The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin & Niacinamide. Also, days of sound and fury in Deciem

The Ordinary Niacinamide and Alpha Arbutin

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

I had this half-written post lying around for a while, until last week’s events in the beautysphere gave me the push to get it finished… in a nutshell, Brandon Truaxe’s been on full-on poo-flinging monkey mode for months, and to make a long, angsty story short, it looks like Truaxe got the axe (sorry, I just had to… ) and is no longer at the helm of Deciem.

(Or, according to unsubstantiated rumors floating on the b-sphere, Truaxe, Deciem’s board and minority stakeholder Estée Lauder had already agreed upon the latter’s acquisition of Deciem for a while now, and the CEO’s circus is staged… hmm…)

In any case, given that the Estée Lauder behemoth is involved, I no longer think that The Ordinary and the other Deciem brands are in danger of disappearing, as many of us feared in the past. I confess I bought the products in this review right after Truaxe’s Trainwreck on Insta, earlier this year. 


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After seeing some episodes of the Canadian soap-opera “Pongid Passions”, i.e. #Deciem’s IGram debacle and the commentary about it on SM, I decided to stock up on several things from The Ordinary I’ve wanted to try for a while, juuust in case… stay tuned for the upcoming reviews! 🙈🙉🙊 Tras ver unos cuantos capítulos del culebrón canadiense “Pasión de Póngidos” en el IG de Deciem, tan comentados por las redes, decidí pillar varios productos de #TheOrdinary que me apetecían mucho, por lo que pueda pasar… ya os contaré que tal con ellos, así que ¡atentas! 🐵🐒 #TheOrdinaryDeciem #CrueltyFreeBeauty #faceserum #AlphaLipoicAcid #AlphaArbutin #argireline #primer #niacinamide #squalane #skincare #skincareaddict #bblogger #beautyblogger #instabeauty #beautylover #blogbelleza #cosmética #cuidadodelapiel #serumfacial #potiadicta

Una publicación compartida de Nessie • beauty blogger (@kohleyednessie) el

What can I say, I was seized by a mild panic that they wouldn’t be available for long. So, maybe there’s method to BT’s madness, and I have to say that, if this does turn out to be a foolhardy marketing ploy, it worked on me and many others. Was my panic purchase worth it? Let’s see…

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

For the more devout followers of -free, this is quite the saintly little product: it’s paraben-free, alcohol-free, silicone-free, and I don’t know what all -free. Ah yes, cruelty-free as well. (Tangent: will it still be all those things once EL takes over Deciem lock, stock, and barrel? So many questions… )

At any rate, The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is meant to help balance oily skin and prevent breakouts typical of overactive sebum production, as well as reducing the appearance of enlarged pores and hyperpigmentation.

I began using this product a little before summer started, when my skin cranks up the oil production due to the heat, and being slathered with SPF.

I’d also like to note that this product leaves a bit of a film on the skin, particularly if you overapply. Personally I don’t mind this much, since I used it mostly at nighttime, before moisturizer. For the most part, it feels pretty much like water on the skin: it is colorless, odorless, and has a very fluid consistency. 

The Ordinary NiacinamidaUnfortunately for me, as far as visible results go, The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% was also pretty much like applying water: I just haven’t found much it makes much of a difference whether I use this or not… or does it? 

Here’s the thing: I didn’t see it did much for balancing oil production and keeping the occasional period breakout at bay; however, used with the product reviewed below, I did notice a general skin-brightening effect.

Still, as I said, I didn’t see much of a change on my skin, positive or negative, while I used this. I finished the bottle about a month ago, and I still don’t see it makes a difference after stopping it: oil shine, pores and my skin in general didn’t look better, and they didn’t look worse. A shame, because I had high hopes for this, after seeing so many glowing reviews out there.

Would I buy The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% again? I doubt it. In my experience, it does help enhance the brightening action of other cosmetics for evening out skin tone, within reason; still, I just don’t get enough from it to add it to my regular routine. Other cosmetics have performed better for me in that respect.

The Ordinary Niacinamide INCI

Aqua, Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Zinc PCA, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Xanthan Gum, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin. See analysis in CosDNA.

So for me, this has been a 3 points product, but I’d also like to say this is something very personal: many other reviewers whose opinion I trust love what it does for their skin, while for me it was just underwhelming. At the end of the day, it all comes down to trying things for yourself.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

I don’t remember why I added this to the haul (probably it was the fear of missing out on untried Ordinaries, before they disappeared from the shelves, or so I thought). After using this, I have to say I did like it more than the niacinamide above, which is not saying much.

But let’s start at the beginning: alpha arbutin is an ingredient that inhibits melanin production, and therefore it’s used for lightening and prevention of freckles and sunspots, or post-breakout hyperpigmentation, and generally for giving the skin a brighter, more even look.

Fans of K-beauty will be familiar already with this ingredient, typical in many brightening and skin-lightening products popular in East Asia. If that is your aim, I have to say that used along with the niacinamide, you do get that effect from The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, at least in my experience.

I have a blessed phototype, that starts showing color as soon as the hours of sunlight go on for longer, even with religious application of SPF. This happens every summer, except for this one, when I noticed my usual foundation* looked considerably darker on me.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin + HA

(Kat Von D’s Lock-It in Light 45 Warm, to give you an idea… yes, I know, KvD is 💩, but I bought it long ago, and despite my boycott of this brand and its stupid, irresponsible owner, I will not open another one until this is finished).

The thing is, I’m not that big on skin-lightening cosmetics. I don’t want to lighten my skin, and I don’t want to tan it, I like it the way it is. Or rather, I’d like it if it looked perfectly smooth, even and like a blank-canvas, and for this, there are other actives that give me the results I want faster and more noticeably; like glycolic acid, which my skin absolutely loves. Too bad this is off-limits during summer (unless I go out and about in a facekini, scaring everyone in my path).

In short, The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA is nice for summer, and that’s about it for me. It does help brighten the skin and even its tone (keep your expectations reasonable, though), and it’s pleasant to use; in fact, since it has a nice good dose of hyaluronic acid, it helps skin look a little bouncier and glowier. Just like the product above, it is clear, odorless and fluid, and didn’t make my skin feel tacky.

Would I buy The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA again? It’s nice, but doesn’t grab me enough to go for it again, so probably not. 

If you like skin-lightening products, or feel like summer has brought out your sunspots and more freckling that you like (though why would want to get rid of freckles… those are lovely). I would recommend checking this out. For me personally, I give it 3.5 points.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin INCI

Aqua, Alpha-Arbutin, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Propanediol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Lactic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Clorphenesin. See analysis in CosDNA.

1 point: No! Never again, not even if you gave it to me, or even paid me to wear it.

2 points: I didn’t finish the container and it’s very unlikely I’d buy this again. It might work for you, but it does nothing for me.

3 points: Meh. I’ll use up my jar/tube, but I don’t think I’d buy again. It might work for you, but it doesn’t do much for me.

4 points: I like it. It’s nice and does its job. I might buy this again, if I find nothing I like better.

5 points: I love it! It does its job very well, I find it a pleasure to use, and it’s earned its place in my beauty routine