It’s time to banish the buzzwords “purifying”, “renewing” and “regenerating” from your bathroom cabinet and get knowledgeable about the active ingredients that really make a difference to your skin. It’s no beauty secret that umbrella brand Deciem has been quietly pioneering a beauty-ingredient revolution by offering no-nonsense, simply packaged and effective products without the jargon.

Deciem, or The Abnormal Beauty Company, was founded by Brandon Truaxe in 2013 in Canada and now encompasses ten smaller brands each with a different, but equally unusual, approach to beauty and skincare. Deciem offers innovative, potent and high-quality products that contain ingredients – retinols, rosehip, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C – that some skincare brands charge upward of ten times the price for. So do you know your quercetin from your kaolin clay? Swot up with our guide to the best Deciem brands and products and make 2017 the year you become a skintellectual.

The Chemistry Brand

Deciem’s first product to launch was this earth-shatteringly popular anti-aging hand cream called Hand Chemistry, £19, which sold out at Boots when people started putting it on their faces. The intensity of its active ingredients – that’ll be 19.5% – is practically unheard of and the ingredients themselves – that’ll be Biological GHK, mushroom derivatives and Plantago Lanceolata – are equally unusual. Promising brightness, renewed elasticity, heightened collagen production and moisture, there was a reason women were putting this on their faces… The Chemistry Brand has now expanded to include a heel cream, tanning oil and body mist.


NIOD (Non Invasive Options in Dermal Science) defines itself for  “hypereducated skincare addicts” and it’s most-certainly Deciem’s most technical brand. With names like Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid 30% Network and Low Viscosity Cleaning Ester, it’s easy to feel bamboozled by the vocabulary but the NIOD page is particularly good at explaining precisely what each product, and even each ingredient, does for the skin. The Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex, £25, is one for all the hyaluronic junkies contain 12 different types of the molecule, while the Flavanone Mud, £29, accrued a waiting list on its launch. We particularly love the Sanksrit Saponins cleanser, £21, and the Copper Amino Isolate Serum, £130, which you have to mix yourself at home. Now, where did we put that Pyrex beaker?

The Ordinary

For the more hesitant skincare explorers, The Ordinary might be a better introduction into tailor-made skin routines. Based upon the concept of generic pharmaceuticals (the idea that once a pharmaceutical company’s copyright, and monopoly, to the drug they develop runs out, other non-branded rivals then pop up on the shelves at a fraction of the price), The Ordinary takes top-notch ingredients and gives them to you without the fluff, fancy or pomp. In simple glass vials you can get 23% of active vitamin C (it’s only effective in concentrations above 30%) for brighter skin at just £4.90, while you can get a 5% Lactic Acid – great for a gentle acid exfoliation – for £5.80. Try the 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, £9, for some serious pampering and to lessen the effects of ageing.


This range of liquid supplements are a great way of easing yourself into the world of nutricosmetics. With liquid supplements the active ingredients are absorbed into your body faster than topical application, so you can get your hit of the glow-enhacing antioxidant glutathione, £38, or youth giving Phyto-Collagen, £40, or hair beautifying silicon and biotin, £35, in just a drop of liquid dissolved in water.


There’s been a lot of rattling on about the benefits of hyaluronic acid in the beauty world over the past few years, and Hylamide is Deciem’s foray into an entire range of moisture-boosting goodies. Divided into three groups of core, booster and finisher, these are high-functioning serums that can be mixed and matched for long-lasting moisturising effects. The “core” group comprise a face and eye serum, a cleanser and a mist – the four core items no hyaluronic lover should be without.  While the “boosters” can be added seasonally or when you’re in need of an extra dose of pore refinement or glow.  And the “finishers” combine active skincare elements with blurring properties to skin a flawless, glowing sheen.

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