dupes the ordinary vs revolution niacinamide + zinc

Which of these two products is better, Gio?

I get asked this question all the time. Sometimes, there’s a clear winner. I’ll take Paula’s Choice C15 Booster over any of The Ordinary Vitamin C serums any day of the week. Vitamin C needs the help of fellow antioxidants to work its best and none of The Ordinary serums have them.

Other times, the answer is “it doesn’t matter!” Case in point, The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% VS Revolution Skincare Blemish and Pore Refining Serum – 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc.

The two are pretty much identical dupes. Here’s why:

What Ingredients Do They Have In Common?


Niacinamide is the most versatile ingredient in skincare. It can do everything. I’m not exaggerating. Studies show that Niacinamide:

  • Hydrates skin: It’s more effective than petrolatum at preventing water loss.
  • Soothes skin: It alleviates the symptoms of rosacea and irritations.
  • Lightens skin: It reduces dark spots, blotchiness (redness) and sallowness (yellowing).
  • Helps treat wrinkles: Preliminary research shows it can boost the production of skin-firming collagen.
  • Treats acne: Its effects are similar to those of 1% clindamycin gel.

You know what this mean? Niacinamide is suitable for all skin types:

  • Dry skin: It helps keep it soft and hydrated.
  • Oily skin: It helps shrink large pores and heal pimples faster.
  • Sensitive skin: It helps soothe redness and irritations.
  • Mature, sun-damaged skin: It helps lighten dark spots and keep wrinkles at bay.

Related: The Complete Guide To Niacinamide: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It

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Zinc PCA is made up of two things:

  • Zinc: A mineral that regulates oil production and limits the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria.
  • L-PCA: Short for Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid, it’s a natural moisturising factor that hydrates skin. Plus, it helps increase the bioavailability and effectiveness of zinc.

The catch? So far, the only study I’ve found on its effectiveness comes from the manufacturer. They found that using 1% of Zinc PCA every day for 28 days reduces sebum production significantly.

Zinc PCA is the reason why so many people find this product drying. Absorbing excess oil is all well and good when your skin pumps out too much. But when it doesn’t have enough? That’s a recipe for disaster.

Related: Does Zinc Really Help Treat Acne?

What Else Is In These Niacinamide Products?

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% has a couple of drops of Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, a polysaccharide that moisturizes skin.

That doesn’t stop it from being super drying, but it’s the only thing that sets it a little apart from Revolution Skincare Blemish and Pore Refining Serum – 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc.

Both formulas are very basic. That’s how they’re able to keep their prices so low. They give you one or two actives – those that really do the job – and nothing else.

What’s The Texture Like?

Lightweight. They feel very similar, but the Revolution version is slightly thinner.

What’s The Packaging Like?

Both serums come in clear bottles with a dropper applicator.

​If you’ve experienced breakouts by using The Ordinary skincare then you need to enrol in Extraordinary Skin With The Ordinary and get started on module 3 now. It’s created by my scientist friend Cheryl Woodman – click here to check it out now. (affiliate link)

Extraordinary Skin With The Ordinary-ipad

How To Use Them

Morning and/or evening, before moisturiser.

Which Of The Two Should You Go For?

Close your eyes, pick one and be done with it. I’m not kidding. The two are pretty much identical.

I’d personally go with The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% only because it’s £1.00 cheaper. But if that’s out of stock (The Ordinary isn’t the most reliable brand out there), its Revolution Skincare rival will work just as well.

WARNING! These serums are only for oily skin. If your skin doesn’t produce excess oil, you DON’T need them. They’ll just dry out your skin.

The Ordinary Revolution Niacinamide Zinc dupe


Revolution Skincare Blemish and Pore Refining Serum – 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc ($7.00/£6.00): Available at Asos, Beauty Bay, Feel Unique, and Ulta

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($5.90/£5.00): Available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Feel Unique, and Ulta

Is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% A Dupe For Revolution Skincare Blemish and Pore Refining Serum – 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc?

It’s ironic to call The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% a dupe for Revolution Skincare Blemish and Pore Refining Serum – 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc.

The Ordinary serum came first. Revolution Skincare just copied it (and most of the line, really). But it is cheaper, so I guess technically, it IS a dupe for it!

Revolution Skincare Blemish and Pore Refining Serum – 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc Ingredients

Aqua/Water/Eau, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Zinc Pca, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium Edta.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Zinc PCA, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Xanthan gum, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.