This Skin Care Multitasker Is a Derm-Favorite for Evening Tone and Texture (2024)

Table of Contents
The best niacinamide serums, at a glance Best Overall: La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Niacinamide Serum La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Niacinamide Serum Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Hydro Boost + 10% Niacinamide Serum Neutrogena Hydro Boost + Niacinamide Fragrance Free Serum Best for Dry Skin: InstaNatural Niacinamide Serum InstaNatural Niacinamide Serum Best Luxury: Lancôme Clarifique Pro-Solution Brightening Serum Lancôme Clarifique Pro-Solution Brightening Serum Best for Oily Skin: Glossier Super Pure Clarifying Face Serum With Niacinamide + Zinc Glossier Super Pure Clarifying Face Serum with Niacinamide + Zinc Best Budget: The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum Best for Dark Spots: Isdin Melaclear Advanced Dark Spot Corrector Isdin Melaclear Advanced Best Clarifying: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Best for Large Pores: Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster Best Multitasker: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops Best for Discoloration: SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Best for Uneven Texture: Sunday Riley B3 Nice 10% Niacinamide Serum Sunday Riley B3 Nice 10% Niacinamide Serum Best for Brightening: First Aid Beauty Bronze + Glow Drops with Niacinamide First Aid Beauty Bronze + Glow Drops with Niacinamide Best for Anti-Aging: Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Serum with Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Serum with Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid References

Skip to main content

Find anything you save across the site in your account

Find anything you save across the site in your account

Skin Care

It's the most versatile ingredient in the game.

By Deanna Pai and Brigitt Earley

This Skin Care Multitasker Is a Derm-Favorite for Evening Tone and Texture (4)

    Original image by Glamour staff / Courtesy of brands / Gabrielle Langdon

    Vitamin C serums, retinol, and hyaluronic acid may get a lot of attention, but there's a dark horse out there: niacinamide. The benefits of the best niacinamide serums are multifaceted, meaning they work for just about every skin type out there.

    “Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, a multitasking antioxidant that can help soothe and hydrate the skin, reverse the signs of aging, lighten dark spots and redness as well as reduce inflammation—which may benefit conditions like acne and rosacea,” says Deanne Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Westport, Connecticut.

    “It tends to play well with most ingredients, and while possible, it’s rare to see someone not be able to tolerate the ingredient,” says Margarita Lolis, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and MOHS surgeon in New York and New Jersey. Along with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, vitamin C, and zinc, it also complements harsher ingredients like retinols and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), adds Dr. Robinson.

    You can find the superstar skin care ingredient in all kinds of skin care products, from cleansers and toners to face moisturizers and eye creams, although Dr. Robinson says serums are your best bet, since they have a higher rate of absorption.

    To help you find a quality niacinamide serum to slot into your skin care routine, we polled both dermatologists and our expert editorial team for their tried-and-true favorites. Collectively, we spent weeks testing the best ones on all different skin types, including dry, oily, sensitive, and acne-prone. Scroll ahead for the best options to help you make the most of this powerhouse ingredient.

    The best niacinamide serums, at a glance

    All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    • Best Overall: La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Niacinamide Serum

      Courtesy of brand

      1/14

      La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Niacinamide Serum

      Niacinamide is best known as a brightening ingredient. (It interferes with the transfer of melanin, or pigment, in the skin—meaning any melanin created from sun exposure or inflammation doesn’t make it to your skin’s surface.) This particular serum, recommended by Dr. Lolis, puts that feature to work to deliver anti-aging benefits, reducing the number, size, and color of dark spots, sun spots, and other types of discoloration. And since it’s an antioxidant, it’ll also keep free radicals from further damaging skin. Plus, it also offers hyaluronic acid with the brand’s soothing thermal water to keep skin calm.

      While users do complain about the smell, they have largely positive things to say about this serum—especially how effective it is. One user with visible scarring reported twice daily use of a single bottle—one to two months of usage—visibly lightened the marks.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, glycerin, melasyl, thermal spring water / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: The texture is lightweight and easy to massage in
      • What could improve: The fragrance can be a bit much

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Amazon and Ulta promo codes.

    • Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Hydro Boost + 10% Niacinamide Serum

      Courtesy of brand

      2/14

      Neutrogena Hydro Boost + Niacinamide Fragrance Free Serum

      Dullness is no match for this serum, which pairs hyaluronic acid (a mainstay in the brand's Hydro Boost collection) with 10% niacinamide to address lackluster skin and even out skin texture. The combination of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide work together to prevent evaporation of moisture from the skin into the environment, Dr. Robinson explains.

      We love that, although one of the more affordable and widely available options on our list, this formula is fragrance-free and contains no parabens or phthalates—ideal for sensitive skin. Users, especially those who use it in tandem with the brand's Hydro Boost moisturizer—say they've seen a big difference in skin tone. Most notably? Far fewer red patches.

      Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamin B3 / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: The texture doesn't feel sticky; the applicator makes it easy to dispense the right amount
      • What could improve: It can take a few weeks to see results

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Amazon promo codes.

    • Best for Dry Skin: InstaNatural Niacinamide Serum

      Courtesy of brand

      3/14

      InstaNatural Niacinamide Serum

      While niacinamide is unlikely to dry out your skin, this formula goes above and beyond to ensure skin stays comfortable. That comes courtesy of a blend of hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and avocado oil—not to mention the brand's botanical blend, which is packed with vitamin C. That can amp up its brightening power, since niacinamide and vitamin C are both potent antioxidants that not only protect against sun damage on a cellular level, but also help keep discoloration at bay, explains Dr. Lolis. In other words, you’re getting more brightening for your buck, which might explain why users love this formula so much.

      “This serum did not mess with my acne-prone skin. In fact, it visibly reduced the appearance of red acne scars and made my pores look smaller within a matter of days," said one tester. “The dropper isn't the best, but you can't really beat the overall value.”

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, avocado oil, vitamin E / Size: 2 oz.

      • What we love: Budget-friendly; actively nourishes skin
      • What could improve: Some say the dropper is hard to use

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Amazon promo codes.

    • Best Luxury: Lancôme Clarifique Pro-Solution Brightening Serum

      4/14

      Lancôme Clarifique Pro-Solution Brightening Serum

      This serum pairs niacinamide with polyhydroxy acid, a cousin of AHA that gently exfoliates skin for a mild exfoliating effect. It's been tested on a wide range of skin tones and was shown to even out discoloration, reduce the appearance of pores, and improve skin texture, making it clutch if you’re looking to address multiple concerns in a single step.

      We love that how lightweight this product is, but note it can be messy to apply if you use too much too quickly. Once on skin, though, it absorbs quickly, leaving the face supple and hydrated for hours.

      Key ingredients: PHA, niacinamide, beech bud extract / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: Absorbs quickly; doesn't leave a residue
      • What could improve: The watery formula can get messy to apply

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Ulta and Sephora promo codes.

    • Best for Oily Skin: Glossier Super Pure Clarifying Face Serum With Niacinamide + Zinc

      Courtesy of brand

      5/14

      Glossier Super Pure Clarifying Face Serum with Niacinamide + Zinc

      Blemishes don't stand a chance against the combo of niacinamide and zinc PCA, derms tell Glamour. Look for a product, like this one, that contains concentration of niacinamide somewhere between 5-10%, says Dr. Lolis. At this level niacinamide has the ability to control excess sebum production (add it to the list!), while the zinc PCA keeps pores clear and clog-free sans dryness. (That means it'll help with breakouts too.)

      Our testers love that the cruelty-free formula has a weightless water-gel texture that sinks in on the spot, so you won’t be left with any residue or heavy feel.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, zinc PCA / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: Application is easy; won't pill
      • What could improve: It may be too harsh for sensitive skin types

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Sephora and Glossier promo codes.

    • Best Budget: The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum

      Courtesy of brand

      6/14

      The Inkey List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum

      Balanced, hydrated skin for under $10? This serum makes it possible. It contains 10% niacinamide to manage oil production—the top of what Dr. Lolis recommends for maximum efficacy—as well as 1% hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin. The duo is a match made in heaven, leaving skin softer, plumper, and less shiny in a matter of seconds.

      In our Inkey List reviews, our editors and contributors have largely glowing things to say about products across the brand's line. This serum is no different. Users say it is most effective at controlling oil, but they also saw some results on redness and pore size.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: It's gentle enough for sensitive types; budget friendly
      • What could improve: The bottle makes it hard to control how much you dispense

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Sephora promo codes.

    • Best for Dark Spots: Isdin Melaclear Advanced Dark Spot Corrector

      Courtesy of brand

      7/14

      Isdin Melaclear Advanced

      It may be pricey, but Dr. Robinson puts this hardworking serum among her favorites, as it “pairs niacinamide with tranexamic acid and skin-soothing licorice root extract,” she explains. “This product repairs hyperpigmentation, while also delivering great proactive benefits to the skin’s health and appearance.”

      Overall, users say the formula really works—as long as you're using it in tandem with sun protection. One user says two months of use in tandem with the brand's lightweight SPF yielded a significant difference in the color of dark spots. We also like that the packaging is refillable, which minimizes environmental waste from bottle to bottle.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, tranexamic acid, licorice root extract / Size: 1.7 oz

      • What we love: It's the only one on this list with tranexamic acid, another powerful brightener
      • What could improve: It's not exactly budget-friendly

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Amazon and Dermstore promo codes.

    • Best Clarifying: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

      Courtesy of brand

      8/14

      The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

      Another combo of zinc and niacinamide (but with double the concentration of the latter compared with the Glossier serum), this blend does it all. While it helps clarify skin and address blemishes—since it decreases oil production—it can work to reduce the appearance of acne scars too. It's also been shown to actually support the skin barrier, in case you're worried about potential irritation.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, zinc PCA / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: Great for uneven skin textures; budget-friendly
      • What could improve: Some users say it causes redness

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Ulta and Sephora promo codes.

    • Best for Large Pores: Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

      Courtesy of brand

      9/14

      Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

      If you're already dedicated to your face serum, no sweat—you can just add two or three drops of this to your go-to or apply it solo before your moisturizer. The lightweight formula offers niacinamide in addition to licorice extract and vitamin C for all-around brightening and antioxidant protection.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, vitamin C, licorice extract / Size: .67 oz

      • What we love: Lightweight; can be added to moisturizer
      • What could improve: Small bottle, especially considering price

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Dermstore and Sephora promo codes.

    • Best Multitasker: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

      • Original image by Glamour senior commerce editor Jenifer Calle

      • Courtesy of brand

      10/14

      Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

      Sure, it's a serum, but it's also a highlighter. It deploys niacinamide, amino-acid-rich watermelon, and hydrating hyaluronic acid for long-term hydration and brightening benefits, while its sheen gives skin a dewy glow for instant brightness. “I love the lightweight texture of this serum that sinks into your skin without creating excess oils," says Anna Chacon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Miami. “It really makes your skin look and feel radiant and hydrated after application.”

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, watermelon, hyaluronic acid / Size: 1.3 oz.

      • What we love: The versatile formula gives you multiple ways to use it
      • What could improve: It's not ideal for oily skin

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Sephora promo codes.

    • Best for Discoloration: SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

      • Original image by Glamour tester Brigitt Earley

      • Original image by Glamour tester Brigitt Earley

      • Courtesy of brand

      11/14

      SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

      SkinCeuticals products almost always garner glowing reviews from Glamour editors. And derms are on board: This formulation is one of the best for any number of skin care concerns—most notably dark spots from the sun, acne, or medical procedures. That’s because it contains a trio of synergistic brightening ingredients: niacinamide, plus tranexamic acid and kojic acid, says Carmen Castilla, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC.

      Sure, it comes at a price, but it’s a worthy splurge because it condenses your routine into a single—and very effective—product. It’s also gentle enough that it’s safe to use during pregnancy, says Castilla. Good thing, because users say it’s highly effective against melasma, a very common condition that often occurs during pregnancy in which discolored patches appear on the skin.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, tranexamic acid, kojic acid / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: Great for hyperpigmentation; pregnancy-safe
      • What could improve: Expensive

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Dermstore promo codes.

    • Best for Uneven Texture: Sunday Riley B3 Nice 10% Niacinamide Serum

      • Courtesy of brand

      • Original photo by Glamour associate beauty editor Danielle Sinay

      12/14

      Sunday Riley B3 Nice 10% Niacinamide Serum

      Sunday Riley’s vitamin C line gets some serious buzz, but their niacinamide serum is worth a look, too, says Danielle Sinay, Glamour’s associate beauty editor, who calls it her “match made in heaven” for treating redness, hyperpigmentation, and oversized pores. “As someone with rosacea and acne-prone skin, Sunday Riley’s niacinamide serum has been a game-changer for redness, hyperpigmentation, and oversized pores. I've been consistently using it for over a year now, and the improvement in my skin is undeniable: My dark spots and redness have faded, my skin texture is significantly smoother, and my pores are mostly invisible, especially underneath foundation. What's more, it plays well with other products and layers seamlessly, without clogging pores, breaking me out, or irritating my skin. 10/10!” Just as importantly, it was non-irritating and didn’t trigger any acne flare-ups.

      Other users backed this up, noting the formula excelled at clearing up any bouts of acne, but also targeted redness and helped skin look firmer and more supple. On the downside, some users say the product oxidizes very quickly, limiting its shelf life.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, brightenyl, trans-resveratrol / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: Effectively targets acne flare-ups; suitable for all skin types
      • What could improve: Some users say it oxidizes very quickly

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Sephora promo codes.

    • Best for Brightening: First Aid Beauty Bronze + Glow Drops with Niacinamide

      Courtesy of brand

      13/14

      First Aid Beauty Bronze + Glow Drops with Niacinamide

      Just when you think a niacinamide serum can do it all, First Aid Beauty introduces a new product to really blow your mind. “This formula gives you glowy skin—perfect for the season—while providing all of the many benefits of niacinamide,” says Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC and founder of Skincare Junkie. “Think: skin barrier support, controlling sebum production, and calming and brightening skin.”

      Users love that this lightweight serum absorbs quickly with no sticky residue—just a subtle (read: not glittery) glow that addresses uneven skin tone and lends the ideal no-makeup finish. We only wish it came in more shades to give darker skin tones more of a boost.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, glycerin, micro-pearls / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: Instantly bronzes, lightweight and quick to absorb
      • What could improve: Some users wish it came in darker shades

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Ulta promo codes.

    • Best for Anti-Aging: Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Serum with Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid

      Courtesy of brand

      14/14

      Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Serum with Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid

      A favorite of Dr. Lolis, this luxe serum—a 2022 Glamour clean beauty award winner—tackles all of those lovely signs of mature skin, namely dehydrated skin and diminished elasticity, thanks to decreased cell renewal and lower levels of collagen. The product is powered by TET8, a proprietary ingredient created in partnership with Harvard University, as well as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to effectively reduce both fine lines and deep wrinkles, improve elasticity, and boost hydration levels.

      Users say this skin care product makes the face feel immediately more hydrated and, within a few uses, they noticed visibly firmer skin. We also love the fact that the product itself is vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. The packaging is also 100% recyclable.

      Key ingredients: Niacinamide, TET8, hyaluronic acid / Size: 1 oz.

      • What we love: Vegan and cruelty-free; recyclable packaging; targets signs of aging
      • What could improve: Expensive

      Save when you shop for the best niacinamide serum with these Sephora promo codes.

    Deanna is a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter who's been writing about beauty,health, and wellness for more than a decade,as well as a longtime contributor to Glamour. Prior to freelancing, she was the senior associate beauty editor at Cosmopolitan. When she's not experimenting with skincare products, you can find her... Read more

      Brigitt Earley, a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, has been testing consumer products and writing commerce content for 15 years and counting. She began her career in media as an editorial assistant at Real Simple, eventually rising to deputy editor of the publication's website before departing to pursue... Read more

      Topicsshoppingskincareskincare productsskincare ingredientsdark spotsdiscolorationpromo codes

      Read More

      Beauty

      The Best Shampoos for Hair Growth, According to Glamour Reviewers

      By Malia Griggs

      Gift Guides

      These Are the Best First-Birthday Gifts Ever

      By Shanna Shipin

      Beauty

      The Body Mists That Get Me Guaranteed Compliments

      By Denise Primbet

      Beauty

      The Best Collagen Supplements for Healthier Skin and Hair

      By Kristine Thomason

      This Skin Care Multitasker Is a Derm-Favorite for Evening Tone and Texture (2024)

      References

      Top Articles
      Latest Posts
      Article information

      Author: Dr. Pierre Goyette

      Last Updated:

      Views: 6191

      Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

      Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

      Author information

      Name: Dr. Pierre Goyette

      Birthday: 1998-01-29

      Address: Apt. 611 3357 Yong Plain, West Audra, IL 70053

      Phone: +5819954278378

      Job: Construction Director

      Hobby: Embroidery, Creative writing, Shopping, Driving, Stand-up comedy, Coffee roasting, Scrapbooking

      Introduction: My name is Dr. Pierre Goyette, I am a enchanting, powerful, jolly, rich, graceful, colorful, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.