Fresh Start Eye Creme
This eye moisturizer contains mostly water, plant oils, thickeners, non-fragrant plant oil, antioxidants, silicone, plant extracts, and preservatives. Although that combination has the potential to help normal to dry skin anywhere on the face, this product is not recommended because it also contains comfrey extract (listed by its Latin name Symphytum officinale). Several studies have shown that comfrey extract can have carcinogenic or toxic properties when taken orally. It is a major problem for the body when consumed orally because of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These compounds occur naturally in every part of the comfrey plant, and are absorbed through the skin, where they cause problems as the liver attempts to metabolize them. It is these metabolites (referred to as pyrroles) that are highly toxic (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2002, pages 948–964; and http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/alkaloids/pyrrolizidine.html).
Topical application of comfrey has anti-inflammatory properties, but is recommended only for short-term use and only then if you can be sure the amount of pyrrolizidine alkaloids is less than 100 micrograms per application—something that would be impossible to determine without sophisticated testing equipment—making comfrey an ingredient to avoid. The alkaloid content makes it a potential skin irritant (Sources: Chemical Research in Toxicology, November 2001, pages 1546–1551; and Public Health Nutrition, December 2000, pages 501–508). Even without the comfrey, the jar packaging is a letdown because the antioxidants in this moisturizer require air-tight packaging.
Rich and luxurious from the moment it touches the skin, fresh start helps diminish lines and wrinkles in the delicate eye area and protects against future damage. Perfect for daily use, it provides a smooth foundation for eye makeup, and safe to use for contact lens wearers.
Ole Henriksen At-A-Glance
Strengths: The Protect the Truth SPF 50+ Sunscreen is good.
Weaknesses: Expensive; not all-natural as claimed; jar packaging for antioxidant-rich products is pervasive; terribly irritating toners; several average serums and moisturizers, including eye creams; lip balm that contains irritating ingredients.
"Facialist to the stars," L.A.'s "number one face man," and "one of Hollywood's hottest facialists" are but a few of the accolades Denmark-born Ole Henriksen has garnered since he first made a name for himself in Los Angeles back in 1974. Henriksen's skin-care philosophy was, and still is, a mix of holistic teachings, common sense, and, as seen in countless other cosmetic lines (though Henriksen was somewhat of a trailblazer when he started), an affinity for Mother Nature and all she has to offer the skin.
We agree with Henriksen's philosophy that feeling good from the inside can manifest itself on the outside, and we applaud the fact that he admonishes his clients for being too hard on themselves when it comes to their complexions. That bromide loses some of its believability, however, when you realize that Henriksen's products are all about fixing the outside of you, especially the parts with wrinkles, puffy eyes, skin discolorations, and on and on.
For example, all the self-confidence in the world won't change the need for sunscreen or change your genetic propensity for certain skin conditions. Clearly, Henriksen believes that, too, because his skin-care products are meant to help his devotees put their best faces forward. He maintains that his products are different because they are "pure," "natural," and "high performance" productsnow really, how often have we heard that? Way too many times, and as is often the case, the products aren't pure or all natural in the least. It turns out that Henriksen's products aren't anywhere close to being all natural. Every product is rife with plenty of unnatural ingredients, most of which are used industry-wide. (That doesn't make them bad, but marketing hype and distortion should not be the basis for making decisions about what skin-care products you use.) In essence, the only unique aspect of this line is Henriksen's ability to charm his clients into thinking that his products are in some way unique and worth the money, when they absolutely are not. A quick review of the ingredient label reveals far more problems than is acceptable for anyone's skin.
Stepping away from the marketing aspect, this product line has way too many missteps to make it interesting or beneficial. While it does contain helpful plant extracts and oils, it is certainly not the only line that includes those ingredients. Sadly, the potency, and yes, even the purity, of many of the good plant extracts are compromised due to his tendency to use jar packaging rather than more stable, airtight options (all plant extracts deteriorate when exposed to air or light). And the amount of irritating plant extracts makes some of his products just hurtful for skin.
Perhaps the saddest part is that a so-called skin-care expert can't even get sun protection right. You place all that trust in someone's expertise and they don't even have the basics down! Henriksen's Herbal Day Creme SPF 15 lacks titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, Mexoryl, or Tinosorb. All the ballyhooed "calming extracts" and "pure botanicals" in the world cannot stave off one wrinkle if your sunscreen lacks sufficient UVA protection. A few of the sunscreens that do provide adequate UVA protection contain skin celldamaging lavender oil. Sigh. It's not fun when you consistently run into examples in line after line that prove that natural ingredients are not inherently better for skin! Given how many consumers want to use such products, we'd love to offer them some slam-dunk options.
This aesthetician-created line has a few reasonably decent options to consider, but overall the line is not on par with many others. The overwhelming emphasis on "natural skincare" (which, we repeat, this line definitely is not) might sound like it will be good for you, but that is not what you will find here. A company's apparent blindness to the published evidence that many of the natural extracts as well as many of the synthetic ingredients they include are potent skin irritants means you don't want to shop this line through rose-colored glasses.
For more information about Ole Henriksen, call (800) 327-0331 or visit www.olehenriksen.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.