The Ordinary man: Brandon Truaxe (40) changed beauty for the better

The troubled former Deciem CEO, who has died aged 40, championed high-quality, affordable products

Brandon Truaxe: offered high-quality alternatives to luxury skincare

Brandon Truaxe: offered high-quality alternatives to luxury skincare

 

The beauty industry was shocked this week by news of the death of Brandon Truaxe, founder and former chief executive of Deciem, The Abnormal Beauty Company. The best known of its 10 brands is The Ordinary, which has a reputation for high-quality, clearly labelled, affordable products – most cost less than €10. Fans include Kim Kardashian.

Truaxe left Deciem after several months of erratic behaviour, including posting strange messages on the company’s social media, accusing staff of being involved in financial crimes and temporarily closing most of the company’s stores. Estée Lauder, a minority investor, then sought legal action to remove Truaxe as chief executive.

He had been hospitalised in mental-health facilities in London and Toronto for brief periods last year, but Truaxe denied having any mental-health issues. Canadian outlets are reporting that Truaxe fell from an apartment block in Vancouver.

With the news this week focusing on the unfortunate circumstances of Truaxe’s death, at the age of 40, the full scale of his contribution to the beauty industry is being overlooked. Truaxe changed the beauty industry for the better. Born in Tehran in 1978, he was an innovator and a force for good. Originally a computer programmer, he cofounded the premium skincare brand Euoko in 2002, and went on to found another skincare label, Indeed Labs.

Take the time to cry with sadness, smile at the good times and reflect on what Truaxe's genius built

 Deciem, which was founded in 2013, and grew quickly, was reported to have a projected $300 million in sales in 2018, employing about 800 people and opening 30 stores around the world. Truaxe offered high-quality alternatives to luxury skincare by eliminating distributors and taking a new approach to production and supply. Deciem’s acting chief executive, Nicola Kilner, confirmed that Truaxe had died in an email to staff on Monday . “Heartbroken doesn’t come close to how I, and how I know many of you will be feeling. All offices, warehouses, factories and stores please close today and take the time to cry with sadness, smile at the good times we had, reflect on what his genius built and hug your loved ones that little harder.” 

Estée Lauder, which became a minority investor in 2017, called Truaxe’s death a profound loss. “As the visionary behind Deciem, he positively impacted millions of people around the world with his creativity, brilliance and innovation.” 

Truaxe’s innovation caused a chain reaction in the wider industry. The beauty columnist Sali Hughes said: “Brandon Truaxe, through Deciem, changed the business of beauty forever. His transparent labelling, inclusive pricing structure and efficacy claims forced the rest of the industry to look at its own practices. It was alarming to see, over time, that instinct for transparency and candour roll over professional boundaries, and very upsetting to witness someone so naturally talented and promising fall into personal decline. But there is no doubt Truaxe has left a huge legacy. I don’t think it’s overstating things to say that he changed skincare for a generation of young women, and irreversibly altered the beauty industry for the better.”

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