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Skincare royalty, Ole Henriksen, on how the industry has changed, ageing gracefully and entering the Hong Kong market

Internationally acclaimed Danish skincare brand, OLEHENRIKSEN has touched down in Hong Kong, bringing its coveted formulas and cult-favourite products to beauty fanatics across the city.

Bringing the #OleGlow to skincare addicts across Hong Kong, Ole Henriksen’s Scandinavian heritage and joy for life is mirrored in his simple yet potent skincare products that aim to empower everybody when it comes to achieving great skin. Founded in 1975, each individual formula “reflects Ole’s Scandinavian sensibilities of health and happiness,” as well as his 30 years of experience in the spa and skincare industry.

Bringing the brand to life after his own struggle with cystic acne, you would never believe that Ole Henriksen has just celebrated his 70th birthday; starting out by bringing clients skincare concoctions made in his own kitchen, Ole has seemingly cracked the secret to ageing gracefully! We sat down with this beauty and skincare mogul for his top tips on living a healthy lifestyle, as well as his take on how the beauty industry has changed since the ’70s. Read on…

Ole Henriksen
Image credit: Povl Thompsen for OLEHENRIKSEN

Your career in skincare started with your spas. How did you know it was the right time to make your own products? What inspired you? 

At one point I had over 300 spas worldwide, with the one in Hollywood bringing in celebrity clients! I would bring my clients (celebrity or not) products that I made in my own kitchen. Soon after, I was invited on TV programmes – including Oprah, and eventually I had an opportunity to write my own book – “Ole Henriksen’s Seven-Day Skin-Care Program.“

The book included a seven day at-home skincare regime of homemade products. From there, I saw an amazing demand for Ole products. I formulated products with a chemist and started a small mail order business. The products were also stocked in hip boutiques like Fred Segal, and department stores like Harvey Nichols in London and Henri Bendel in New York. And well, the rest is history! It was my consumers and their skincare journey that inspired me all the way – and to this day – they continue to inspire me in all my product developments. I am forever grateful!  

“I want people to feel like they have found what has been missing from their skincare regime. Everyone deserves and can have the Ole Glow!”

– Ole Henriksen

You’ve recently launched in Hong Kong. Did you have any expectations upon launch? Are there any products that you feel will be best sellers amongst the Asian market?  

[Laughing] Let’s be honest – who doesn’t want to be number one?! Whenever I launch in a new market, I want people to feel like they have found what has been missing from their skincare regime. I want them to feel like I’ve thought about their concerns and the Ole Glow is in sight. My own skin struggles led to creating OLEHENRIKSEN, and with that in mind, I want to help others with their own skin struggles. Everyone deserves and can have the Ole Glow! 

Asia is a fast-paced market where people always have their hands on the pulse of what is next. One of our ultimate products, the Banana Bright Eye Crème, which I think will be a top-seller – is an eye cream infused with vitamin C and banana powder inspired pigments that brighten, hydrate and reduce the look of dark circle.  It also improves your concealer wear and works with your makeup. The ultimate multi-tasker!

OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème

With that in mind, what are 3 [of your] must-have products from your brand, and why? 

[Laughing] It’s so hard to pick only three! But some of my favourites are the C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème, Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum and Banana Bright Eye Crème.  

Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum: I love the fact it contains 15 percent of multiple sources of stable Vitamin C, plus 5 percent of polyhydroxy acids that instantly brightens, exfoliate and evens skin tone, as well as hyaluronic acid that helps plump the skin with hydration.   

C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème: I love the beautiful citrus aroma and the fact it immediately upon application improves on the skin’s hydration level by 140 percent. 

Banana Bright Eye Crème: this eye cream is infused with vitamin C and banana powder inspired pigments that brightens, hydrates and reduces the look of dark circled. It improves your concealer wear and works well with your makeup. Pro tip – You can mix Banana Bright Eye Crème with your concealer and then apply for no creasing or cakey-looking skin.

Which products would you recommend for a climate like Hong Kong where we are constantly battling heat and humidity?  

There is no doubt that my Balance franchise is the most effective at controlling excess oil flow, making visible pores invisible, and helps to detoxify the skin and reduce blemishes. It does it without drying the skin – keeping that matte, healthy glow!  This franchise contains neem seed oil from India, alpha hydroxy acids, and lipo hydroxy acids to purify and detoxify and reduce blemishes. 

Use Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser, Balancing Force Oil Control Toner, and Cold Plunge Pore Remedy Moisturiser both morning and night. Use Cold Plunge Pore Mask two times a week. You’ll love the cooling effect of Cold Plunge Pore Remedy Moisturiser & Cold Plunge Pore Mask especially on super-hot and humid days.  

As someone who’s been in the beauty industry since the ’70s, how have you seen the industry change? Are there any trends that you have noticed crop up time and again? 

I get this question a lot, and I will say the one trend I see time and time again is glowing skin! Everyone – whatever the generation – it could be skincare or in makeup – everyone is after the glow! You must try Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum, a powerful age-defying serum that brings us brighter, bouncier skin in seven days. Simply put – you will get the Ole Glow! 

“Before anything else, I ensure wellness is at the forefront of everything I do. From exercise to spending quality time with those I love and taking time for my skincare routine.”

– Ole Henriksen

Ole Henriksen
Image credit: Povl Thompsen for OLEHENRIKSEN

 It looks like you’ve cracked the code when it comes to physically ageing! Tell us about your skincare routine? 

I turned 70 in May! Can you believe it?! Honestly, I feel great physically and mentally. Before anything else, I ensure wellness is at the forefront of everything I do. From exercise to spending quality time with those I love and taking time for my skincare routine. I start every day with the Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser & Balancing Force Oil Control Toner; I have oily skin and this formulation deep cleans, purifies and balances my skin to ensure that my skin is balanced. I then use C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème and Banana Bright Eye Crème for daytime. This gives me the Ole Glow to start my day and feel confident in my own skin. For nighttime (because yes, our skin needs are different at night), I use Glow 2OH Dark Spot Toner. For when I have blemishes, I soak cotton pads and rest them on the target area for three minutes. I follow up with Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum then Goodnight Glow Sleeping Crème and finally the Wrinkle Blue Bakuchiol Eye Gel Crème. I also exfoliate twice a week, and my newest go to is the Lemonade Smoothing Scrub. Not only do I feel like a deep facial, but the scent brings me back to Capri, Italy! 

Any tips for those starting to experiment with skincare? Any ‘hero’ ingredients to look out for in our products? 

OLEHHENRIKSEN started from customised skincare – that approach continues to drive each franchise. For those starting to experiment with skincare or having to change up their regime – it is important to remember customisation is key. What works for you in the summer may not work in the winter, and the same goes for day to night. This is especially true for those with sensitive skin. It’s okay to play around with your skincare, as long as you know which actives and formulas don’t mix well with each other.  

 If I have to pick one hero (which is hard as I love all my ingredients equally) I would say vitamin C. We all think of vitamin C when we come down with a cold, but there is much more to this ingredient. My interest in this ingredient started during my studies as a nutritionist and continued throughout my skincare product development. Vitamin C has a long list of benefits – healing, rebuilding collagen and elasticity, diminish fine lines, anti-inflammatory, calming and soothing. It does it all! I knew that I wanted to incorporate this “free radical scavenger” into my skincare, and that’s how I created the Truth Serum. Vitamin C also strengthens the skin’s capillaries – which inspired me to create the Banana Bright and C-Rush products under the Truth franchise. It is really a power house ingredient.  

“I started my skincare journey with cystic acne and going through the transformation, was pivotal in how I built the brand. I want everyone that uses my products to feel a sense of empowerment, to embrace themselves and love the person they are.”

–Ole henriksen

In your opinion, what sets your brand apart from others in the market? 

I truly believe happy skin is beautiful skin – this ethos is at the heart of OLEHENRIKSEN. My team and I have a positive outlook on life and even when we face challenging moments, we push forward to see the positive. I started my skincare journey with cystic acne and going through the transformation, was pivotal in how I built the brand. I want everyone that uses my products to feel a sense of empowerment, to embrace themselves and love the person they are. There is a solution for all skin issues, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. I developed each product with a “less is more” mindset. Each formulation was developed with a simple idea – exfoliate, replenish and transform. Though each franchise is targeted to a specific benefit – customers can mix and match depending on the needs of your skin – and the changing weather. My ultimate goal is for everyone to enjoy their skincare regime and have happy skin!  

Ole Henriksen Balancing Toner
OLEHENRIKSEN Balancing Force Oil Control Toner

The Ole lifestyle is full of positivity, taking time for yourself and hygge. Can you tell us more about how you have worked this philosophy into your products? 

Asia is known for skincare regimes that include multiple steps. Some even go through seven steps! Hygge, the Danish lifestyle is all about taking time for yourself. OLEHENRIKSEN products are developed with a simple mindset – exfoliate, replenish and transform and the ability to mix and match. Everyone has different skin conditions and not to mention the varying weather conditions each city has. We want our consumers to not be bogged down with complicated skincare regimes, but instead have time for themselves and the things that bring them joy. I always say “Happy Skin is Beautiful Skin”.      

Tell us, what’s next for the Ole Henriksen brand? 

I can’t give away all my secrets, but I will say there is an exciting new launch coming up. It is sure to transform your skin. I’ve been using it every night – not only do I see it, but I feel the difference.  

Shop the interview below:

OLEHENRIKSEN Truth Range

OLE HENRIKSEN C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème

$375

OLEHENRIKSEN Balance Range

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