The Three Best Skincare Products from NIOD: A Luxury, Science-Based Skincare Brand

Estimated reading time: 17 minutes

Are you familiar with Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science (NIOD)? Maybe not. But, if you’ve researched skincare in the tiniest bit, you’ve heard of the skincare brand, The Ordinary.

DECIEM is the parent company of The Ordinary and a portfolio of brands featuring skincare, makeup, body products, haircare, and supplements. Of its skincare brands, DECIEM has a lesser-known luxury line called NIOD (Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science) that is 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.

I started using NIOD products in 2019 and fell in love with three of their products during the pandemic in 2020. I love the elegance and innovation of their formulations and overall approach to skincare. But unlike The OrdinaryNIOD‘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 share the best products from NIOD and make your journey into the NIOD line a little easier. 

I was lucky enough to interview the lab behind NIOD and all of DECIEM‘s products. While this is an interview, I’m also adding additional commentary to fill in the gaps. My commentary will delve into the tactile side of things, like how the product feels, usage, results, and tips. So, not only will you know how and why these products work, but you’ll also know who they’re for and what you can expect from them.

This blog post is also being published with a giveaway below. Three of my blog subscribers can win my three favorite products from the NIOD line. Read below for the details!

Please note that links in this article generate affiliate commission that helps keep this blog going!


Dana: Tell us a bit of yourself. What’s your background, and how long have you been with DECIEM

Nafisah: My name is Nafisah Abdalla. I currently hold the position of Science Communications Associate Manager, 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. 

Similar to most people, I found my love for color cosmetics and skincare in my later years at university, and 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 ingredients that are well-studied, well-known in the cosmetic industry while offering them at honorable prices. 
  • NIOD is our technology brand, which focuses on overall skin health, has a single genetic commitment to be at the very 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. 
  • Hylamide offers maximized minimalist skincare. The products within the brand simplify caring for skin without compromising efficacy by promoting optimum skin performance via multi-function formulas and simple regimens. 
  • The Chemistry Brand is focused on ingredients that are so well-used and well-researched that they have become commodities. Like with any commodity, they are not expensive to buy and therefore should not be expensive to purchase. For too long, brands had been disguising such ingredients as ingenuity. The Ordinary was born to communicate with integrity. The innovation behind the brand is actually in its pricing and communication strategy. 
  • Abnomaly is unpredictable, and its mission is never to be categorized. Abnomaly houses the products our lab creates that don’t fit under a current DECIEM “brand.” As Deciem evolves and grows, the brand will always remain in a state of flux. 
  • HIF (Hair Is Fabric) is our range of Cleansing Conditioners. HIF offers professional cleaning for hair to ensure that its delicate fibers are treated like fabric. You wouldn’t put couture clothing in your washer. Is your hair less important?

Dana: When would you suggest someone consider the NIOD line?

Nafisah:  Anyone interested in next-generation ingredients, especially the enthusiasts who have tried many of the most common ingredients available, will likely enjoy exploring the offerings of the NIOD line. Additionally, anyone with sensitive skin may enjoy the actives found in NIOD as they are quite well tolerated by the skin. 

Dana: What does your skincare routine look like right now?

Nafisah:  Given that I am a huge NIOD fan, most of my skincare routine consists of NIOD products. Currently, my morning and evening routines are as follows:

AM Skincare RoutinePM Skincare Routine
Step 1: Squalane Cleanser
Step 2: SDSM
Step 3: MMHC
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: MMHC
Step 4: 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

Dana: What would be your NIOD product recommendations for someone new to the line?

Nafisah:  If someone is new to NIOD, I would recommend starting with a couple of products from our Core Regimen, which includes a powerful serum: Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS 2:1). It focuses on maintaining healthy-looking skin and targets all signs of skin aging indirectly whilst 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 in the form of the NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist, which acts as a daily force against oxidative stress.

Now, let’s talk about a few of my NIOD favorites…

Dana: Copper Amino Isolate Serum (CAIS 2:1) – This serum is my favorite product from the NIOD line. I love how it helps with the texture of my skin. Given that there are many peptide serums on the market, can you explain how this differs from most peptide serums and the benefits of the specific peptide complex in this product?

Nafisah: CAIS 2:1 is a great example that gave away DECIEM’s position on innovation within NIOD because it offered copper peptides in a serum format and brought together two different peptides, free GHK and GHK-Cu. On its own, GHK serves the role of an antioxidant. When combined with Copper (Cu) to form copper tripeptide-1 (GHK-Cu), the resulting peptide complex carries anti-aging benefits. In CAIS 2:1, the activator contains 2% of the peptide GHK, while the remainder of the product contains free copper ions. Upon mixing and experiencing the visual color change, the formula yields two different peptides: free GHK and GHK-Cu. 1% of the GHK peptide branches with copper, forming the GHK-Cu complexes. This leaves the remaining 1% of pure GHK in the formulation.

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 (both direct and ethylated forms) with Peptides as the acidic pH may increase the susceptibility of Peptides to hydrolysis, which may ultimately affect their integrity and efficacy. With strong antioxidants, we don’t recommend combining them with copper peptides as the antioxidants may interact with copper ions complexed with the peptide ligand and may result in species that can leave an orange stain or light-colored fabric on the skin. Lastly, as both retinoids and copper peptides have the capacity to support and enhance the skin’s natural exfoliating mechanism, combining both into one regimen may increase the chances of over-exfoliating the skin 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 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 2:1, with 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 using multiple hyaluronic acid weights helps 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, but a combination of 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 various other cellular components within the skin to aid in the maintenance of hydration and the skin’s structural integrity resulting in the 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 the process of decreasing the breakdown of hyaluronic acid by certain enzymes, resulting in the optimization of hyaluronic acid levels and function.
  • Hyaluronic acid mimetics are compounds that behave very similarly to that of hyaluronic acid and share similar mechanisms of moisturization. Since they follow slightly different mechanisms, these are great in combination with hyaluronic acid to increase moisturization of the skin by encouraging the skin’s surface to attract atmospheric water more readily and through the ability to bind water.

All 15 of these various hyaluronic acid complexes also 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, which work together to offer hydration, improve the appearance of plumpness, elasticity, and overall healthy-looking skin.

Dana: When would you suggest someone use the hyaluronic acid serum MMHC2 over The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 or Hyalmide’s Booster, Low-Molecular HA?

Nafisah: While all of the mentioned formulas aim to target skin hydration, they differ in their formulation composition and texture. 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 additional technologies, which help 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 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 overtime 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. 

MG contains various technologies, including Bio-Active Glucosides, which are a complex for dermal balance that act through various pathways to quickly soothe skin reactions stimulated by pro-irritant mediators. This technology also works to counteract uneven skin tone while aiding in 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 provide support in 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 particular eye serum is targeted to help with dark undereye circles, puffiness, and fine lines. Can you tell us how this product is designed to address the various causes of undereye circles and fine lines?

Nafisah: We wanted to introduce a formulation that covers a whole spectrum of issues when it comes to 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 key 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 main 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 work to reduce the appearance of the loss of volume and fine lines and wrinkles around the eye through the support and enhancement of key 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 in the appearance of under-eye puffiness. Lastly, Regeneration technologies provides resurfacing without any irritation that is usually associated with low-pH acids.
  • The various technologies within our formulation work in combination to address the wide variety of issues regarding the eye contour that contribute to the appearance of under-eye circles.

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 than just applying a humectant and sealing it in with an occlusive? 

Nafisah: Standard moisturizers merely 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 own 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 bio-technology 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 a breathable water-dispersible silicone. Upon application, there is a separation of the water from the silicone, which will provide an instant light and refreshing feel to the skin, a sensorial aspect that is quite unique compared to simple moisturizers. The combination of these advanced ingredients all works in combination, creating a product that addresses the full spectrum of anti-aging and hydration needs of the skin.


Copper Amino Isolate Serum (CAIS 2:1)

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 so far. 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 expectations of my skincare, and I do not expect overnight miracles. But, you can see and feel a significant difference in your skin when you use this, especially when you’re using it for the first time. Most notably is the texture of my skin. When I put this on during my evening routine, my skin feels so 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. MMHC & other serums come after CAIS. I usually apply CAIS 2:1 followed by MMHC2 and a moisturizer. 

NIOD CAIS 2:1 Conflicts: Avoid retinol, acids, and strong antioxidants in your skincare routine when you use this. Keep your routine simple.

Read more about NIOD CAIS 2:1.

Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex (MMHC2)

MMHC2 is one of the most advanced hyaluronic serums that I’ve ever tried. This hyaluronic serum leaves your skin looking super plump, healthy, and hydrated immediately. 

With many hyaluronic serums, your skin will instantly look plump and healthier upon application, but after a few hours, the effect and feel may fade. With this formula, I’ve noticed that my skin retains the plump and healthy effect throughout the day. The texture is a viscous, water-like texture 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 personally apply my hyaluronic serum right before my moisturizer. 

NIOD MMHC Conflicts: No conflicts. 

Read more about NIOD MMHC2.

Modulating Glucosides (MG)

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 has helped get my skin back in shape. Whenever I apply it, my redness and irritation are reduced within an hour of application. 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.

If you’re struggling with redness, sensitivity, rosacea, or eczema, you will love this serum. It’s like a first aid kit for damaged skin!

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. 

Read more about NIOD MG.


DECIEM was terrific enough to partner with me to provide three blog subscribers with my three NIOD favorites:


  1. Sign up via the form below.
  2. You must be subscribed to the Beauty In Color Newsletter. You can sign up here.
  3. Comment below with your favorite NIOD product based on the blog interview.
  4. Follow @beautyincolor_official and @NIOD on Instagram.

This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada. Winners to be contacted via the Beauty In Color Newsletter on July 30, 2021. Shipping is orchestrated by DECIEM.

Shop the NIOD Products Discussed Here:

NIOD Modulating Glucosides
NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Lipid 1%
NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum
NIOD Modulating Glucosides
NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Lipid 1%
NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum
NIOD Modulating Glucosides
NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Lipid 1%
NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum




  1. July 20, 2021 / 3:08 pm

    I wanna try that eye cream!

  2. July 26, 2021 / 7:52 am

    Their vit c is on my wishlist !

    • Cheryl
      July 29, 2021 / 11:56 pm

      Hyaluronic complex for me. Need the hydration

  3. Joseline A
    July 26, 2021 / 8:34 am

    My favorite NIOD product based on the interview would be the The Copper Amino Isolate Serum, just from the ingredients alone, it sounds like an amazing product already.

  4. Kay
    July 26, 2021 / 8:37 am

    I want to try the MG. I too suffer from sensitive, eczema skin. I am always for non irritating products that will be good to my skin and it can be tough. I look forward to trying NIOD products.

  5. Adrianne Lee
    July 26, 2021 / 9:29 am

    I would love to try the fractionated eye contour cream and their hyaluronic acid serum!

  6. Cathrine
    July 26, 2021 / 10:46 am

    Would love to try the COPPER AMINO ISOLATE SERUM

  7. Gloria Maciorowski
    July 26, 2021 / 11:23 am

    NEED me that eye cream! Amazing review and blog post!

  8. Patricia L Bachini
    July 26, 2021 / 11:45 am

    Definitely Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 – 30ml

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