New Scalp And Hair Brand Trusse Beauty Is Building Consumer Trust By Committing To Ethical Marketing

Christian Maxwell’s decision to cut off her hair 15 years ago is the reason she’s an entrepreneur today. The big chop led to her sharing her natural hair journey on YouTube and that in turn led to her creating content and consulting for brands in the textured haircare space, including Mielle Organics.

The latest outgrowth of that propitious chop is Trusse Beauty, a scalp and hair brand Maxwell has launched with her husband Justin. The brand was conceptualized at Studio Maxwell, a social media photography and advertising firm the Maxwells have run for the last six years that counts Odele, The Lip Bar and Pattern Beauty as clients. Based on their experience at the firm, they zeroed in on the importance of putting the customer first.

“When I was coaching our clients and working with them on marketing strategies, I would have to remind them, ‘Hey guys, the economy’s a little bit stressful for our customers, how can we be empathetic to that?’ And there would be a little bit of a disconnect with the brand owners because, at that point for them, their financial status was a little less able to be touched by the economy,” says Christian. “So, when I sat down to create Trusse Beauty, I was focused on what’s happening to her, and how do I address that with solutions that are not all about me and how much money we can make. It’s about, how do I improve how she feels about her beauty regimens?”

In November, Trusse Beauty kicked off with two products: Gud Scalp & Hair Serum and Gud All Over Body Multi-Use Serum in November. The scalp and hair serum, which is the brand’s early bestseller, sold out less than a month after arriving on the market. It’s available in 1-oz. and 2-oz. versions that retail for $24.97 and $46.97, respectively. The 2-oz. body serum is priced at $36.97.

Trusse Beauty’s hair serum, which is the brands best-selling product, sold out less than a month after coming onto the market. It’s available in an 1 oz and 2 oz version which retail for $24.97 and $46.97. Christian Maxwell

With Gud Scalp & Hair Serum, Christian sought to create a lightweight serum that wouldn’t exacerbate product buildup for women who wear protective styles or don’t wash their hair every week. She describes it as a dry oil that soaks into the scalp. Among its ingredients are oregano oil, eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, Jamaican black castor oil, vitamin E, argan oil, amla oil, squalene, fractionated coconut oil and fenugreek. Christian says the ingredient blend was chosen to nurture hair growth and help “make your scalp a little bit less hospitable to fungus or bacteria.”

Made to be used on all hair types, Christian notes Gud Scalp & Hair Serum could be especially beneficial for people with fine hair or prone to oily hair. Trusse Beauty’s core customers are women in their 30s and older worried about or already dealing with hair loss. Christian says, “It’s for that consumer who’s trying to do something holistic to support healthier, stronger, thicker hair before going and dabbling with Rogaine.”

Christian is adamant about Trusse Beauty taking an ethical approach to marketing. The approach involves giving people context, providing proper credit for information and avoiding before-and-after images. “The very nature of before-and-afters causes people to compare and then to benchmark against someone else’s situation, and we don’t know what their health is, we don’t know what they shifted in their diet,” says Christian. “It’s just very easy to take out of context, and it creates an environment where customers can feel let down.”

“There’s so much talk around ethics with ingredients—and that’s really, really important—but there’s no talk really about ethics when it comes to marketing.”

Rather than let consumers down, Christian is out to empower them with reputable information. Last month, Trusse Beauty posted on Instagram about foods to eat to support hair health and cited sources in its slides. “I want people to get back to asking, ‘Hey, where is this information coming from?’ Because we’re not nutritionists, so you should want to ask us where we got this information,” says Christian. “That’s how we want to lead and how we want to do our marketing.”

She emphasizes, “There’s so much talk around ethics with ingredients—and that’s really, really important—but there’s no talk really about ethics when it comes to marketing. It is just the wild, wild west out here,” she says. “For a lot of consumers, it’s very easy for them to become duped, but that’s also caused a lot of them to become disenfranchised, especially with the natural hair space because they don’t know who to trust. They don’t know what is actually going to work because everybody’s trying to present the most compelling marketing material just to get them to buy that one time.”

Leaning into her YouTube days, Christian plans to be forward-facing for Trusse Beauty on social media, and content featuring her has resonated with the brand’s audience. “A lot of people have been on this journey with me for a very long time, and a lot of them feel pretty passionately about the evolution that they’ve seen me go from when I was in college to who I’ve become today,” she says. As a marketer, she adds, “I really preach the power of founder-forward brands. There’s no magic like it. People need somebody to latch onto.”

Trusse Beauty’s Gud All Over Body Multi-Use Serum is a dry oil that can be used everywhere from the face to the body to cuticles. Christian Maxwell

At the moment, Trusse Beauty is sold exclusively in direct-to-consumer distribution, but it’s considering retail. Christian points to gift shops and beauty supply stores as possibilities for it. She’s interested in the latter for the direct relationship she can foster with owners, and the potential to throw in-store events and produce custom marketing material to engage shoppers. “I really want to have a hands-on relationship,” says Christian. “A lot of damage to founders is when they didn’t have their hand on the product and didn’t know where it was.”

Expanding Trusse Beauty’s team is a goal of Christian’s. Besides her and Justin, the brand currently relies on contractors. As a mother of four, Christian hopes to fill future positions with mothers whom she believes are often misunderstood in the workplace. “I know what it’s like to have people count you out and decide that, oh, your ambitions are a little bit dialed down now because you’re in the mothering stage of your life,” she says. “I really want to create a space that understands they are a mother first, but they’re still just as ambitious.”