Editor’s Picks: 14 of the Best Niacinamide Serums That Target All Your Skin Concerns

They brighten, balance oil, boost hydration and more.
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Best niacinamide serum

Move over, vitamin C. Niacinamide is the new darling of our skincare routines, and for good reason.

First of all, anyone can use it. As the active form of vitamin B3, it's water-soluble and won't clog your pores. It's also unlikely to irritate (especially at low concentrations), and is safe to apply as often as twice per day—no matter what your skin type.

Most importantly, it's the ultimate multitasker. As I explained in this tutorial, niacinamide helps with virtually every skin concern, from pigmentation and fine lines to excess oil and large pores. It also reduces dryness, redness and sallowness, fights free radicals and strengthens the skin barrier. 

Needless to say, a niacinamide serum belongs in everyone's skincare arsenal. Here's what to look for, plus the best products I've found.

What to Look for in a Niacinamide Serum

Best niacinamide serum

The best niacinamide serums from Skin Inc Supplement Bar, Paula's Choice, Glossier, SkinCeuticals and The Ordinary.

When choosing a niacinamide serum, here's what I suggest for best results:

  • At least 2-5% niacinamide: Most of the clinical studies demonstrating positive outcomes from niacinamide (which I outlined here) were performed using as little as 2-5%. Higher amounts (up to 20%) may be helpful for significant textural issues, but if you're concerned about possible irritation, it's probably best to stick with 10% or less.
  • High in humectants: Other water-attracting ingredients (such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and aloe) are a great addition to niacinamide serums, as they will further increase the moisture content of your skin.
  • Low in oils and silicone: Since these are barrier-forming ingredients, you don't want to see them in high concentrations—otherwise, they could hinder the water-soluble niacinamide from entering your skin.
  • Low in fragrance: As always, synthetic fragrance and essential oils should be limited or avoided, since they're the most common cause of skin irritation. 

The Best Niacinamide Serums of 2021

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Paula's Choice 10 Niacinamide Booster

Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

  • Details: Paula's Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster is a thin and watery liquid that sinks in quickly for a totally weightless feel on your skin. It's ideal for layering underneath other skincare products (and causes no pilling), or you can mix it into other serums or creams for a brightening boost. This serum is also fragrance-free, oil-free and silicone-free.
  • Key ingredient: 10% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: Vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside), butylene glycol, hyaluronic acid, allantoin, glycerin, licorice extract, provitamin B5 (panthenol).
  • Best for: All skin.

The Inkey List Niacinamide

The Inkey List Niacinamide

The Inkey List Niacinamide

  • Details: The Inkey List Niacinamide is not only super affordable, it also doubles as a hydrating serum. It has a silky and slightly thicker texture than other serums of its kind (almost like a runny gel-cream), thanks to the addition of squalane oil. Plus it has a high concentration of hyaluronic acid, while omitting both fragrance and silicones.
  • Key ingredient: 10% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: 1% hyaluronic acid, glycerin, butylene glycol, squalane.
  • Best for: All skin.

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

  • Details: SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense specifically targets stubborn discolourations, including dark spots, brown patches and post-acne marks. In a 12-week clinical study, users experienced an average improvement of 59%! That's probably because it contains not just niacinamide but four other pigment fighters. It also has a fast-absorbing liquid texture, and is fragrance-free, oil-free and silicone-free.
  • Key ingredients: 5% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: 5% HEPES (sulfonic acid), 3% tranexamic acid, 1% kojic acid, butylene glycol, glycerin, urea, allantoin.
  • Best for: Pigmentation.

Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum

Kristina Holey Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum

Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum

  • Details: Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique Soothing B3 Serum is an all-natural formulation that calms, hydrates and gives your skin a glow. It has a gel texture, but leaves no sticky residue, and is packed with soothing botanicals like green tea and licorice. It's also oil-free, and like everything else from this brand, is made without fragrance, essential oils or silicones.
  • Key ingredient: 10% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, EGCG, provitamin B5 (panthenol), licorice extract.
  • Best for: All skin, especially sensitive skin.

Skin Inc Supplement Bar B3+ Serum

Skin Inc Supplement Bar Vitamin B3 Serum

Skin Inc Supplement Bar Vitamin B3+ Serum

  • Details: Skin Inc Supplement Bar B3+ Serum is an ultra-lightweight serum that can be worn alone or mixed with the brand's other serums for a customized "cocktail." Packed with humectants, it penetrates immediately and doesn't feel like anything is on your skin. It's also fragrance-free, oil-free and silicone-free. My only wish is that the bottle was bigger!
  • Key ingredient: Niacinamide (concentration not disclosed).
  • Other ingredients: Butylene glycol, glycerin, pentylene glycol, provitamin B5 (panthenol), hyaluronic acid.
  • Best for: All skin, especially acne-prone skin.

Sobel Skin Rx 15% Niacinamide Gel Serum

Sobel Skin Rx 15 Niacinamide Gel Serum

Sobel Skin Rx 15% Niacinamide Gel Serum

  • Details: Sobel Skin Rx 15% Niacinamide Gel Serum is a doctor-developed solution for enlarged pores, dullness and fine lines. You're getting one of the highest concentrations of niacinamide here, in a lightweight and non-sticky gel (with few other ingredients). Plus, it is fragrance-free, oil-free and silicone-free.
  • Key ingredient: 15% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: Glycerin, allantoin, chamomile extract, cucumber extract, ginger root extract.
  • Best for: All skin except sensitive.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10 Zinc 1

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

  • Details: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is the most inexpensive way to try niacinamide. Formulated to reduce breakouts, congestion and excess oil, it is boosted by zinc, which helps to normalize sebum production. This serum has a gel-like texture, and is fragrance-free, oil-free and silicone-free. Just be aware that it does have the tendency to ball up when you layer other products on top—try my pilling tips here.
  • Key ingredient: 10% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: 1% zinc PCA, pentylene glycol.
  • Best for: Normal to oily and acne-prone skin.

Paula’s Choice Niacinamide 20% Treatment

Paula's Choice Niacinamide 20 Treatment

Paula's Choice Niacinamide 20% Treatment

  • Details: Paula's Choice Niacinamide 20% Treatment is a potent treatment for anyone dealing with enlarged, stretched-out pores, "orange peel" texture or bumpy, congested skin. Boasting the highest concentration of niacinamide, it goes on like a liquid gel (and if you're oily, could replace the need for other hydrators). It is also silicone-free, oil-free and fragrance-free.
  • Key ingredient: 20% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: Pentylene glycol, butylene glycol, glycerin, vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside), licorice extract, purslane, green tea extract, allantoin, provitamin B5 (panthenol).
  • Best for: Large pores and congestion.

Glossier Super Pure Niacinamide + Zinc Serum

Glossier Super Pure Niacinamide Zinc Serum

Glossier Super Pure Niacinamide + Zinc Serum

  • Details: Glossier Super Pure Niacinamide + Zinc Serum is a watery serum with an elegant, non-greasy, non-sticky texture. It's infused with a niacinamide and zinc duo that promises to improve skin texture and clarity in four weeks, without causing irritation or dryness. Unlike many of the brand's products, this one is free of fragrance, oil and silicone.
  • Key ingredient: 5% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: Glycerin, propanediol, zinc PCA.
  • Best for: All skin, especially acne-prone skin.

Alpha-H Vitamin B

Alpha-H Vitamin B

Alpha-H Vitamin B

  • Details: Alpha-H Vitamin B gives you all the benefits of niacinamide, along with additional humectants to hydrate and copper peptides to firm and smooth. The latter give this lightweight serum its blue tint (which fortunately doesn't show up on your skin). This treatment is also fragrance-free, oil-free and silicone-free.
  • Key ingredient: 5% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: 1% provitamin B5 (panthenol) glycerin, chia seed extract, sodium PCA, hyaluronic acid, copper peptides.
  • Best for: All skin.

Revolution 15% Niacinamide

Revolution 15 Niacinamide

Revolution 15% Niacinamide

  • Details: Revolution 15% Niacinamide gives you a high dose of the active ingredient in a simple, budget-friendly formula. Since it's aimed at blemishes and enlarged pores, it includes oil-regulating zinc, and has a light, fluid texture that absorbs quickly. It's also fragrance-free, oil-free and silicone-free.
  • Key ingredient: 15% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: Propanediol, zinc PCA, glycerin, butylene glycol.
  • Best for: All skin, especially acne-prone skin.

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

  • Details: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops is an innovative "highlighting serum"—a cross between a serum and a highlighter. So you can wear it as a skin treatment to hydrate and brighten over time, or as an illuminator to impart an instant dewy glow. It is both silicone-free and oil-free, with less than 1% synthetic fragrance.
  • Key ingredient: Niacinamide (concentration not disclosed).
  • Other ingredients: Propanedol, glycerin, watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid.
  • Best for: All skin.

Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum

Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum

Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum

  • Details: Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum is a basic, gel-like serum from a brand that is not only affordably priced, but also 100% transparent about ingredients. As such, the exact concentration of everything in the formula is disclosed, along with the pH level (6.9). This product is also free of fragrance and oil, and low in silicone (there's just 0.03%!).
  • Key ingredient: 10% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: Dipropylene glycol, glycerin, betaine, vitamin E.
  • Best for: All skin.

Consonant Vitamin B3 + Zinc Serum

Consonant Vitamin B3 Zinc Serum

Consonant Vitamin B3 + Zinc Serum

  • Details: Consonant Vitamin B3 + Zinc Serum is a clarifying serum from the makers of my all-time favourite hydrating serum (HydrExtreme). Just like its sister product, this one is made with just a few non-toxic ingredients, and no fragrance, oil or silicones. This treatment has such a velvety, moisturizing texture, I found that I could wear it alone without any other hydrators.
  • Key ingredient: 10% niacinamide.
  • Other ingredients: 1% zinc sulfate, 1% provitamin B5 (panthenol), propanediol.
  • Best for: All skin, especially acne-prone skin.

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