Behind-the-Brand with Decree’s Dr. Anita
One try, and you’ll be a fan of Decree’s simplified skincare range, too. Read on as Dr. Anita Sturnham shares the brand’s origins, and the (fixable) mistakes you’re making that are causing self-inflicted skin issues. She had us at Sprayable SPF, and we only fall more in love when we learn the intention behind every single iconic product. Dare we say Decree is streamlined perfection?
Brand name: Decree
Founder: Dr Anita Sturnham
Date founded: September 2019
As a respected Doctor, please share a little bit about your medical experience in helping patients overcome complex skin issues and how it led you to develop Decree?
Decree Skincare was inspired by many factors. My medical background, my patients and by a clear gap in the market that I identified through my years of treating my patients’ skin.
In 2014 I founded my clinic brand, Nuriss, based in Marylebone, London. At my initial skin consultations, I asked my patients to bring in their skincare to show me what they were using morning to night.
Over the years I saw the same trends again and again. Many people were using the wrong products on their skin, effectively feeding it with ‘junk food’. I would say that around 90% of the skin issues that I see in my clinics are self-inflicted, with the main culprits being the products that they use. The most common issues included overusing products, mixing and matching brands that weren’t designed to go together, product hopping, over-stimulating the skin, and over-exfoliating with multiple fruit acids and double cleansing products. My first priority was to strip things right back and to start them on a simplified skincare routine—this is a fundamental step to getting healthy skin. I always provide my patients with the knowledge and confidence to choose the right products for their skin, morning and night, to help them get the very best out of their skin and to keep it there.
The second key inspiration behind Decree was my in-house skincare line, Nuriss Skincare, which I designed for my patients and launched in 2014. We had 32 products in the line, with your typical skincare categories. We had products for acne, pigmentation, rosacea, anti-aging, etc. I discovered over the years of looking after people’s skin, that regardless of age, sex, skin type, and skin concern, I was using the same key active ingredients for everyone. It became clear that there was a massive opportunity to strip things back and to simplify skincare down to a collection of products that contain multi-tasking actives. In my mind, it was time to break down the typical boundaries in skincare. And so, with all of this inspiration, I created Decree.
Tell us about Decree’s simplified skincare philosophy.
Decree is a brand that was designed to cut through the confusing and cluttered skincare space. Inspired by my 18 years of clinical practice, I wanted to create a line that not only offered clinically efficacious formulations, but also the luxurious sensorial touch points that seemed to matter to my patients: beautiful packaging, textures, and aroma. I wanted the products to be simple to choose in a retail setting, and easy to use every single day. Decrees daily and weekly protocol are designed to encourage consistency with your skincare routine and we know that consistency is key to having healthy skin.
What was the first product you created, and why?
When creating Decree I wanted to launch a complete skincare system, so I developed nine products over a three year period, rather than launching one product at a time. I had my work cut out creating so many products alongside each other, but I love a challenge. Fortunately, I had clear objectives in my mind, in terms of the type of formulations I wanted to create, and the key actives I wanted to include. Plus, I had the benefit of 16 years of experience treating skin conditions, observing the way that the skin responds to different ingredients, and understanding which combinations of actives work best when used together. My clinical experience allowed me to fast track the development process.
What sets your doctor-led brand apart, and why is the range so highly effective?
Many doctor-led skincare brands have complicated regimens to follow and come in packaging that isn’t particularly luxurious, textures that don’t absorb easily into the skin, and often smell of their unpleasant raw materials. For this reason, people don’t use the products consistently and we know that consistency is key to seeing the true benefits of a product. Decree is a doctor-led brand that simplifies the skincare regime, encouraging compliance by providing a luxurious, sensorial, yet highly efficacious routine. In a world that demands more transparency than ever before, Decree’s messaging is confident and clear, proudly displaying our dosed-actives, their percentages, and purpose on our secondary packaging. Our aim is to build a relationship based on trust with our consumer. Decree is a range that empowers the user to become an expert in their own skin. Decree will allow the user to enjoy their simplified yet effective skincare regimen and notice benefits following a consistent routine.
The carefully formulated products, with luxurious textures, great-smelling botanical extract scents, and beautiful soft touch packaging, makes following a structured skincare regimen a pleasure and not a chore.
Decree is committed to challenging boundaries that surround skincare. For example, the widespread belief that consumers must buy multiple products to target different skin concerns, for different ages, and skin types. When in fact there are a number of key ingredients that are multi-functional and beneficial for all ages and skin types. Skincare can be simplified.
What are some of your favorite products from the line? Any tips on how to use them?
This is like asking a mother to choose a favorite child, you simply can’t! I honestly love the whole range but in terms of the products that make the most difference to my skin, I would say I couldn’t live without the AM Serum, Protect Elixir, and the PM Serum, Treat Tincture. A well formulated serum gets to the deeper dermal layers of your skin with active ingredients that really make a difference. Our AM Serum is loaded with antioxidants Vitamin C,B,E, Ferulic Acid and Coenzyme Q10, Mineral Cofactors, Copper Peptide Complex, Hyaluronic Acid, Chondrus Crispus Extract in a rose water base.
What is one surprising thing people might not know about Decree?
At a glance, you perhaps wouldn’t realize that Decree is a doctor-led brand, with clinical strength formulations, as the products look so beautiful. The formulations are used in all of my clinic facial protocols, too. They really make a difference on your skin. Decree brings that clinical expertise to the high street, in an elegant and efficacious way.
We’re SPF obsessed. Tell us more about your SPF Spray and Preparatory Mist.
Decree Preparatory Mist is more than just a toner. It acts as an essential priming mist, to rebalance the skin’s pH after the cleanse, and rehydrate the skin. A great toner should not only be balancing but also nourishing in its nature. Decree Preparatory Mist is packed full of skin boosting and conditioning ingredients. A well formulated toner will rebalance your skin’s pH back to around 5.5. Even if we use a ‘gentle’ cleanser, our skin can become slightly alkaline and it is at its happiest at a slightly acidic pH.
A good toner also rehydrates your skin barriers and ‘preps’ your skin for its subsequently applied products, such as your serum, which will absorb more effectively when your skin has done a cleanse and toner step first.
Decree also formulated the Day Shield SPF30, a portable spray designed to be worn under or over make-up, making reapplication less fussy and uncomplicated. The formula contains no chemical sunscreens; instead minerals Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide combined with UV protective peptides and an anti-pollution blend, to further protect the skin from external aggressors.
What is your proudest moment as a founder?
I have so many proud moments but I would say the starting point was seeing three years of hard work come to fruition, when I launched Decree in September 2019. I saw the products in-store and online with the major beauty retailers, lined up next to huge global brands. As a brand founder, I am always striving to grow the brand and achieve the next milestone, but when I reflect back on key moments, a month after launch an influential independent journalist, with a huge global reach, dedicated a double page spread to our brand, highlighting our Treat Tincture serum as the ‘holy grail’. We sold out across all channels within 48 hours and I was blown away. This is still our best-selling product to this very day.
What can we expect from Decree in the future? Any exciting news you can share?
We have so many exciting things planned for Decree. Over the past two years we have been working on the creation of five new products that will compliment the core Decree line and will launch in 2023-2024. We have reformulated our core range to make Decree a fully vegan line and our new product design has a strong focus on sustainability, using recyclable/reusable packaging, and refillable packaging concepts. We are looking to grow the brand in the US and I will be doing a trip in July 2022, where I look forward to seeing the SHEN team.