Rearranging the beauty deckchairs

September 6, 2016

As you know, I’m a bit of a sucker for beauty products so I was keen to try the NIOD range. NIOD, which stands for Non-Invasive Options in Dermal Science, is a Canadian company which seems to have taken a fresh look at the whole beauty conundrum and is approaching the main issues at a slant. It’s already had a lot of press from fashionable types, raving about the way its products work.

With dehydration, the core problem for ageing skins, NIOD’s approach is not to slather oil on top of the face to mask the problem but to attempt to lock in the skin’s own moisture instead. Does this work? Who knows. As with all beauty products, it’s ultimately a losing game. Skin loses elasticity, wrinkles form, it’s all downhill, basically. You know the score.

OK, so we may all be on a one way journey to old age, but I personally like to rearrange the deckchairs on my own HMS Titanic quite frequently. I ordered NIOD from the Victoria Health website and it arrived very quickly and was beautifully packaged. The NIOD range itself is wonderfully stark and medical looking, and I always love a pipette. So I was excited to see that the Copper Amino Isolate Serum comes with one and also involves a bit of home chemistry – you have to mix the activator into the serum bottle and shake before use. Love it! Though I was confused when I noticed a watery blue liquid on my hands – I thought the dye was coming out of the bottle label, even though the label is white. In fact, the watery blue liquid is the product itself. It’s unlike anything I’ve used before, in that, given half a chance, it will run straight off your face. You need to apply it with care as it is extremely liquid and hard to control. Apparently this makes the ingredients more active? After some trial and error, I recommend tipping up your face and dripping the solution on – carefully – from the pipette, then swiftly patting it into the skin. On the company website, it suggests putting the solution into your palm and then dabbing on.


The advice is to use the CAIS twice a day, before using any acid-based toners (which sound horrible – I don’t use a toner and swear by the Sali Hughes method of basically washing your face with a flannel, which gives a thorough cleanse and exfoliates as well). I then use my normal moisturiser – at the moment either Clinique’s new improved Dramatically Different Plus, or the Apivita cream gel, both of which have been reasonably light for the summer. I might invest in the NIOD next step, which is either the Hydration Vaccine, which locks in the skin’s own moisture, or the Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex, which sounds wonderfully scientific.

But does the CAIS actually work? As with all these products, it’s hard to tell, but I would say my skin feels very soft and I have some rosacea bumps which come up sporadically which now seem to have disappeared – this is a big plus. All the usual lines are still there, but there are no new ones – that’s good. I wouldn’t say I have lost 20 years. But I’ve only been using it a few days. And do I want to lose 20 years anyway? Those were good years.


The other NIOD product I’ve been trying in the meantime is the Photography Fluid. I’ve read a clutch of rave reviews of this, most saying that they’ve eschewed a lifetime of foundation after trying it and are now besieged with compliments night and day. Of course I was hugely looking forward to this, but in fact I got a very nice compliment the day before I started using the Fluid and haven’t had one since. Mind you, it’s only been five days. I’ve just recently taken to using a bit of foundation, and it’s soley to act as a sun defence layer after having melanoma. I tried various sun screens that made me look quite ghostly so decided to mix screen with a bit of foundation and that seems to work. One of the selling points of the Photography Fluid is that you can mix it with other products to ‘correct hue’, which is just what I was after.


The product, on initial inspection, is the opposite of the CAIS – it is extremely gloopy. It looks a bit like those highly pearlised nail varnishes that were all the rage briefly in the 1970s. I was a bit doubtful about the effect this would produce on my face, but adding a scant drop to everything does, indeed, produce a bit of a misty glow which I rather like. I hope it looks natural. I haven’t had any comments yet – even from Child One who is usually highly observant – but my skin feels quite cushiony and I rather like it. I’ll keep you posted.


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  • Leena September 9, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Do you still collect Rorstrand OstIndia? I noticed your teapot problem of many years ago. My Swedish aunt started me off with this pattern when I first got married in 1985. She gave me the basic ‘two of everything’ and left it to me to keep on collecting. We were just married, and we didn’t have the money. Then we drove to Sweden to visit her, and she warned us that Rorstrand had just been bought by a Finnish company–this was in the mid-to-late 1980s. She advised us to drive to Linkoping to visit the factory while it still had the products. We did that, and were astonished by stacks of the stuff in the seconds shop–but unfortunately we were still not rich enough to buy anything more than a few plates and cups. Bad decision: we should have sacrificed everything. Years later (we’re now close to 2000) the money situation had become better, and I thought I’d re-start my passion. I was horrified by what I saw. The pattern is now blurry and looks ‘dead’ (you don’t even have to look closely to see that it’s a cheap stencil); the colour is wrong; the beautiful brown line around the rim isn’t right; and the quality of the glaze isn’t anything like the high-gloss that used to be on the pieces. But this is all easily explained: this is how it is now produced by the new Finnish-owned company that took over Rorstrand. So, apologies if you know this all already, but I’m afraid that the Swedish lady all those years ago was actually correct: she HAD sold you a Rorstrand OstIndia teapot; it’s just that it was made by the new company. Last year I decided to tackle the problem at the roots, and buy as much original stuff as I could on eBay. Within a week or two I’d been surprisingly successful (or maybe just lucky). Much of it came from the USA, and bugger the customs costs–I was just happy to get the real thing. The way I could tell was to look very carefully at the supplied photos (the blurry stencil sticks out like a sore thumb): the easiest giveaway is if the factory mark is shown underneath. Then you see immediately if it’s the old or new version. Most of the time, and again in defence of your nasty Swedish lady, sellers aren’t even aware that there’s been a change in the manufacturing process–they just think it’s all Rorstrand. Many know, of course, but those who don’t aren’t necessarily devious. Anyway, I got myself the teapot and it cost me £160! I have told the cleaner to stay well away from dusting the shelf it sits on! Sorry for going on like this, but I was interested that you’d been frustrated by the same thing that I’d noticed, while nobody actually admits to the change … they just think you’re being picky. I found your old blog because I thought I’d have another look at what’s out there: years ago (I mean decades) I saw a photo of Sybil Connolly’s (in Ireland) dining-room in a decorating magazine–probably Interiors–and her table was beautifully set with OstIndia. I noticed she had the most elegant eared soup-cups that I’ve never seen before or since. I’m looking out for those! Hope you resolved your teapot issue, and that you have the real thing now.

    • Dulwich Divorcee September 12, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Hi Leena, thanks so much for getting in touch, I really appreciate it! We Ostindia fans must stick together. I love the story of your Ostindia collecting and it’s very interesting to hear that my suspicions were right – something has happened to Ostindia, even if it’s not the out-and-out fakery that I thought I detected. It’s definitely a pattern that gets under the skin, and yes, I saw tons of it for sale second hand in Sweden – but china plates are not the easiest items to travel home with, alas. Believe it or not, I eventually started using the ‘fake’ (or just sub-standard) teapot because it had been expensive and was the perfect size for breakfast. I even became really fond of it, despite all that moaning in my blog post, and it was a major feature on the breakfast table every morning. Then disaster struck when I was washing it up (probably too enthusiastically) and the spout fell off. Very sad. I was reduced to buying a new one from the China Chaps website (www.chinachaps.co.uk/browse/ostindia. They have it advertised at the moment for £94.41. It is a very beautifully round shape but I agree with you that the modern china does not quite have the charm of the original, real Ostindia. The old cups that I have all share a bluish tinge which I think is the mark of proper porcelain. The ship mark on the bottom of the cups is very charming too, unlike today’s simple R logo and the name. I hope you have had some success in your search for the soup cups. I’ve never come across them but will let you know if I do. I’ll also send this very long reply to your email address just in case. All the best and thanks so much both for reading and for getting in touch.