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A couple of months back I was lucky enough to sit in on an event with Space NK (who now stock our beloved Niod) and Deciem talking all things formulation; I'm getting really quite nerdy when it comes to skincare, so I loved it! It was to celebrate the launch (or re-launch) of the Copper Amino Isolate Serum 3 1:1* (CAIS 3) | £60 (30ml) | and now the Copper Amino Isolate Lipid 1%* (CAIL) | £70 (15ml) | has also made a return, it seemed the perfect moment for a review and comparison whilst the 23% off Deciem #Slowvember sale is still running...


It had been a little while since I used the CAIS 2, and my approach to skincare was so different then, and my knowledge of skincare was rudimentary (I just knew that this product was the secret to a good skin day for me!) So, with the launch of CAIS 3, it was also going to be a test of whether this would still be as good as I'd remembered. For the uninitiated, I appreciate Niod can be quite an opaque brand; it's really geared towards those with an interest in skincare who want to be at the cutting edge of new technology, but that doesn't mean you can't learn about their products.

Peptides are short-chain amino acids that like an alkaline environment, meaning they shouldn't be combined in the same routine as acids like ascorbic (pure-form Vitamin C) or chemical exfoliants (like lactic, salicylic or glycolic) or you could neutralise and destabilise them. You could technically use them alongside retinoids, but that's two powerful actives in one routine, so isn't going to work for everyone. I personally throw this into my routine instead of my retinoid twice a week (then layer it alongside it once a week, so I can get this in three times), which is a big sacrifice for me because I love my retinoids. That's really a testament to how much I rate this product, though! All of that, and I've still not actually explained what peptides do. They definitely have a humectant benefit, hydrating and plumping the skin so it looks its best but they could also help stimulate collagen production, which (as I'm sure we all know) depletes over time, leading to loss of volume and bounce in the skin. They also have potential antioxidant benefits, protecting the skin from environmental damage, plus they can help with areas of excess pigment and discolouration. They also have a reparative angle, possibly helping to reverse damage to the skin. Back when I knew not a lot about skincare, I used this product and could see it was making my skin look 'good', and I actually wasn't far off, to be fair! This is a multi-pronged attack on many common skin issues.


Let's start by talking CAIS 3. If you've used CAIS 2, you'll remember it comes as a two-step process with an activator that looks like an empty jar (but isn't!) that you have to pour into the serum to have the finished product; an actually quite beautiful deep royal blue serum. This was to ensure the stability of this ingredient but Niod has now found a way around it, and they've updated this formula as the science and technology has moved forwards so we're now on the third iteration of the copper peptide serum. This, for me, performs in the same way as the original formula I remember and it has the same water-light feel on the skin. I think this texture makes it not only pleasant to apply, because it really feels like nothing, but it makes it suitable for a range of skin types; it's neither drying nor moisturising, it just is. You're going to want to apply it early in your routine, so after cleansing (and toning / misting if you do that step, but remember: no acids) whilst your skin is still slightly damp. And what's fantastic about this product is that you see the difference in you skin's quality, texture and appearance so quickly. If the price seems a little steep for you, you can always start with the 15ml for £38, which could work perfectly if you only want to use this a couple of times a week to fit it in around other actives, and don't forget: the sale is on until the end of the month.


It also seemed a good time to talk about the CAIL, which had been out of stock for a loooong time. This is a blue oil-based product, so the delivery system isn't quite so universal, but it is meant to improve the penetration of the ingredient into the skin. I think this is best for dry skin types and is best-used as part of an evening routine, so there's not the same versatility here. For more mature skin types these lipids will replenish the skin and provide much-needed nourishment to the skin. This is a little harder to work into your routine though, which might mean that if you're a busy person, you're less likely to reach for this than the serum. I personally apply it early on in my routine, the same as the serum, as I want the active to be as close to my skin as possible. I'll then leave it for a good hour and go about the rest of my evening, before applying a light layer of moisturiser over the top. I find it equally as effective as CAIS with that added boost of moisture. My main negative is that as you get into this product and use it regularly, the tube can get a little bent and actually the product can start to ooze out of the sides. Not ideal for something that isn't super-stable!

For me the packaging + the price difference + the versatility makes the CAIS 3 my personal choice out of the two (particularly now it comes in one bottle and feels less fussy), but if you're a little older and you're really feeling your skin is lacking in much-needed lipids, the CAIL might suit you better. However, I hope that either way, this post has given you a good idea of what copper peptides might be able to do and why I personally love them and you could too!

Have you tried either of these formulas or any other copper peptide on the market?

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