Note: I no longer recommend The Ordinary or other Deciem products due to the craptastic behaviour of the owner Brandon Truaxe on social media, which includes revealing a cancer patient’s diagnosis and refusing to take it down when she requested it. I recommend using alternatives like Skin Deva or Garden of Wisdom.
Deciem is a brand that’s been gathering a lot of buzz in skincare nerd circles. They’re the parent company of a bunch of brands that are quite “sciencey” in their approach, including Hand Chemistry, Hylamide and The Ordinary. Today I’m reviewing three products (Sanskrit Saponins, CAIS and Photography Fluid) from their premium line, NIOD (which stands for Non Invasive Options in Dermal Science, in case you’re wondering) – later, I’ll be reviewing some Hylamide products as well.
Sanskrit Saponins (SS) ($34 AUD for 90 mL or $75 AUD for 180 mL) is a gentle cleanser that uses plant saponins and the amino acid lysine as the cleaning agents instead of traditional surfactants. The plants used are shikakai and sapindus mukorossi (soap nuts). According to NIOD, the advantage is that it cleanses the pores thoroughly without overcleansing.
Unlike most cleansers, Sanskrit Saponins should be used after complete makeup removal. It’s recommended for use every second day, although it can be used more frequently, and it can also be used like a mask and left on for 5 minutes over damp skin. It comes as a brown paste in a metal tube, and has an earthy herbal scent, almost like coffee, and glides on in a creamy lather. The pH is around 5. I found that it left my skin feeling a little tight afterwards, which NIOD claims is due to removing oil gently to encourage recycling, but the feeling goes away far quicker than harsh stripping cleansers. I’ve noticed that it cleans out my pores better than other cleansers – the effect is much like an oil cleansing session, but a fair bit faster. I’ve heard that it irritates your eyes and tastes gross, but I haven’t gotten it into my eyes or mouth yet.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sapindus Mukurossi Fruit Extract, Stearic Acid, Arginine, Glycerin, PPG-26-buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Polyacrylate, Acacia Concinna Fruit Extract, Balanites Aegyptiaca (Desert Date) Fruit Extract, Gypsophila Paniculata Root Extract, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin
Photography Fluid, Opacity 12%
Photography Fluid, Opacity 12% ($45 AUD for 30 mL) is NIOD’s makeup product. It’s a pale gold liquid containing fine shimmery “light refracting prisms, tone and hue correctors and topical photo-finishing technologies” that comes in a glass dropper vial.
Photography Fluid is really good at blurring out imperfections like acne scars, redness, pores and uneven skin tone. You can use it either as foundation, under foundation or mixed in with other products. I personally prefer using a couple of drops mixed in with primer, which makes my skin look nice and airbrushed. I also found that mixing a little with tinted moisturiser gave as much coverage as full foundation, without any sort of cakey look. I particularly liked the yellow tone, which worked really well with my skin tone. I’ve tried using this on bare skin but it kind of gathered in my pores and was difficult to disperse, but it’s fine when blended with something else.
My biggest complaint is the packaging. I found that the product was too thick to really use the dropper normally – I usually just brushed the side against the back of my hand for mixing. The product also accumulates easily in the threads of the vial and dries out. There’s also a tan version available for darker skin.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Caprylyl Methicone, Titanium Dioxide, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Mica, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Caramel, Ceteth-20 Phosphate, Red Iron Oxide (CI 77491), Sodium Hyaluronate, Pseudoalteromonas Exopolysaccharides, Allantoin, Glucose, Fructose, Maltose, Trehalose, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, Urea, Polypodium Vulgare Rhizome Extract, Cetraria Islandica Thallus Extract, Sphagnum Magellanicum Extract, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Carrageenan, Acacia Senegal Gum, Methyl Methacrylate/PEG/PPG-4/3 Methacrylate crosspolymer, Dicetyl Phosphate, Synthetic fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Salicylate, Triethanolamine, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin
Copper Amino Isolate Serum (CAIS) 1.00%
Copper Amino Isolate Serum is probably NIOD’s most famous product, and is the one that Deciem’s founder Brandon Truaxe recommends as their must-have product. It’s an anti aging serum that claims to ” target all signs of skin aging”. It comes in both 1.00% ($90 AUD for 15 mL or $135 for 30 mL) and 5.00% ($290 AUD for 15 mL) versions, with different concentrations of copper tripeptide-1, also known as GHK-Cu.
GHK-Cu is an anti-aging peptide that is thought to work by shuttling copper ions into the skin, where it’s important in the production of plumping collagen which decreases with time and accumulated sun damage. It also increases the amount of elastin, proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans which help skin texture as well.
CAIS comes in two bottles, one containing the serum and one containing the activator. It expires 6 months after mixing. As well as GHK-Cu, it also contains copper/proline/lysine peptide stabilisation complex, which is what I think gives the serum its blue colour. There’s also hyaluronic acid crosspolymer and very low molecular weight hyaluronic acid which can help skin hold onto water and keep it hydrated. The serum is very watery, and has a very mild, slightly fishy smell.
CAIS claims to have visible effects after 5 days. My skin did look slightly smoother and bouncier a few days after I used it, but I don’t think my skin is quite aged enough to have a visible effect yet.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Glycerin, Copper Tripeptide-1, Myristoyl Nonapeptide-3, Copper Lysinate/Prolinate, Zinc Palmitoyl Nonapeptide-14, Decapeptide-22, Oligopeptide78, Palmitoyl Decapeptide-21, Methylglucoside Phosphate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Phenylpropanol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol
I’ll be reviewing some Hylamide products soon!
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