NIOD Skincare Review – SDSM2, RP, MG, S0, LBLC

NIOD stands for Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science. The late Brandon Truaxe stated that NIOD was created “with only a single genetic commitment—to be at the very edge of science without regard to brands, trends, criticisms and words.”

After using NIOD skincare for over half a year, each formula was easy to include in my skincare routine and not compromise the health of my skin. All formulas have very good mileage; I do not need a lot to cover my face and neck. One bottle will last a good amount of time if used once or twice a day. Bonus, all visually look interesting and feel elegant.

In this post, I will be quickly reviewing the other NIOD Skincare products I have tried:

  • Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist (SDSM2)
  • Re:Pigment (RP)
  • Modulating Glucosides (MG)
  • Survival 0 (S0)
  • Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate (LBLC)

In the summer of 2022, I had a skincare routine consisting of NIOD SDSM2, CAIS3, RP, and S0. Demo is shown in the Youtube video below:

I also wrote a dedicated review of NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 3 1:1 (CAIS3). Please be sure to check that out as well!

NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 3 1:1 (CAIS3) Review

Perhaps in the future I will write a dedicated post for each. In the meantime, I hope this “speedy” review helps you make an informed decision if you plan on shopping during DECIEM’s Slowvember Sale month!

*All product links on this page are affiliate links. If you click on the link and use it to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you for your support!*

DECIEM Slowvember Sale 23% Off

NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist (SDSM2) REVIEW

General Information About SDSM2

Description: “Daily Mist Targeting Environmental Stressors and Transepidermal Water Loss”
Concern: Antioxidant support, Look of Redness, Signs of Aging, Dryness
Amount: 240ml
Price: 43 EUR

My Experience Using NIOD SDSM2

Texture: Turquoise; Watery.

Fragrance: None.

Use: After cleansing on damp skin, mist 4 times.

Firstly, SDSM2 has a great mister. Once it’s done, I’m definitely keeping the bottle to reuse! Truthfully I did not understand the hype around SDSM2 after a couple of months of use. It’s gentle, lightly hydrating, preps the skin for skincare, and can be used over makeup to rehydrate face. I feel like these are all points I’ve experienced with other facial mists.

I finally noticed something worthwhile after over half a year, and it has to do with signs of aging. After a basic skincare routine of non-foaming cleanser, moisturizer and SPF, my face still looked depleted. So much so that for the first time in a long time, dehydration lines appeared on my forehead! I sprayed SDSM2 and noticed it did make my face look more hydrated and plump. The dehydration lines on my forehead subsided, and my nasolabial folds didn’t look as emphasized.

I’m really happy that it improved my skin condition after not being so content with my skincare that day. For this reason, it does differ from other mists I have tried. Usually I like mists to just simply rehydrate. SDSM2 clearly did something more with my complexion alongside with the feel of my skin.

I do recommend if you want a multi-use lightweight face mist. Be it as a prep step in skincare, to rehydrate throughout the day, or to even rejuvinate skin throughout the day.


General Information About NIOD RP

Description: “Multi-Pathway Brightening System”
Concern: Uneven Skin Tone, Dullness
Amount: 15ml
Price: 38 EUR

My Experience Using NIOD RP

Texture: Pale yellow; Watery with a tacky finish.

Fragrance: Stinky. Not sure how else to describe it lol. Fades after application.

Use: After SDSM2 and CAIS3; 4-6 drops for face neck.

NIOD RP is my least favourite product out of the bunch I’m reviewing. It did maintain a bright, even complexion… When it did not irritate. No matter how long I rotate it in my skincare routine, I always feel an uncomfortable stinging. In addition, I dislike the smell, despite it disappearing quickly. It does overall perform well in maintaining an even complexion, but not enough for me to want to purchase the full size. I did not notice a difference in the freckles on my face until I switched to a high UVA-protecting sunscreen.

I’m currently testing this on an age spot on my leg. If anything changes, I’ll be sure to share my results. As of now, I do not recommend. I feel like many other products – or just changing your skincare routine – can provide a brightened, even-tone effect.

NIOD Modulating Glucosides (MG) REVIEW

General Information About NIOD MG

Description: “Dermal-Friendly Lipids Support Barrier Function to Help Lessen Skin Reactivity”
Concern: Antioxidant support, Uneven Skin Tone, Look of Redness
Amount: 30ml
Price: 29 EUR

My Experience Using NIOD MG

Texture: Opaque light yellow; Thin emollient lotion.

Fragrance: Sweet and warm.

Use: As needed; After RP, before S0; Dime-nickel size amount for face and neck.

MG is my favourite product out of the bunch mentioned today. I notice an instant soothing effect when applied on sensitized skin from using a strong active prior (eg. NIOD RP). When I used it more consistently alongside a fermented serum, I always found my skin calm without redness around the typical areas of my face. MG is also texturally elegant and smells so damn good!

I highly recommend this one if you want a soothing product for daily use that’s easy to include in your skincare routine. This will be especially useful alongside a strong active like LAA, AHA, and/or tretinoin.

NIOD Survival 0 (S0) REVIEW

General Information About NIOD S0

Description: “Networked Defence System”
Concern: Antioxidant support
Amount: 30ml
Price: 25 EUR

My Experience Using NIOD S0

Texture: Burnt orange; Thin, watery lotion.

Fragrance: Sweet and light.

Use: Last step after RP, before sunscreen; One pump for face and neck.

NIOD S0 has been my go-to gentle antioxidant blend since I discontinued use of an L-ascorbic acid serum during my CO2 Fraxel Laser sessions. I am near the end of my second bottle and it has always been reliable, even on my most sensitive skin days. However it was unfortunately with S0 that I experienced an allergic reaction back at the beginning of November. After I got over a couple of weeks of being sick, it was this product I reintroduced. I am suspecting my bottle may have gone bad despite not opening it until June-July 2022 (under 6 months).

I recommend if you want a gentle antioxidant serum. If you do decide to pick up S0, make sure to use whatever bottles you have in a timely manner.


General Information About NIOD LBLC

Description: “Multi-Peptide Formulation to Improve the Look of Lip Colour, Volume, and Texture”
Concern: Lip Plumpness
Amount: 15ml
Price: 49 EUR

My Experience Using NIOD LBLC

Lips before NIOD LBLC application
Lips 1-2 minutes after LBLC application

Texture: Cloudy light green-yellow; Thin, dry oil.

Fragrance: None.

Use: As needed; Very small drop all over lips.

Admittedly, NIOD LBLC was a for-fun purchase. Last year, my lips generally did not have a lot of pigment and sometimes looked grey. I liked applying LBLC to get some natural colour on my lips and to plump them out more. Back when I was more consistent with use (applied both morning and night), the plumping effect did not tingle as much and the colour in my lips stayed.

Now I do not use it a lot, only when I feel like plumping my lips out before going out. I do plan on using it more frequently to make my lips more smoother and to just give them some more TLC.

I recommend as a fun purchase 😀 Otherwise it’s not needed, and applying hydrating skincare on your lip can also help.

My Thoughts So Far on NIOD Skincare

In the summer, my NIOD skincare routine kept my skin looking fresh for a long period of time. My normal to dry skin always felt well hydrated and I never found the need to use concealer. I spent majority of my time outside and would go to bed late. My skin never looked haggard. To be fair, I never felt stressed despite the busy summer schedule and I slept really well. Either way, my skin stayed in great condition despite all the gelato 😀

As always, I hope you find content like this helpful and informative. If you’d like a more detailed review of a particular NIOD product, let me know in the comments down below!

xo, M

La Roche Posay’s New Cicaplast Baume B5+ Review

I recall speaking with a sales rep at Shoppers Drugmart (Canadian drugstore) years ago (like 5+ years ago, oh my!) and he told me that he’s noticed many customers buy La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 for acne. Since that encounter, I have continuously had a tube of it in my skincare collection. The original version was my go-to for surgery scars, acne and post-CO2 Fraxel Laser care. I very well understood why it’s a cult classic and has earned “Holy Grail” status in many a person’s skincare routines.

I eventually stopped repurchasing and there are a few reasons why:

  • It was very casty
  • Felt a smidge too greasy and never set
  • Stung my face at times, so I could not rely on it completely when my skin barrier felt very impaired

Lo’ and behold, not even a year later, I purchased the new La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+. The cult classic product has been reformulated, thus I was intrigued. I wanted to try it in hopes my previous reservations were settled.

La Roche Posay’s new Cicaplast Baume B5+ has been in constant rotation in my skincare routine ever since I picked it up at the local pharmacy. It has only been a couple of weeks, but I am ready to review it for you all!

General Information About La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+

“Ultra-repairing soothing balm clinically proven to immediately soothe uncomfortable, damaged, or irritated skin, and to provide the optimal conditions for faster and better repair from day 1*.

The new & improved La Roche Posay Balm formula helps accelerates the natural skin recovery process whilst respecting the skin microbiome and reducing feelings of discomfort. The balm texture acts as a barrier cream, leaving an invisible protective layer on the skin, also making it ideal as an everyday nappy change balm.

*Skin barrier repair, instrumental test, 26 subject’s vs untreated skin.”

– La Roche Posay UK site

Price: 15,95 Euro
Packaging: Opaque white squeeze tube with click-off cap
Amount: 100ml
Where to Buy International: Escentual *
* This is an affiliate link. If you click on this link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you for your support!

Additional Claims/Information

  • Product is for face and body
  • Minimalist formula
  • Hypoallergenic
  • May be used for
    • nappy rashes
    • mosquito bites
    • heating sensations
    • post peeling and laser
  • Claim it’s an ultra-nourishing texture
  • Non-greasy finish
  • Fragrance-free
  • Denatured alcohol-free

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ Ingredients

Aqua/Water, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, Panthenol, Zea Mays Starch/Corn Starch, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Trihydroxystearin, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Polymnia Sonchifolia Root Juice, Zinc Gluconate, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, Silica, Aluminium Hydroxide, Magnesium Sulfate, Mannose, Capryloyl Glycine, Caprylyl Glycol, Vitreoscilla Ferment, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Lactobacillus, Acetylated Glycol Stearate, Maltodextrin, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Tocopherol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide.

I looked on a good number of La Roche Posay’s official product pages, and I never saw an updated ingredients list. I found the list above on

“La Roche-Posay’s Cicaplast Baume B5+ is enriched with new Tribioma (a unique prebiotic complex) combined with 5% of vitamin B5 and madecassoside​. Enriched with antibacterial agents’ zinc and manganese, the formula provides the optimal environment skin needs for its healing process, reducing the causes of long-term scarring.”

– La Roche Posay UK site

The above quote pretty much sums what the formula of La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ is all about.

The newest star ingredient is Tribioma. It is La Roche Posay’s trademark for a unique prebiotic complex. It’s derived from sugars, plant extracts and fermented ingredients. It is supposed to help restore the skin’s microbiome, in turn helping to strengthen weakened skin.

Highlighted Ingredients

While comparing the old formula on various websites and what I have on the box, I noticed extra ingredients:
*Not a skin expert in anyway. I’m a “skinthusiast”. Below descriptions of ingredients are written to the best of my knowledge.

  • La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water – mineral rich water that soothes the skin and has antioxidant properties
  • Dimethicone and Shea Butter: emollients
  • Glycerin: a skin-identical humectant
  • 5% Panthenol: a humectant, soothing and wound-healing
  • Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract: antioxidant, humectant and soothing
  • Polymnia Sonchifolia Root Juice: skin conditioning
  • Zinc Gluconate: soothing and anti-acne
  • Madecassoside: an antioxidant, soothing and wound-healing
  • Manganese Gluconate: skin conditioning, described as also anti-acne
  • Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide: sugar molecule that protects and stimulates beneficial microbial skin flora
  • Mannose: sugar molecule humectant
  • Vitreoscilla Ferment: skin conditioning
  • Lactobacillus: skin conditioning; There is no indication of it being a ferment, lysate, filtrate…
  • Tocopherol: AKA Vitamin E, an antioxidant

The ingredients list of the new La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+, to me, clearly showcase what the product is about. A non-greasy emollient cream with antioxidant, soothing, wound-healing, and anti-acne benefits. Throw in microbiome supporting ingredients, we got ourselves a nice barrier reparing product! Compared to the old ingredients list, there are plant extracts sugar molecules as well as ferments in the formula. I (highly) suspect these are what most likely makes up Tribioma.

But does it perform as such?

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ Texture & Application


Straight out of the tube, La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+’s texture is a midweight, opaque, and white cream. The cast-like finish is not immediately noticeable with a thin layer. Nighttime is best to be more generous and less attentive to the finish. As I spread the cream, I notice a shimmering, wet-like finish on the skin. A thin layer eventually sets on the skin. With thicker layers, it slowly melts into that shimmery wet-like finish.


Fall 2022 PM Slow Skincare Routine

I have tried La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ in several ways, morning and night (depends if I stay at home or not):

  • Spot treatment for active cystic acne. At night, I am also using my prescription Retin-A Micro 0.1% tretinoin. Tretinoin also helps to reduce inflammation around cystic acne.
  • Mixin with mositurizer. I like this for extra emollience and barrier strengthening assistance.
  • All-over face treatment for irritated skin. I do not use as a standalone moisturizer, it’s just not enough for my drier skin type.

My Experience Using La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ with Before and Afters

Helps with Allergic Reaction to Skincare and Flushing

A before and after collage. Left panel is Michelle's skin showing an allergic reaction. Left panel is Michelle's skin with soothing products applied and less redness.
A before and after picture using La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+. Left side: skin with an allergic reaction after a presumably gentle skincare routine. Right side: skin a few hours after appling the baume in a new, more minimal skincare routine.

Do you recall the above before and after photo? I featured this in my Slowvember post as an example of why I’m taking it slow in skincare for November – hence Slowvember. The La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ was – and still is – the barrier repair cream I used! Although my face is slightly casty, I assure you the after photo is not the white film covering up the redness. The redness was still peaking through after initial application. I took the after photo once I noticed the redness has finally subsided. The baume was very quick to relieve the itchiness after application. Any minor breakouts around my face also disappeared.

I also mentioned in the Slowvember post how my face was very heated after eating spicy food and having an afternoon cup of coffee. My face flushed while eating spicy food, and the afternoon coffee increased my heart rate. This unfortunate combo left my face very red, heated and uncomfortable. I again had to rinse my face and use La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ in a minimal skincare routine to save the day.

Helps with Cystic Acne

I have been very bad the past few months at maintaining consistency with my high-fat, low-carb way of eating. European summer was just so long and beautiful, fall has also been very pleasant! This means a lot of eating out and over-indulging. It is a blessing in disguise that my face tells me my body is not happy *rolls eyes*.

Since I was intrigued by the original baume for acne, of course I’d use the new one for the same reason. On two big, inflamed acne cysts on my chin (where else), I consistently applied and reapplied a generous amount of the La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ throughout the day and before bed. I showed this application in my latest nighttime skincare routine video.

I am so impressed how within a few days, the size and anger of these acne cysts decreased. In the daytime without use of tretinoin, it performed similarly to Malezia’s 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Gel (Reviewed). Keep note that I was constantly reapplying La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ throughout the day. If I were to use Malezia’s BPO Acne Treatment Gel in its stead, I would apply only twice maximum daily.

Prevents Dark Post-Acne Red Marks and Maintain’s Skin’s Health

As I write this November 17, 2022, the acne cysts are just tiny, red bumps. Although there is some residual redness, it’s nowhere as dark and obvious as the post-red acne marks I had in the past. I find the redness has faded significantly faster than just using Tretinoin on its own. In addition, my skin’s integrity is still in tact; It looks neither flakey nor depleted of moisture.

An Ode to the Original La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

Before I complete this post, I just want to give a quick shout out to the original La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume 5 that I constantly had in my skincare collection, yet never reviewed.

Works to Reduce Breakouts

The original was also excellent at reducing breakouts around my face from irritation, as well as reducing cystic acne. If you’re still not convinced, here’s a youtube video I found when first looking into La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5. A great testimonial on overcoming acne with a gentle product!

Note on the right side of the thumbnail, he points out in the video that he’s using his phone camera which may have a beauty filter on.

Post-CO2 Fraxel Laser Care

My CO2 Fraxel Laser Recovery (1st Session)

I used it as my main barrier repair product for my post-CO2 Fraxel Laser care. My husband actually had to pick up another tube for me mid-recovery because I was using it so generously. I will say during this time, when the state of my skin was most sensitive and weakened, there was some stinging. Because I was already dealing with itchiness, redness and all the fun stuff, I decided to use something else. This is during the time I picked up the Bioderma Cicabio Pommade at the recommendation of an Instagram follower. Many thanks again, because I already repurchased a 2nd tube and may soon pick up a 3rd! It has proven its worth during this post-CO2 Fraxel Laser recovery period and other instances. I deem it a go-to S.O.S. product in my skincare collection because I never have any bad reactions from it.

Post-Surgery Care

Punctures from the laproscopic appendectomy surgery

I also used it consistently on my surgery scars after my laproscopic appendectomy (got my appendix removed, heh). Fun story: I went to a follow-up appointment with the surgeon who performed the laproscopic appendectomy on me. He took a look at my scars and asked what I used. I told him my routine, which included La Roche Posay’s Cicaplast Baume B5. He thanked me and said he wanted to know so he could recommend the same thing to his other patients! Both my husband and I had such big smiles on our faces after that appointment. Although he didn’t say it directly, it’s clear the surgeon thought the healing was very good.

My friend who also saw my scars said they healed incredibly well compared to when her mother had the surgery (keep in mind age difference and lifestyle could be a factor here). I have 3 scars total – above the bellybutton, far below the bellybutton, and one on the left between the two. The latter is completely gone, the bottom one is never seen and almost faded. The top one is the biggest and most visible, but I’ve been told it looks like where I’d have a belly button piercing lol.

If the latest formula is not available where you live, worry not. The original is just as effective, but I do find the textures differ and how it sets on the skin. However, the new formula may be problematic for those of you who don’t get along well with plant extracts and ferments. For those of you who love the original and dread the reformulation, I believe the gel version is still the original formula.

Final Thoughts on La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+

La Roche Posay has not disappointed; The new Cicaplast Baume B5+ performs amazingly well and has been re-established as a staple in my skincare collection. Reflecting on previous usage, it has a clear track record in my routine as a product that provides barrier repairing and anti-acne abilities.

Rave review aside, here’s the one big con: I should not have to look across several of their websites to find an updated ingredient list. ESPECIALLY for such a cult classic product from a well renowned international brand. I started hearing of this reformulation in late August 2022. Considering how frequent online shopping is, the page for a beloved product should be up to date in a timely manner.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I had several reasons why I stopped repurchasing the original La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5. The main factor was that when push came to shove, I could not 100% rely on it when my skin barrier was at its utmost dismay. Thankfully, those times do not happen frequently. I’ve come to realize that while both La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ and Bioderma Cicabio Pommade may seem similar, I reach for them for completely different reasons. Thus, it’s okay to have more than one “cica” product, and both are must-haves in my skincare collection. I dare say, both may be “Holy Grails”.

Where to Buy International: Escentual *
* This is an affiliate link. If you click on this link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you for your support!

That’s all folks! As always, I hope you find content like this helpful and informative. Let me know in the comments down below what you think of the new formula!

xo, M

Fall 2022 PM Slow Skincare Routine

As mentioned in my post Slowvember: Taking it Slow with Skincare, I have experienced some bad reactions at the beginning of November. It is clear that my skin has not been impressed with me and has had enough of my shenanigans. I decided November will be an actual “Slowvember” month in order to keep my skin happy.

I am sharing my Fall 2022 PM (slow) skincare routine. My prescription strength Retin-A Micro at 0.1% is my only active (in my entire routine for that matter).

My PM Skincare Routine for Slowvember


Firstly, I am using Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water on a cotton round to wipe my face and neck. I then follow up with a foaming cleanser. It is a German drugstore brand called Balea. I’m using their Ultra Sensitive Cleansing Foam. I like the soft, fluffy texture and it is very gentle.

My First Skincare Haul of 2022!

Hydrating Toner

Immediately after cleansing, I apply 3 nickel-sized layer’s of Ma:nyo Bifida Biome Ampoule Toner all over my face and neck. I like how it satisfies the “inner moisture” of my skin with such a light consistency.

Third Skincare Haul of 2022: Korean Skincare


While my skin is still damp from the toner, I go in with two pumps (pea sized amount) of my prescription strength 0.1% Tretinoin. This ensures that the prescription spreads nicely all over my face. The highest strength has a gritty texture so it could be difficult to apply on drier skin. I only apply this on my face and underneath my jaw. I do bring it slightly above my orbital bone. Note, I discussed this with my prescribing dermatologist and optometrist.


Once the Tretinoin has set, I apply a mix of Bioderma’s Atoderm Intensive Baume and Cicabio Pommade. The Pommade provides additional emollience and is soothing.

Gentle Anti-Acne Treatment

After applying the moisturizer mix, I go in with my recent purchase, La Roche Posay’s new Cicaplast Baume B5+. It contains 5% Panthenol, Madecassoside (a centella asiatica constituent) and Tribioma. Tribioma is a pre-biotic complex that has been added to further support the skin’s microbiome. Stay tuned for a future review! For this routine, I used on a couple of acne cysts on my chin. I apply a generous amount to ensure the inflamed areas are well covered.

Castor Oil

I am having a go (again) at applying castor oil nightly to my eyebrows and lashes. The inspiration stems from Jennifer Myers’ eyelash video. I can’t wait to see what my lashes look like in 6+ years lol.

List and Links of Products Used

Anything marked with an asterisk (*) is an affiliate link. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase through it, I earn a small commission. Thank you for your support! Please see MICHXMASH Disclosure

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water


Balea MD Ultra Sensitive Reiningungs Schaum/Cleansing Foam

Cerave Cream-to-Foam Hydrating Cleanser (alternative)


Ma:nyo Bifida Biome Ampoule Toner


Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume


Bioderma Cicabio Pommade


La Roche Posay New Cicaplast Baume B5+


That’s it for my nighttime skincare routine! As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the goal is to keep my skin happy. I am also using this month as an opportunity to reflect on what I truly need when it comes to skincare. Be sure to stay tuned for my 2023 Skincare Goals!

As always, I hope you find content like this helpful and informative.

xo, M

Slowvember: Taking it Slow with Skincare

I know this is a good time of year to stock up on skincare favourites. There are also good deals on expensive skincare products we’ve been wanting to try. But I’d like to share something different this year with those of you in pursuit to healthier skin: taking it slow with skincare.

What is Slow Skincare?

Slow skincare is exactly like how it sounds – being slow with skincare 😀 Just chill and take it easy with your skincare routine and spending. Start off with the basics and stick to it. Don’t complicate it by including things for the sake of “results”. There’s no need for the latest and greatest trendy ingredients. Start with a 3-step routine rather than a 10-step one. You do not need a skincare collection of 50+ products *points to self* to feel like you’re doing something right.

Why I’m Taking it Slow

In October, I recovered my skin using multiple hydrating, soothing and barrier repairing products. It seemed like an excessive skincare routine. However I was familiar with all the products applied and knew none would compromise my skin. For the sake of this Low Buy Year, I was also trying to use up my products since we are now in the last stretch of 2022.

A before and after collage. Left panel is Michelle's skin showing an allergic reaction. Left panel is Michelle's skin with soothing products applied and less redness.
*Sorry about the right side being slightly blurry but I think this before and after still get’s the point across.
Left side: allergic reaction after doing what I thought was a “gentle” skincare routine. Right side: Reapplied soothing skincare hours after the first skincare routine.

The 2 days before writing this post, my skin had an allergic reaction. It was caused by my skincare routine which consisted of what I thought were gentle products. To further explain, I use them at times when my skin has breakouts or feels sensitive. I even used them in my post-laser skincare routine when my skin could not handle actives like tretinoin. The skincare products I used had a good repetoire. I was shocked that my skin had such a negative reaction to what I thought was a gentle skincare routine. To recover my skin, I had to wash my face, apply moisturizer and a barrier repair cream. Thankfully, that same day my skin eventually calmed down and was no longer red.

Now today, I again thought I did a gentle skincare routine. Cleanse, tone, moisturize mixed with a bit of a soothing ointment. My skin has been just red from heat and I have red marks on my face. I again had to recleanse my face, misted with thermal water, and applied a repairing balm.

We’re in the second last month of 2022, and my skin has been showing nothing but discontent towards me. I decided for the rest of November, I’m going to make it a Slowvember when it comes to my skincare.

Fast Skincare, Falling into the Beauty Trap

The skincare market has grown substantially since I was a preteen. When I was first trying to tackle my acne, my knowledge of skincare was non-existent and gentle drugstore products were limited. I did not cleanse my face well, I overused actives, I did not respect my skin’s barrier. As my knowledge grew, I was also no longer a broke student, so skincare became more accessible. You bet I did (and still do) my best to get my acne under control. It’s the reason I started content creating in the first place – to share my trials and tribulations with beauty as well as my clear skin journey.

I definitely lost myself in the beauty trap along my pursuit to clear skin. In my Low Buy Year post, I spoke of what caused me to steer off the path for a bit and how I’m doing a Low Buy challenge to try to get myself back on track. Please check it out if you haven’t already!

My Low Buy Rules for 2022 | Journey to Minimalism

Examples of the Power of Slow Skincare

Below are examples of how taking it slow in skincare can really transform and maintain your skin’s health. They remind me of what I want to strive for in skincare (and life): less is more. Revisiting some of this content, plus the effects a simple skincare routine had on me, inspired me to make November a Slovember month.

Redditor’s Skincare Routine

This is the Reddit post that prompted me to write about slow skincare and truly turn November into Slowvember. After a course of accutane and an allergic reaction to tretinoin, the Redditor decided to take the Asian Beauty route. He used (and still uses) hydrating and soothing skincare to rid his skin of acne and take back his skin’s health. As you can see in the photos, his skin looks (literally) picture perfect. I’m so happy that he achieved skin clarity, at such a young age at that! It took me 15+ years… It’s worth pointing out that he also brings up the use of actives and how an abundant amount can destroy the integrity of our skin. It really puts into perspective that sometimes you don’t need an active to get the skin you want.

SimpleSkincareScience and Malezia

Malezia, a brand created by F.C. from SimpleSkincareScience, is another inspiration for slow skincare. I remember when he released his two step skincare routine and I was floored. What a dramatic improvement from just TWO products! When I discovered they were his own concoction and would be releasing a skincare line, I most definitely signed up on the pre-order list.

Last year I tried Malezia skincare products based on their skincare regimen. The regimen consists of a cleanser, Malezia’s 5% Urea Moisturizer and 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Gel. My skin looked so calm and clear, I was amazed how little product gave me such results. During this experiment, it seriously questioned what the products I was using were doing and what I truly wanted out of skincare.

From that point on, I tried to figure out what I did and did not need in my skincare routine. I was going through quite a plateau with skincare in 2021 so the Malezia skincare regimen helped me break out of that. I actually put myself to the test and decided to do a Low Buy Year for 2022.

Jennifer Myers

Jennifer Myers is a youtuber that has stuck with the same skincare routine – and products – for well over a decade.

What I like about Jennifer is that she advocates for health and wellness. Sure, tretinoin is great even in my experience and we both have Korean genetics to give us an advantage with well-aging. But to me, Jennifer’s skin is also a reflection of how she feels internally. If you check out her channel, she shares more on how she eats, exercises, as well as mindset. I’ve also learned how all of this plays a part in healthy skin, but more on that in a future post! The takeaway here is to take care of yourself on the inside, and the outside will reflect that.

My Slow Skincare Routine

Last week I shared in my instagram story what my skin looked like after doing a simple skincare routine. Cleanser, hydrating toner, moisturizer mixed with a barrier repair ointment. I was both ecstatic and upset with the results. Ecstatic because my skin looked great – clear, calm, even tone, and smooth. Upset because I have so many products that I do the same thing!

I have been doing this skincare routine almost every night after that allergic reaction. The couple of times I did this skincare routine in the day, I felt way more comfortable with my skin and didn’t find the need to reach for complexion makeup.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I know how it feels.

I know having a skin disease is hard both on a physicial and mental level. We just want to try anything to make it better. But sometimes the best thing is less.

5 Mindsets for Mental AND Skin Clarity!

This year is a Low Buy Year for me. I have been going through my skincare stash as much as possible to reduce the clutter. All of my empties for 2022 so far has been from my stash save one moisturizer I purchased this year. After seeing how great my skin has been looking with minimal skincare, I feel even more desperate to use up what I have. Truthfully, I’m really feeling a skincare burnout after having to empty so many products I own. But hopefully the Low Buy challenge I issued to myself this year will give me more peace in the future.

With that, I hope this post serves as a friendly reminder to take it slow. There are a lot of great deals out right now and I totally get how this month is an opportunity to pick up things you need and want to try. But for times when you feel overwhelmed by skincare, when you’re aiming to tackle your skin concern and don’t know where to start – start slow and simple.

xo, M

NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 3 1:1 (CAIS3) Review

NIOD’s Copper Amino Isolate Serum 3 1:1 (CAIS3) has been rotating in my skincare routine since the end of March. I thought it was about time to review this skincare product for you all!

Many beauty content creators convinced me to give NIOD CAIS3 a try. I decided to make a purchase on Deciem’s website during their Slowvember 2021 sale for various NIOD products. I also wanted to use a gentle well-aging active while my skin was recovering from CO2 Fraxel laser sessions. Copper peptides seem to fit this need, so I first started using The Ordinary’s “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1% (Reviewed). I never tried copper peptides before, and it is an affordable option. After experiencing positive results and emptying that bottle, I continued on with NIOD CAIS3, the HG of copper peptide serums.

Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from NIOD CAIS3 itself. I’ve read and listened to rave reviews and lovely experiences – skin refining, firming, younger looking skin. I am in my early 30s, and I’d say my skin is doing pretty well. It looks healthy and there are no obvious signs of aging (pre-CO2 Fraxel Laser and microneedling sessions). I still wanted to give NIOD CAIS3 a go and see what this topical treatment could do for my skin.

Check out my review of other NIOD Skincare:

NIOD Skincare Review – SDSM2, RP, MG, S0, LBLC

General Information About NIOD CAIS3

“…As a highly-focused effort 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.”

– NIOD CAIS3 overview on

Amount: 30ml
Packaging: Dark glass dropper bottle
Price: $90 USD
Where to Buy:


NIOD CAIS3 Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Tripeptide-29, Tripeptide-1 Copper Acetate, Tripeptide-1 Acetate, Myristoyl Nonapeptide-3, Trifluoroacetyl Tripeptide-2, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-2, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Glycogen, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Dextran, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Isoceteth-20, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.


Highlighted Ingredients

The following highlighted ingredients in NIOD CAIS3 make up ~24.1% of the formula. It consists of “PRO-HEALTH”, “PRO-COLLAGEN” and “INTEGRITY AND DELIVERY” technologies:

  • 1% Pure Undiluted Tripeptide-1/GHK Peptide
  • 1% Pure Undiluted Copper Tripeptide-1 GHK-Cu Peptide
  • 9.0% Pure Undiluted Tripeptide-29/Glycine-Proline-Hydroxyproline – naturally occurring in our skin; may trick skin into thinking it needs more collagen
  • 4.0% Complex of Acetyl Tetrapeptide-2 and Trifluroacetyl Tripeptide-2 – support healthy collagen quality; makes skin look firmer
  • 0.10% Pure Mono-Dispersed Plant Glycogen – protect the peptides formulation
  • 9% Complex of Myristoyl Nonapeptide-3 – lipo-oligopeptide supports healthy skin renewal; helps maximize skin availability for technologies in the formula and any treatments following
  • Hyaluronic Acid Crosspolymer – helps deliver water into the skin and water-soluble actives; Humectants glycerin and sodium hyaluronate are also in the formula.

Both GHK and GHK-Cu are found in our own bodies, originally isolated from human plasma. We lose on average a few ng/ml every year.

“The 2% concentration of GHK and GHK-Cu in CAIS 3 1:1 aims to target visible signs of skin aging, including textural irregularities, uneven tone, visibly enlarged pores and a general lack of healthy radiance normally present in younger skin. In short, the skin will look healthier with visible improvements with continued use.”

– NIOD CAIS3 overview on

Texture & Application of NIOD CAIS3

The product is a beautiful deep blue colour and watery texture. I apply 4 drops directly on face and neck from dropper. The surface of my skin MUST be wet to get the mileage out of the 4 drops. NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist (SDSM) is suitable for this or whatever watery hydrator you have on hand. I first used NIOD CAIS3 once every other day when I was still recovering from my last CO2 Fraxel Laser session. At the beginning of summer, I used it 2x daily until I received a fermented serum in the mail. From that point on, I only use it at night, and on non-tretinoin days (4-6 days).

My Experience with NIOD CAIS3

First Impression

Upon first use, I felt a sensation on my skin, but not sensitizing like The Ordinary Buffet + 1% Copper Peptides (Reviewed). I noticed my pores looked small and overall complexion looked smoother. The skin refinement greatly reminded me of the effects I saw when I first started using 0.04% tretinoin. I was also surprised to feel some sort of tack after using it.

Long-Term Use

These changes took quite a while to see because I wasn’t fixated on NIOD CAIS3 improving something in particular. Hence why it took me almost 6 months to review it 😀

My skin is stronger/durable. During my time of month, when I breakout in cystic acne, my skin is not as noticeably impaired. It usually looks more textured, feels very sensitive and even my go-to moisturizer can sting my skin. I’ve noticed it’s not as sensitive, my breakouts are not as painful and not as big.

A dark spot on my lip that I’ve had for years has faded. Vitamin C didn’t even make a difference after using it for almost 4 years in a row.

Not-So-Sure Changes

***The following changes I’ve noticed may be a result from CO2 Fraxel laser.***

The little wrinkle between eyes seems to have slightly lightened. I’ve never noticed significant improvement until using NIOD CAIS3 consistently.

My nasolabial folds look nicer. They are the first area to look haggard after a long day, especially if I wore makeup. But I’m not noticing it as much and my face looks rather refreshed at the end of a long day.

As for my neck area, I frankly haven’t been paying attention enough to notice anything. From this point on, it’ll be in my mental notes to keep track of.

Watch my Summer AM Skincare Routine 2022

My Thoughts so far on NIOD CAIS3

After using NIOD CAIS3 for just over 6 months, I have to say I am quite impressed. Firstly, there is good mileage on this serum. Like I mentioned, 4 drops for face and neck (on wet skin) is all I need. If I use it once a day, I don’t need to concern myself about purchasing another bottle for another year. Secondly, it is a gentle active – very easy to use even twice a day without irritation. It also does not require a lengthy acclimatization period like tretinoin. Lastly, it does what it says it’s going to do; It targets the signs of skin aging indirectly and forms a foundation to respect skin’s health. My skin quality overall looks and performs better.

Although NIOD CAIS3 definitely performs, I still have some reservations about it as well as peptides in general:

  • They are fairly new ingredients and technologies in skincare that still feel up in the air to me.
  • Tretinoin, although requires more finesse to use – gives me the skin refinement like NIOD CAIS 3, has mileage, has acne control, and has years of studies to support it.
  • I am heavily smitten with fermented serums – I actually am obsessed with them in fact, moreso than peptides. I have had one in my skincare routine for over a year now and use it twice a day. I mention fermented serums because they also make my skin stronger, healthier, plumper and refined. I also find it makes my skin brighter and helps reduce redness.

However, since starting my clear skin journey, I have become a lot more open minded to new ingredients. I have seen visible results since introducing peptides into my skincare routine. It seems to have improved when using more elegant formulations. Currently, Deciem is one of the main Western brands I trust to lead the way with innovative technologies in skincare.

Right now I can’t make a concrete decision as to whether or not I want to repurchase NIOD CAIS3. Although impressed, I find myself excited for other skincare. I started using a fermented serum again and I have noticed a difference in my skin after having a break from it.

Perhaps when the Black Friday Sales roll around, or when I’m almost done with the bottle of NIOD CAIS3, will I have a more solid understanding of whether or not I want to continue with it.

And that’s all, folks! As always, I hope you find reviews like this helpful and informative. Please let me know in the comments down below your experience with peptides, NIOD CAIS3 in particular!

xo, M