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Image / Beauty

Inside the beauty routine of Nicola Kilner, CEO of Deciem


by Holly O'Neill
05th May 2020
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After the death of Brandon Truaxe, Nicola Kilner was left to pick up the pieces of the most disruptive brand in beauty. Here, from the Volume 1 issue of IMAGE Magazine, the CEO of Deciem speaks to Holly O’Neill about the year she’s had, her skincare secrets, and kindness.


What’s your first beauty memory and have you always loved skincare and beauty?
My mum being in her rollers with a big smile every morning. From as young as I can remember, I’ve loved beauty… we’d play at beauty salon.

What ingredients should everyone have in their routine and what’s your skincare secret?
Copper peptides. And consistency really makes the biggest difference.

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Tan Luxe The Water, €36.95

What was the last beauty product you bought?
I’m very fortunate to get most of our products directly from the lab, but I recently purchased Tan Luxe The Water, €36.95, for my recent holiday. The main time I try to use self-tan is on holiday, so I can stay cool in the shade, whilst still enjoying the holiday ‘glow’.

What are your five desert island beauty products?
NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum, €67, NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Lipid, €80, The Ordinary Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil, €9.45 (which I can use on hair as well as skin), NIOD Survival 30, €30 and a reusable water bottle.

What foundation do you love or always return to?
The Ordinary Serum Foundation, €6.95.

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The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, €18.20

What Deciem product has been the biggest challenge to create?
We are currently working on WaterColours in The Ordinary which will be a water-free foundation. This is proving to be quite testing in the lab. SPF’s are the hardest to launch globally as there are so many different regulations around the world.

What’s the best beauty advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever received was “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”, meaning being kind gets you further. I think in the year 2020, kindness is a trait of beauty.

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The Ordinary Serum Foundation, €6.95

What’s the worst beauty mistake you ever made?
An at-home hair toner that turned my hair orange!

How do you take time for yourself?

I’m happiest when with Mila and my husband, and it’s never a challenge to prioritise them.

Is there anything beauty related you’ve ever wanted to try?
A Nichola Joss facial!

You have ten minutes to get ready – what do you use?
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, €7.20, The Ordinary Buffet with Copper Peptides, €28.90, The Ordinary Serum Foundation (includes SPF), €6.95 Benefit mascara, Estée Lauder blush. As a working mum, I actually have the ‘quick’ routine down to about 3 minutes, but I do love it when I have longer to use more products.

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Benefit Cosmetics Bad Gal Bang Volumising Mascara, €27

How do you think social media has changed beauty?
It has allowed every person to become a micro-influencer and has allowed the audience to demand transparency.

What excellent skincare ingredient do you think is most underrated?
Squalane— it’s low cost and so versatile. Our most underrated product is our Hair Density Serum, €17.90, in The Ordinary.

Why did you want to join Deciem and how was it been leading the company over the last year?
I wanted to join Brandon. His energy was infectious. I’ve never felt alone in leading. I miss Brandon every day, but I’m so fortunate I still have the Deciem family that he built around me. We aim to stay true to the three values Brandon held at the core of Deciem: innovation, design and function. We try and focus only on what we are doing, but it’s nice to see the pick-up on the transparency of ingredients and that price point no longer has to define luxury.

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NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum, €67

What’s next for Deciem in 2020?
We have new brand launches LoOpha and Hippooh and something in the natural space. We also have some exciting new retailer partnerships and will be entering new markets to try and make The Ordinary even more accessible to all.

If you could give everyone one Deciem product from any of the brands, what would you give them?
NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Lipid, €80.

NIOD, The Ordinary and Hylamide are available in Ireland in Arnotts, Brown Thomas and Boots.

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This article originally appeared in the Volume 1 (January/February) 2020 issue of IMAGE Magazine.


Read more: The greatest skincare-infused foundations

Read more: Clean beauty terminology explained and debunked by two experts

Read more: A dermatologist’s guide to what you actually need in your skincare routine

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