This review is a long time coming! I’ve had a bit of a skincare misadventure over the summer, but now, I’ve finally used DECIEM’s popular “Buffet” peptide serum for several months and feel that I can give it a more detailed review.
Earlier this year, I was looking to overhaul my fairly basic skincare routine and picked up several skincare products from DECIEM’s The Ordinary, a line of pared-down products. I was never much of a serum-user, as my routine pretty much consisted of cleanser plus moisturizer, but having read a lot about serums—and about the Korean 10-step skincare routine, in particular—I was determined to expand my skincare horizons.
The first product from The Ordinary that I worked into a routine was the much talked-about “Buffet” Multi-Technology Peptide Serum, which retails at a quite low price of CA$14.80. Other peptide serums can cost upwards of a couple hundred dollars, for the same 30 mL, so I was both very curious to see how effective The Ordinary’s product could be.
Peptide Serum Price Comparison Chart
For reference, here are some prices of peptide serums on beautyBOUTIQUE/Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora Canada, and Well.ca. All prices are in Canadian dollars. For products available in multiple sizes, I used the largest, most cost-effective size.
Before I started, I didn’t realize there were so many! But hey, gotta add them all.
|Brand||Product||Size||MSRP||Cost per 10 mL|
|Matrixyl 10% + Hyaluronic Acid||30 mL||$11.50||$0.38 / mL|
|“Buffet” Multi-Technology Peptide Serum||30 mL||$14.80||$0.49 / mL|
|Olay||Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum||50 mL||$39.99||$0.80 / mL|
|Olay||Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum||50 mL||$41.99||$0.84 / mL|
|DECIEM Hylamide||Booster Pore Control||30 mL||$26.99||$0.90 / mL|
|Derma E||Deep Wrinkle Serum||60 mL||$56.49||$0.94 / mL|
|Juice Beauty||Antioxidant Serum||60 mL||$60||$1.00 / mL|
|Nuvocare||AGEOFF Wrinkle-Reduction-Serum||30 mL||$31.99||$1.07 / mL|
|Marcelle||New-Age Precision 8-in-1 Power Serum||30 mL||$33.99||$1.13 / mL|
|Jack Black||Protein Booster Skin Serum||60 mL||$69||$1.15 / mL|
|No7||Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum Bottle||30 mL||$35||$1.17 / mL|
|Anthony||High Performance Vitamin A Treatment||50 mL||$59||$1.18 / mL|
|bareMinerals||SKINLONGEVITY Vital Power Infusion||50 mL||$60||$1.20 / mL|
|DECIEM Hylamide||SubQ Anti-Age||30 mL||$38||$1.27 / mL|
|First Aid Beauty||Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum||30 mL||$45||$1.50 / mL|
|Jouviance||Collagen Boost Wrinkle Filling Serum||30 mL||$55||$1.83 / mL|
|REN||Evercalm Anti-Redness Serum||30 mL||$55||$1.83 / mL|
|philosophy||When Hope Is Not Enough||30 mL||$56||$1.87 / mL|
|Clinique||Repairwear Laser Focus||50 mL||$97||$1.94 / mL|
|Clinique||Smart Custom-Repair Serum||100 mL||$195||$1.95 / mL|
|Origins||Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum||50 mL||$98||$1.96 / mL|
|Caudalie||Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum||30 mL||$59||$1.97 / mL|
|Clinique||Sculptwear Lift and Contour Serum for Face and Neck||50 mL||$99||$1.98 / mL|
|StriVectin||Tightening Face Serum||50 mL||$99||$1.98 / mL|
|Estée Lauder||Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II||115 mL||$230||$2.00 / mL|
|Skyn Iceland||Arctic Elixir||30 mL||$60||$2.00 / mL|
|NeoStrata||FirmaLift Firming and Tightening Serum||30 mL||$61.99||$2.07 / mL|
|Vasanti||Age Is Only A Number Elixir||30 mL||$62||$2.07 / mL|
|Youth to the People||Age Prevention Superfood Serum||30 mL||$62||$2.07 / mL|
|bareMinerals||BRILLIANT FUTURE Age Defense & Renew Serum||30 mL||$30||$2.17 / mL|
|Estée Lauder||Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher||50 mL||$108||$2.16 / mL|
|Perricone MD||High Potency Amine Face Treatment||60 mL||$132||$2.20 / mL|
|Anthony||High Performance Anti-Wrinkle Glycolic Peptide Serum||30 mL||$68||$2.27 / mL|
|Juice Beauty||GREEN APPLE Age Defy Serum||30 mL||$69||$2.30 / mL|
|MyChelle||Peptide Anti-Wrinkle Serum||30 mL||$70||$2.33 / mL|
|NeoStrata||Anti-Aging Serum with Fruit Stem Cells||30 mL||$72||$2.40 / mL|
|Skin Authority||Tri-Power Peptide Hydrator||50 mL||$121||$2.42 / mL|
|First Aid Beauty||Retinol Serum 0.25% Pure Concentrate||30 mL||$73||$2.43 / mL|
|Tria||Finishing Serum||30 mL||$75||$2.50 / mL|
|Estée Lauder||Perfectionist CP+R Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum||50 mL||$127||$2.54 / mL|
|Clarins||Booster Energy||15 mL||$40||$2.67 / mL|
|Dr. Roebuck’s||Reverse Aging Serum||30 mL||$80||$2.67 / mL|
|REN||Keep Young and Beautiful Firming and Smoothing Serum||30 mL||$81||$2.70 / mL|
|Dr. Dennis Gross||Clinical Concentrate Hydration Booster||30 mL||$82||$2.73 / mL|
|Dr. Dennis Gross||Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster||30 mL||$82||$2.73 / mL|
|Bobbi Brown||Intensive Skin Supplement||30 mL||$85||$2.83 / mL|
|Bliss||Triple Oxygen Radiant Protection Energizing Serum||26 mL||$74||$2.85 / mL|
|Kate Somerville||D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum||20 mL||$59||$2.95 / mL|
|Dr. Brandt||Laser FX Perfect Serum||30 mL||$89.50||$2.98 / mL|
|DECIEM NIOD||Copper Amino Isolate Serum 1.00%||30 mL||$90||$3.00 / mL|
|Perricone MD||PRE:EMPT SERIES Skin Perfecting Serum||30 mL||$90||$3.00 / mL|
|Bliss||Firm, Baby, Firm Dual-Action Lifting + Volumizing Serum||30 mL||$92||$3.07 / mL|
|Caudalie||Resveratrol Lift Firming Serum||30 mL||$94||$3.13 / mL|
|NUDE Skincare||Advanced Renewal Serum||30 mL||$97||$3.23 / mL|
|Kate Somerville||LumiWhite Skin Tone Perfector||30 mL||$98||$3.27 / mL|
|Murad||Advanced Active Radiance Serum||30 mL||$98||$3.27 / mL|
|StriVectin||Active Infusion Youth Serum||30 mL||$99||$3.30 / mL|
|B. Kamins||Nia-Stem Serum Kx||40 mL||$135||$3.38 / mL|
|Algenist||Retinol Firming & Lifting Serum||60 mL||$208||$3.47 / mL|
|Algenist||POWER Advanced Wrinkle Fighter Serum||30 mL||$108||$3.60 / mL|
|Dr. Dennis Gross||Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum||30 mL||$110||$3.67 / mL|
|Dr. Dennis Gross||Hydra-Pure™ Vitamin C Brightening Serum||30 mL||$115||$3.83 / mL|
|Murad||White Brilliance Porcelain Serum||30 mL||$115||$3.83 / mL|
|Algenist||Concentrated Reconstructing Serum||30 mL||$120||$4.00 / mL|
|B. Kamins||C- Resveratrol Serum Kx||30 mL||$126||$4.20 / mL|
|Dr. Brandt||Do Not Age with Dr. Brandt Beauty Sleep Serum||40 mL||$175||$4.38 / mL|
|Clarins||Super Restorative Remodelling Serum||30 mL||$138||$4.60 / mL|
|Skin Inc.||Collagen Serum ELASTICITY & SUPPLENESS||10 mL||$46||$4.60 / mL|
|Skin Inc.||French Pine Bark Serum ANTIOXIDANT PROTECTION||10 mL||$46||$4.60 / mL|
|Algenist||ELEVATE Firming & Lifting Contouring Serum||30 mL||$140||$4.67 / mL|
|Algenist||GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum||30 mL||$140||$4.67 / mL|
|Peter Thomas Roth||Wrinkle X Fast-Acting Serum||30 mL||$148||$4.93 / mL|
|Darphin||Exquisâge Beauty Revealing Serum||30 mL||$165||$5.50 / mL|
|Dermarche Labs||BioREWIND AM Full-Spectrum Antioxidant Serum||30 mL||$171||$5.70 / mL|
|Guerlain||Abeille Royale Daily Repair Serum||30 mL||$182||$6.07 / mL|
|Peter Thomas Roth||Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum||30 mL||$185||$6.17 / mL|
|Peter Thomas Roth||FIRMx Growth Factor Extreme Neuropeptide Serum||30 mL||$187||$6.23 / mL|
|Radical Skincare||Peptide Infused Antioxidant Serum||30 mL||$198||$6.60 / mL|
|Perricone MD||Acyl-Glutathione Deep Crease Serum||30 mL||$227||$7.57 / mL|
|Omorovicza||Rose Lifting Serum||30 mL||$230||$7.67 / mL|
|Lancer||Lift Serum Intense with Stem Cell Recovery Complex||30 mL||$340||$11.33 / mL|
|Lancer||Younger Pure Youth Serum with MIMIXYL||30 mL||$340||$11.33 / mL|
Now, I’m sure that these formulations are probably quite different, and the more expensive ones could very well be amazing. But for someone just looking to try out peptides for the first time, DECIEM’s price point is incredibly tempting.
So, what’s the deal with peptides, anyway?
Peptides are basically very small proteins. In chemistry, a chain of amino acids is a peptide if it’s short (consisting of 50 amino acids or fewer), and a protein if it’s longer. A polypeptide is a chain of peptides, and proteins can be defined as a chain of polypeptides.
In biology, peptides are of great interest because they, like proteins, are hugely diverse and are the building blocks of the body. With respect to skincare, research suggests that peptides can provide several ways of improving the texture of skin.
For example, certain peptides can trigger living skin cells into creating more collagen, which keeps skin looking firmer and younger. Matrixyl (palmitoyl pentapeptide) is one of the most popular “signal” peptides in the skincare industry.
Another use is as a delivery mechanism, because peptides are small enough to pass into the skin. (The outer layer of your skin is dead cells, and a product that can’t penetrate this layer won’t be able to affect the living cells below.) Something like copper, which has been shown to help heal and repair skin, can be attached to a peptide and be applied topically.
Neuropeptides are another type, which behave a bit like Botox, and are intended to block neurotransmitters to facial muscles. Argireline is a popular one.
Whether or not peptides work well applied to the skin will also depend on the product itself: will the peptides break down in a particular formula and become useless? Or does the product allow the peptides to be absorbed by the skin? How does the peptide product interact with other skincare products being used? And, of course, can peptides really do anything at all to the skin, even when properly absorbed?
DECIEM usually address these kinds of delivery issues in their product descriptions, but not for “Buffet”. They actually make a few different peptide formulas under their The Ordinary (“Buffet”, Matrixyl 10% + HA), Hylamide (SubQ Anti-Age), and NIOD (Copper Amino Isolate Serum) brands. I’ll just cover The Ordinary “Buffet” here, since that’s what I’m reviewing today.
The active ingredients in “Buffet” include:
- Matrixyl 3,000 peptide complex (with palmitoyl-pentapeptide 35)
- Matrixyl Synthe’6 peptide complex (withpalmitoyl-pentapeptide 38)
- Syn-Ake peptide complexSyn-Ake peptide complex (with dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate)
- Relistase peptide complex (with acetylarginyltryptophyl diphenylglycine)
- Argirelox peptide complex (with acetyl hexapeptide-8, pentapeptide-18)
- Probiotic complex (with lactococcus lactis lysate)
- …in a base of 11 skin-friendly amino acids and multiple hyaluronic acid complexes
- The total concentration of these technologies in the formula by weight is 25.1%.
“Buffet” is a water-based formula. Here is the full ingredient list:
Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, 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, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
It is free from alcohol, silicones, nuts, and gluten. It does contain oil.
Since “Buffet” is the only peptide product I’ve ever tried, I obviously won’t be able to compare it with others on the market. In my review, I just talk about how my skin responded to it, and whether or not I’m interested in trying any other peptide products in the future.
I started using “Buffet” back in April, and I used it for about two months straight before I had to abruptly stop for reasons unrelated to its performance.
My skin type is dry and dehydrated, and it has a tendency to become a bit oily near the end of the day if I’m dehydrated, or if the air is just very dry. I’m in my late 30s, and while wrinkles aren’t really an issue right now, they’re definitely something I’d like to keep at bay for as long as possible. I’m slightly acne-prone, as well, though I find that I get acne more from hormones and from poor lifestyle choices (when I don’t sleep enough, get stressed, or indulge in junky food). I don’t often get acne from products, with the exception of chemical sunscreens.
So, during this time, I had changed up my routine a bit. I had started to use a cleansing oil in the evenings (The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil) because I wanted to ensure that I was removing all of my daily sunscreen (Shiseido Ultra Sun Protection Cream SPF 50 for Face). Sometimes I’d do a second cleanse with philosophy Purity, or some random cleanser sample I’d have around. I’d moisturize with Valcena Nutri-Lift Serum, which is really more like a light moisturizer than a serum, in the morning, and Valcena Multi Active Régénérante Night Cream in the evening.
And, because I was a little over excited about hauling from The Ordinary, I also worked the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 and 100% Plant-Derived Squalane into my routine very quickly.
My morning routine:
- Nuxe Melting Cleansing Gel or philosophy Purity cleanser
- The Ordinary “Buffet” Multi-Technology Peptide Serum
- The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, occasionally
- Valcena Nutri-Lift Serum (or similar light moisturizer)
- Shiseido Ultra Sun Protection Cream SPF 50 for Face
My evening routine:
- The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil
- philosophy Purity cleanser (or similar), occasionally
- The Ordinary “Buffet” Multi-Technology Peptide Serum
- The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
- Crawford Street Rose-Geranium Toner, occasionally, when feeling dry
- Valcena Nutri-Lift Serum (or similar light moisturizer)
- The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane
I applied the “Buffet” right after cleansing, so that the product was closer to the skin and was more likely to penetrate it. I preferred the hyaluronic acid to be sandwiched between two watery products, since the hyaluronic acid molecule can bind something like 1,000 times its own weight in water. The worry is that it can draw water away from the skin if there isn’t enough available on the surface; I have no idea if this is legit but I’m guessing it couldn’t hurt to be careful.
As you can see, this is a fair amount of product layering for someone who normally only uses a cleanser and a moisturizer, and occasionally a facial oil!
“Buffet” has a very light, gel-like texture. It’s clear, and smooths onto the skin well. The apothecary-style glass bottle and dropper are perfect for application. I use about 2–3 drops for my face and upper neck. The product dries quite quickly and leaves a slightly sticky feeling, though I apply other products over this, so that doesn’t bother me in the least.
I noticed one change in my skin, almost immediately. Initially, I could not be sure whether it came down to one or more of the products from The Ordinary, or if it was simply due to layering products. (Or possibly even because the weather was finally warming up and becoming less dry.)
But my cheeks were no longer dry flaky. It went away, just like that, practically overnight. I struggled with flaky cheeks all winter, and boom, it was gone.
Within perhaps a week, I started to notice that my skin was getting super plump in the mornings. Smooth and plump! But was it just retaining water, or something? I have pretty chubby cheeks normally, so it was a little hard to tell, ha! I suspected the plumping was down to the hyaluronic acid, but when I did a little testing (by switching over to some other skincare products for about a month), it seemed that “Buffet” was actually responsible for much of the plumping. Applying hyaluronic acid with “Buffet” definitely seemed to enhance the plump factor, though.
I really liked the smoothing effect, as it also made my pores seem smaller. Maybe not so much the plumping effect, but to each her own. I have chipmunk cheeks, as it is! (And when I say plumping, my skin just felt a bit water-heavier, not like I developed mumps or anything.) Applying an occlusive overnight, like the squalane or some other facial oil, increased the plumping, too.
But all was not well! After about two months, I started to really break out. Normally I would think it was just down to lack of sleep (which wreaks havoc on my skin), but I was also breaking out where I didn’t normally break out. Hormonal acne and stress acne manifests itself as cystic acne on my chin and my jawline, for the most part, and sometimes up along the cheek. But what I was also getting was small, non-cystic zits around my nose and cheek areas.
I immediately cut out everything new (including foundations I was testing). I went back to my regular oil cleanser/moisturizer routine, but nothing weas really helping. I did switch my water-resistant Shiseido sunscreen to a less tenacious formula, Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream Triple Care. This seemed to help, but not entirely. Finally, I cut out the cleansing oil, and things started to calm down. I don’t know for sure yet whether The Face Shop cleansing oil was the culprit, but let’s just say I haven’t gone back to it! The ridiculous thing is that I’d used up a great deal of it up to this point, but because I only used it occasionally before this spring, it may not have been able to break me out until I started using it every day. Of course, I am also still using sunscreen through the summer, so my sunscreen may still be causing problems—I just can’t really go without it, though.
Anyway, months later, I’m still getting the occasional zit, but it’s back to my stupid hormonal/stress-induced variety. Yay. But I’ve also gone back to using The Ordinary’s “Buffet” and Hyaluronic Acid, and they are working the same for me as before. (I am not using the Squalane, because it’s summer and I feel gross applying oil on my face when it’s hot.)
I definitely noticed that the smoothing, plumping effect of these products go away if you do not use them consistently, so I don’t feel they are actually improving my skin. They just seem to give a nice cosmetic boost.
I’m really glad I tried “Buffet”, and for the fairly cheap price, I thought it did as well as I could have expected it to. The 30 mL bottle lasts for approximately 3 months, if used night and day. (I used up about 20 mL in two months.)
I’m definitely interested in trying more peptide serums, just to see how they compare. I’ll be finishing up my bottle of “Buffet” quite soon, and have DECIEM Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age waiting!
[Note: I purchased this product directly from Deciem’s website. I’ve also ordered their products from Well.ca and Sephora (though the latter does not carry The Ordinary).]
DECIEM The Ordinary “Buffet” Multi-Technology Peptide Serum contains 30 mL and retails for CA$14.80. The formula is free of alcohol, silicone, nuts, and gluten. The company is cruelty-free* and vegan.
DECIEM was launched by Brandon Truaxe in 2013. “We decided to do 10 things at once and called our craziness DECIEM, coming from decima, the [L]atin word for 10 in a sequence.” The company is based in Toronto, ON, Canada, and currently has stores in Canada, Australia, Mexico, South Korea, and the UK.
- While DECIEM remains Canadian and cruelty-free itself, American cosmetic giant Estée Lauder, which is not cruelty-free, bought a stake in the company in June 2017.