the percentage of green tea and Ubiquinone in this serum?
Lise, Epigallocatechin Gallate is green tea. 🙂 I don’t know the % but should be around 1.
I’m currently using 3 serums by The Ordinary : Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% and Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.
I’m mixing the 3 serum on my hand and then put it on my face and neck.
Then I apply the Clinique Superdefense SPF20.
I just ordered Paula’s choice Niacinamide but reading you, it seems I can’t apply it the same way…
I’m thinking to use it in the evening by first applying an acid tonic by Ren Skincare (Ready Steady Glow) and then Niacinamide and NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex.
Is it the best way to use the full potential of Niacinamide ?
Thanks a lot for your answer !
Ambrea, you can use Paula’s Choice niacinamide booster alone or mix it with a serum. It doesn’t matter how you do it, all it matters is that you use it!
If used alone does it matter what moisturizers you apply after a niacinamide booster or serum? I want to add niacinamide to my routine but the only moisturizer I can tolerate at the moment is vanicream lite lotion (because of rosacea) I believe its a ph 3.73? would that render the niacinamide useless? I also use sebamed gentle cleanser (ph 5.5) before that
Carmen, you can use niacinamide with anything so don’t worry about it.
Thanks! I may have some fungal acne on my one cheek, is it okay to use niacinamide there too? It’s just that one area that has bumps but I don’t want to make them worse
Yes, you Cana use niacinamide there. Just make sure the product doesn’t contain anything that feeds the fungus.
Do you like to use niacinamide with bha/ahas?
Nella, yes you can use them together.
Hello Gio, thanks for the great post! I love this product too. In terms of nighttime application, I generally apply the Niacinamide Booster booster first (to bare skin), followed by Finacea (azaliac acid gel), then moisturizer. Should I actually be applying the Finacea first, followed by the Booster? The Booster is so watery, I figured it was a good first step. Cheers