By way of a childhood that involved experimenting with ingredients found in her home kitchen to make face masks, to working for brands like Clarins and Epicuren, and becoming a certified aesthetician, January Olds’ fate as a beauty founder was arguably sealed from a young age.
When she realised that the industry was “[failing] us with “quick-fix” products, the use of chemicals and overcomplicated skincare regimens which are not only expensive, but ineffective,” January decided to create an antidote to that with the launch of her own brand, January Labs.
Favouring integral ingredients over flashy marketing and excessive packaging which bigger, more established brands invest in — an act that proportionately drives up retail prices for consumers — January focused on developing multi-use products in unpretentious airtight bottles. “Skincare doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s as simple as that,” January says. It also happens to be the tagline for her company.
Another significant move that January made was concentrating on the skin’s often neglected but vital stratum barrier — the outer layer of skin. As a result, January Labs is the only brand in the business that is committed to taking care of this particular part of our dermis. Offering pH-optimised skin solutions for ingredients like vitamin C to work best in, when so many other products featuring vitamin C are rendered useless or reactionary in an alkaline pH environment, January’s products are unequivocally unique. Consciously made and kind to our complexions, it’s pretty much everything you could want in a skincare regime.
What is the ‘Essential Stratum Barrier’, and how exactly do January Labs’ products restore, protect and strengthen the skin in ways that other brands don’t?
We coined the term ‘Essential Stratum Barrier’ to describe how our products focus on nourishing and protecting the stratum corneum, or the outer layer of skin. All of our products deliver benefits to repair, build and protect the essential stratum barrier; with the main goal of keeping bad things out and good things in! This is a really unique approach in the skincare industry.
What are your three favourite January Labs products, your favourite ways to use them and why are they unique and effective?
I really love our Retexturizing Night Cream. It has a medicinal quality and is made with nine per cent lactic acid. You truly notice a difference in skin tone, texture, hormonal breakouts and pigmentation within days.
Secondly, I would say our Advanced Eye Technology cream, which is packed with peptides to help with fine lines and wrinkles. It’s versatile enough to use around the lip area too.
Finally, our Restorative Tonic Mist — the more you use this product, the more you’ll see smoother, glowing skin and smaller pores. We recommend misting throughout the day to reset makeup, ward off bacteria, hydrate skin, and protect and nourish the essential stratum barrier.
“It’s interesting to me that most people would assume “chemicals” are a no, but chemicals aren’t necessarily bad for you. After all, water is H2O!”
How does your Restorative Toning Mist work to help minimise pores and where is the Sodium PCA ingredient sourced from?
The Sodium PCA itself serves as the pore minimiser and it is sourced from fennel. It also has witch hazel, which is an often overlooked ingredient that helps minimise pores and reduce redness and inflammation.
January Labs follows the same approach as cooking in preparing skincare blends. What does this mean in terms of the formulation process and how do you source for your ingredients?
We want to make sure that the marquee ingredients in each product serve three purposes: minimise fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and hormonal breakouts. Our ingredients are always multi-purposeful and have an effect on the other ingredients they are used alongside by supporting one another to help them work more efficiently and effectively.
In terms of the formulation process, there is always new data and technology surrounding ingredients, their effectiveness and the safety of formulations. We are continually refining and developing the best formulas possible. It’s an exciting process to learn and we are always in search of the most effective, natural, and cruelty-free ingredients and formulations.
“We want to make sure that the marquee ingredients in each product serve three purposes: minimise fine lines and wrinkles,
pigmentation and hormonal breakouts”
When formulating and buying skincare products, what are three things that are most important to you?
The three things that I find most important is to make sure there are no toxic ingredients.
Secondly, I’m insistent on using multi-purpose products that do a lot, like our Moisture Renew Mask which is also a great spot treatment for dry patches. Our eye cream is also great for lines around your lips.
Lastly, I’d say long-term effectiveness. Like our night cream — my skin gets better and better the more I use it.
Tell us about your morning and night-time skincare regimes, as well as your daily makeup look.
My morning routine starts with a cleanse with our Pure & Gentle Cleansing Gel, then I apply my eye cream and day cream. Recently, I’ve started incorporating the Moisture Renew Mask on top. It is an amazing primer for my light foundation and I use Ellis Faas’. Then I apply some RMS Buriti Bronzer on my cheeks and a little above my eyelids. Lastly, I finish with Lancôme’s Definicils mascara and brush my brows.
My night regime is simple. I wash my face with our cleansing gel, then apply my eye cream and night cream again. I often incorporate different things into my routine that we’re in the process of developing, which right now is a retinol product that we’re really excited about.
On a weekly basis, I use our Glow and Go Power Peel Exfoliant, and the Moisture Renew Mask daily! It’s a mask but I use it as a moisturiser. And I am always spritzing our Restorative Tonic Mist on my face and neck.
Makeup-wise, I actually like the look of no makeup. I use a natural-looking light concealer by Ellis Faas that I love, and a cream blush and mascara. I find that a great skincare routine minimises the need to wear a lot of makeup, so I keep it minimal. I also drink copious amounts of water, which is the absolute best thing for your skin.
January reaches for her Glow and Go Power Peel Exfoliant as a weekly treat
Besides January Labs, what are three skincare brands and products you are currently obsessed with?
I love Josh Rosebrook; In Fiore, which is a body line that is facial quality-grade; and I really love my dear friend, Heather Bradley’s facial scrub that she makes with honey, fresh lemon and sugar. It’s heavenly.
I refer to the Day and Night Duo as the lover and fighter. The night cream is the fighter. It has nine per cent lactic acid content to exfoliate while you sleep. It literally cocoons your skin! The day cream is the lover and it absorbs into the skin and moisturises throughout the day. It has peptides, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to help the skin be ultra-hydrated.
Basically, the day and night creams work together because they function at different pH levels and their ingredients are formulated to balance each other for optimal effectiveness. For instance, your skin is super ready to receive the nutrients in the day cream when you’ve used the night cream before going to bed.
What is a skincare issue you’ve struggled with your whole life, and how do you deal with it?
I’ve struggled with hyper- and hypo-pigmentation. I’ve learned to protect my skin on a more conscious and intentional level. I wear hats and always use sunscreen. It’s essentially all the things I didn’t do during my 20s!
What does conscious beauty mean to you?
I think it’s important to know what you’re using on your skin. There are so many fads that continually pop up so I’d just encourage people to simply be aware of products that are working (and not working), and which are non-toxic. It’s interesting to me that most people would assume “chemicals” are a no, but chemicals aren’t necessarily bad for you. After all, water is H2O! There is a fine line with effective ingredients, along with non-toxic ingredients, and it just takes learning and experimenting to really understand your skin.
Images courtesy of January Labs