We Tried the Buzzy 'Niacinamide Powder' Dividing the Internet

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide PowderThe Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder

Whenever cult beauty brand The Ordinary releases a new product, people kind of lose it.

I get it. I lose it, too. Cute packaging. Effective active ingredients. Readily accessible. Beloved by many. All killer, no filler. Really bloody affordable. What's not to love?

The same thing happened when recently, parent company DECIEM launched The Ordinary's latest product - a 100 per cent pure niacinamide powder. In fact, this one product has divided the internet.

So, I've been road testing The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder - 20g for a month to bring you everything you need to know about this niacinamide powder, and how (and if) it works.

What is Niacinamide?

A quick refresher on niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3.

Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that's versatile, plays well with other ingredients and is highly effective.

Niacinamide can help to brighten the complexion, improve uneven skin tone, balance oil production, reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and support the skin's structural integrity to protect it from dehydration and inflammation.

All skin types can benefit from using a niacinamide product, however it's especially great for acne-prone and sensitive skin types.

You can learn more about niacinamide and why everyone raves about it in our Skincare Nerds YouTube video below!

What Is The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder?

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder - 20gis exactly what is says it is - a powder made up of 100 per cent niacinamide.

The finely-milled powder allows you to make your own DIY serum to balance sebum (oil) production and improve skin texture. It's also vegan, cruelty-free, and silicone, paraben, alcohol and artificial fragrance-free.

Here's what the niacinamide powder looks like inside the glass jar.

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide PowderThe Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder

The Ordinary Niacinamide Powder vs The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.

OK, but what's the difference between The Ordinary Niacinamide Powder and the brand's existing The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum?

Both products deliver the benefits of niacinamide, but the main difference is the niacinamide powder doesn't contain zinc, which some people say causes skin irritation.

Other than that, by mixing the 100 per cent niacinamide powder into another water-based serum in your routine (more on that in a bit), you're able to address multiple skincare concerns at once, personalise your niacinamide usage and access the most direct topical exposure of niacinamide.

How to Use The Ordinary Niacinamide Powder.

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide PowderThe Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder

This is the part where you get to put on your white lab coat and essentially mix up your own custom niacinamide serum.

It's pretty fun, but also a little tricky because most of us aren't actually... scientists.

DECIEM says to mix a 1/4 scoop of the spoon provided with a water-based treatment in the palm of your hand and apply to the face in the morning and/or evening. Avoid contact with your eyes and wash your hands after application.

Here's my best attempt at measuring a 1/4 scoop.

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide PowderThe Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder

How to Measure The Ordinary Niacinamide Powder.

Here's where things get a little confusing. Because... how much is a quarter of a scoop, exactly?

As Michelle Wong from Lab Muffin Beauty Science pointed out in her The Ordinary Niacinamide YouTube video, it's nearly impossible to accurately measure out the correct amount of powder with the spoon provided, which the brand says will roughly give you a 10-15 per cent niacinamide concentration.

The naked eye isn't the most precise measuring tool, and what I think looks like a 1/4 scoop of powder will definitely be different to what you think is a 1/4 scoop, even by just a few grains of powder.

The best thing to do when giving this product a go is to measure out what you think is a 1/4 scoop of the spoon provided, and be consistent with it. You can watch the video below for more from Lab Muffin Beauty Science.

Will Adding More Niacinamide Powder Give Better Results?

No, mixing twice the recommended amount of niacinamide powder into your chosen product will not give you twice the results.

I even checked with Prudvi Mohan Kaka, DECIEM's Chief Scientific Officer, to confirm.

"The “more is better” concept cannot be achieved in the instance of The Ordinary’s 100% Niacinamide Powder as it becomes increasingly more difficult to dissolve the powder in bases at concentrations higher than 20 per cent. In addition to that, mixtures with concentrations 20 per cent and higher have greater potential to leave an undesired white residue on the skin upon drying," he said.

Multiple sources of scientific literature have also found niacinamide to be beneficial to the skin at topical concentrations between 2.5 per cent and five per cent. There's no evidence to suggest a higher concentration of niacinamide will make your skin look better, faster.

So if anything, using more product will make it harder for the powder to dissolve, may cause a grainy texture on application, and will 100 per cent cause you to run out faster.

What Can I Mix The Ordinary Niacinamide Powder With?

You can mix The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder with any non-conflicting, water-based treatment.

Translated, this means you can mix the niacinamide powder with any product that is mostly made up of water - look for water (aqua) listed as the first ingredient on the ingredients list.

Examples of water-based products include hydrating serums, hyaluronic acid serums, hydrating moisturisers, barrier repair moisturisers, and ceramide and peptide products.

Naturally, this product works well mixed into other The Ordinary products, these are their top picks:

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide PowderThe Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder

What Can't I Mix The Ordinary Niacinamide Powder With?

This powder should not be mixed with:

  • Products containing ascorbic acid, ethylated ascorbic acid, or other vitamin C derivatives.

  • Products containing direct acids (e.g. AHA and BHA chemical exfoliants) or vitamin A/retinol.

  • Oil-based products like facial oils or oil-based serums.

  • Cleansing products.

  • The Ordinary's existing niacinamide serum.

  • Any product with a formula with a pH below 5.1.

How do you know if your serum has a pH below 5.1? Unless the product packaging states it, you can't without testing it with a litmus test.

That said, most water-based, hydrating serums and moisturisers will sit at a pH level between five and seven. If you're not sure, the safest option is to either mix with one of the recommended The Ordinary products above, or with a hyaluronic acid serum or non-active moisturiser.

Our The Ordinary Niacinamide Powder Review.

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide PowderThe Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder

I've been using the niacinamide powder once a day as a part of my night time skincare routine for around a month. And I have to say, I look forward to turning my bathroom into my own science lab each night.

My chosen product to mix it into? The La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum

As you can see in the pictures below, a rough 1/4 scoop measurement of powder dissolved into my serum pretty quickly and seamlessly. No grittiness, white specks or noticeable texture. Win.

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide PowderThe Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder

Applying my hyaluronic acid serum to damp skin as I usually would, I didn't notice any difference in how the product absorbed into my skin, how it felt or any tackiness or stickiness, which is a good thing.

In terms of avoiding pilling when layering with the rest of your skincare and makeup routines, Kaka told me it's important to make sure the powder has fully dissolved into your base serum before applying. Also, allow adequate time between your steps to give it a chance to fully absorb (which we should be doing anyway) - I brush my teeth while I'm waiting.

I personally haven't experienced any irritation since using the powder. Niacinamide is a fairly safe ingredient, so even if you did overdo it with the powder, it's unlikely your skin would have a reaction. Not impossible, though, so always patch test before trying a new product.

All in all, the powder was truly undetectable and the result when mixed into my serum was glowy, juicy skin. Have I seen any significant improvement in oil production, pore appearance and general skin health? Not specifically, but my skin is looking great at the moment, which I could put down to a bunch of things.

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide PowderThe Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder

Now, let's talk about the elephant in this article - the measuring scoop.

I'm not the only one wondering why the product doesn't come with a scoop that allows you to measure out the recommended amount. Maybe because such a scoop would literally be the size of half your pinky finger nail, and I would definitely lose it?

Honestly, I found the measuring out process to be easy enough, but I wouldn't say I was confident in my accuracy. The powder also has larger clumps like you'd find in a bag of sugar that made scooping product out just that bit more interesting.

The main thing is to be mindful you can't really know what percentage of niacinamide you're getting when using this product. But that's OK because Kaka says DECIEM took exaggerated usage into account when conducting their safety assessments. Given niacinamide is also such an inoffensive ingredient, there's no need to worry.

My verdict? If you're already using a niacinamide product and you love it, you don't need The Ordinary Niacinamide Powder. It's OK to really want it though, especially considering it'll cost you less than $10 to give it a try.

For those who haven't tried niacinamide before, want to reduce the number of serums they're layering in their skincare routine, or just want to have a bit of fun playing scientist with skincare, go for it!