Brandon Truaxe: Disruptor, Bad Boy, Collaborator.

In this episode I'm joined by Brandon Truaxe the Founder of Deciem: The Abnormal Beauty Company. With brands such as The Ordinary, Hylamide and Niod under their umbrella Deciem has been described as a 'disruptor' and in this show I talk to Brandon about how his approach to the beauty industry was born and why he thinks it has been such a successful one. We also discuss mixing business with friendships, how bloggers have been key to companies like Deciem flourishing and what else is on the horizon. 

I quiz Brandon about the recent investment from Estee Lauder Companies and the implications that may have on the business.

my favourite deciem products: tried and tested

To fake the kind of skin I wish I had...

NIOD Photography Fluid, Opacity 12%, £20*.  This was my 'gateway' Deciem product. I was in the same hour at QVC with Nicola Reddington, Deciem's Co-CEO,  watched her demo live in the studio and wanted it immediately. There's a serum-feel to this and the formula is packed full of light-reflecting prisms so when you apply it there's an instant Edward-just-stepped-into-the-sunlight appearance to skin that blends in a way that looks like really beautiful, airbrushed skin. You can use it under makeup, but I tend to use this most when I'm not wearing any other makeup to fool people into thinking my skin is better is than it really is. Brandon gave me this tip: Use the Opacity 12% Fluid with the NIOD Photography Fluid Tan Opacity 8%, £21to create natural contours and highlights. Where the Opacity 12% adds highlight and light, the Opacity 8% offers just the right amount of shade. Also, on days when you're feeling a bit peaky or think your skin looks drained, it's great under foundation to add warmth and richness.

to make my thin/fine hair look and feel thicker

This one is a sensitive one for me and if you're a regular listener you'll know that I've had alopecia in the past and my hair is thin and fine in a pattern that's consistent with female baldness. I have tried many, if not all, the products that promise to stimulate the scalp or increase hair density and they have all ended up being a bit of a nonsense. I groaned when I read the instructions for STEMM Density Stimuli, £35*, as it says to massage into a clean, dry scalp and not wash your hair. That's all well and good, but with other treatments like this it has meant the hair that's thinnest is coated and looks greasy, which means hair clumps and exposes the scalp in patches so you want to wash and style it afresh. This serum is different and if anything it adds volume and a stiffness to my hair, which is normally lank, fine and flyaway around the hairline, so it's ended up making my hair look better for using it. I haven't been using it long enough to tell you if it's having an effect on the amount of hair in those areas, but it's the first of these serums that I've really stuck with because of how it makes my hair feel between washes. 

As with any of these protocols there's a shampoo and conditioner that's recommended also. The STEMM High-Amino Shampoo, £25*, essentially cleans without stripping it and manages to dump a pretty hefty amount of nutrients into the hair while you use it so the quality of hair is in the healthiest state. Personally, my hair is prone to be flyaway and all heat styling will fall out really quickly, but this doesn't leave any 'slippery' residue so seems to retain the bounce and shape I style into it. I'm not really a fan of conditioner, it weighs down my hair and makes it look flat and shiny when all I want is tousled, rough waves, but STEMM Black Fulvic Conditioner, £28*, doesn't leave a silky residue because the way it conditions is by targeting weak parts of the hair and pumping them full of nutrients. Over time this means that the hair you have will be a better quality of hair and will have the appearance of making your hair, overall, look thicker.

for when my skin threatens to break out or dry out...

You know those teeny tiny bumps you notice on your face when you take your makeup off in the evening that you pray won't be whiteheads by morning? If I use The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, £5.50*, on those evenings that I think my chin is going to explode like a bag of microwave popcorn overnight it has the effect of stopping it in its tracks. The packaging says 'brightening', but the real impact, in my opinion, is on skin texture. It's worth noting, if your skin is sensitive, that Azelaic acid is also one of the few acids that actually reduces redness. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, £5.90*, is what I used to break my addiction to lip balms, which according to Nadine Baggott is actually a thing. The second time she came on the podcast she talked about how I was always rubbing my lips together and how it's because I use too much balm and how I needed to ween myself off. She recommended, if I could bare it, using a simple hyaluronic acid, like this one, at night and it worked. I also use it on my face when my skin is feeling particularly parched.

the foundation that gives me great skin and lots of compliments

The Ordinary Colours, the foundation offering, was so popular before it launched that it had a waiting list of over 70,000. Once I got my grubby mitts on a sample I understood the hype, which was intense expectation given the quality of the output from the brand up to that point if you ask me. In fairness I haven't read a single review that suggests that either the Serum or Coverage foundations fall below that expectation, which is beyond impressive especially as this is Deciem's first foray into makeup. I've used the Serum Foundation, £5.70, many times now and every single time my friends and colleagues will say 'you're glowing' or 'wow, what have you done to your skin, it looks great'. Considering how purse-friendly it is and how broad the range of colours it's one to try for yourself. The Serum foundation offers a lightweight coverage with a little more pigment to it than something like a tinted moisturiser, while the Coverage foundation offers the heavier finish that can be buffed in to last all day.