Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
Are you familiar with NIOD Skincare? Maybe not. But, if you’ve researched skincare in the tiniest bit, you’ve heard of the brand, The Ordinary. DECIEM is the parent company of The Ordinary and a portfolio of brands featuring skincare, makeup, body products, hair care, and supplements.
Of its skincare brands, DECIEM has a lesser-known luxury line called NIOD (Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science), a hidden gem among skincare enthusiasts. However, it’s my favorite line of the DECIEM brands. NIOD resulted from the founder’s desire for a personal line made with the best quality and highest-possible grade of ingredients. So, let’s review NIOD Skincare!
LAST UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 1, 2023
I started using NIOD skincare in 2019 and fell in love with three of their products during the height of the pandemic. I love the elegance and innovation of their formulations, as well as their overall approach to skincare. But unlike The Ordinary, NIOD’s formulas are pretty complex. NIOD takes complicated and obscure ingredients and turns them into incredible products. Every component in NIOD‘s products has a purpose, but the ingredients can seem complex, confusing, and time-consuming to research.
So, this blog post is intended to break it all down. We will review the NIOD skincare brand and make your journey into the NIOD skincare line a little easier. I’m also sharing my favorite products.
I was lucky enough to interview the lab behind NIOD and all of DECIEM’s products. So, you’ll see my questions asked (and NIOD’s answers). But I’m also adding additional commentary to fill in the gaps. My blog post will delve into the tactile side of things, like how the product feels, usage, results, and tips. So, you will know how and why these products work, who they’re for, and what you can expect from them.
So, keep reading for a VERY THOROUGH review of the NIOD skincare line.
Please note that the links in this article are affiliate links that help keep this blog going!
INTERVIEW WITH THE DECIEM LAB: REVIEWING THE NIOD SKINCARE LINE
Dana: Tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your background, and how long have you been with DECIEM?
Nafisah: My name is Nafisah Abdalla. I currently hold the Science Communications Associate Manager position, and this is my third year with the company. My role revolves around researching and communicating technical information regarding our ingredients, products, and skincare in general.
Like most people, I found my love for color cosmetics and skincare in my later years at university. I have not stopped pursuing it since. Given my strong ties to my Sudanese roots, I am exceedingly passionate about envisioning a reality where African skincare is equally represented and celebrated in the global cosmetic market.
Dana: Why do you like working at DECIEM?
Nafisah: I love working at DECIEM because of the company’s commitment to making effective skincare accessible to everyone. 🙂
Dana: DECIEM has several brands under its umbrella. How would you classify each?
- The Ordinary utilizes well-studied and well-known ingredients in the cosmetic industry while offering them at reasonable prices.
- NIOD is our technology brand, which focuses on overall skin health. This brand has a single genetic commitment to be at the edge of science. Bringing a lab experience to our audience by using only the very latest technologies, NIOD is focused on pushing the limits of science in skincare.
Dana: When would you suggest someone consider the NIOD line?
Nafisah: Anyone interested in next-generation ingredients will likely enjoy exploring the offerings of the NIOD line. And, anyone with sensitive skin will appreciate the actives found in NIOD since the skin tolerates them well.
Dana: What does your skincare routine look like right now?
Nafisah: Given that I am a big NIOD fan, most of my skincare routine consists of NIOD products. Currently, my morning and evening routines are as follows:
|AM Skincare Routine
|PM Skincare Routine
|Step 1: Squalane Cleanser
Step 2: SDSM
Step 3: MMHC2
Step 4: MG
Step 5: 100% Plant-Derived Squalane
Step 6: Sunscreen
|Step 1: Squalane Cleanser
Step 2: Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
Step 3: MMHC2
Step 4: 100% Plant-Derived Squalane
Nafisah: If someone is new to NIOD, I recommend starting with a couple of products from our Core Regimen.
This includes a powerful serum: Copper Amino Isolate Serum 3:1 (CAIS 3:1). It focuses on maintaining healthy-looking skin. It also indirectly targets all signs of skin aging while ensuring that the skin’s integrity is maintained over time. The blue color comes directly from the Copper Peptides. I would then recommend incorporating an antioxidant. A perfect option is the NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist, which acts as a daily force against oxidative stress.
Now, let’s review a few of my NIOD Skincare favorites…
Copper Amino Isolate Serum (CAIS 3:1)
Dana: Copper Amino Isolate Serum (CAIS 3:1) – This serum is my favorite product from the NIOD line. I love how it helps with the texture of my skin. Given that many peptide serums are on the market, can you explain how this differs from most peptide serums? And what are the benefits of the specific peptide complex in this product? (PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR MY REVIEW OF THE COPPER AMINO ISOLATE SERUM)
Nafisah: CAIS 3:1 is an innovative product because it offers copper peptides in a serum format. It brings together two different peptides, free GHK and GHK-Cu.
GHK serves the role of an antioxidant on its own. But, when combined with Copper (Cu) to form copper tripeptide-1 (GHK-Cu), the resulting peptide complex carries anti-aging benefits.
Dana: You advise not to use acids, vitamin c, retinol, or potent antioxidants in the same routine with CAIS? Why is that?
Nafisah: We do not recommend combining Direct Acids and Vitamin Cs (direct and ethylated forms) with Peptides. The acidic pH may increase the susceptibility of Peptides to hydrolysis, which may ultimately affect their integrity and efficacy.
With potent antioxidants, we don’t recommend combining them with copper peptides. The antioxidants may interact with the copper ions complex with the peptide ligand. This can leave an orange stain or light-colored fabric on the skin.
Since both retinoids and copper peptides can support and enhance the skin’s natural exfoliating mechanism, combining both in one regimen may increase the chances of over-exfoliating and developing skin sensitivities. As such, we do not recommend combining retinoids and copper peptides in the same regimen.
Dana: I’ve enjoyed both the CAIL and CAIS. What is the difference between them?
Nafisah: The difference between the two products is that Copper Amino Isolate Lipid 1% (CAIL) uses a Palmitoylated version of Copper Tripeptide-1, which brings its lipophilic properties for improved skin affinity. CAIL encompasses all the benefits of CAIS 3:1. But it also has the additional benefits of building and enhancing skin barrier function, elasticity, and integrity via lipophilic pathways.
Dana: Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex (MMHC2) – This serum is my second favorite product from the NIOD line. Many people talk about how multiple hyaluronic acid weights help provide optimal hydration and a plumping effect on your skin. How did your team decide on the 15 different types of hyaluronic acid in this product? And how do they all work together? (PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR MY REVIEW ON THE MULTI-MOLECULAR HYALURONIC COMPLEX 2 SERUM)
Nafisah: The hyaluronic compounds within MMHC2 are not all direct forms of hyaluronic acids. They combine hyaluronic acid pre-cursors, hyaluronic support complexes, and hyaluronic acid mimetics. Direct forms of hyaluronic acid offer support beyond basic water hydration, which helps improve the elastic appearance of the skin.
- Hyaluronic pre-cursors work to support and enhance the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and other cellular components within the skin. This aids in the maintenance of hydration and the skin’s structural integrity. Therefore, resulting in a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Hyaluronic acid support complexes aid in the prevention of hyaluronic acid degradation to support the protection of hyaluronic acid through their involvement in decreasing the breakdown of hyaluronic acid by specific enzymes. This results in the optimization of hyaluronic acid levels and function.
- Hyaluronic acid mimetics are compounds that behave very similarly to hyaluronic acid and share similar mechanisms of moisturization. Since they follow slightly different mechanisms, these are great in combination with hyaluronic acid to increase skin moisturization. It encourages the skin’s surface to attract atmospheric water more readily and through the ability to bind water.
All 15 hyaluronic acid complexes differ in molecular weights, ranging from very low to high molecular weights. This variation in molecular weight allows for multi-depth hydration within the skin that allows for longer-lasting visible results.
This combination allows for various approaches in topical hyaluronic supplementation. They work together to offer hydration and improve the appearance of plumpness, elasticity, and overall healthy-looking skin.
Nafisah: While all of the mentioned formulas target skin hydration, their formulation composition and texture differ. For example, The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 contains three varying complexes of hyaluronic acid for enhanced surface hydration. And has a viscous texture.
On the other hand, NIOD MMHC2 contains 15 forms of hyaluronic acid compounds alongside other technologies. This helps to enhance the skin’s hydrating potential and has a water-thin consistency. So, the choice of serum should reflect the user’s texture preference and the severity of their skin hydration needs.
Dana: Modulating Glucosides (MG) – As someone with eczema, I’m always focused on products that help with skin sensitivity, irritation, and a compromised skin barrier. And when my sensitized skin is irritated and has dry patches, this serum has helped get my skin back in shape. Tell us more about this formulation and how you would suggest using this in a skincare routine when your skin isn’t irritated. (PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR MY REVIEW ON THE MODULATING GLUCOSIDES SERUM)
Nafisah: Modulating Glucosides (MG) was created to provide barrier support and aid in building the skin’s tolerance over time via barrier-building support. Our goal was to provide a product that worked to reduce redness related to irritation and help soothe the skin and relieve it from feelings of discomfort.
Modulating Glucosides contains various technologies, including Bio-Active Glucosides, a complex for dermal balance that acts through multiple pathways to soothe skin reactions stimulated by pro-irritant mediators quickly. This technology also works to counteract uneven skin tone while aiding in the support of endogenous dermal components.
This product is quite versatile and can easily be added into an existing routine and works amazingly in combination with products that support the maintenance of a healthy skin barrier, products like this would contain hydrating agents like Natural Moisturizing Factors, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and hydrating oils.
With that said, given that eczema is a medical skin condition, the first step to be taken when managing such a condition is to visit your physician or dermatologist, as topical cosmetic formulations cannot address medical skin conditions or concerns.
Dana: Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate (FECC) – I have always been skeptical of eye creams since I haven’t found many that do anything other than hydrate. This eye serum is targeted to help with dark undereye circles, puffiness, and fine lines. How is this product formulated to address these issues?
Nafisah: We wanted to introduce a formulation that covers a whole spectrum of issues regarding common concerns regarding the eye contour area. Under-eye circles are caused by various contributing factors, including uneven pigmentation, the loss of volume in the under-eye area, thinning of the dermis, and loss of the skin’s structural integrity as one ages.
The FECC formulation includes a wide variety of technologies that support the synthesis of critical structural components within the skin and aid in the reduction of the expression of various compounds that accelerate the breakdown of those components to help facilitate the appearance of smoother and healthy-looking skin around the eye contour. FECC uses 28 complex approaches to fight against visible signs of aging of the eye area that can be categorized into five key groups of technologies.
The leading technologies involved include hyaluronic acid and collagen technologies, expression technologies, uneven pigmentation technologies, fluid retention technologies, and regeneration technologies:
- The hyaluronic acid and collagen technologies reduce the appearance of the loss of volume and fine lines and wrinkles around the eye through the support and enhancement of vital structural components within the skin.
- Expression technologies work to reduce the appearance of expression lines through the targeting of specific cellular components within the skin.
- The uneven pigmentation technologies work together to reduce the appearance of dark circles by working to help repair the balance of cellular components responsible for treating pigmentation issues and through the support of antioxidant support.
- Fluid retention technologies work in combination to aid in the reduction of the appearance of under-eye puffiness. Lastly, Regeneration technologies provide resurfacing without any irritation that is usually associated with low-pH acids.
- The various technologies within our formulation work to address the wide variety of issues regarding the eye contour that contribute to the appearance of under-eye circles.
Hydration Vaccine (HV)
Dana: Hydration Vaccine (HV) – This is an interesting product. From my understanding, the goal of the Hydration Vaccine is to lock in moisture. What makes this product different from just applying a humectant and sealing it with an occlusive?
Nafisah: Standard moisturizers offer ingredients that work as band-aids to skin dryness. Hydration Vaccine pays homage to the skin’s natural hydrating capabilities. It is an advanced formula that respects the skin’s barrier to water loss and works to help reduce this moisture loss through the support and supplementation of the skin’s barrier, allowing for long-term effectiveness.
There are many key ingredients in this formulation that contribute to its unique approach to hydration. Fungi Composite Organisms are a novel biotechnology approach to building “water reservoirs” while supplementing the NMF and forming a barrier to reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL). These organisms have been observed to reverse the visible loss of firmness, due to low moisture content, by rebuilding water density. We have also included polysaccharide filaments that provide instant tightening to minimize TEWL, aiding in maintaining the skin’s hydration.
We have also included breathable water-dispersible silicone. Upon application, the water is separated from the silicone, providing an instant light and refreshing feel to the skin, a sensorial aspect that is unique compared to simple moisturizers. These advanced ingredients work together, creating a product that addresses the skin’s full spectrum of anti-aging and hydration needs.
A MINI REVIEW ON MY NIOD SKINCARE FAVORITES…
The Copper Amino Isolate Serum is the superstar product of the brand, in my opinion. It’s one of the most effective peptide, age-defying formulas I’ve experienced. With a highly focused effort to maintain healthy-looking skin, this pro-repair, pro-collagen serum offers a novel approach to indirectly targeting all signs of skin aging.
I have very reasonable skincare expectations and do not expect overnight miracles. But you can see and feel a significant difference in your skin when you use this, especially when using it for the first time. Most notable is the texture of my skin. When I put this on during my evening routine, my skin feels much more refined and smooth the following day.
Directions: Use in your morning and/or evening skincare routine. This serum should be applied as your first step after cleansing. MMHC2 & other serums come after CAIS. I usually use CAIS 3:1, followed by MMHC2 and a moisturizer.
NIOD CAIS 3:1 Conflicts: Avoid retinol, acids, and potent antioxidants in your skincare routine when you use this. Keep your routine simple.
MMHC2 is one of the most advanced hyaluronic serums I’ve ever tried. This hyaluronic serum immediately leaves your skin looking plump, healthy, and hydrated.
With many hyaluronic serums, your skin will instantly look plump and healthier upon application. Still, after a few hours, the effect and feel may fade. With this formula, I’ve noticed that my skin retains a plump and healthy daily impact. The texture is viscous and water-like and layers beautifully with other serums. (NOTE: The 30ml is a much better value than the 15ml.)
Directions: Use in your morning and/or evening skincare routine. I would use this wherever you apply your hyaluronic serum in your skincare routine. I apply my hyaluronic serum right before my moisturizer.
NIOD MMHC2 Conflicts: No conflicts.
Modulating Glucosides is a concentrated, milky emulsion that helps with skin sensitivity, irritation, and a compromised skin barrier.
As someone with eczema, I’m prone to easily sensitized skin and dry patches. And when my skin barrier is compromised, this serum helps get my skin back in shape. When I apply it, my redness and irritation are reduced within an hour. It also has a pleasant texture that’s very moisturizing.
This serum contains glucosides, which have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. This emulsion also includes skin barrier-supporting lipids like squalane, oat extracts, and ceramides.
Directions: Use in your morning and/or evening skincare routine. When my skin is irritated, I’ll generally apply this right after cleansing, and then I’ll apply a moisturizer.
NIOD MG Conflicts: No conflicts.