Mr. Truaxe’s run of unusual behavior in public began in late January, when he posted a video to Deciem’s Instagram account saying that he had canceled the company’s marketing plans. “From now on I am going to communicate personally with you,” he said. That was followed by a number of other strange videos: in one, Mr. Truaxe changed his title, from C.E.O. to “Worker;” in another, he announced that Deciem would sever its relationship with Tijion Esho, a well-known cosmetic doctor who was still promoting the lip care products he released with the company when news of the post broke.
Several weeks later, Deciem’s co-C.E.O. Nicola Kilner left the company, the first major internal rupture that could be linked to Mr. Truaxe’s erratic posting. (Ms. Kilner later told Elle that she had argued with Mr. Truaxe over the announcement about Mr. Esho, and, days afterward, was informed by human resources that she was no longer a part of the company.)
After a chaotic flurry of news set off by Mr. Truaxe’s posts earlier in the year, Deciem seemed until this week to have regained some stability. In July, Ms. Kilner, widely viewed as a calming influence, confirmed to Racked that she had rejoined the company.
Though Deciem has had at least a dozen product lines, The Ordinary has been its most popular brand. Whereas many skin care products arrive as premade serums and cocktails, The Ordinary gained devotees by offering simpler solutions, such as its popular line of acids. Customers were encouraged to experiment with ingredients in order to concoct tailored regimens, a practice that has helped drive conversation around the brand on social media.
On Tuesday, that conversation mixed elements of alarm and bargain hunting as fans discussed the news and wondered whether products would remain available. Customers swapped rumors in a private Facebook group with more than 57,000 members, while others flocked to an Instagram fan account to discuss whether products could be ordered online. (For the most part, as of Tuesday afternoon, they reportedly could, though it was unclear whether products would be delivered.)
On Twitter, many users said that they were in the midst of a purchasing spree, even as they were not sure whether the company would continue to exist. Others wondered whether the whole debacle was a false alarm, or perhaps, some unintelligible form of marketing scam.