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When to Use Niacinamide: A Guide to Your New Favorite Skincare Ingredient

when to use niacinamide

As far as buzzy ingredients go, niacinamide has quickly become a (beauty-obsessed) household name, on par with the likes of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and retinol.

And while niacinamide is certainly not new to the beauty scene, there is still a lot of confusion about exactly how and when to use the powerhouse of an ingredient. That’s where I come in.

Before we break down when to use niacinamide, let’s do a little refresher (or crash course, no shame) on what exactly niacinamide is.

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a water-soluble and active form of vitamin B3. Our body actually needs (and produces) vitamin B3 itself, so it’s very unlikely to cause any sort of reaction or irritation, even for those with sensitive skin.

Niacinamide is known to have a multitude of benefits. Here are a few:

  • Aids the skin in ceramide production, which improves barrier function and hydration
  • Increases collagen production, which helps the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Inhibits excess sebum production, which improves congestion, prevents acne, and calms existing blemishes
  • Blocks pigment from transferring to the skin cells, which helps combat hyperpigmentation
  • Calms and prevents inflammation, which can decrease swelling, redness, pain, and sensitivity

For all intents and purposes, all you need to know is that no matter your complexion concern, niacinamide can probably help the situation.

Now that we’ve got that down, let’s talk about when to use niacinamide.

So, when should I be using niacinamide?

Since niacinamide is such a hard-working, non-sensitizing ingredient, you’ll find it pop up in a slew of different products. Beyond in a standard niacinamide serum, the ingredient can be found in various toners, moisturizers, eye creams, and even other serums.

And I’ve got more good news. Niacinamide works very well with virtually all other ingredients (like retinol, vitamin c, AHAs & BHAs, hyaluronic acid, SPF) so there’s no need to worry about what other products you’re using.

For best results, use leave-on niacinamide products and apply to cleansed skin once or twice daily. Morning, night, morning and night—you do you.

Since niacinamide is found in so many different products, when exactly to apply it during a routine varies depending on the product type and consistency. When in doubt, take a look on the back of the bottle (or online) for further instructions.

The same goes for how often to apply niacinamide—though most niacinamide products should be totally fine to use twice a day, every day.

If using a niacinamide serum, apply before heavier creams and/or oils.

Best Niacinamide Products

10% Niacinamide Booster, Paula’s Choice

Paula's choice 10% niacinamide booster

This serum from Paula’s Choice has an A+ ingredients list. They also recently came out with the industry’s first 20% niacinamide product.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, The Ordinary

the ordinary niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is a classic for a reason—it works.

Niacinamide Oil Control Serum, The Inkey List

the inkey list niacinamide oil control serum

I appreciate a no-frills, right-to-the-point product like this.

Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, Glow Recipe

glow recipe watermelon glow niacinamide dew drops

This slightly tacky serum leaves you with the prettiest glow.

Super Pure Serum, Glossier

super pure glossier

Glossier’s Super Pure serum is a favorite thanks to its simple but clever formulation.

CC Me Serum, Summer Fridays

summer fridays cc me serum

Yup, there’s niacinamide in this gentle vitamin C serum!

Great Barrier Relief, Krave Beauty

krave beauty great barrier relief

My holy grail. You can read more of my thoughts on Krave’s Great Barrier Relief here.

Vinoperfect Brightening Moisturizer with Niacinamide, Caudalie

caudalie vinoperfect brightening moisturizer with niacinamide

Caudalie’s popular Vinoperfect line features this niacinamide-packed moisturizer.

F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask, Drunk Elephant

drunk elephant f balm electrolyte water facial

F-Balm packs a punch in the hydration department thanks to its mix of glycerin, niacinamide, and squalene.

The Body Wash, Nécessaire

necessaire the body wash

Perhaps the sneakiest niacinamide product of all, Necessaire’s body wash is packed with hydrating, calming niacinamide.


Danielle Cohen is assistant editor of all things Lindsay Silberman. She also runs her own beauty blog, Yellow Sweats Status, as a side hustle. When she’s not binging true crime podcasts, she can usually be found researching, testing, and raving about beauty products to people who didn’t ask. You can learn more about Dani and her favorite products on her Instagram and her blog.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. As always, I only recommend products that I truly love and would use myself.

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