Experts want you to know about this powerful skincare ingredient—and there’s one brand we swear by for it

It ticks all of the boxes

The Ordinary Multi Peptide and Copper Peptide 1% serum
(Image credit: The Ordinary)

The power of efficacious ingredients shouldn’t be underrated when it comes to achieving great skin at home, but with so many on the market it can be overwhelming to know what the specific benefits are of using them. Chances are that you’ll already be using ingredients with mainstream appeal like hyaluronic acid or vitamin C, but peptides are a whole category of clever ingredients that are growing rapidly in popularity. And when it comes to their peptide-infused product offering there is one skincare brand that we think are leading the way with their impressive formulations: The Ordinary.

Focusing on using multiple peptide technologies for brilliant results and wide-ranging appeal, The Ordinary are front and centre with some of the best peptide formulations on the market right now. From their best-selling Multi-Peptide + HA Serum to their Multi-Peptide Lash & Brow Serum, these science-led products maximise the ability of peptides to plump and firm the skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and encourage thicker-looking hair. Basically, peptides are a bit of a suits-all ingredient that skincare experts adore for their wide range of benefits.

However, The Ordinary are a brand that are known for pushing boundaries, which is why they’ve gone one step further with their approach to peptide skincare—harnessing the lesser-known copper peptides to create a truly smart serum that we can’t get enough of. Formerly known as “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%, the recently renamed Multi-Peptide + Copper Peptides 1% is a potent serum that offers even more souped-up skincare benefits. Here’s the full lowdown on how it works and why team Marie Claire can’t stop raving about it…

What are copper peptides and how do they differ from other peptides?

“The natural role of copper peptides, as found naturally occurring in the skin, includes the activation of a wide range of skin functions including barrier function, collagen and elastin production,” explains Prudvi Kaka, Chief Scientific Officer at The Ordinary. “When applied topically, copper peptides have been shown to support collagen, skin firmness and elasticity, thereby reducing the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.”

Of course, many of these benefits can be found within traditional peptides too. But the thing that really sets copper peptides apart? “They are efficient in promoting an overall healthy appearance for visibly smooth and radiant skin,” says Kaka. “And they also provide a range of other benefits from enhancing skin barrier function, providing and enhancing antioxidant support, and enhancing skin radiance.”

So while Multi-Peptide + Copper Peptides 1% contains all of the same peptide technologies as The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide + HA, the addition of the copper peptides (in this case GHK-Cu) basically offers an additional layer of antioxidant protection. Meaning you get all of the brilliant skin-firming, elasticity-boosting peptide benefits along with some smoothing and brightening action and healthier-looking skin overall. 

Why are copper peptides good for the skin?

While copper peptides might be most well-regarded for the way that they can effectively support ageing skin, they actually provide a whole range of benefits to the skin, making The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide + Copper Peptides 1% a clever addition to most skincare routines. These are the four benefits we’re most impressed by:

1. Supports the skin barrier

Experts are in agreement that for our skin to be at its healthiest, we need to keep the outermost layer of our skin cared for. Copper peptides are thought to support and enhance the skin barrier function for skin that feels soft, supple and healthy.

2. Improves texture

From wrinkles and fine lines to uneven skin texture, copper peptides are probably most well-known for their ability to smooth skin for a youthful appearance.

3. Antioxidant support

One of the biggest factors to compromise our skin health are external aggressors. Copper peptides provide and enhance antioxidant support to reduce the effects of some of those stressors on our skin.

4. Enhances skin clarity

Helping to achieve that overall healthy skin appearance and much-desired radiance, copper peptides work hard to even skin tone, boost elasticity and improve firmness for a more plump and naturally glowy complexion. 

Who should use copper peptides? 

The great thing about peptides in general is that they are well-tolerated by most people, so although we’d always recommend doing a patch test first when introducing a new ingredient to your skin routine, they’re generally a safe bet for anyone seeking out real youth-boosting results. 

“Topical peptides are a category of ingredients that offer a wide range of skin and hair benefits…making them an easy ingredient to incorporate within a skincare regimen,” explains Kaka. Copper peptides in particular though are a great choice if you’re looking to combat uneven tone or texture in your skin. “Copper peptides are ideal for those wishing to target fine lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness and elasticity, texture irregularities and lacklustre tone,” says Kaka. 

Do copper peptides work with other skincare products?

Although copper peptides work well for a range of skin types, thanks to their potency there are a couple of things to be aware of if you’re adding The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide + Copper Peptides 1% into your skincare routine. Firstly, if you have any irritated, broken or peeling skin then steer clear until the area is healed.

Most importantly, though, is to be aware of the other ingredients that you’re using at the same time. “We do not recommend combining copper peptides with direct acids, retinoids, pure or ethylated vitamin C and strong antioxidants,” advises Kaka. The skin renewal benefits of both retinoids and copper peptides mean that using them together runs the risk of over-exfoliation and a compromised/damaged skin barrier, while using them with acids or potent antioxidants can actually compromise peptide technology and weaken their efficacy. Instead, we’d recommend using any of these ingredients on alternate days or nights to your copper peptide products.

Why is The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + Copper Peptides 1% so good? 

If you’ve even remotely heard of The Ordinary, you’ve likely heard of their cult serum formerly known as “Buffet”. A nod to the smorgasbord of peptides and hardworking ingredients inside the raved-about formulation, they recently renamed the product to shine a spotlight on exactly what the key ingredients are. Enter: The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide + HA and, following in its footsteps, The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide + Copper Peptides 1%. A beautiful cobalt blue serum (thanks to the natural blue colour that copper turns when attached to peptides), it’s the same, great formula that “Buffet” fans will know and love with the addition of 1% copper peptides to supercharge results. 

And if you haven’t tried it yet? Multi-Peptide + Copper Peptides 1% is a hardworking serum that works to improve skin elasticity and firmness while smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, the addition of the 1% of copper peptides means your skin is also protected from the effects of external aggressors to reduce dullness and uneven tone. Basically, it’s a bit of a shortcut to healthier-looking skin.

Discover more go-to peptide products from The Ordinary

Mica Ricketts

Mica Ricketts is a freelance beauty editor and contributor to Marie Claire. She has written for titles including Refinery29 and Who What Wear UK, and also works with beauty brands on content messaging and marketing copy. She was previously Who What Wear UK's beauty editor. As someone that has tried basically every acne product on the market, she has a particular passion for debunking skincare myths and finding products that work. Plus, with two small children at home she is all about time-saving beauty routines that boost glow and disguise dark circles.