The name sounds like an MDOS system command, the bottle is utterly unassuming and the product itself is even less viscous than water. You have to mix the two little bottles in the hunk of packaging yourself at home before you can even use it. And yet, this funny, user-unfriendly little slip of a serum has become the cornerstone of my skincare routine.
I’ve never really suffered from a chronic skin condition. I’m a stranger to eczema, psoriasis, to acne and rosacea. The worst flare-up I’ve experienced was developing an allergy to Christmas trees in my late teens, meaning that even glancing at a Nordic Fir can bring me out in hives. But for my face, I’m lucky in that respect. However, while I might not be battling anything that warrants a prescription… the dullness! Maybe it’s being so fair-skinned, maybe it’s the utter lack of vitamin D in London, maybe it’s my predilection for becoming so wired before bed that my sleep quality is as good as Lady Macbeth’s, but my skin can look positively grey sometimes.
Or, as I should say, used to look. Since I started using CAIS over a year ago (CAIS 2:1 is the reformulation, we’ll get to that), my skin has been clearer, brighter and more even. In fact, while in Boots last week, I noticed a woman looking at me intently out of the corner of my eye. I bit the bullet and made tentative eye contact. She apologised, laughingly, and said my skin was so good, she wanted to see what I was going to buy and fill her basket with the same. Unluckily for her, I was mainly there for gum, cotton buds and kirby grips, but whatever. This stuff has transformed my skin.
It’s full of collagen-boosting peptides from copper (CAIS stands for Copper Amino Isolate Serum) and cross-linked hyaluronic acid. The two ‘branches’ of copper peptide it has are naturally found in the body, but production of both drops off significantly once you hit your 20s – life truly comes at you fast. They support collagen production, skin healing, anti-inflammatory responses… everything a green juice promises to do for you but doesn’t.
You have two dinky bottles on purchase. You pour the Activator into the Serum, shake them up, and you’re good to go. I could explain to you why it doesn’t come pre-mixed, but who wants a GCSE chemistry flashback? Essentially, it’s a chemical stability issue, which means it’s better for you to mix at home and know it’s staying fresh. CAIS 2:1 is an update on the original CAIS 1%, and has a higher concentration of pure peptides.
Science aside (for someone as secretly nerdy as me, it’s crucial, but I understand most people just want things that work), it’s an exemplary product. I’d say it does what it says on the tin, but the tin is very confusing. It’s vegan, as well as cruelty-, alcohol- and silicone-free. Buy it. You won’t regret it.