This week we are answering a routine question from NalaPatala: “I have fallen in love with Ole Henriksen’s line of products, and should maybe simplify my routine… I only use one type of serum a day, but alternate them over different periods… I have used these products over a year, and don’t find them irritating - even though I can tell from the analysis of my list that it has a high amount of irritants.” NalaPatala’s skin goals include more even skin tone, anti-aging and less pore congestion & blemishes.
Here is the link to NalaPatala’s current routine: https://whatsinmyjar.com/posts/902/can-you-recommend-any-better-products. In total, it included more than 13 different products. Our “made over routine” includes only 6 products with more potent actives:
- “upgraded” form & concentration of Vitamin C
- more effective % of niacinamide
- a potent retinoid Retinal.
- We kept peptides, ceramides and other moisturizing “goodies” as well as exfoliating acids from the original routine, but optimized the products to reduce the complexity.
In terms of actives, NalaPatala’s original routine (attached in images below) contained:
- A Vitamin C derivative (3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid) in about 6% concentration from OleHenriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum. In this concentration, the vitamin C derivative is probably having a slight antioxidant effect. Helpful, but not a game-changer for anti-aging or brightening. The same active is in the OleHenriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème and in the OleHenriksen C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème, but its concentration in each of those is around 1%, and it is too little to have any real impact.
- Gluconolactone and Gluconic Acid in about 3% concentration from the same OleHenriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C serum. In this amount, Gluconolactone will work by attracting water to the upper layer of the skin and support the skin barrier.
- Niacinamide at about 1% concentration from OleHenriksen Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturiser. Niacinamide is fantastic all-rounder active for brightening, skin clarity and anti-aging, but we’d prefer a higher concentration (ideally somewhere between 3-6%).
- Peptides, ceramides and amino acids from OleHenriksen Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturiser. These are great ingredients to support the skin hydration and potentially even help repair photodamage.
- Bakuchiol in about 1% concentration OleHenriksen Wrinkle Blur Bakuchiol Eye Gel Crème and in the OleHenriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème. Bakuchiol can have a potent anti-aging and brightening effect without a high irritation risk, and it makes it a great active for the eye area or for sensitive skin. This logic though makes less sense when it is combined with risky essential oils like in the OleHenriksen’s products.
- An exfoliating combo of PHAs and AHAs in the total concentration of 20% in OleHenriksen Dewtopia™ 20% Acid Night Treatment for once a week. The same actives are also in OleHenriksen Glow2OH™ Dark Spot Toner in around 6% concentration. PHAs are also in OleHenriksen Phat Glow Facial Mask at about 5%. These are good actives for weekly exfoliation to add extra-softness to the skin, reduce the pore congestion and stimulate collagen production. We are not thrilled though that these acid treatments are again packed with essential oils: the acids thin the skin barrier, and it increases the risk that the irritants get into the skin potentially causing inflammation. There is also not much difference (apart from the concentrations) between these 3 products, so here is an excellent opportunity to eliminate a few products and streamline the routine.
It is great news that NalaPatala doesn’t find the OleHenriksen’s products irritating even though they are packed with essential oils. It means that NalaPatala’s skin can potentially tolerate strong actives. And this is exactly what we’d recommend: trade the irritation risk from no-value-add fragrances for the “high-upside” risk from potent anti-aging and brightening actives like Ascorbic Acid and a Retinoid.
Overall, we recommend NalaPatala to:
1. “Upgrade” the main actives in her routine: Vitamin C (go for the best form of it, Ascorbic Acid, in a concentration of 10-20% instead of a less effective derivative 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid), increase the concentration of Niacinamide to 4-6% (this active helps with anti-aging, skin tone and also reduces clogged pores and blemishes).
2. Add a retinoid to get more skin clarity and anti-aging benefits.Retinoids come with an irritation risk, but since NalaPatala’s skin is resilient, this is the risk worth taking.
3. Keep PHAs and AHAs in the routine, but remove the unnecessary irritants from the products they come in (and use the “gained” tolerance towards the potent concentration of Ascorbic Acid and retinoid).
4. Keep the great skin barrier support & moisturizing ingredients (humectants, emollients, peptides, ceramides) in the routine - but they can come in one single product.
5. When it comes to eye creams, the only reason to use a separate product is to reduce the irritation risk in this areas. If you can tolerate the same actives in the eye area as on the rest of the face (apart from strong exfoliants), you can absolutely skip the eye creams.
Here is a sample routine NalaPatala could go for - with only 6 effective products. What do you guys think?