Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster Review

Niacinamide is always the odd one out, isn’t it? You’ve already got your skincare routine down to a T:
✅ AHA/BHA exfoliant? Check.
✅ Vitamin C serum? Check.
✅ Retinol serum? Check.
✅ Moisturising sunscreen? Check.
But none of them has niacinamide! Argh! How do you fit this antiaging superstar into your skincare routine, too?! 😵‍💫
Fret not. You don’t have to give up one or your staples and start the search all over again. Just get yourself a bottle of Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster. It’s a lightweight booster you can mix with any of your fave skincare products to supercharge it against wrinkles and large pores. Here’s how it works and why it’s a staple in my skincare routine:

What’s In Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster?
Niacinamide wins the award for the “Most Versatile Skincare Ingredient.” I’m not exaggerating. Here are all the things science says this form of vitamin B3 can do:

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

Told you, it did everything! No matter what your skin type is, it’s a must for everyone:

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.

Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster contains a generous 10% dose. That’s more than enough to do the job.
Related: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Niacinamide

Wait, what?! I thought you couldn’t use vitamin C and niacinamide together?! That’s a myth. Phew! I’ve written all about why it’s totally ok to use these two vitamins together. The only exception? If you’re one of the few people who gets a red flush when you use this combo together, don’t go there.
Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster uses ascorbyl glucoside, a derivative of vitamin C that fights free radicals (the little culprits that give you wrinkles) and reduces dark spots. FYI, ascorbyl glucoside is less effective than L-ascorbic acid (the pure form of vitamin C). But it’s more stable (read: doesn’t go bad within a month) and less irritating. A good trade off, if you ask me.
Related: Types Of Vitamin C In Skincare
Ok, Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster uses sodium hyaluronate, a close cousin of hyaluronic acid. But, they work in the same way. Sodium hyaluronate is a moisture magnet: it attracts moisture from the air into the skin, drenching it in water. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water! The result? Your skin is plumper, so your wrinkles look smaller. Your complexion is softer to the touch. Your complexion is glowing. Instant anti-aging trick right there.
Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
Red: What is this doing here?!

Water⁠: The main solvent in the product.
Acetyl Glucosamine⁠: This simple sugar has powerful antioxidant properties that helps reduce discolourations, especially when paired with niacinamide. It needs to be used in 2-5% concentrations to do the job. Luckily, there’s enough of it here.
Butylene Glycol⁠: A solvent with hydrating properties that keeps skin softer and smoother for longer.
Phospholipids⁠: Types of lipids that naturally occur in your skin. They draw moisture from the air into your skin, helping to keep your skin hydrated without being occlusive and giving you acne.
Allantoin: A byproduct of uric acid that naturally occurs in the comfrey plant, it has powerful soothing properties that calm down redness and irritation.
Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract⁠: It has powerful antioxidant properties that also help lighten discolourations.
Glycerin⁠: A powerful humectant that draws moisture from the air into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated for longer.
Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate⁠: Naturally found in liquorice, it has powerful soothing properties that calm down redness and irritation. It also helps lighten discolourations.
Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract⁠: Another component of licorice that soothes irritations and lightens dark spots.
Ubiquinone⁠: An antioxidants that fights free radicals before they can give you wrinkles.
Epigallocatechin Gallate⁠: A powerful antioxidant found in green tea, it fights free radicals and reduces the damaging effects of UV rays to prevent wrinkles and discolourations.
Beta-Glucan⁠: A hydrator that makes skin softer and smoother.
Panthenol⁠: A humectant that draws moisture from the air into the skin to keep it hydrated. It also soothes irritations.
Carnosine⁠: It protects against the oxidative stress that causes free radicals to prevent premature aging.
Genistein⁠: A component of soybean, it soothes UVB-induced redness in human skin.
Citric Acid⁠: It adjusts the pH of skincare products to help them work their best.
Sodium Citrate⁠: It helps adjust the pH of skincare products.
Sodium Hydroxide⁠: Another pH balancer.
Xanthan Gum⁠: It thickens the consistent of skincare products.
Disodium EDTA⁠: It enhances the stability of cosmetic formulas and helps preservative make the product safer for longer.
Ethylhexylglycerin⁠: It has hydrating properties but it’s used here mostly as a preservative to make the booster last longer.
Phenoxyethanol⁠: A preservative that helps your skincare products last longer.

I love the texture of Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster: it’s clear, lightweight as water and absorbs immediately into the skin without leaving a greasy or sticky residue behind. It tends to be runny, so you may need a cotton pad to apply it.
Like all Paula’s Choice products, it’s fragrance-free. I personally like it. It may not smell like a meadow in full bloom, but it’s safe for sensitive skin. Fragrances are the most irritating ingredients in skincare, so you want to avoid them whenever possible – just in case.
How To Use It
You can use this booster in several ways. I like to use it alone, in the morning, just after cleansing, to boost sun protection and get maximum benefits. You can also use mix it with your fave serum or moisturiser. It’ll dilute it a little, so you’ll see results more slowly, but it does save time in the morning or evening. If you want to use it in the evening, it goes after exfoliation (on exfoliation days) and before retinol (on retinol days).

The booster comes in a white bottle with green accents and a dropper applicator. I love how practical and easy to use it is. The only con? The small size. It makes it travel-friendly, but it also means you’ll have to buy the serum often.
Performance & Personal Opinion
I like to mix Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster with a hyaluronic acid serum or moisturiser in the evening, but you can use it in the mornings, too. Just don’t mix it with sunscreen. ANYTHING you mix with sunscreen will dilute the SPF. Don’t go there. Or, if you don’t like the idea of mixing your lotions and potions, use it alone. Like a serum. Either way, it works.
The results here depends on what it is you’re dealing with. For example, I have large pores on and around my nose. After a few applications, they already look smaller. I also noticed an improvement in the texture of my skin. Now it looks a little smoother all over. It’s also softer. While Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster isn’t the most hydrating product I’ve ever tried, it does helps strengthen my skin’s protective barrier so moisture can’t escape out.
I can’t personally vouch for its ability to reduce dark spots, just because I have none (lucky, I know!). As for wrinkles, that takes time. Wrinkles weren’t formed in a day and niacinamide won’t make them disappear in a day. You have to play the long game here.
My only complaint is the size. Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster contains only 20ml of product. Sure, you need so little that’s gonna last you a long time but I still want more. I’m greedy like that.

How Does It Compare To…

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($6.00): No comparison here. The Ordinary is specially developed to absorb excess sebum and treat acne in oily skin. If your skin is oily or acne-prone, this is your best bet. Everyone else, will find it to drying. Stick to Paula’s Choice instead. Available at Beauty Bay, Boots, Cult Beauty, Sephora, The Ordinary, and Ulta.
The Inkey List Niacinamide (£9.99): A stripped down version of this serum. Super hydrating, it contains Niacinamide and nothing else. If you’re on a budget, go for it. Otherwise, it’s worth it to spend a little more and get the extra antioxidants benefits from Paula’s Choice. Available at Boots, Cult Beauty, Selfridges, Sephora, and The Inkey List.

What I Like About Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Lightweight, fast-absorbing texture.
Shrinks large pores.
Hydrates skin and makes it softer.
Helps lighten discolourations.
Versatile, can use it on its own or mix it with other serums/moisturisers.

What DON’T I Like About Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster

Small bottle, you need to repurchase it often.

Who Should Use This?
Anyone can use this booster, especially if niacinamide isn’t already part of your skincare routine. It helps with acne, dark spots, dehydration, irritations, large pores…. The only reason to avoid it is if you’re allergic to one of the ingredients.
Does Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster Live Up To Its Claims?


This concentrated 10% niacinamide serum booster dramatically improves uneven skin tone and refines the appearance of pore size, skin texture and fine lines.

Sheer, ultra-light liquid formula.

Promotes a brighter, younger-looking appearance.

Is Paula’s Choice Cruelty-Free?
Yes, Paula’s Choice is truly cruelty-free. It doesn’t test on animals and doesn’t outsource the process to third parties either.
Price & Availability
$42.00/£40.00 at Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Net-A-Porter, Paula’s Choice, Selfridges, and SpaceNK
The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
You DO need niacinamide into your skincare routine. If you don’t know how to add it in, this is a great option for you. Just add a few drops to your moisturiser and you’re good to go.
Dupes & Alternatives

The Inkey List Niacinamide (£9.99): A simple, no-frills, hydrating niacinamide serum for all skin types. Available at Boots, Cult Beauty, Selfridges, Sephora, and The Inkey List.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($6.00): Suitable for oily skin ONLY, it absorbs excess oil and helps keep acne under control. Available at Beauty Bay, Boots, Cult Beauty, Sephora, The Ordinary, and Ulta.

Water (Aqua), Niacinamide (vitamin B3, skin-restoring ), Acetyl Glucosamine (skin replenishing/antioxidant), Ascorbyl Glucoside (vitamin C/antioxidant), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Phospholipids (skin replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (skin-soothing), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (skin-soothing), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (licorice extract/skin-soothing), Ubiquinone (antioxidant), Epigallocatechin Gallate (antioxidant), Beta-Glucan (skin-soothing/antioxidant), Panthenol (skin replenishing), Carnosine (antioxidant), Genistein (antioxidant), Citric Acid (pH balancing), Sodium Citrate (pH balancing), Sodium Hydroxide (pH balancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Phenoxyethanol (preservative)

About Gio
Hi, I’m Gio. I’m a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is skin coach and writer on a mission to help you achieve your best skin day ever – every day. I bust skincare myths and debunk marketing jargon to help you figure out what’s worth the splurge and what’s best left on the shelf – using science, not hype. I also offer skincare consultations to help you create the best skincare routine for your unique needs.

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