The modern grooming landscape is an increasingly crowded one. Multinationals (and their concomitant marketing budgets) twigged that men will spend dollars on self-care. Every week it seems there are more moisturisers, serums and masques to choose from. But with this cacophony comes confusion. There are so many glamorous spokeblokes™, so many smoothing claims and so much high-grade, influencer-fueled bullshit that when something simple, pure, effective and willing to stand on its own merits comes along, you want to weep with joy, fling your arms around its neck and make promises that feature the phrase “forever”.
That’s where the Deciem house sits. It launched in 2013 with a single product from a single brand but now boasts seven labels (more on which later) and bricks and mortar stores in Canada, the UK, the US, South Korea, Hong Kong, Mexico, Holland and, of course, Australia.
And all without Pitt or Clooney ads splayed across every second bus or a relentless online presence that pops up in your socials.
What they have got right – aside from smart unisex packaging and affordable price points – is a reliance on the science of effective ingredients. It’s most apparent in a brand ironically called The Ordinary. Which looks straight out of the lab in sepia chemical bottles and almost austere monochromatic labeling.
Hero products are a tough call when there is this much consistency across the range but our pick is the Granactive Retinoid 2 Per Cent in Squalane, which sells for $18.30 for 30mls. This is anti-ageing retinol turbo-charged cousin but without the irritation that can haunt sensitive skin. It’s a potent skin salve but bear in mind it can make the complexion more sensitive to UV rays so also combine it with an SPF product. It can also cause acne to flare if you already have it. Fair warning.
Another honourable mention from The Ordinary is Caffeine Solution 5 Per Cent EGCG, $12.70 (30ml). If you don’t so much have bags and circles under your eyes as luggage and panda shadows, this is your soldier. Caffeine brightens the skin like it does a personality first thing in the morning via an espresso and EGCG – because we knew you were wondering – is derived from green tea leaves which contain bulk antioxidants.
One more brand under the Deciem umbrella which has caught our attention is Niod. It has a similar ingredient focus as The Ordinary – much like the best modern chefs who will source the very best items and do the very least to them. Stand out product – particularly for the gent who’s getting on and has a wardrobe that has become accidentally vintage – is the Neck Elasticity Catalyst. Which does exactly what it says on the tub and then some.
A trio labels – Abnomaly, Loofah and Hippooh – are on the horizon so if you like your skincare clean, low-fuss and affordable watch the Deciem space.