Deciem and The Ordinary November Sale Picks

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It’s that time of the year again. All month long, all 7 brands under the Deciem umbrella will be 23% off instead of participating in the usual Black Friday insanity. This makes it a perfect time to stock up on favorites or splurge on a Niod product. That being said, I’m a big believer in “don’t buy it just because it’s on sale.” Don’t let a sale tempt you to stray from your budget or the decision to only buy what you need. With that in mind, I’ll be listing products I think are worth picking up and ones I would skip.

Please note: I’ve tested almost the entire line from The Ordinary but for many of the products from Niod and Hylamide I will be looking at ingredients, formulation, and available research to evaluate their formulas and make suggestions.

The Ordinary

Worth It:

  • Glycolic Acid Toner Nice texture, effective concentration and PH level, and wide array of anti inflammatory and hydrating ingredients to reduce irritation unlike their lactic acid which is more irritating.
  • Granactive Retinoid Emulsion 2% Light cream serum texture blends in nicely, has a nice blend of emollients, and combines a retinoic acid ester with encapsulated retinol for a gentle but effective product.
  • Buffet + Copper Peptides Gel Gel serum texture makes this better for PM but the impressive array of humectants and peptides (including 1% GHK-Cu) makes this a great anti aging product with soothing and hydrating properties.
  • Amino Acids + B5. Watery and thin but if treated as a toner or mist the nice mix of amino acids and humectants mimicking our skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor makes this nicer and better formulated than their HA.
  • Matrixyl 3000 + HA While not as nice as the previous peptide serum, this combines Matrixyl 3000 and Synthe’6 plus hyaluronic acid and glycerin making it a nice hydrating serum. I do think that the IQ Natural Line Reducing Serum with 30% Matrixyl 3000 and 30% Argireline in an aloe vera juice base with HA and glycerin is the better product and only $14-15.
  • Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG While recommended for darkness and puffiness under the eyes, you’ve actually got 6 antioxidants in here plus some nice antioxidants like urea and lactic acid making this nice for all over the face as well.
  • Azelaic Acid Suspension 10 while there’s not much in here aside from the main ingredient, it’s affordable and they’ve done their best to keep it stable and effective. Azelaic acid is a mild exfoliant with antimicrobial, antioxidant, brightening, and anti inflammatory properties great for acne, hyper pigmentation, and redness.

Skip It:

  • Anything in a propanediol base
  • Anything in a silicone base
  • One note formulations
  • Chemical exfoliants without anti inflammatory and hydrating ingredients to balance irritation.


Worth It:

  • Sub Q Skin. Features Neodermyl like the Drmtlgy Needle-Less serum (I call it the Needless serum in my head lol) but is a fraction of the cost and has added peptides, humectants, and other beneficial ingredients. The ingredients don’t have a ton of research behind them but I would suggest trying this over the more expensive Drmtlgy.
  • Low Molecular HA. This is an interesting one. You’ve got 5 molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, other humectants, and also a HA precursor. It’s a simpler version of the Niod one and I do think this is step up from any of The Ordinary 2% hyaluronic acid formulas and worth spending a few bucks more. However, between Hylamide products I would just get the SubQ Skin if I had to pick since it also has 5 forms of HA including a potential HA precursor, a bunch of humectants, and then also has a bunch of peptides and other beneficial ingredients.


  • Sensitive Fix. Like many Hylamide products, there’s nothing really anything wrong with the ingredients. I just don’t see much in here that’s going to actually be beneficial for sensitive skin and make a significant difference.
  • Pore Control I have similar issues with this as I do with the Sensitive Fix. Ingredients aren’t bad and there’s some beneficial ingredients but there’s nothing really proven to reduce sebum production aside from niacinamide which is in many formulations. I think if you pick up either of these, make sure your other bases are covered first.

Skip It:

  • Pore Flush and Sub Q Mists. Ingredients look good at first glance but when you really look at these you realize they’re just plant waters. Lots of extracts but lacking humectants and proven ingredients.
  • C25. I just expect more at this price. Stabilized Vit C in the form ethyl ascorbic acid, brightening and antioxidant rescorcinol, and another brightener – that’s it.


Worth It:

  • CAIS. Niod’s copper peptide serum is a strong offering from the brand. There’s some smart formulating here – they’ve used 2% Tripeptide-1 aka GHK which is a synthetic peptide made up of a string of 3 amino acids. This has a copper binding peptide so if it comes into contact with copper, whether in solution or in the skin, it will bond and form a complex aka GHK-Cu. They have you mix it fresh when you’re ready to use it so you end up with 1% GHK-Cu and 1% GHK (and that last one can still become GHK-Cu in the skin). This has a few additional peptides and humectants on top of the GHK-Cu which has been shown to be anti inflammatory, wound healing, both protects against and repairs UV damage, improves loose skin and wrinkle depth, improves skin elasticity and firmness, and helps repair skin barrier proteins among other things. This doesn’t have a diverse mix of ingredients and is better for mature skin types that already has their other basics down in my opinion.
  • Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex. There’s a lot to like here. Niod has taken your basic HA and instead use 15 different molecular weights – a bit over the top and likely unnecessary, yes. But they’ve also added several added other Natural Moisturizing Factor components (responsible for skin hydration and barrier function) like sodium PCA, amino acids, glycerin, and sodium lactate as well as other humectants and beneficial ingredients. And then they’ve got not only the polyglucuronic acid from the Hylamide HA but N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine-6-Phosphate Disodium Salt too. Glucuronic acid and N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine are the building blocks of HA (HA is a polysaccharide and they make up the alternating links) and considered precursors since having more on hand has been shown to help HA production. So in theory, this should help with both short and long term hydration.
  • FECC The Fractionated Eye Concentrate is essentially their eye serum and while it’s pricey, I think it’s very promising and can see why so many love this. You’ve got the 2 HA precursors again here as well as a lot of humectants including peptides which can help temporarily plump up the under eye. What I like though is that they’ve added provoke ingredients too like the anti aging, brightening super star ingredient niacinamide as well as ascorbic acid, zinc PCA, and other antioxidants plus plankton extract which is rich in photolyase. I don’t think it will drastically restore signs of aging particularly volume loss but I think it’s a nice plumping, hydrating eye serum that will be protect against further damage.


  • Superoxide Dismutase Mist. This has a nice high concentration of SOD and I like that it includes some additional antioxidant minerals, plant extracts, and humectants. However, at that high cost I’m just not sure it’s worth it and I really would prefer to see a wider array of antioxidants. Skin Actives has plenty of great products with more antioxidants at a much better price point – you can find SOD paired with other fantastic antioxidants in their Advanced Ageless line
  • Non-Acid Precursor This has potential I think as an exfoliant for sensitive skin or someone who does chemical peels and just needs a mild exfoliant for in-between. I like they they’ve added ingredients like bisbolol to help with irritation as well. That being said, the price is fairly high and this is a simple formula that despite their claims to the contrary, doesn’t have any evidence to suggest it’s as effective as glycolic acid (one of the best ingredients out there for concerns like anti aging, texture, and can even help with hyper pigmentation).

Skip It

  • Voicemail Masque. Plant stem cells are good for plants. Skin Actives again has great antioxidant products like their Antioxidant serum and 20% Vitamin C.
  • Neck Elasticity Catalyst. The neck and chest can be more sensitive so you have to be careful with the stronger retinoids and AHAs but there’s no reason you can’t find amazing serums and moisturizers that work for both face and neck. I see some nice peptides and humectants but nothing proven to actually to help with skin elasticity and firmness. Put the $53 toward NEWA (code “mira10” for a discount) radio frequency which is an at-home device with medical grade technology and over 40 studies showing it increases dermal collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. The NEC also has ultra low molecular weight hyaluronic acid which was the only form of HA shown to be potentially detrimental to our skin research wise.
  • Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid Network. They’ve taken the same Hylamide formula which as an ethoxydiglycol base and increased the ethyl ascorbic acid by 5% and swapped the 2 skin brighteners for superoxide dismutase, selenium, and zinc. It’s a better version but still very basic ingredients wise and I’m not sold at that price tag.

Was this helpful? Share your picks below!

31 responses to “Deciem and The Ordinary November Sale Picks”

  1. I first learned of The Ordinary this time last year and have tried a bunch of products. My favorites and the ones that I continue to purchase are the lactic acid 10% and Buffet + Copper Peptides and use them 3 to 4 times a week. Although this is a great sale I’m content with my routine and don’t plan on adding any more items to my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Buffet + CP has become such a favorite of mine. And honestly, that is great! I will stock up during sales if I need back ups of products I’ve used for years and know I will be buying more of or maybe to test something for you guys. But if you’re happy with your routine, there’s no need to buy just for the sake of adding something new.


  2. I’d add to it the AHA/BHA peel which works really great, is non-irritating and very inexpensive. Mira, do you think that I could add some of the “worth it” serums to my O2 sprayer and spray my face with it or would the heavier serums like the caffeine or azalaic acid clog it up? Great Blog!!


    • I know this will be an unpopular opinion but I’m not a fan of that one. They use a blend of exfoliating acids and aside from the main AHAs a lot of the other ones are more irritating and less effective. Then unlike the glycolic acid toner, you don’t have all those anti inflammatory and hydrating ingredients. I just have found something like the Skin Actives Alpha Beta Solution to be much better. That being said, we’re all different and I know lots of people love that one for sure. The azelaic acid is almost like a lotion texture so yeah, I don’t think that would work. I would just apply by hand and combine with your sprayer.


  3. I see so many that use and enjoy the Ordinary product line but haven’t tried them yet. I have an Ulta store in my town but for some reason they don’t carry the product 😦


    • I definitely think they’re hit or miss. I’ve tried plenty of duds. I just feel like it’s worth it to spend $5 more and get something that isn’t a one note product with an unpleasant texture. But then they’ll make these great products like the ones I list with decent textured and an array of nice ingredients and I’m like why not make more like those? I hope they do


  4. Any recommendations from The Ordinary for anti aging besides Buffet? I just started using their line again after using way too many expensive ingredients with little to no results. I’m 36, and struggle with congestion, and I never seem to find the balance between extremely oily or dry as a desert.


    • Retinoid emulsion 2%, glycolic acid toner, Buffet with copper peptides (not the regular), Caffeine solution (for the antioxidants), and the Matrixyl
      Serum. But I do think that K Beauty is worth spending a little more for same with Stratia Skin and Skin Actives. I love the TO products mentioned but I use a few at a time, I wouldn’t build an entire routine with them because you’d be missing things. Are you oily and dry in the same places? Because that would be dehydration. Or do you mean you’re combo?


  5. Any recommendations from The Ordinary for anti aging besides Buffet? I just started using their line again after using way too many expensive ingredients with little to no results. I’m 36, and struggle with congestion, and I never seem to find the balance between extremely oily or dry as a desert.


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