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Niacinamide Showdown | REVISITED (and what you should get instead!!)

Hello. Welcome. Hi. Leslie here 🙂

Back in early 2017, I did a lil post comparing The Ordinary’s Niacinamide offering to Paula’s Choice pricier version. In that blog post, The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% came out on top at $5.90 (compared to Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster (now in new packaging) at $42.


I have something to confess.

I recently made a huge Deciem reorder, and I have come to the realization that I actually do NOT like The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.

It does work. Don’t get me wrong. I like the results I get from that serum. And the price is incredibly reasonable. But it is so completely hard to work with. There is almost nothing that will go on top of it without pilling up or balling up and rubbing off. One of my biggest pet peeves with skin care is when it pills up and balls off of my face. I feel like I’m flaking away all the hard working molecules…and my money!! It is an impossible product to get along with.

Realizing that this product was not going to work into my routine as seamlessly as my naive younger-self remembered, I placed a Paula’s Choice order. Luckily, they are going through some packaging changes, and there was actually a promo going on where I received the full size 10% Niacinamide Booster for free (SCORE!) I still notice far less dramatic results with this product than from The Ordinary’s version, but it plays so much nicer with other products. It is easy to mix in or slap on underneath virtually anything.

This brings me to my FAVORITE skin care find of 2018 so far. I present to you (not even a Niacinamide at all…):

COSRX  Two in One Poreless Power Liquid

This product has been a GAME. CHANGER. I saw a change in my pore size after the first use. It was honestly ridiculous. So let’s talk about it. BREAK IT DOWN.


COSRX is a Korean Skincare brand and becoming one of my favorite brands of the moment. My current favorite moisturizer is also from them. This product specifically targets enlarged pores and pore congestion. They also say it is effective for cooling the skin, which I have not personally noticed, and controlling excess oil production. This second one I will have to disagree with. I actually can’t use this one in the daytime because it makes me a touch greasy.

It is listed as a toner, which would be the fourth step of a Korean skincare regimen. What I basically do, though, is pump two to three pumps into the palm of my hand after cleansing and just smash it all over my face. Very scientific. (SOMEtimes I will even dropper in a few drops of ol’ Paula’s Choice up there – but really, I know in my heart it’s this powerhouse doing all the pore shrinking goodness.)

It is also an exfoliating toner because the ingredients in it act like BHAs (or are considered BHAs? I’m not sure. I thought the only BHA was salicylic acid. But what do I know. I’m not a chemist.) This contains both Willow Bark Water &  Betaine Salicylate – which is BHA-like exfoliant from sugar beets. These two ingredients help keep pores clear by dissolving the excess oil and dead skin cells that can get trapped inside pores (EW and also NEAT.) This combo of actives also helps to tighten the pores and refine the texture.


Oh. And did I mention this stuff is $22? For 100 ml (3.38oz) or product? Making it barely more than The Ordinary. (And considering it is far easier to use – it makes the deal that much sweeter)

COSRX  $    22.00  $           6.51
THE ORDINARY  $       5.90  $           5.90
PAULA’S CHOICE  $    42.00  $         62.69


I thought niacinamide was my Knight in shining armor. And while it does work some magic, I can’t really find the words to describe how much I love the Poreless Power Liquid. If you struggle with texture and enlarged pores, give this one a try! It had me SHOOKETH.


COSRX is available at Ulta, that’s where I get mine so I can get all my points n stuff! You can pick this Poreless Power Liquid here!

Get The Ordinary version here.

Shop Paula’s Choice here.