Discover more from Skincare Stacy's Stack
Top 10 The Ordinary & NIOD Products
No, I swear I didn’t just have a stroke - it is Slowvember.
In a world where you’re bombarded with constant marketing, Slowvember is all about creating a clear narrative in the beauty industry where we:
Discover new ideas in beauty
Educate ourselves and challenge our preconceptions
Make informed decisions & purchases
And, of course, the cosmetic science behind why I love them.
Skincare Stacy's Stack is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Best Products from NIOD
NIOD is one of my favorite brands for high-quality, technologically advanced skincare.
While you won’t really find your basic cleansers here (well, Sanskrit Saponins is a fan favorite, but I wouldn’t put it in the top 5), you will find tons of great products to take your routine to the next level.
Best Overall: NIOD Survival 0
If you're going to get anything from the Deciem brands, get Survival 0.
NIOD's Survival range is a collection of "networked protection systems" designed to fortify your skin against environmental and lifestyle-related aggressors.
As explained by The Derm Review, the entire Survival 0 line is armed with technologies that combat challenges like superoxide radicals, nitrogen radicals, carbonyl radicals, glycation, advanced glycation end-products (AGE), pollution, smog, stress, infrared, and blue light.
So…basically everything your body is fighting off on a daily basis.
Within the Survival line, Survival 30, Survival 20, and Survival 10 offer mineral-based sun protection, but to my knowledge, they either aren’t available in the US anymore or have been discontinued altogether.
However, Survival 0 isn’t a sunscreen; it’s just a phenomenal product that works synergistically with SPF or when worn alone to combat oxidative stress and environmental damage.
Alternative to Survival 0
If you're looking for something more budget-friendly, The Ordinary's Barrier Repair Soothing Serum is another great product packed with skin-loving ingredients.
It doesn’t have the same antioxidant properties, but I still think it’s a great affordable option for a soothing serum.
Don’t forget to read my full review of the top 10 NIOD products that are actually worth your money!
NIOD Fractionated Eye Concentrate
This NIOD eye serum is a cult favorite among cosmetic chemists and skincare enthusiastics because it integrates over 25 different clinically proven technologies to target signs of aging in the eye contour area.
Among these technologies, a few stand out in particular:
Fibroblast Drone utilizes an encapsulated pro-hyaluronic acid peptide within a polymer core, enclosed by a Heptapeptide, enabling a targeted release and ensuring the ingredient actually gets to the site of activity to provide a visible “filler”-like effect
Neuron Drone utilizes another encapsulated delivery system to specifically target the appearance of expression lines
Combined with other ingredients, NIOD’s FECC is a great product to target fine lines, loss of upper eyelid elasticity, dark circles, and texture concerns.
The only thing I don’t love about it is that it’s not a “cream”, and it doesn’t provide the moisturizing benefits of a traditional eye product.
Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist
There’s a good reason for that:
Unlike traditional facial mists which provide basic hydration, this one is packed with dermal treatment ingredients and not only hydrates but:
Combats oxidative stress
Prevents transepidermal water loss
Among a few other powerful ingredients, the key here is superoxide dismutase which is a potent antioxidant that has been proven to:
Fight free radical damage
Protect type I collagen from degradation
Prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging
So, if facial mists are your thing or if you travel a lot and need a product to combat dry cabin air, consider trying this one from NIOD.
Copper Amino Isolate Serum 3 1:1 (CAIS3)
NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum has gone through a few evolutions, and this is the latest one.
This time around, CIAS3 combines 1% pure GHK peptide and 1% Copper Tripeptide-1 (aka GHK-Cu).
GHK-Cu (which you’ve probably heard referred to as just “copper peptides”) has been proven to:
Stimulate wound healing
Reduce photodamage, hyperpigmentation, and skin spots
Protect skin cells from UV radiation
Reduce inflammation and free radical damage
Increase hair growth and thickness & enlarge hair follicle size
Improve overall skin appearance
Copper peptides can be tricky to include in your routine because, depending on their formulation, they don’t always play well with other active ingredients (specifically vitamin C).
NIOD Lip Bio Lipid Concentrate
Since I’ve been blogging about skincare for two years, it’s not often that I run into a completely new, innovative product.
NIOD's Lip Bio Lipid Concentrate changed that.
If you’re looking for full, beautiful lips without the risk of invasive procedures, this is the product for you.
This concentrate is packed with unique peptides, and here are a few of the key ingredients:
Palmitoyl-KMO2K-Sugar-Ester Peptide Bio-Complex increases the appearance of your lip volume and sustains a 50%+ hydration increase for up to 20 hours after application
Lipid Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 Complex is modeled after an amino acid sequence in your dermal elastin and improves the suppleness and firmness of your lips
Nicotinic Acid Methyl Ester creates a short-term inflammatory reaction (no long term effects) to improve visible lip redness almost immediately for a darker, more pronounced appearance without the need for lipstick
. . . and all of these ingredients come in a lovely oil base of hemi-squalane and sea buckthorn oil that mimic your skin’s natural oils.
Just wash your hands thoroughly after applying it to prevent getting any of the nicotinic acid methyl ester on your skin as it may cause some slight redness for a few minutes.
Best Products from The Ordinary
While I consider NIOD to be the more mature “older sister” to The Ordinary, this brand still has many great and affordable products.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
Listen - if you have acne, blackheads, sebaceous filaments, seborrheic dermatitis (the list goes on), just get The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid Solution.
Salicylic acid is on the FDA monographic for treating acne, and 2% has been repeatedly proven to be an effective and inexpensive treatment.
This serum can be a little sticky or tacky; although I know tons of people love it, if you’re sensitive to textures, you might want to check out Naturium’s Salicylic Acid Solution instead.
The Ordinary Buffet Serum
Regardless of price, The Ordinary’s Buffet Serum is one of the best peptide products on the market right now.
This serum is a treasure trove of peptides, including:
Matrixyl 3000, known for stimulating collagen production and restoring skin plumpness
SYN-AKE which acts like (safe!) snake venom and inihibits facial muscle contraction, preventing the formation of fine lines and wrinkles
Probiotic complex that balances and supports your skin’s microbiome
Matrixyl synthe’6 stimulates the synthesis of collagen, fibronectin, and hyaluronic acid to support dermal structure and moisture levels
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors
The Ordinary might only offer one moisturizer, but they surely knocked it outta the park with their Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA.
Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) already exist in your skin, and they’re essential for keeping your barrier hydrated and protected.
This formula combines amino acids, ceramides, fatty acids, and a bunch of hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA to nourish your skin.
Plus, I like that it’s lightweight but creamy enough to be suitable for all skin types and environments.
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate in Vitamin F
This is the only vitamin C serum from The Ordinary that I would actually recommend to someone.
Instead of using l-ascorbic acid which can be unstable and oxidize quickly, this serum includes tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD).
THD is a stable, oil-soluble derivative of vitamin C that has brightening properties in its own right and can provide UV-protective benefits.
Plus, the inclusion of vitamin F oil lends a super nourishing touch to the serum which you don’t often find with vitamin C products - ideal for dry skin.
I’ve also tried the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres, and while I liked it, it has a thicker, more pasty texture.
Note: that’s a pretty common issue I find with The Ordinary products - because they’re so cheap, they’re not really . . . elegant formulas. But hey, if you don’t care about textures, have at it!
I prefer the ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate serum instead for both stability and texture.
Also, if you have oilier skin and prefer a more “matte” texture and feel in your serums, I suggest checking out BeautyStat’s Vitamin C Serum instead.
The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid
Mandelic acid is one of the most gentle alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) used in skincare, so I’m a fan of this exfoliant from The Ordinary.
Mandelic acid has benefits like improving skin texture and evening-out skin tone, and many people argue that it’s more suitable for people with darker skin tones than other AHAs.
That’s because stronger acids like glycolic acid and lactic acid are more likely to cause irritation (and therefore potentially hyperpigmentation) for individuals with dark skin tones.
On the other hand, mandelic acid is gentle and unlikely to cause irritation or hyperpigmentation.
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension
Azelaic acid is one of my favorite over-the-counter skincare ingredients for treating acne, dark spots, and even mild rosacea.
In fact, if you see a dermatologist for rosacea, there’s a good chance they’ll prescribe you a higher-strength azelaic acid medication.
Azelaic acid is a potent antioxidant that also exhibits antimicrobial effects and functions as a tyrosinase inhibitor (meaning it’s great to fight hyperpigmentation and melasma).
While I find The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid to be effective, it’s not my favorite azelaic serum due to the thick, pasty texture.
NIOD vs The Ordinary
You might be a little confused here on the relationship between these brands and Deciem.
The Ordinary offers a minimalist approach to skincare with a wide variety of single-ingredient products and basic formulations.
If you’re familiar with it, you might agree that The Ordinary is known for providing active ingredients at super affordable prices - if fact, I’d wager The Ordinary has introduced more people to skincare than any other modern brand.
On the other hand, I consider NIOD to be The Ordinary’s older sister.
In fact, NIOD stands for “Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science” - a fitting name if you ask me!
NIOD products are carefully crafted and incorporate cutting-edge technology and advanced formulations.
This is where you’ll see the big innovations from Deciem, and they come at a higher price point,
Aaaand Hylamide is sort of in-between the two, but it’s gone now, and that’s a story for another day.
The Bottom Line
Both Deciem brands are known for their straightforward packaging, clear ingredient lists, and commitment to addressing various skincare needs.
Overall, I’m a big fan of Deciem.