NIOD: Top 3 Must Have Products

My favorite NIOD Products; NIOD CAIS, MMHC, and SDSM.

This topic may seem like a no-brainer for long time NIOD lovers, but for those who recently discovered the wonderful world of The Ordinary and are now looking into NIOD for the first time, it can be a bit confusing. For those who may not know, both NIOD and The Ordinary are owned by the same parent company, Deciem.  NIOD is branded as “Skincare for the Hyper-Educated.’ I definitely do not see myself as Hyper-Educated, but I do love this brand and their approach to skincare!  Today I am sharing my top 3 NIOD products, a simpler description of each, a break down of the ingredients, and what impact they can have on skin!

To read my review on NIOD Re:Pigment click here. 

Evening routine
Evening Routine using Cleanser, SDSM, CAIS, Re:Pigment, MMHC, and a facial oil.

I have read many comments on my own Instagram posts, and others, about people who fell in love with The Ordinary and now want to know which NIOD products they should try. On The Ordinary’s own product page for Hyaluronic Acid 2% serum it says, “A more advanced formulation of HA with 15 forms of HA…is offered by our brand NIOD.” So of course people are curious and want the most ‘advanced’ product! But which NIOD products are worth the substantial monetary difference from The Ordinary? In my opinion it has to be CAIS, MMHC, and SDSM. If you are venturing into NIOD products, any (or all) of these would be my recommendations. Plus, all three products work for all most* skin types.

#1: NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Concentrate


MMHC or Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Concentrate (15 mL/$35 or 30 mL/$60 sold here,*) plainly, is a hyaluronic acid serum on steroids. Like the souped up, sophisticated  version of Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 from The Ordinary (30 mL/$6.80.) MMHC has a water-like fluid texture and a weightless finish. Light enough for use on dry skin with heavier products or oils on top without piling. Perfect for oily, combination or acne prone skin because of its weightless texture and ability to add hydration without any of the ‘heavier’ ingredients found in a traditional cream texture. The version MMHC that I have is the original. NIOD has since released a new version, MMHC2.

*See bottom of post for more retailers for international shipping.

MMHC contains 15 hyaluronic compounds, while additionally MMHC2 contains a rare 1% direct hyaluronic acid, all intended to deeply hydrate skin. Why do you need hydration, even if you have oily skin? Skin hydration levels are independent from your skin type. It is possible to have oily, acneic dehydrated skin! Dehydrated skin doesn’t necessarily mean dry skin. Enter Hyaluronic Acid.

Hyaluronic acid draws water from the environment into the skin and retains it, resulting in a plumping effect. Most HA serums have molecules that have a large molecular weight, therefore causing the HA molecule to sit on top of the skin. This pulls water from the lower levels of skin and provides a very temporary hydrating effect. NIOD has included HA at various weights, including low-molecular weight HA, that allows the molecule to penetrate deeply within the skin layers. Of course MMHC doesn’t just contain Hyaluronic Acid, I could talk about the other ingredients and their benefits all day! I will say that it does contain peptides, amino acids, and numerous plant extracts to support and hydrate skin.

The short term results I notice from MMHC is obviously hydrated skin that is softer and smoother. Anytime my skin feels hydrated, it looks hydrated by radiating a nice glow. However, the thing that wows me about this product is how ‘bouncy’ my skin looks the next morning. After about 4-6 weeks of using MMHC I definitely noticed a smoothness to the fine lines that I have under my eyes.

MMHC is a thin serum
MMHC is a thin, clear liquid serum.
How do I use MMHC?

Ideally, I apply MMHC directly after misting SDSM, while my face is still damp. MMHC, whether used with or without other NIOD products, should be used after cleansing and toning. The order for application with other NIOD products is Cleanse-SDSM-CAIS-MMHC. For more info on how to use any of these products, follow me on Instagram  where I document my skincare routines!

The only issue I have with MMHC, and it isn’t even a problem, merely a personal preference. The fact that MMHC is so thin and watery, unlike other Hyaluronic Acid serums that have a gel-like texture. Some people will love this weightless consistency! I think it is counterintuitive to apply a liquid after I have applied a gel acid exfoliator, so that is why I like to mix MMHC with another hydrating serum. Usually I mix it with one of my favorite serums, the Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum. When both are mixed together it makes a gelatinous texture that is perfection…and completely unnecessary. Just thought I would mention it. I believe what makes MMHC so unique is that it is different from the typical Hyaluronic Acid serums available today.

MMHC can be purchased on NIOD’s website, Cult Beauty, Beautylish, Victoria Health.

#2 NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum

mixing directions of CAIS

CAIS or Copper Amino Isolate Serum 1%(15mL/$60 or 30mL/$90 found here,) I feel like NIOD is breaking exciting ground with this product. Of course there are products with copper peptides on the market, but not many at this concentration. I won’t go into the research behind copper peptides today, but perhaps in the future. The founder of NIOD, Brandon Truaxe, explains this product as one for ‘overall skin health.’ Not a product that will give results overnight, instead one that improves skin over time. I read a very interesting interview Brandon gave (that I definitely encourage everyone to go read) where he explained CAIS in these terms, “Healthy skin is skin that can fight the very small things that are always going wrong well. Our cells lose their ability to fight things and this loss leads to signs of ageing (and other things.) CAIS supports this fighting ability.” This is a perfect description of CAIS that I have experienced first hand. I will share more about this in a moment.

NIOD claims that CAIS can “targets signs of skin aging, including visible textural damage, uneven tone, visibly enlarged pores, and a general lack of a visibly healthy radiance normally present in younger skin.” Exciting, right? But does it really work?

Since I started using CAIS in December 2016, the results I have experienced is smoother, calmer skin. I have texture over my cheeks and forehead that pop up whenever I am not using CAIS, and 100% believe that this product has helped even out my skin tone and texture. Other benefits of CAIS I have experienced is its ability to calm sensitive skin, aid in wound healing, and its anti-inflammatory properties. I have noticed that any marks from breakouts heal much quicker when using CAIS. I even had a bout of poison ivy on my face earlier this year, and believe CAIS helped with the inflammation and overall healing of the rash. It was only one of three products I used on my face during that time. Also, I wasn’t left with any discoloration as is indicative of poison ivy rashes. See why I find Brandon’s description so fitting? CAIS enabled my skin to “fight the good fight” by supporting the healing process and by helping skin to repair itself without defects. I must disclose that at the time I acquired poison ivy, which I am highly allergic to and get at least once a year,  I had been using CAIS for a little over 3 months. With that said, this is why CAIS is not only one of my top NIOD products, but one of my overall favorite skincare products.

CAIS is a thin, blue liquid serum
CAIS is a thin, blue liquid serum.

CAIS is a gentle, water light serum that I use directly after cleansing and toning, on dry skin. The serum is very thin so it can be a bit tricky to apply. Some people drop it into their palm and then apply to their face. I have definitely tried this method, but I end up wasting too much product! Personally, I use the dropper to dispense the liquid directly onto my face, section by section. I am very careful as to not have the dropper actually come into contact with my skin.  Then pat the product into my skin with the other hand. I use about half a dropper per application for my face and neck. NIOD recommends waiting at least 30 seconds after applying CAIS before applying another product.

The only downfall to CAIS is when you receive the product, it then has to be mixed. Inside the box is two 15 mL bottles (for the smaller 15 mL size.) The ‘Activator’ bottle has to be poured into the Copper Concentrate. The problem lies in the fact that I am very clumsy and have spilled some liquid during this process. I literally felt sick to my stomach! This blue, magical liquid isn’t cheap! However, I do understand the reasoning behind this ‘mixing’ is to keep the product stable longer. I always mark the date on my bottles the day that I mix them because the six month countdown clock starts at that moment! However, I am very thankful that I joined the NIOD train after they reformulated CAIS, because a previous version had to be kept in the refrigerator in order to keep it stable! Talk about a great way to forget about a skincare product!

The new version, CAIS 2 was recently released and can be purchased on NIOD website,  Victoria Health. I’m unsure when Cult Beauty or Beautylish will be releasing the new version.

 #3 NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist


Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist, or SDSM (240 mL, 8 fl oz/$50 found here) is another must-have NIOD product for me. Although I will admit I didn’t believe that it was when I first started buying their products. It is actually one of the last NIOD products I purchased! I quickly realized its importance. A new version, SDSM2, was released a couple of months ago. That will be the focus of today’s post. SDSM, the original version, is also pictured below.

This facial mist is what I would consider a treatment mist, a mist that goes beyond just hydrating or toning the skin. It actually treats the skin. I use it after cleansing, during the day to refresh, and also before I apply serums and oils. It IS very hydrating, but that isn’t all it has going for it.

Superoxide Dismutase, along with plant extracts, is a “daily force against oxidative stress, water loss, and the look of inflammation.” This makes it another excellent option for sensitive skin. Its blue color is due to Malachite Rock Extract, a new addition to SDSM2, that offers “additional direct scavenging of the superoxide radical,” per Deciem. Superoxide Dismutase is found inside our cells naturally as our body’s way of fighting free radicals. The damage from free radicals, called oxidative stress, is a contributing factor to aging skin. Free radical damage can be caused from normal metabolic functions, but can also be caused from environmental factors such as pollution, smoking, or fried food. There is a very educational article about free radicals here. Using SDSM helps to protect cells from this inevitable free radical damage, essentially adding an extra layer of protection to the skin. In my mind that is what makes SDSM a top NIOD product and overall a staple in my skincare routines.

The original version of SDSM vs. NIOD SDSM2.
Both versions of NIOD SDSM. NIOD SDSM original (bottom) and NIOD SDSM2 (top.)

SDSM is fragrance free, very easy to use, and comes in a larger quantity than most facial mists. From my observation, people either love SDSM or think that it has done nothing for their skin. However, assume its claims are true, would we really see any effects SDSM has on skin except for its basic hydrating properties? Do we actually see the prevention of free radical damage? Just something to think about. Another benefit of SDSM that I have heard others talk about is skin being less reactive. Because I use two other calming serums, I’m not sure if that has been my experience. Is my skin less reactive because of SDSM or the other products? I am still investigating!

The only drawback to this mist is the spray top is less than to be desired,it definitely could use some improvement. The mist tends to go everywhere, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way! Hopefully NIOD is addressing this issue, because the magical blue liquid inside is worth every penny.

NIOD SDSM can be purchased NIOD’s website,  Victoria Health, and Beautylish.

Where to Buy

Can purchase all products from Deciem’s website. They offer worldwide shipping.

NIOD can also be purchased at Cult Beauty, Beautylish and Victoria Health. All offer worldwide shipping.

For a complete list of authorized retailers click here.

For my German readers, you can find NIOD products at FeelUnique.  NIOD CAIS, NIOD SDSM, NIOD MMHC. (These are links to the German site.) I am told they often have 20% off discounts.


I have enjoyed sharing my 3 favorite NIOD products, and I hope the product descriptions make more sense now! I have a LOT of Deciem products that I have put to the test, so stay tuned for my must-have products from The Ordinary! Until then, Stay Happy & Beautiful!





***Deciem affiliate links are included in this post, if you choose to support my blog and purchase products through one of my links, at no additional cost to you, I am very grateful! All of the products mentioned I purchased myself and as always my opinions and experience is honest, unbiased, and completely unrelated to my affiliate relationship with Deciem.
*Of course there is always a chance that a product will not work for you. There is always a possibility of allergic reactions to literally every product on the skincare market. However, I do believe these products can, in theory, work for most skin types. Please read here for more information on this subject.
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