Remembering Brandon Truaxe, Deciem's Visionary Founder | Clozette


Brandon Truaxe, founder and former CEO of skincare company Deciem, has passed on at age 40.  The company's official Instagram account posted about the news last Monday, 21 January. As of press time, his cause of death has not been made public.



The company, best known for brands like The Ordinary and NIOD, has welcomed 2019 a bit hazily due to a myriad of controversies they were embroiled in last year under Truaxe's leadership. His erratic behaviour resulted to both fans and Deciem minority shareholder (and beauty conglomerate) Estée Lauder requesting for him to seek professional help due to concerns about his mental health, which he refused to accept.  From axing employees through social media to the company's temporary shutdown, Truaxe was booted from his post in October 2018 and was replaced by his co-CEO Nicole Kilner. 


All the drama aside, it's no secret that Truaxe made Deciem the cult favourite brand it is today. Whether you separate the man from his creation or you see them as one and the same, there is definitely a connection between the two that is and will not be so easily severed. With that, as a nod to Truaxe's difficult but undeniable genius, here are some of our thoughts on how the self-dubbed Abnormal Beauty Company contributed to today's beauty industry. 


"The worker"


The no-nonsense philosophy of Deciem as a brand seems to have rooted in Truaxe's perception of his own role in the company. As quoted in a now-deleted Instagram post, he dropped the 'CEO' title and mentioned that he preferred to be labelled generically as a 'worker'. He elaborates by saying, "Responsible people don't need CEOs...and I've never liked any of my bosses in my life so I don't want to be a boss, I want to be a friend. I want people to be my friend and not my employee."  And as if to prove a point, if you go to the Deciem website and want to find out more about the employees, you can see that they are arranged randomly. Choosing the 'Display in order of importance' option will lead you to a photo of a monkey with the words, "Oh hello. I am very important and high up the corporate ladder." 


Without a doubt, it was refreshing to see a booming beauty company with a grounded and hands-on person at its helm. Just like the brand, which aims to make skincare more accessible and straightforward, we get to see Truaxe at the top of most of the company's operations, even handling its social media presence, as a show of a direct relationship between company and consumer. 



However, on the downside, such directness and decentralisation in an organisation is prone to a lot of pitfalls — Deciem's own story attests to this — because it is difficult to run a system without a stronghold on authority and leadership. Glassdoor reviews and employee testimonies of the company also became a spectacle, with former workers stepping up to claim that Truaxe's leadership was downright aggressive and has resulted to very serious allegations of abuse of power about the management, an antithesis of the very thing he was claiming to be.


As the story progressed, the allegations came and went, more controversies bloomed and it seemed to have been endless at the time. But looking back now, the series of events surrounding the brand makes for a great case study on the importance of communication within and outside a company. Such scenarios showcased that a company should ensure a two-way exchange not just with its consumers but also its own employees. That the value of the company is not just reliant on its name or a select few but in every single person who takes part in realising its vision. 



On making skincare more familiar



Before Deciem's The Ordinary's rise to fame, curating your very own skincare routine is more of a hit and miss. Unless you're really into reading labels or researching your products, terms such as Pycnogenol, Azelaic Acid or Magnesium Ascorbate were best to be left to chemists. However, with its mission to produce a transparent ingredient list and a more accessible and affordable skincare line to its consumers, it's safe to say that Deciem helped not just its consumers but beauty enthusiasts, in general, to become more eager to learn about the ingredients they need for particular skincare problems. It focused more on the activeness of the ingredient instead of highlighting generalities like 'anti-ageing' or 'brightening'. Since then, many beauty companies have followed suit, knowing that their consumers are now also well-versed in a more scientific beauty language. 



On the industry and the ongoing discussion on mental health


While his cause of death is still unclear, everyone bore witness to Truaxe's struggle with his own mental health issues, as documented on his own company's social media platform. The call for diversity, openness, and dialogues regarding many issues are not just trends that should come and go but instead should be treated as actual issues that need addressing. 



With this, we wish that Brandon may finally find his peace, and even with the ups and downs during his reign, may Deciem move forward for the better —  without losing its founder's vision for transparency and authenticity.


If you are or someone you know are struggling with their mental health, call these suicide hotlines: 1800-221 4444 (Singapore), +2 804-HOPE (4673) (Philippines) or 603-79571306 (Malaysia).


(Cover photo from: @deciem)

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It's almost time to whip out your new dresses, paint your face and gear up for a new year of hope and plans. The Chinese New Year is coming soon! It's a time to refresh and restart. Make sure you and your beauty arsenal are ready for things to come. This year, let us help you sift through the myriad of options while you sit back and check out these awesome items for a fantastic Year of the Pig. 


New year, new you


 


Get on board the Pitera train with SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence and treat your skin to maximum magic, especially after all those late night merrymaking sessions. Even better if you’re looking to spruce up your vanity because this little power product now comes in a vibrant red bottle with a playful swirl to usher in the new lunar year.

Can’t shine if you don’t glow




They say prevention is better than cure and that anti-aging products should be gradually introduced into your regimen as you sail into your 20s. With the Clarins Double Serum, you can maintain your youthful complexion well into your middle years, thanks to their blend of anti-aging ingredients that firm skin up and restores radiance.

Additionally, if you have dry or combination skin and haven’t gotten into face oils yet, this is the perfect time to try Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil. It promises to revitalise your skin and nourish it for that enviable satin-soft feel.

Start the year right




Now that your skin is properly pampered, you might want to refresh your makeup routine with the HERA Magic Starter in Lavender. Targeting dull skin, it is formulated with components that promise to even out your complexion, creating that beautiful, neutral base for effective blending and shading.

Cheek to cheek





You’ll find reasons to whip out your MAC Powder Blush Duo because it is themed to perfection to go with any outfit you choose this year. Embossed with the Chinese character for luck, this comes in the shades Melba, a soft coral peach shade in matte, and Lovecloud, a perky mid-tone pink in a satin finish.


Painting ‘ong’ a smile 




Bring joy into every home you visit with your smiling lips painted with the stunning Kanebo Liquid Rouge in 10 red-toned shades. The formula has been optimised to bring a nuanced glow to any complexion and results in a delicately plumped appearance, with the colours melting into your lips with a light glossy shine.

For the lady who loves a unique lip, the Kanebo Liquid Nuance Rouge is the one for you with five pearly shades to choose from. To be worn individually or mixed with other colours, this particular formula is made to brighten the complexion, paired with a lightweight texture that’s easy on the lips.

Easy on those hands




After everything is said and done, take a moment to give your hands a little love with L’Occitane’s best-selling Shea Butter Hand Cream. Rich in vitamin E and shea butter, packaged in a bright red tube to match the festivities, this cream is sure to keep hands soft, smooth and cared for, setting a great example for the rest of your year.


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While most of us don't have ambitions to become a movie star, it's fair to admit that we'd love to look like one. But short of plastic surgery and drastic skin procedures, there are only a few accessible products out there that can take us one step closer to the flawless image we see on the silver screen. Enter GlamGlow masks and their promises to deliver camera-ready, glowing skin in an instant — well, 10 minutes to be exact. 



The story behind this popular mask goes like this: an actor asked if there's a skincare product that can improve skin on the spot. This kickstarted founders Glenn and Shannon Dellimore's idea to develop one exclusively for their friends in Hollywood. After the initial success within the entertainment industry, the product was made available to the public. Now, it's known on Instagram as the masks that celebrities swear by.



Of course, we'll never pass up on the opportunity to test such a promising product. We got the GlamGlow YOUTHMUD® TingleExfoliate Treatment (SGD80/USD59), the original and first product of the brand, to see if it's really as amazing as Nina Dobrev and Shay Mitchell say. Can it really give the skin an instant glow? Keep reading for our review of the GlamGlow mask.  


Formulation and packaging



At the heart of the GlamGlow YOUTHMUD® TingleExfoliate Treatment are volcanic pumice rock and French sea clay. Both work to seep out gunk from pores and provide gentle exfoliation. It also contains nourishing extracts from Camellia sinensis leaf, cucumber and calendula. All these ingredients are tightly packed and sealed in a sleek, heavy-duty metal jar. With its compact and sturdy built, there's no doubt that it's travel-friendly. 


Texture and fragrance




Upon opening the seal, the first thing that I noticed was its super pleasant scent that's reminiscent of the smell you'll usually encounter at spas. It's very calming and soothing, which makes it perfect as a nighttime mask. Moving on to texture, it feels very gritty and rough with some huge leaf chunks. Because of this, a mask spatula will be very helpful to evenly and thinly spread out the product onto your face.


Application and results


The first time that I applied this using my fingers, I made the mistake of applying on too much. This led to me experiencing not a tingling feeling (as implied by the product's name) but a bad, burning feeling. Nevertheless, I pushed through and luckily my skin didn't suffer any bad results. It was a lesson learned, you shouldn't apply this mask like an ordinary clay pack. It should just be a thin layer and, again, preferably to be applied with a spatula. 



As you can see, there's this crusty texture that forms after a few minutes. It's not the most instagrammable part of this product.


Once I started applying the right amount, it now felt very comfortable with only a minimal tingling feeling. After leaving it on for ten minutes, it will develop into a crusty mask. The instructions say to wash it off with water in circular motions which makes sense because the gritty texture can now also serve as a physical exfoliant.  You know how the usual mud masks are super hard to wash off? It doesn't happen with GlamGlow, everything is just super easy to take off.


After everything was washed off, I can already see and feel the difference right away. My skin feels smooth to touch, pore appearance is visibly reduced and as advertised it did give my skin a nice, subtle glow. And the best thing is that it doesn't leave the skin very tight which is always a plus in my books. Overall, I'm happy to report that the GlamGlow YOUTHMUD® TingleExfoliate Treatment does fulfil its promises.


Is it worth it?


Well, it works and delivers on its promises. However, as someone who has tried numerous masks, I can say that there are more budget-friendly options out there that can give more or less the same effect. Some of these are L'Oreal Paris Pure Clay Anti-PoresInnisfree Volcanic Pore Clay and the Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Rose Clay.



The edge of the GlamGlow YOUTHMUD® TingleExfoliate Treatment is that it never leaves the skin tight so it all boils down to preference. If you suffer from dehydrated or dry skin, your best bet will be the one from GlamGlow. Otherwise, it's best to explore other options before indulging in this luxury celebrity-hyped mask. 


Read more of our skincare and makeup reviews here.


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