I’m betting many of you are familiar with The Ordinary, Deciem’s super-affordable range that continuously sells out, am I right? Now meet the brand’s older & more sophisticated sibling: NIOD, short for Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science, or as the tagline reads, “Skincare for the Hyper Educated”… which sounds pretty accurate when you look at the laboratory-esque names in the lineup. So if you’re a skincare lover who’s into unique ingredients, breakthrough technologies, and loads of research (me), then you’ll definitely want to keep reading.
Founded in 2013 by Brandon Truaxe (now deceased), the brand is currently run by co-founder Nicola Kilner, with everything still proudly made in Toronto, Canada. The name Deciem comes from the latin “decima”, or “10” and is a nod to the growing number of brands under the Deciem umbrella (I believe there are currently 5, with more in the works). The NIOD range can be considered the luxury arm of the brand, and while the pricing may be steeper than that of The Ordinary, everything still comes with minimal packaging to keep costs well within the affordable level — especially when you factor in what you’re getting (more on that below).
So what makes NIOD stand out? In a nutshell, it has to do with the fact that A) all products under the Deciem umbrella are first created in a lab and not churned out of a PR machine, and B) all products are made with the highest possible grade of ingredients — without any bells & whistles (hello, excessive fancy-ass packaging and/or ads) to keep costs down. In fact, NIOD was Brandon’s baby, as he wanted to create a range that truly delivered results by using the most cutting edge science available. At last count there are 23 items in the lineup with new products continuously being cooked up in the lab, and while it may seem like you need a chemistry degree to understand how to use everything, with a bit of research you can easily be on your way to your best & healthiest skin. Or you can simply read my review 😎
By the way, after I read up on everything (multiple times, I might add — because my brain can only retain so much), I came up with a plan of action. First I lined up all the products on my vanity in the order that they’re to be used, wrote down both a daytime and evening list, and finally I marked down the “mask” dates in my agenda (as well as the days I swap out one moisturizer for another) to keep things organized. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it actually took me just a couple of days to get the routine memorized.
Before I dive in, I highly recommend — urge, even — that you read the detailed information provided for each product on the NIOD website, as it’s not only super interesting but goes into way more depth than I can here.
Low-Viscosity Cleaning Ester (CAN $45.00/240 ml, 8 fl oz) | What this is: “A skin cleaning system that respects dermal barriers while regulating visible sebum production, cleaning the skin thoroughly and removing all traces of makeup in a single step. LVCE contains no cleansing plant oils, no detergents and no water but instead uses isolated sugar and avocado esters to remove every trace of dirt and makeup with or without water“.
Housed in a plastic bottle (which I prefer as it makes me feel safer that it won’t shatter if it happens to fall while I’m cleansing), this comes with a screw on cap that you remove and then attach a twist-open spout. The texture is like a light oil that’s very water-like and spreads easily along the skin. Bear in mind that a little goes a long way, so no need to squirt out a lot. First applied to dry skin and after rinsing with a few splashes of warm water, I then use a cloth to eliminate any film left behind. What I love is that this not only removes all traces of makeup (and yes, I gave it the white towel test), but never leaves my skin feeling dry & tight. NOTE: I use this for my evening regimen; my morning cleansing is only done with water. As to removing eye makeup, I prefer to stick with my usual bi-phase remover for the job, but I am nevertheless curious to see how this may fare in that department.
Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist (CAN $50.00/240 ml, 8 fl oz) | What this is: “A dermal treatment mist–not to be classified mistakenly as a “toner” — that acts as a fundamental daily force against oxidative stress, water loss, and the look of inflammation, all of which contribute to loss of visible skin quality over time“.
Housed in a plastic bottle as well, the sprayer emits an even & light mist, and you really don’t need to drench the skin to reap the benefits as once again (as with everything from this range), a little really goes a long way. I see this as a ‘spray-on antioxidant cocktail‘ and the cornerstone of the regimen. The star ingredient — Superoxide Dismutase — is derived from yeast originally isolated from grape skin, while the purified ph-balanced extract of malachite rock (or, copper carbonate hydroxide mineral) gives the liquid its soft natural turquoise hue, along with an ability to act as an incredibly potent force against oxidation in the human body. A quick spritz, followed by a few second wait time while it absorbs into the skin, and you’re good to go with the rest of the routine. Just don’t try and set your makeup with this; that path leads to a hot mess. I use this both morning and night after cleansing & as the first step in my routine.
Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 & Activator (CAN $60.00/15 ml, 0.5 fl oz) | NOTE: this has now been replaced by a new version, 3:1 which I didn’t have when I began my testing. What this is: “To maintain healthy-looking skin, this pro-repair, pro-collagen serum offers a novel approach to target all visible signs of skin aging indirectly. This indirect approach departs from the traditional thinking of addressing visible aspects of skin aging individually and instead forms a foundation to respect skin health“.
This version comes in 2 separate glass bottles: a serum, and an activator that gets mixed into it (the new 3:1 version bypasses this step and now comes premixed). Once combined (see directions below), it turns into a blue colour and melts into the skin with zero staining. As the first serum in my routine, this not only helps calm the skin from any inflammation (this product is often used in conjunction with retinoids for its skin-soothing properties), but works to activate a wide range of skin functions including healing & collagen synthesis. The common theme from every NIOD product is how little you need, and that’s not different here; I apply 4 drops both morning and night, and surprisingly, that amount is enough to cover my entire face and neck. Very quickly absorbed.
Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate (CAN $68.00 /15 ml, 0.5 fl oz) | What this is: “A hyper-concentrated bio-serum for the eye contour, FECC combines 28 clinical technologies to target many signs of under-eye and above-eye aging in one treatment—borrowing from advanced biotechnology, polyphenol technology, next-generation cyclic peptide technologies, marine science and modern drone delivery mechanics. This single treatment is able to target visible aging (both upper eyelids and lower eyelids) including the looks of dynamic lines, static lines, fine superficial under-eye lines, loss of elasticity (especially upper-eyelids), dark circles, puffiness and textural unevenness“.
Housed in a glass bottle and dispensed via a dropper, 1 drop per eye (for use on both upper and lower lids) is definitely more than enough. Here’s the thing; until this past year, I haven’t exactly been all that vigilant about my eye care, probably due to laziness and assuming that my other serums/moisturizers are more than enough. But the truth is that the skin around the eyes is not only the thinnest, but needs targeted attention. Along with a host of other beneficial ingredients in the formula, what I found most fascinating here is the Fibroblast Drone delivery system: “perhaps a most advanced skin technology available, this suspension contains extraordinary capsules that secure a pro-HA (Hyaluronic Acid) peptide within a polymer core that is surrounded by a Heptapeptide to specifically bind to targets before release, exponentiating delivery and effectiveness to an accuracy level previously impossible. No technology today delivers the visible filling activity of this truly complex system to support Hyaluronic Acid“. I mean, WHAT?! Now the brand states that you may start to see positive visible results within 3 days, but it was about the 3-week testing point that I can honestly say I noticed a difference, with the skin on my upper lids appearing less droopy and feeling firmer, while some of the crows feet along the lower lash line are now definitely less pronounced.
Re:Pigment (CAN $39.00 /15 ml, 0.5 fl oz) | What this is: “A highly-saturated, ultra-lightweight, emollient solution incorporating modern advances in biotechnology and peptide technology to fight signs of one of the most complex-to-treat dermal concerns: hyperpigmentation. This formula visibly counteracts both uneven pigmentation, such as spots, as well as overall pigmentation issues through several pathways. This multi-pathway approach optimizes the synergy between the technologies in contrast to networked technologies that approach visible pigmentation through the same mechanisms“.
Housed in a glass bottle and dispensed via a dropper, the formula includes mushroom extract and fruit derivates (amongst several other beneficial and innovate ingredients) to help fade & minimize the look of spots/hyperpigmentation, keep them from reappearing through continued use, and maintain an even skin tone. I’m not a fan of ‘wisdom marks’ (as my derm calls them) and I’m paying the price now of not using proper sun protection when I was younger. The mushroom extract in this formula is very encouraging to me, as I’ve had success with something similar years ago (that product is since discontinued) and I prefer taking non-invasive measures on my skin as much as possible. I use 4 drops of this serum both morning and night, which is more than enough to cover my entire face and neck, and it wasn’t until the third week of testing that I noticed a visible overall evenness. In truth, my skin was in good shape when I began trying everything out, but definitely not as even-looking as it appears now.
Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate (CAN $60.00 /15 ml, 0.5 fl oz) | What this is: “A comprehensive treatment to improve the looks of lip colour, volume, texture, softness and contour, combining a wide borrowing from peptide technology and bio-technology“. Note that this serum contains an immediate-acting technology to increase visible lip redness without any pigments or dyes. To avoid redness of the surrounding skin, apply only a very small amount with your fingertip directly on the lips. Do not apply to the skin and especially avoid sensitive areas. NIOD recommends washing your hands after application. In case of accidental exposure to skin, no special action is necessary. The immediate-term redness on the skin will disappear within a few minutes on its own.
Housed in a glass bottle and dispensed via a dropper, think of this as a non-invasive alternative to using lip fillers, but one that will require a longer investment on your part. I’m fortunate that my lips have decent natural volume but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed a slight decrease in volume along my upper lip. I apply one drop directly on my lower lip, being careful to not let run down onto my skin, and immediately rub that into my lips while avoiding the surrounding skin. The first time I tried this serum, I noticed a strong tingling sensation (nothing uncomfortable, but definitely noticeable) which took several minutes to fade. My lips also appeared redder without looking stained; a very natural-looking colour, in fact. NIOD recommends using this serum both morning & night for 30 days, then once a day after that to maintain the effect. As the skin on the lips is quite thin, I’m hoping that this serum will not only help in visibly minimizing the look of lip lines (of which I have plenty) but strengthen the supporting structure to give my lips a boost. UPDATE: I am susceptible to cold sores and when one began forming, I immediately stopped using this serum in order to get a handle on things (about 10 days into testing). During the time I tested it out, I noticed my lips appeared deeper in colour, but I also experienced some peeling; then again, my lips do chap easily so I’m not sure if I can attribute any of these issues to the serum — not without re-starting the testing process again.
Stainless Steel Spoon (CAN $2.50) | This tiny stainless steel spoon is perfect for use with any NIOD products offered in a jar format, as its neck is long enough to reach down to the bottom of each jar, with the spoon making it easy to scoop product out. If using more than one jarred NIOD product, make sure to wipe the spoon clean between each one.
Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex (CAN $60.00 /30 ml, 1 fl oz) | What this is: “The formula offers a multi-dimensional approach to topical hyaluronic supplementation by combining 15 forms of hyaluronic compounds, hyaluronic precursors and a hyaluronic support technology in a peptide-charged delivery system. It offers water-based hydration and helps skin surface look plump, elastic, comfortable and uniform. The formula also contains a hyaluronic support system of adaptogenic water-starved clary sage flavonoids, phenylethanoid glycosides from narrow leaf plantain and several dermal amino acids. This complex system acts as a non-clogging, water-protective barrier to optimize the function of hyaluronic compounds and help support dermal water retention“.
Housed in a glass bottle and dispensed via a dropper, this stuff is pure GOLD. Unlike some other HA serums that can feel somewhat slimy and leave a tackiness to the skin, this one absorbs very quickly and leaves no trace behind. What makes this a hero product, in my opinion, is that it combines different molecular weights of Hyaluronic Acid (both small and large), which means it will penetrate all levels of the skin, and not just sit at the surface level. Personally, I’ve been using some form of HA in my routine for a few years now, and I’ve seen the difference it’s made in my skin, although not all have performed at the same level. Four drops of this serum — both morning & night — are all that I need to cover my entire face and neck/décolletage and what’s more, this serum also plays super well with whatever is layered on top.
Hydration Vaccine (CAN $55.00 /50 ml, 1.7 fl oz) | What this is: “A “breathing”, adaptive hydration seal for the skin that helps protect against loss of Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF), and supplements the skin’s own moisturizing factors. NMF, largely composed of amino acids and minerals, is the skin’s natural barrier against water loss—in effect, protection from loss of NMF itself is the first line of defence against protection from loss of hydration (water)“.
I use this daily, swapping it out twice a week (evenings only) for the Voicemail Masque. All the serums I apply before this are very lightweight and sink right in, and even though my skin feels relatively hydrated, I can tell that it still needs the added nourishment of this product. Don’t let the name confuse you; think of it as ‘injecting’ that extra shot of moisture into the skin. The texture is almost pudding-like and slippery smooth, primarily due to the silicone in the formula which I know many are not a fan of (I have no issues with silicones — and in truth, not all silicones are bad for you), and while it took a little getting used to, I actually really enjoy both the surface feel of my skin, and how thoroughly this product keeps it moisturized. I use a scant spoonful (using the Stainless Steel Spoon) and that’s absolutely enough to cover my entire face.
Neck Elasticity Catalyst (CAN $70.00 /50 ml, 1.7 fl oz) | What this is: “Advanced technologies that help to reduce the appearance of lax skin which is generally caused by the key enzyme that breaks down elastin—or elastase—and progerin—a truncated protein that causes dysfunctional cellular aging. (Please note that Elastin is “good” and Elastase is “bad” and some articles misspell—or, worse, mistake—these two components for one another)“.
Housed in a glass jar, I use a scant spoonful for my entire neck and lower jawline, both morning and night. Ahhhh…. the neck. Smart phones have contributed to a rise in ‘tech-neck’ (lines & creasing) while a lack of proper suncare in my youth has resulted in some hyperpigmentation along the sides of my neck; nothing major, but still enough to almost make me want to wear turtlenecks 24/7. Of course, collagen breakdown has something to do with that as well so I’m hoping that this product can help jumpstart more collagen production, while work to tighten that area — especially since I’m really not looking to do anything more invasive. There’s a nice feel and slip to the texture, making it very pleasurable to massage into the skin — the latter which continues to feel very nourished even hours later. Three weeks into testing I began noticing that my skin felt firmer and tighter, both along my neck & jawline — an encouraging sign that tells me to absolutely continue using this product.
Voicemail Masque (CAN $45.00 /50 ml, 1.7 fl oz) | What this is: “A nighttime leave-on masque treatment that fights many of the signs associated with impaired cellular communication. The formula is a suspension of plant stem cells from mountain flowers and narrowleaf plantain, as well as highly-purified polyphenols rich in hydroxycinnamic acid from oregano leaves. The suspension medium is comprised of advanced adaptive silicones that lengthen dermal exposure timeframe, supported by a fractionated spectrum of molecular weight (instead of a specific one) of hyaluronic acid, just as naturally found in the body. The result is skin that looks healthy, well-rested, bright and uniform from the very first use“.
Housed in a glass jar, this is meant to be used twice a week at night only (I mark down the days I use this, swapping it in place of the Hydration Vaccine). The name confused me, until I read the part about ‘cellular communication’ — and then it all made sense. The texture is rich and rather dense, meaning you won’t need much to cover the entire face (a scant spoonful is ample) and I found that even after the first use, I woke up to skin that felt incredibly hydrated & nourished. What I’ll be looking for with continued use, is an increase in my skin’s plumpness levels, as well as a visible reduction in fine lines, but what I’ve experienced so far has impressed me enough to want to continue.
Myrrh Clay (CAN $38.00 /50 ml, 1.7 fl oz) | What this is: “A treatment masque that visibly firms the skin, borrowing from a triangle of Ayurvedic, Unani and traditional Chinese studies of medicine. Myrrh Clay offers an instant and visible tightening of the skin immediately and without forming a noticeable film on the surface of the skin as is common with modern skin firming formulations“.
I happen to have a real ‘thing’ for myrrh and have known that this resin has been used as a healing agent for millennia. Housed in a glass jar, this mask is meant to be used once a week (I’ve selected Saturday as my mask day — makes it easy to remember this way). You don’t need more than a thin layer which you allow to dry on the skin for about 15 minutes before rinsing off. You’ll definitely need some kind of cloth to help remove all traces, but no need to scrub vigorously at that (warm water will help soften the mask, making it easier to wash off). Yes, my skin feels definitely tightened right after, but not in an uncomfortable way, and what’s more, my pores seem to magically vanish — an absolute bonus.
Photography Fluid, Opacity 12% (CAN $30.00 /30 ml, 1 fl oz) | What this is: “A novel approach to creating a foundation for skin that reflects even radiance in life and very specifically through the camera lens, this instant treatment is serum-textured but contains a wide array of light refracting prisms, tone and hue correctors and topical photo-finishing technologies to offer even radiance within seconds“.
Housed in a glass bottle and dispensed via a dropper, you can use this a number of ways: alone as a replacement of a complexion product (foundation), mixed in with foundation for an added touch of subtle radiance, or layered under foundation to help colour-correct skin tone. The consistency is medium — not thick but neither too runny, and comes out an opaque white, but as soon as you start blending it out you can see a visible gold sheen. Interestingly, once fully blended in, that gold hue seems to meld with the skin and leaves behind a radiance that can’t really be explained; no matter which way you turn your head to see, the effect is neither greasy looking or highlighter-ish, but something almost magical, as if coming from within. So, so unique. I tested this out by wearing it alone on one side of my face and with foundation on top for the other side and both looked good. If you’re comfortable with the shape of your skin and not a fan of wearing foundation, this might well be something to look into. Filled with innovative light-refracting technologies, in essence what this fluid does is to bounce unwanted shadows away from your face so you’re basically always ‘selfie-ready’.
Deciem initially reached out to me in 2013 but life being what it is, I became wrapped up in other projects and this brand’s products sat untouched & forgotten. Then fairly recently, the brand reached out to me again and after a private virtual chat, I became really excited to learn more — but I confess to being overwhelmed yet again, this time over how to put a regimen together. It’s kind of dangerous letting a skincare junkie like me loose around so many interesting looking products! Reading up on the range, I then put a plan of action in place and began my NIOD journey. With a month of testing under my belt, I can definitely say I’ve seen positive results. In a nutshell, if you’re looking for skincare that incorporates the most leading edge science, then I strongly recommend you give this range a try but remember that these products aren’t a “quick fix”. Your skin will thank you in the long haul.
Available at www.deciem.com
Kindly provided by Deciem for my unbiased consideration