15 June 2021
What does the next generation of skincare look like? More innovative ingredients, cutting edge delivery technologies and research driven formulations? One brand that’s ticked off all these boxes is NIOD, a Canadian skincare brand that belongs to the DECIEM group. Although NIOD has often been overshadowed by its sister brand, The Ordinary, NIOD has developed a niche audience for itself. At the expense of coming across as elitist, NIOD has billed as “Skincare for the Hyper-Educated”. Since its inception, NIOD has developed a cult following among skincare junkies who are into novel ingredients, extensive research and up and coming technologies (me!).
NIOD’s explanation of their products on its website has a lot of jargon, and you may get lost while reading it. In this blogpost, I’ll provide an easy to read guide to understanding their product and suitability; and share my honest review of NIOD’s skincare products.
Here’s my take on NIOD’s products, with a crash course on some of the newest and most interesting active ingredients in the world of skincare. In the next blogpost; DECIEM’s CEO, Ms Nicola Kilner, joins this blog to share what’s upcoming for DECIEM and beauty trends in an exclusive interview with me.
Hyaluronic acid is a powerhouse humectant in moisturisers and serum. Hyaluronic acid has already been discussed in great detail in Everything You Need to Know About Hyaluronic Acid. Besides skincare, hyaluronic acid is also used in injectable moisturisers such as Profhilo and Skinboosters for longer lasting skin hydration.
Benefits of hyaluronic acid:
• Moisturised skin
Hyaluronic acid is suitable for:
• All skin types
The Good about NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2
NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 contains 15 types of hyaluronic acid compounds, including 1.0% hyaluronic acid (a good concentration for hyaluronic acid). These compounds are a mixture of hyaluronic acid; sodium hyaluronate; hyaluronic acid crosspolymer; and very low and low molecular weight hyaluronic complexes.
High molecular weight hyaluronic acid molecules moisture the superificial parts of the epidermis; the low molecular weight counterparts sink deeper into the epidermis for deeper hydration. The varied weights of hyaluronic acid in NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 allows better hydration across the entire epidermis of the skin. Compared to conventional hyaluronic acid serums of only one or few molecular weights; the combination of different molecular sizes of hyaluronic acid complexes moisturises the skin better.
NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 sank nicely into my skin. I could feel that my skin felt more moisturised and a little more plump after using this at around the 2-3 week mark.
The versatility of NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 is also a huge plus for me. I could also use NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 alone or layered with another moisturiser if my skin felt more dry.I like that NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 felt it was good enough to be used as a standalone even though it is a very light serum.
The Bad about NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2
I really like this product, and I did not encounter any issues with NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2. However, some of my friends feel that NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 feels slightly oily.
My Verdict on NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2
As I’ve previously shared in 5 Cult Favourite Hyaluronic Acid Serums Reviewed, NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 is one of my recommended hyaluronic acid serums. NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 is good value for a mixed molecular weight hyaluronic acid product.
Similarly, NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS2) is a sexier version of most copper peptide serums by most brands out there (including The Ordinary’s). With NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS2), the user is required to activate the serum by mixing the activator with the serum to get a fresh serum.
According to NIOD’s webpage, NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS2) contains 1% of copper peptides and 1% of peptides.
If you scrutinise the ingredient list of NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS2), you will find that “copper amino isolate” or “copper peptides” are not listed as ingredients. Instead you will find “copper gluconate”, which is not a copper peptide. When the serum activator (which contains Tripeptide-1) is mixed with copper gluconate, 1% of Copper Tripeptide-1 is formed. Copper Tripeptide-1 is a type of copper peptide.
If that was confusing, here’s the summary; NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 contains Copper Peptides and other peptides. For the post I will focus on the science of Copper peptides as they are the most well studied of all the peptides in skincare.
In dermatology, copper peptides perform several roles including wound healing; stimulating collagen and elastin formation in the skin; anti-inflammatory and antioxidant responses.
Benefits of Copper Amino Isolate:
• Improves skin’s firmness and elasticity
• Reduces fine wrinkles
• Reduces pigmentation
• Wound healing and skin repair
Copper Amino Isolate Is Suitable For:
• Normal and older skin
The Good about NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS2)
NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 spreads very thinly like water. I only need 3-4 drops for my entire face. It dries to leave a barely there feeling; with no smell, irritation or discolouration.
I used NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 after my chemical peels. NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 helped to calm my skin very quickly, even on the same day. This also pairs well with retinoids to reduce dermatitis.
The Bad about NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS2)
The anti-ageing benefits were not apparent to me- skin firmness, elasticity, wrinkles and dark spots remained in status quo to me.
My Verdict on NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS2)
I like NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 for its anti-inflammatory effect. I’ll be sticking to my tried and tested retinoids and vitamin C for anti-ageing benefits. However, I will pair NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 with my retinoids to reduce irritation.
NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0) is a combination of ingredients that protect against stressors in the environment that cause premature ageing of the skin.
NIOD’s Survival 0 is a mix of:
• Antioxidants: purified lutein, superoxide dismutase, dimethylmethoxy chromanol, pycnogenol
• Fractionated melanin
• Tomato carotenoid complex
• Prebiotic complex
• Algae extracts
• Amino acids: Arginine, glycine, alanine, serine, valine, proline
Benefits of NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0):
• Antioxidants: neutralise free radical damage from UV rays, pollution, smog…etc
• Fractionated melanin offers some protection against high energy visible light (HEVL) and UVA rays
• Carotenoid complex protects against free radical and UV damage
• Prebiotic complex serves as the food for naturally occurring probiotics in the skin for microbiome health.
• Algae extracts may have some anti-melanogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits
• Amino acids in skincare: moisturise skin
NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0) Is Suitable For:
• Most skin types
The Good about NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0)
The ingredient list NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0) reads like a dream list for protecting against damage caused by the urban environment- free radicals from UV and pollution; UV and high energy visible light. Even though the choice of antioxidants in NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0) lacks the robust data that traditional antioxidants like vitamin C have; the combination of different antioxidants compensates for this. As each antioxidant has a limited spectrum of types of free radicals that it can neutralise; the variety of antioxidants in NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0) gives it a broader spectrum of protection against different types of free radicals in the environment. Users who find that powerhouse antioxidants like vitamin C or niacinamide irritate their skin; may prefer NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0).
For NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0) is a brown serum that spreads thinly and dries quickly, with no discolouration or irritation. Similar to NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1, it dries to a barely there feel. My skin felt well moisturised with this alone.
The Bad about NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0)
With this NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0), outcomes were not visible for me. Looking at NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0)’s ingredient list, this is understandable. NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0)’s ingredient list confer more of a protective and preventive function (i.e. antioxidation, anti-HEV and anti-inflammatory) than a corrective treatment (e.g. lightens hyperpigmentation, collagen building etc).
With this in mind, it’s better to look at NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0) as a supplement to other active ingredients in your skincare routine.
My Verdict on NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0)
NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0)’s ingredients make it a broad spectrum anti-pollution and antioxidant product. Sensitive skin users who encounter issues with using powerhouse antioxidants like vitamin C can explore using this.
Best to pair NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0) with other active ingredients and sunscreen.
For beauty-tech fans, NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate (FECC) may be up your alley. This eye serum packs (in NIOD’s own words) “28 clinical technologies” to address signs of ageing around the eyes such as fine lines, dark eye circles, puffiness and loss of elasticity.
NIOD seems to have a lot of faith in its Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate (FECC) too. According to their website, results start “within 3 days and improving into 8 weeks with continued use”- an ambitious claim that sets high expectations for users.
Perhaps the most interesting of all the “technologies” in NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate is its drone delivery systems. Like its name suggests, encapsulated ingredients are directed to specific receptors to release their ingredients on specific cells or tissues. This allows for more direct delivery of active ingredients for better uptake and less wastage by target cell. The use of drone encapsulation systems in skincare is relatively new and a very promising one.
A closer look at the other “technologies” – reveals that they are mostly ingredients- different sizes and precursors of hyaluronic acid; peptides; and antioxidants- that have been stabilised or modified biochemically for more directed results.
Benefits of Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate (FECC)
• Hydrolysed yeast extract- Yeast extract contains a mixture of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Yeast extract in cosmetic products can reduce itching in eczema and smoothen hair in shampoo conditioners. The hydrolysed form breaks down yeast extract into smaller molecules; which may promote hyaluronic acid synthesis, according to NIOD.
• Albizia Julibrissin Bark Extract- very limited data on the benefits of this extract available. May offer some antioxidant benefits.
• Niacinamide- antioxidant that improves acne and skin barrier. More details in Niacinamide: A Versatile Ingredient Your Skin Will Thank You For.
• Peptides- This eye serum contains many different types of peptides which offer moisturising, collagen boosting, anti-wrinkle benefits.
• Hyaluronic acid and precursors- Moisturising benefits. Learn more in Everything You Need to Know About Hyaluronic Acid.
• Darutoside- A herb with limited clinical data in dermatology. Thought to improve elastin and collagen levels in the skin; can be found in stretch mark creams.
• Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside (ECGG)- a modified form of green tea polyphenol for greater stability. ECGG has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Learn more in Benefits of Topical Green Tea.
• Superoxide dismutase- Antioxidant that defends the skin against free radical damage. NIOD’s version of this is a stabilised form, so it degrades less readily.
NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate (FECC) Is Suitable For:
• Anyone with signs of periorbital ageing e.g. fine lines and dark eye circles.
The Good about NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate (FECC)
This product contains a cocktail of traditional goodies for the skin. The difference with NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate is that these ingredients have been modified biochemically for more stability and directed uptake. For example; some of the peptides are directed by drone encapsulation to reach their target cells, the fibroblast for enhanced collagen synthesis. This reduces wastage of the ingredients on non-target cells. The green tea polyphenol in NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate is stabilised so that the antioxidant is not degraded prematurely. With NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate, NIOD lives up to its reputation as an innovative and progressive beauty brand.
NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate is a light, watery serum that spreads nicely on the skin. The skin around my eyes feel smoother and perhaps slightly more plump after a month (definitely took more than 3 days!) of use. Unlike most eye creams and serums that I have tried, NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate did not give any irritation or milia seeds.
The Bad about NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate (FECC)
Expectations were high for NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate because of the impressive ingredient list and technologies. However, outcomes were a little lacklustre for me as I expected more. Although the skin around my eyes felt smoother and perhaps, slightly plumper; my dark eye circles remained the same.
My Verdict on NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate (FECC)
A very interesting cocktail of active ingredients and new technologies. The light texture and smoother skin around my eyes are a plus; but the rest of the promises from NIOD’s Fractionated Eye-Contour Concentrate were not apparent for me.
NIOD describes its Modulating Glucosides as an emulsion that addresses signs of irritation, sensitivity. Like all its other products, Modulating Glucosides is chock full of other ingredients. I guess the questions on everyone’s mind are: What are glucosides? What and how do they modulate?
Glucosides are formed from the breakdown of glucose molecules. In this product, they are not found as glucoside molecules per se but instead as complexes with other ingredients. Adding glucosides to the active ingredients make them more stable, water soluble and easier to formulate with.
The glucosides in this product are:
• Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside- Green tea polyphenol attached to glucoside. Green tea polyphenols have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
• Rosmarinyl Glucoside- Rosmarinic acid is another polyphenol that confers some UV protection benefits. It is found in rosemary and other plants.
• Caffeyl Glucoside- Caffeic acid is an antioxidant.
• Gallyl Glucoside- Gallic acid is antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to treat conditions like eczema in children.
NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides also contains:
• Antioxidants: Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Rosmarinyl Glucoside, Caffeyl Glucoside, Gallyl Glucoside, Tocopherol, Superoxide Dismutase
• Anti-inflammatory/ soothing- Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Gallyl Glucoside, Tasmanian Pepperberry (Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract), Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Tetrasodium Tetracarboxymethyl Naringeninchalcone (from naringenin chalcone), Curculigo Orchioides Root Extract (Golden Eye-Grass Root Extract)
• Lipids: Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide Palmitoyl Tripeptide-8
• Peptides and amino acids
Benefits of NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides
• Antioxidants: neutralise free radical damage from UV rays, pollution, smog…etc
• Anti-inflammatory: reduce irritation and hypersensitivity. Some of the ingredients in NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides can also reduce redness.
• Lipids and pseudo-ceramide: strengthen skin barrier
• Peptides and amino acids: moisturise skin.
NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides Is Suitable For:
• Sensitive skin
• Normal skin
The Good about NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides
NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides is a multi tasking serum that moisturises and protects the skin. The anti-inflammatory ingredients and barrier strengthening lipids are a good combination for sensitive skin types who should find their skin is less irritable, red and dry with NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides.
Initially I found NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides disappointing as I did not notice any improvement. However, when I used NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides immediately after an aesthetic treatment that made my skin hypersensitive and flaky- the benefits of this product became apparently. In the initial few days after my treatment, NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides had a calming effect on my skin and greatly improved the hypersensitivity and irritation that I experienced.
This serum dries to a slightly thicker and plump feel than the serums by NIOD in this review.
The Bad about NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides
If you have normal skin; NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides’s calming benefits may not be immediately apparent. Users who have recently undergone aesthetic treatments or sensitive skin may benefit from using NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides- but please check with your doctor regarding your suitability first!
My Verdict on NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides
NIOD’s Modulating Glucosides is a promising serum/ moisturiser for users who have sensitive skin types like eczema or post aesthetic treatments. If you have normal skin; the benefits may not be immediately apparent.
Plugged as “skincare for the hyper-educated”, NIOD has high expectations to live up to. Some of the formulations deliver with more sophisticated delivery systems and novel ingredients. My experience with NIOD’s products are a hit and miss- my favourites would have to be NIOD’s Multi- Molecular Hyaluronic Acid Complex MMHC2 for keeping the skin moisturised without clogging pores. NIOD’s Survival 0 (S0) also has a mixture of active ingredients that protect the skin from pollution and UV damage; and I will be pairing it with sunscreen in the daytime.
Far from being elitist, NIOD does try to be innovative and forward looking with their products. Compared to its sister brand, The Ordinary, NIOD feels more sophisticated at every level- packaging, formulation and finish. If you’re a skincare junkie looking out for the next big trend, NIOD will be your best bet.
UPDATE JUNE 2021: Co- Founder and CEO of DECIEM, Ms Nicola Kilner joins me for an exclusive interview on the blog! Read it here.