Interesting article about Niod in Saturday's Times Magazine


Help Support ShoppingTelly:


Registered Shopper
Jun 24, 2008
‘Smiling is dangerous. It gives you wrinkles’
Introducing Brandon Truaxe – the outspoken computer nerd turned entrepreneur revolutionising the beauty industry

Times staff
July 2 2016, 12:01am,
The Times

Brandon Truaxe is a 38-year-old cosmetics impresario who smiles as little as possible (“Smiling is dangerous – it gives you wrinkles”). His forehead is Botoxed, just so. He sucks in his cheeks in photographs – for extra bone-structure definition. His skin is the exact shade of tan that implies he is probably famous.

“If the beauty industry didn’t exist, everyone’s skin would look better,” he tells me.

Born in London to destitute parents he hardly knew, adopted in Canada by a family he hated, Truaxe is the unlikely man credited with revolutionising the beauty industry.

He’s undergone a studied physical transformation since his youth, when he was a student of computer science in Toronto. He uses only his own products. Looking like this (like the slightly less good-looking brother of a male model) is non-optional, now that he has nine beauty brands to his name. That’s 200 products in total, launched in some 2 years. Many of them already cult buys, raved about by beauty buffs who know what they are talking about. His company, Deciem, is, in the words of one beauty blogger, “a game-changer”.

A primer called Nanoblur and a hydrating fluid called Hydraulauran – his products often have austere, techie names – retail for around £10 less than their nearest viable competitors. Those in the know say they contain ingredients usually found in more expensive products. Early on they got the nod from Boots and have become bestsellers by stealth, packaged as if destined for a pharmacy.

Truaxe and I meet in Sketch in Mayfair. He seems to live here when not commuting between his offices in Toronto and London, and pushing for deals in the Far East. For three days now he’s had meetings back to back with suppliers ranging from Selfridges to SpaceNK to Boots. Beside him sits his co-CEO, Nicola Kilner.

Deciem has its HQ and laboratory in Toronto where he’s made a point of allowing journalists in to scrutinise the production process, access that the big brands deny even some of their staff. (Truaxe: “The only big secret is all the big brands use the same lab.”) However, Deciem’s warehouse is in Nottingham, conveniently close to Boots’ head office. At Boots, Kilner tells me, smiling sweetly as she gently sticks the knife in, “it would take a minimum of six years for a product to go from concept on to the shelves. With the really big brands, a simultaneous global launch takes so much planning that seven years is quite a quick timeline for them.”

The claim is that the “latest” products on the beauty shelves are, in terms of scientific innovation, at least half a decade old. “It’s like if Apple came out with the iPhone 1G,” Truaxe cries, “and expected that to be it for the next 30 years. They’re elephants. We are the rabbit!”

Truaxe has a motormouth. He talks nonstop, which is to say all the time. He merrily tells me that he’s straight, but often mistaken for gay; that he has a “non-committal relationship” with a woman. He skewers ex-colleagues and jabs at the competition. More or less nothing currently available in the cosmetics aisles, except for his products, do what they promise, he says – because the big beauty brands don’t invest in science; they’re too obsessed with marketing and packaging. “The only really honest product is Vaseline.”

Meanwhile Niod – his most expensive brand – is so fabulous it’s said that Nigella Lawson won’t use anything else. Current bestsellers include Nicole Kidman’s favourite, Grow Gorgeous, a hair tonic; Hand Chemistry, a hand cream; a “drinkable moisturiser” (some kind of vitamin and amino acid blend) called Fountain, and, in the Far East, a range of whitening products.

Truaxe recommends ditching almost everything in your cosmetics cabinet: toner (“I just don’t understand it”); AHAs (“They inflame the skin”); too much make-up (“It becomes an addiction”). People are too heavily injected, he argues. “They are too peeled and red. People just look inflamed in the western world. Inflammation is the highest price you can pay … and no one wants to look red.”

He has that entrepreneurial knack of being very rude about certain groups of people, whom he then convinces to buy his products. “Only unpopular people have lots of friends on social media,” he once said, then he launched Deciem’s Photography Fluid, to make people look better in selfies.

One of his latest ranges is called Look Hot Naked. “I actually think that people perceive their face to be more attractive than it is,” says Truaxe. “But I think they think their body is worse than it is.”

The LHN range includes a topical gel that is supposed to transform a two-pack into a six-pack. “It’s a little uncomfortable,” he says, in common with quite a few of his unctions, having been devised purely for effectiveness, “but it has the same effect that body builders get when they stop eating salt – draining water in the body to make it defined and tight.” Soon men will start wearing make-up, he predicts. “It just won’t be called make-up.”

Truaxe came into the cosmetics industry by mistake: first, at the University of Waterloo in Canada, when the tech industry crashed and he spent six weeks in the laboratories of a beauty conglomerate, developing software. “They’d just launched a face cream for $1,000. I thought, ‘My God, what could this be?’ And I went through their costs and it added up to about $2. Their mentality was that the cost doesn’t matter. It evolved into this kind of anger for me: how can you not care about what it is you’re making?”

His products have become bestsellers by stealth, packaged as if for a pharmacy
Then, aged 25, at a party in Paris, he met a chemist, the head of a skincare division at a multinational cosmetics brand. “He really hated it. He wanted to work on peptides and interesting things like that.” And he said, “Brandon, if you invest $50,000” – Brandon had just sold a piece of software he’d developed for a car insurance company – “we can develop this together.” Truaxe’s new career had begun.

So are we lying to ourselves about how we look? “You know, whenever there is an extreme desire, there is an extreme hope, and that is what the industry has picked up on. The price to pay to be very honest to yourself is very difficult.”

Overnight, someone from Deciem sends me a vast box of products. They range in price from £20 to £300. I hand them out to my neighbours for testing. A week later we have uneven results. Hand Chemistry has gone down a storm at No 18 and with two local dog walkers, while the woman at No 30 says that an anti-ageing neck serum has brought her out in a rash. The jury’s still out on Niod – Brandon says it’s a long-term strategy; you need patience to see results. But the woman at No 41 grabbed me this morning. She’d been trying out Deciem’s eye serum. “Oh my GOD,” she said. “My bags are disappearing!”
...He has that entrepreneurial knack of being very rude about certain groups of people, whom he then convinces to buy his products. “Only unpopular people have lots of friends on social media,” he once said, then he launched Deciem’s Photography Fluid, to make people look better in selfies....

Certain QVC presenters should take that comment to heart!
Interesting read. Whoever wrote this article seems to be bitter towards Brendan and this kind of cynicism is unnecessary imo.

Latest posts