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Good Molecules vs The Ordinary 2022 (The Definitive Guide)

By Calum Torrington

16 May 2022

Welcome to the long-awaited comprehensive guide to Good Molecules vs The Ordinary! It has to be said, both lines of products appear to be incredibly similar on first glance, so you may well be wondering which brand is actually best.

Come with us as we compare their best-sellers side-by-side to help you decide which products are right for you and your skin!

Skip to "Niacinamide" section

Skip to "Exfoliation" section

Skip to "Discoloration" section

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Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum vs The Ordinary Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3, and is an absolute powerhouse of an ingredient. It can (and should!) be added to your skincare routine if you are looking to improve hydration, reduce the appearance of blemishes, or even out the skin's complexion. Furthermore, preliminary research has shown that Niacinamide can aid in the production of collagen, thus also helping to treat fine lines and wrinkles.

Good Molecules and The Ordinary both make extremely popular niacinamide serums, namely: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum, but which one is better?

Comparison

First and foremost, the obvious similarity is that both serums contain 10% niacinamide. This is no coincidence, as 10% is the *maximum* effective concentration of niacinamide without introducing unintended side effects.

The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% also includes Zinc (as you probably could've guessed by its name). Thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, Zinc is particularly beneficial for inflammatory acne and related scarring. If you've sought out a Niacinamide serum for acne-related concerns, then this is a big plus in favor of The Ordinary.

Speaking of plusses in favor of The Ordinary, The Ordinary's Niacinamide Serum is also formulated at the ideal pH: between 5 and 6.5. Niacinamide can hydrolyze and form nicotinic acid at a higher or lower pH, which can result in skin irritation. Good Molecules' Niacinamide Serum has a pH of 7.1, which is just about skirting on the edge of sub-optimal.

Having personally used the The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum, I can vouch for its efficacy and speedy results. Within about a week my skin's complexion had evened, and pigmentation was visibly beginning to fade away. Fast forward to the 1 month mark and I just had a single stubborn spot yet to make its departure; the rest of my skin had remarkably cleared up, and for the first time in years I was happy with the texture, clarity and radiance of my usually dull, combination, blemish-prone skin.

I can't summon a similar anecdote for the Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum, purely because The Ordinary was what I used first and I never had to look for an alternative. Judging by the reviews, though, thousands of others seem to have had similar experiences to mine, which just goes to show the universal power of Niacinamide regardless of branding.

Summary

On paper, The Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum can certainly be considered a solid dupe, especially for those looking for a pure Niacinamide serum. However, we're erring on the side of The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% on the basis of its marginally more optimal formula (especially considering there's almost zero price difference between the two).

Niacinamide Serum by Good Molecules, 10% niacinamide to refine skin texture and minimize pores.

Niacinamide Serum by Good Molecules

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

10% niacinamide to refine skin texture and minimize pores.

What makes it special? Promote smooth, even skin and minimize the appearance of pores with Niacinamide Serum from Good Molecules. Formulated with 10% Niacinamide (vitamin B3), this lightweight serum helps to refine skin tone and texture for a brighter, healthier-looking complexion.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% by The Ordinary, high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% by The Ordinary

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

High-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula.

What makes it special? This formula contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) supported with zinc salt to target blemishes and congestion. Zinc salt or Zinc PCA controls acne and decreases sebum production. Both vitamin B3 and zinc occur naturally in the body and can help to decongest the skin and reduce oil production. The serum is vegan, nut-free, alcohol-free, gluten-free, and silicone-free.

Which skin types? For oily/combination skin types.

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Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment vs The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2%

Peeling solutions are a fantastic way to exfoliate and reveal glowing skin. Still, this combination may not work for everyone due to its intensity; remember, it is often a case of trial and error when introducing active ingredients to your beauty routine.

Two of the best peeling solutions available on the market are The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution vs Good Molecules Exfoliating Treatment.

Comparison

It is important to read the following comparison carefully, as choosing the wrong peeling solution for your skin could result in a nasty chemical burn, and trust us when we say you don't want that.

The concentration of The Ordinary's AHA 30% + BHA 2% far exceeds that of Good Molecules' relatively measly 10%. As The Ordinary themselves state, though, ~30% is a *very* high concentration of free acids. We recommend use only if you are a seriously experienced user of acid exfoliation, and your skin must not be sensitive.

The 10% concentration of the Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment Treatment makes it a lot harder to go wrong for those that are new to chemical exfoliation, while still being potent enough to effectively resurface and renew the skin.

Both serums have an acidic pH of around 3.5 which implies an ideal balance between salt and acidity, maximizing effectiveness of the acidic treatments while reducing potential irritation.

The Ordinary Peeling Solution contains some additional goodies, including a crosspolymer form of hyaluronic acid for comfort, Vitamin B5 to assist healing, and black carrot as an antioxidant. The Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment instead contains the moisturizing and hydrating combo of glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

Summary

All in all, choosing between the two comes down to your experience with chemical exfoliation. If this is your first time with an acid peel, definitely opt for the more forgiving Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment with a concentration of ~10%. However, if you are looking for maximum potency and you have successfully used exfoliating peels before, look no further than The Ordinary's AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.

Overnight Exfoliating Treatment by Good Molecules, formulated with AHA + BHA to help resurface and renew skin.

Overnight Exfoliating Treatment by Good Molecules

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Formulated with AHA + BHA to help resurface and renew skin.

What makes it special? Wake up to a smoother, clearer complexion with Overnight Exfoliating Treatment from Good Molecules. This blend of 10% alpha and beta hydroxy acids helps to resurface and renew, smoothing away dead skin cells and unclogging pores to reveal visibly radiant skin.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution by The Ordinary, a very high concentration of free acids for exfoliation.

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution by The Ordinary

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A very high concentration of free acids for exfoliation.

What makes it special? Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) exfoliate the skin's topmost surface for a brighter and more even appearance. Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) also exfoliate the skin with an extended function to help clear pore congestion. This combined 30% AHA and 2% BHA solution offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes and for improved skin radiance. The formula also improves the appearance of skin texture and reduces the look of fine lines with continued use.

Which skin types? This formula should NOT be used on sensitive, peeling or compromised skin.

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Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum vs The Ordinary

Skin discoloration is perhaps one of the most frustrating skin concerns to deal with. Whether it be age spots, acne scars, sun damage, or hyperpigmentation, a lot of solutions out there seem to be very hit or miss.

Two of the absolute best available solutions are the Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum and The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%.

Comparison

The Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum contains an advanced form of Tranexamic Acid. This potent little ingredient interferes with melanin production and acts as a brightening agent to reduce dark spots and improve hyperpigmentation. The serum also contains 4% Niacinamide which boasts hyperpigmentation-treating properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties to prevent inflammation from turning into new spots of discoloration.

The Ordinary take the more traditional brightening approach with their Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% serum. Ascorbic Acid is pure Vitamin C, which is a highly effective antioxidant that noticably brightens skin tone. Alpha Arbutin is a highly-purified active that reduces the look of dark spots and uneven skin tone.

The Ordinary's Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% has a noticably oily feel to it (despite being oil-free), and this is because Vitamin C and Alpha Arbutin are less stable in formulations that contain water, so this formulation is actually water-free. Good Molecules' Discoloration Correcting Serum has a much more pleasant serum-like texture since its active ingredients are stable in water.

The jury is out regarding effectiveness, with both serums boasting noticeable results in as little as just a few weeks. Notably, though, The Ordinary's serum gets some seriously mixed reviews; this is likely due to its texture, as well as the irritating nature of Vitamin C for sensitive skin types.

Summary

All in all, these are two completely differing serums but with similar net results. We prefer the Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum, though, on the basis that it seems not to cause as many (if any) adverse side effects as The Ordinary's judging by the reviews.

Discoloration Correcting Serum by Good Molecules, targets hyperpigmentation, blemish scars, and sunspots.

Discoloration Correcting Serum by Good Molecules

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Targets hyperpigmentation, blemish scars, and sunspots.

What makes it special? Improve the appearance of skin discoloration and uneven skin tone with Discoloration Correcting Serum. Formulated with an advanced form of tranexamic acid (cetyl tranexamate mesylate) and 4% niacinamide, this lightweight serum improves the appearance of age spots, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% by The Ordinary, brightens the skin tone and reduces signs of aging.

Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% by The Ordinary

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Brightens the skin tone and reduces signs of aging.

What makes it special? This formula combines two of the most powerful brightening agents in skincare: pure Vitamin C and Alpha Arbutin, both solubilized in a completely water-free formula for ideal stability. Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that brightens the skin tone and reduces signs of aging. Alpha Arbutin is a highly-purified biosynthetic active ingredient that reduces the look of dark spots and uneven skin tone.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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