Beauty

In tribute to Brandon Truaxe, founder of skincare brand The Ordinary

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Lucy Partington
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The former CEO, who changed the face of the beauty industry with his clever formulations and cult brands, has died aged 40.

Brandon Truaxe – former CEO and founder of Deciem, the game-changing company behind cult brands like The Ordinary and Niod  – has died at the age of 40.

The beauty entrepreneur’s death was confirmed in a post on Deciem’s Instagram page on 21 January. “Brandon, our founder and friend,” it read. “You touched our hearts, inspired our minds and made us believe that anything is possible. Whilst we can’t imagine a world without you, we promise to take care of each other and will work hard to continue your vision. May you finally be at peace.”

The news comes after a turbulent few months, including a spate of erratic behaviour on social media that saw him being removed from his post as Deciem’s CEO in October last year. But it’s important that his legacy lives on, and that his incredible work is acknowledged.

Because Truaxe didn’t just make Deciem one of the world’s most exciting beauty companies. He singlehandedly changed the face of the beauty industry, introducing ingredient transparency and making effective skincare accessible for everybody.

Truaxe founded Deciem (the name is inspired by the Latin word ‘decima’, meaning ‘tenth’) in his native Canada back in 2013. His aim was to go against the grain and launch an inclusive company with a non-traditional way of working - he didn’t see hierarchy and he was very clear about his pricing and marketing strategies. The concept was a runaway success, and it wasn’t long before Deciem expanded across the globe.

There are 10 brands under the Deciem umbrella, but the real star of the show is undoubtedly The Ordinary, launched in 2016 and marketed as “clinical formulations with integrity”. The seriously (and legitimately) hyped brand relies on single-ingredient formulas that are both effective and affordable – something the skincare industry had never seen before.

The Ordinary purposefully steered away from traditional product names in favour of labels that literally stated what was in the bottle – things like 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil and Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. The lab-inspired range became an instant hit amongst beauty editors, skincare obsessives and newbies alike, and influenced the way other brands worked and marketed their own products.

In fact, it’s partly thanks to Truaxe and his team of dedicated staff that the UK has become a nation obsessed with skincare. The Ordinary forced us to research what specific ingredients did and what was best suited to our own skin types, creating a new wave of skincare fanatics. Suddenly, people really cared about the ingredients they were putting on their faces – meaning that transparency became key.

And it didn’t stop there. When The Ordinary branched out into make-up in April 2017, demand was astronomical: the products had a 75,000 person waiting list.

It subsequently came as no surprise when Estee Lauder announced it had bought a minority stake in Deciem later that year. But while Lauder’s interest was predictable, the sale prompted uproar among fans, as Truaxe had always said he didn’t want to be part of a huge conglomerate.

The founder defended his decision, reassuring the public that Lauder’s involvement would simply help Deciem keep up with demand, and wouldn’t change the company’s DNA. And he stuck to his promise. In December 2017, a Deciem store opened in New York, and bricks-and-mortar shops have since popped up in cities across the globe.

While The Ordinary was busy breaking beauty boundaries, Deciem’s other brands – which include Niod, The Chemistry Brand, Hylamide and Fountain – continued ticking along. Each brand is unique in its own way and offers an insight into how Truaxe’s brain worked, transforming complicated products into easy-to-digest formulas.

There’s no doubt that Truaxe’s legacy and spirit will live on after his death, and that Deciem will continue to inspire the both the beauty industry and consumers for years to come.

Main image: instagram.com/btruaxe

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Lucy Partington

Lucy Partington is Stylist’s beauty editor. She’s obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

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