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Have you heard? Niod CAIS and The Ordinary Buffet had a baby: The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%.

I’m a total NIOD CAIS fan girl. It makes my skin a little firmer and keeps it working as it should.

I’ve never cared about TO Buffet. I’m not convinced most of its peptides work. #sorrynotsorry

Still, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to try their baby. I love me some copper peptides so if everything else works, that’s just a bonus.

If they don’t work, you’ve still got a steal. A 30ml bottle of CAIS is £60.00. The same amount of The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% “only” £28.99.

Yes, it’s way more expensive than your ordinary The Ordinary product (see what I did there? 😉 ) but those peptides are expensive. If you can’t justify it, don’t worry: peptides are NOT a must for skin.

If you can justify it, read on:

About The Brand: The Ordinary

The Ordinary is a drugstore brand developed by the company Deciem. In the past, you’d have to go high-end to get the best anti-aging actives, like retinol and glycolic acid, at high enough concentrations to be effective against wrinkles and dark spots.

The Ordinary is on a mission to revolutionise that – and it’s doing a brilliant job at it. Each product contains proven-to-work active ingredients in concentrations high enough to fight wrinkles, treat acne, exfoliate skin, and fade away dark spots – in other words, they do what they say on the tin.

They’re able to bring effective actives at a super affordable price to you and still make a profit by keeping their formulas simple (you only get 1 or 2 actives and nothing extra – for example Vitamin C serums that only contain Vitamin C minus other antioxidants that’d boost its effectiveness), cutting corners on textures (they can be grainy or foamy), and keeping advertising and marketing costs to a minimum.

Hey, when skincare works, word of mouth is the only marketing formula you need. You create something amazing, people are going talk about it and share with all their friends! If only more brands took this approach…

Key Ingredients In The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%: What Makes It Work?

COPPER TRIPEPTIDE-1 TO BOOST COLLAGEN

This is the copper peptide in The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%. It’s a peptide found in human plasma that activates a lot of functions in the body, including wound healing, collagen production, and anti-inflammatory responses.

In other words, it makes sure that your skin stays healthy and does all its jobs properly even as it gets older.

Most of the studies on copper peptides aren’t reliable. They’re done in vitro, on cells in a dish. But I’ve found a study done on real skin.

71 women applied a copper peptide cream on their sun-damaged skin. After 12 weeks, the cream “improved skin laxity, clarity, and appearance, reduced fine lines and the depth of wrinkles, and increased skin density and thickness.”

To sum it up, copper peptides do 3 things really well:

FYI, too much copper in the skin may have the opposite effect and cause free radicals. Don’t use copper peptides every day. Two or three times a week is enough.

Related: Are Copper Peptides Better Than Retinoids For Sun-Damaged Skin?

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“BUFFET” PEPTIDES TO BOOST SKIN FUNCTIONS

I.e. all the other peptides in The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%:

  • Argirelox Peptide Complex: Made up of Argireline + Pentapeptide-18 (Leuphasyl), it relaxes the muscles so they can’t move as well and, overtime, leave wrinkles behind. It’s said to reduce wrinkles depth by up 30%, but works only on thin skin. I don’t care for it: if it were a real alternative to Botox, no one would use the needle anymore. Save your money on this one.
  • Palmitoyl tripeptide-1: It may boost collagen production.  I haven’t found much proof it works on human skin yet.
  • Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7: The manufacturer swears it makes skin firmer and smoother. I’m still waiting for independent studies that confirm this.
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38: The manufacturer says it increases the production of hyaluronic acid in the skin. Again, I couldn’t find any evidence supporting this.
  • Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate: You probably know this as Syn™-Ake, a peptide that relaxes muscles. As you know by now, I think these relaxing peptides are just a waste of your money and time.
  • Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine: Known as Restilase, it’s supposed to boost collagen production. Again, the only studies are from the manufacturer.

I know this part of the review sounds very negative and I don’t mean to say they’re useless but…

Peptides are kinda new in skincare. If a manufacturer has studies that a peptide boosts collagen/fights wrinkles/relaxes muscles on a few cells in a Petri dish, a brand is gonna run with it.

They’ll put it in their serums and moisturisers and use the manufacturer’s studies in their marketing copies. They’re in the business of making money, I get it.

I’m in the business of reviewing products so I’ll tell you this: if a serum or moisturiser has antioxidants/hyaluronic acid/AHAs/anything-really-proven-to-work + peptides, go for it.

If peptides turn out to work as the manufacturer claims, that’s a bonus. If not, no harm done. You’re still getting a product that works. But don’t waste $100+ on a peptide serum alone. Not yet anyway.

Related: What Type Of Peptides Work Best To Repair Skin?

HUMECTANTS TO HYDRATE SKIN

Humectants is a fancy way of calling ingredients that attract moisture from the air into the skin.

Hyaluronic acid is king here. It holds up to 1000 times its weight in water. The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% uses TWO forms of hyaluronic acid + glycerin so it packs a super hydrating punch.

When skin has all the moisture it needs, it just looks and works better:

  • Plumping: Moisture plumps up your skin, making your fine lines and wrinkles look smaller.
  • Glowing: Well-hydrated skin has a natural dewy glow to it.
  • Softening: Moisture makes skin soft and smooth.

Forget about peptides. Plenty of extra moisture is enough to make your skin look younger and healthier.

Related: What The Heck Are Humectants And Why Are They In My Skincare Products?


Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):


The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Aqua (Water): The base of the product.
  • Lactococcus Ferment Lysate: A new probiotic ingredient derived from the Gram-positive bacteria, Lactococcus lactis. According to the manufacturer, it improves barrier function, keeping skin healthy and hydrated.
  • Allantoin: Although it can be derived from comfrey, the type used in skincare products is almost always synthetic. Soothing and moisturising, its job is to mitigate the skin’s reaction to harsh actives (think retinol and glycolic acid) and buffer any potential irritating effects of a formulation.
  • Glycine: The simplest of the amino acids, it’s very hydrated and helps to keep skin soft and younger-looking.
  • Alanine: Another amino acids, one of the building blocks for collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep your skin firm and elastic.
  • Serine: An amino acid that helps retain moisture in the skin. Hydrated skin = younger-looking skin.
  • Valine: This amino acids soothes and hydrates skin.
  • Isoleucine: Another hydrating amino acids that makes skin soft and supple.
  • Proline: This amino acid helps skin retain moisture and supports the structures in skin that prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Threonine: Another hydrating amino acid.
  • Histidine: This multi-tasking amino acid hydrates, soothes irritations, and protects skin from environmental aggressors.
  • Phenylalanine: An amino acid used in the treatment of vitiligo.
  • Arginine: An amino acid with antioxidants and hydration properties.
  • Aspartic Acid: An amino acid with light hydration properties that also helps build collagen.
  • Trehalose: A plant sugar with humectant properties. It draws moisture from the air into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated.
  • Fructose: A natural sugar found in honey and fruits, it hydrates skin.
  • Glucose: A plant sugar, it hydrates skin and gives cosmetics a sweet, pleasant flavour.
  • Maltose: Another hydrating sugar.
  • Sodium PCA: Part of the skin’s natural protective barrier, it helps skin attract and retain moisture, keeping it softer, suppler, and younger-looking.
  • PCA: Derived from amino acids, it helps boost hydration in the uppermost layers of your skin.
  • Sodium Lactate: The sodium salt of lactic acid, it hydrates skin and has minor antioxidant properties.
  • Citric Acid: Used to adjust a formula’s pH.
  • Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin: It prevents metal ions or metallic compounds from adhering to skin.
  • Sodium Chloride: Used to thicken skincare formulations.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: Used to adjust a formula’s pH.
  • Butylene Glycol: This multi-tasker enhances the texture of a product, decreases enough surface skin, and stabilises the formula.
  • Pentylene Glycol: Mostly used to enhance the texture of a product.
  • Acacia Senegal Gum: It enhances the feel of a formula and thickens the texture.
  • Xanthan Gum: Derived from the fermentation of simple sugars, it acts as a thickening agent, texture enhancer, and emulsion stabilizer.
  • Carbomer: It helps to adjust the thickness of a formula.
  • Polysorbate 20: It’s mainly used as a mild cleansing agent.
  • Dimethyl Isosorbide: A solvent.
  • Sodium Benzoate: A preservative that keeps fungi and bacteria at bay.
  • Caprylyl Glycol: Here, it’s used as a preservative.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin: Used as a preservative to keep the formula stable.
  • Phenoxyethanol: Another preservatives that keeps your serum safe from bacteria.
  • Chlorphenesin: A preservatives that keeps bacteria at bay and helps the formula last longer.

Texture

Blue in colour, The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% has a lightweight, gel-like texture that takes a few minutes to absorb. Until it does, it feels a little tacky.

Texture-wise, NIOD CAIS wins hands down. It’s lightweight to the point of runny, but absorbs immediately. I don’t have to wait to do the rest of my skincare routine.

Fragrance

I have good and bad news. Let’s start with the good news: the serum is fragrance-free. That’s good because fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredients used in skincare. If a product irritates you, 9 times out of 10, the fragrance is the culprit. By leaving it out, even sensitive skin can use this serum without irritation (unless, of course, you’re allergic to one of the other ingredients in the formula).

The bad news? Fragrance-free products still have a smell. It’s the natural smell of the ingredients. Unfortunately, most skincare ingredients don’t smell good, hence why brand add artificial fragrances to them. This serum smells bad, I’m not going to lie about that. But better a bad smell that evaporates quickly than an irritation, if you ask me.

How Do You Use The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%?

You can use this serum in the morning or evening, after cleansing. I don’t recommend using copper peptides too often because too much may have the opposite effect and accelerate aging. Once a day is fine, just don’t go overboard.

Packaging

This serum comes in a dark bottle with a dropper applicator. It looks elegant and the dropper applicator makes it very easy and practical to use.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Remember when I told you I saw a difference with NIOD CAIS after I stopped using it? Copper peptides keep skin in a constant state of repair. They’re like supervisors who make sure every skin cell works as it should.

If your skin is still young and doesn’t have a lot of damage, it’s unlikely you’ll see any visible results. It’s when you stop using it that you’re like, “mmm, I swear my skin looked better last week?”

What I’ve noticed straight away is that The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% hydrates skin, helps any blemish heal faster, and soothes irritations. I don’t get blemishes often – I know what works for my skin by now.

But, as a skincare blogger, I try lots of different products. Sometimes, one of them leaves an unwanted present behind. When that happens, I can rely on this serum to make it go away faster.

It also helps skin tolerate harsh ingredients better. If you’re ready to go prescription with retinoids but are scared of the side effects, adding The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% helps reduce the irritation.

The serum is also hydrating. If you’re skin is on the dry side and needs all the hylauronic acid it can get, you’ll appreciate this.

Instead, I didn’t really see any reduction in fine lines. But hey, you win some, you lose some.

Related: NIOD Copper Amino Isolate 2:1 Full Review

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The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% VS NIOD CAIS 2:1: Which One Is Best?

For me, NIOD CAIS wins hands down. Out of the two serums, it works faster and makes my skin look better. I didn’t see much of an improvement with The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%.

I’m not saying it doesn’t work. I’m saying it doesn’t work as well for ME. Still, there are a few reasons why YOU may prefer The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%:

  • You’re already loving The Ordinary Buffet and want the added benefits of copper peptides.
  • You have dry skin and need something more hydrating than NIOD CAIS.
  • You’re looking for a cheaper version of NIOD CAIS.
  • You don’t want to mix your skincare (NIOD CAIS comes in two bottles you need to mix together).

What I Like About The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%

  • The packaging. Like all The Ordinary products, it’s simple, sleek, and practical.
  • It’s fragrance-free, so it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin.
  • Lightweight texture that absorbs quickly into my skin.
  • It’s hydrating and makes my skin a little softer and smoother.

What I DON’T Like About The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%

  • Apart from the extra little bit of hydration, it didn’t really do too much for my skin.
  • Copper peptides excluded, there’s still not much proof that peptides work as claimed (if they did, we’d have ditched retinol already – just saying).
  • Texture feels a little tacky.
  • Doesn’t smell nice.

Who Should Use This?

No one needs this. There’s just not enough scientific evidence that peptides do much of anything and my own personal experience didn’t wow me. But if you want to try copper peptide on a budget, this is your best option.

The only women who should avoid this at all costs are those who have fuzz on their skin. Copper peptides are known to aggravate that (and that’s the LAST thing you want).

Does The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% Live Up To Its Claims?

CLAIMTRUE?
This formula combines a comprehensive array of studied technologies to target multiple signs of aging at once. The technologies are direct Copper Peptides, also known as GHK-Cu (Copper Tripeptide-1), Matrixyl™ 3000 peptide complex (with palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7), Matrixyl™ synthe’6™ peptide complex (with palmitoyl tripeptide-38), SYN™-AKE peptide complex (with dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate), ARGIRELOX™ peptide complex (with acetyl hexapeptide-8, pentapeptide-18) and a Probiotic complex (with Lactococcus lactis lysate), solubilized in a base of 11 skin-friendly amino acids and multiple forms of hyaluronic acid. It’s true it contains all these technologies with the aim to target multiple signs of aging. Doesn’t mean they work. Most of the studies supporting these claims come from their manufacturers.
The “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1% formula differs from our original “Buffet” as this formula includes a 1% concentration of pure Copper Peptides, increasing its focus on overall skin health. The natural role of these peptides as found in human plasma includes supporting a wide range of skin health functions like maintaining normal immune function, collagen synthesis, fibroblast production and anti-inflammatory responses. The inclusion of Copper Peptides offers a natural blue tint to the formula. The total concentration of active technologies in this formula is 26.1%. True.

Is The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% Cruelty-Free?

Yes. The Ordinary is vegan, cruelty-free and it doesn’t even sell in mainland China, where animal tests are still mandatory.

Price & Availability

£28.99 at Asos, Beauty Bay and Cult Beauty

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

I’m not convinced anyone needs peptides in their skincare routine. But if you want to try them anyway, this is a good way to do so without breaking the bank.

Dupes & Alternatives

I couldn’t find a cheaper alternative for

  • Good Molecules Super Peptides Serum ($12.00): This is a simpler formula that only contains 3 peptides, including a copper peptide. I don’t expect the peptides to do much, but the formula is more hydrating. If you’re looking for a hydrating serum anyway, you may just as well try and see if the peptides do anything extra for you. Available at Ulta.
  • NIOD Copper Amino Serum 2:1 (£38.00-£60.00): I know this is more expensive, but it works way better than The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%. You can read my full review here. This is something I’ve actually repurchased myself a few times now. Available at Beauty Bay.

Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Copper Tripeptide-1, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Pentapeptide-18, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Trehalose, Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, Urea, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin