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



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The Ordinary. If you are a part of the beauty and skincare community, you definitely heard of this brand before.

When it comes to single note products, how many brands produce them better than them?

The Ordinary is one of the first pioneer brands to have many products with a single note ingredient.

This was met with a lot of curiosity as consumers were interested in learning about the ingredients and how they work on their skin.

A couple of their most popular ingredients would definitely be Niacinamide and Alpha Arbutin.

If you want to learn more about a certain aspect of  The Ordinary Brand Story, Niacinamide & Alpha Arbutin , please feel free to click these links!

What is The Ordinary?

But before that, let’s take a step back and see how extraordinary The Ordinary came to be. 

They are actually part of the umbrella brand of DECIEM, specializing in using chemistry and biochemistry for their brand-made skincare products.

This lets them offer the skincare community an ever-evolving collection of treatments like serums, cleansers, and moisturizers.

The Ordinary products are also vegan and cruelty-free. They do not test on animals nor do they pay others to do so.

To top it all off, their skin treatments are free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, animal oils, tar, mercury, oxybenzone, and all other iffy substances.

What is Niacinamide?

Niacinamide is a multi-functional superstar ingredient that can be found in many skincare products today.

Also known as Vitamin B3, can be made from niacin in our bodies.

It can also be found in many other foods including yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans, and cereal grains.

What is Alpha Arbutin?

Alpha arbutin, also known as Hydroquinone β-D-glucopyranoside, is a naturally occurring antioxidant found in plants like bearberry, blueberry, and cranberry.

It is safe for the skin and a better alternative to hydroquinone, a popular skin brightening ingredient that has been deemed dangerous and banned in multiple countries.

What are the differences and similarities between the two serums?

The reason why these two are compared is that they both share a similar function, which is evening out the skin tone.

Both niacinamide and alpha arbutin are capable of brightening up dull skin.

They both prevent the enzymes in the skin from producing melanin, which makes the skin lighter and fairer.

However, even though they both share this one benefit, they are still vastly different from one another.


Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

  • Minimizes redness and inflammation
  • Minimizes pore appearance
  • Controls sebum production
  • Treats hyperpigmentation
  • Minimizes wrinkles and fine
  • Helps to treat acne

Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA 

  • Reduces dark spots and pigmentation
  • Helps to lighten up the skin
  • Promotes even skin tone
  • Safer than hydroquinone
  • Gentle on skin

As we can see above, niacinamide is not one-dimensional and has way more skin benefits.

Although many people have this conception that niacinamide is used for brightening (which it is, btw), it is also often used as a sebum controller.

This helps to maintain oilier skin types by minimizing enlarged pore appearances.

This benefit, in turn, helps out acne-prone and blemish-filled skin. It can unclog congestions like blackheads and whiteheads.

Niacinamide is also capable of reducing aging signs like wrinkles as well as reducing redness.


Alpha arbutin is a much more straightforward ingredient.

It specializes in one thing and that is reducing hyperpigmentation.

Anything that ranges from dark spots like freckles, age spots, melasma, etc can be dealt with using alpha arbutin.

It is also gentle on the skin so it can be used on all skin types including sensitive skin.


Like most of The Ordinary products, these two serums are in super similar types of packaging.

They have a white frosted glass bottle with a white label attached from around it. It also has a white cap dropper for an easy-peasy application. 


This simple design is classic “The Ordinary” and very easily identifiable.

The only way you can differentiate the two of these serums is by looking at the names written on the white label.

Texture, Colour, Scent:

They also both have very similar textures. They both have a lightweight gel-like texture and are easily absorbed into the skin.

The colours are also similar as they are both cloudish clear colours. The Alpha Arbutin colour may change in a way that it can turn into pinkish-orange over time.

However, it works just as well as the colour does not affect the benefits in any way.

The Ordinary does not add fragrances to their product, so they both smell like the ingredients themselves, which is a lab chemically scent.

It is not very strong and will fade away over time after applying it to the skin.

My Thoughts & Recommendations

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc and Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA seems to be the same at first glance.

But once you dig down and get to know more about the various benefits they offer, they are different from one another.

Niacinamide has multiple unique benefits and this serum specializes in pore care like sebum control.

So it is highly recommended for oily skin types or combination skin with oily areas.

Thanks to the fact that it can help to remove blackheads, it is also great for acne-prone skin.

Alpha arbutin on the other hand only has one function which is lightening up the skin tone.

It is made for all skin types and suits sensitive skin types as well.

So anyone who has severely pigmented areas on the skin they want to remove has to try this serum out!


  • Sale!

    The Ordinary

    Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA (30ml)

    A super brightening serum that contains concentrated Alpha Arbutin.


    The Ordinary

    Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA (30ml)

    Rated 0 out of 5
    (No Review)
  • Sale!

    The Ordinary

    Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1 %

    A serum for reducing congestion and controlling sebum with Niacinamide.


    View Product

    The Ordinary

    Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1 %

    Rated 0 out of 5
    (No Review)

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