As a cheap as hell student who wants both quantity and quality at no cost, Deciem’s The Ordinary line seemed like an actual gift from God. And the initial free shipping they had? Be still my heart.

As a bit of a background, I bought this serum when my moisture barrier was in duress and I read about niacinamide’s near-magical abilities to retain moisture. CeraVe PM Facial Moisturising Lotion is the only part of my regular routine with a significant amount of niacinamide during the late summer (when I purchased and started testing this product), with 4% niacinamide, and I was wondering if the higher percentage would do more on top of the CeraVe PM. Because more is more…?

Product Description


The translucent white dropper bottle contains a highly viscous clear liquid, thicker than oil even. There’s no strong scent to the during application, nor is any fragrance in the ingredients, but if you smell straight from the bottle there is a fermented scent–similar to that of makgeolli or fermented rice. Here is a link to the CosDNA analysis of all the ingredients. The only thing I’d like to add is to take note of castor oil; it’s not flagged, but I have heard a few accounts of it breaking people out.


At 30mL of product, the price comes to 5.90USD, which is 0.20USD per mL. As a comparison:


Trial Period

The liquid is so viscous that each drop of product is larger than you’d get out of a drop of water, for example, or most toners. So one drop could probably cover your face, but during the first three weeks of moisture barrier duress I used three both morning and evening to cover my face and neck, and then two each morning and evening again up until now. It’s been two months and I have 1/3 of the bottle remaining.


To sum it up… nada.

Niacinamide clearly doesn’t break me out, and I have trust in the shitton of science behind it, but adding the 10% serum has not enhanced its benefits over this eight week trial period. A study by Donald L Bisset, John E. Oblong, Cynthia A. Berge (all associated with Procter & Gamble) noticed visible improvements in visible wrinkles around the eye area and hyper pigmentation in 50 women aged 35-50 with 5% topical niacinamide around the eight week mark, which is why I’ve chosen this trial length. Unfortunately, I really don’t notice significant decreases in hyper pigmentation, I don’t quite have significant wrinkles yet, and my main objective–increasing moisture retention, was not completed. The whiteheads I get before shark week and after plucking my eyebrows turn into a minor red lump after using Mario Badescu Drying Lotion overnight, and then disappear four to five days afterwards. This serum has not aided in that healing time.

The product itself has no odour during application, sinks in quickly, doesn’t cause any discomfort after application, and isn’t difficult to apply so for those with no niacinamide products in their routine they’re otherwise happy with this would be a low-investment product to try out. With that low-investment mantra in mind, I’m probably going to test out the alpha arbutin, retinol, and rosehip oil in the future. The formulations seem straightforward and they’re concentrated versions of ingredients I want to incorporate,


  • Unoffensive
  • Scientifically sound formulation
  • Does not further improve skin conditions with a 4% niacinamide product