See the Difference Serum
This serum's first ingredient is a type of fragrant rose extract with extensive research showing it has mixed benefits. In the pro column, inhaling this flower's scent seems to have relaxing, blood pressure–lowering benefits and the plant's petals contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that can benefit the skin. On the flipside, the numerous chemicals that create this serum's distinctive fragrance pose a risk of irritation and allergic contact dermatitis (Source: Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, July 2011, pages 295–307). Note that the single source cited is a compendium of the research on this plant dating back to 1972, and summarizes decades of research.
Otherwise, this serum (which really has more of a thin lotion than a classic serum texture) continues the formulary standard seen throughout the Ole Henriksen line: A mixed bag of beneficial and problematic natural ingredients mixed with tried-and-true synthetic ingredients.
For example, this serum contains some helpful fatty acids and antioxidants like shea butter, red tea, and green tea, all of which are great for the skin. But why add fragrant gardenia, citrus extracts, and numerous fragrance ingredients with research showing they can be irritating to skin? Along with the main ingredient (fragrant rose) discussed above, this serum's difference may just be irritation, not impressive anti-aging results. See our list of Best Serums for superior picks.
- Contains some good antioxidants and non-fragrant plant oils.
- Moisturizes dry skin.
- Contains multiple fragrant ingredients, including a type of rose as the main ingredient.
- Highly fragrant formula poses a strong risk of irritation.
A nourishing lightweight serum designed for maximum preventative and corrective anti-aging benefits. Fights off environmental damage with powerful antioxidants including African red tea and vitamin C.
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.