January Labs, the brain child of January Olds. A brand born out of a necessity for simpler, purer products with much greater transparency about their ingredients. Her simple belief, that skincare doesn’t need to be complicated is well reflected in her range and formulation. I’ve had an opportunity to explore, try, experiment with most of the products from this brand and below is my experience, review and recommendations.
Before taking a deep dive in reviews, below is a quick overview of where this leads:
What I adore about this brand? Absence of Glycolic acid in formulations, and resurrection of Witch Hazel. Plus the basic-ness and simplicity of formulation and range of products offered. If you’re a far call from true blue skincare junkie, this is your brand. Also the products are easily versatile, and compatible with products from other brands.
What I don’t adore about this brand? The claims on products are tad OTT, definitely not the first brand to do so (hold no grudge here people). There is much more to love here than loathe. There are more hits, than misses.
Definite, Highly, Strongly, Recommend for every single one, all skin types – Retexturing Night Cream, Restorative Tonic Mist
My skin hates/allergic/sensitive to Glycolic Acid – Brightening Tonic, Restorative Tonic Mist, Retexturing Night Cream
My skin could give any reptile a run for its money, so bloody dry, flaky and dehydrated – Brightening Tonic, Moisture Renew Mask, Revitalizing Day Cream
You could miss out on these and not sweat – Pure and Gentle Cleansing Gel, Glow & Go Power Peel Exfoliant
Starting a simple routine with a cleanser called the Pure & Gentle Cleansing Gel. This cleanser claims to be gentle, non drying facial wash. To which I would add, a light citrus scented gel based cleanser, which builds to a light to medium foam. I typically used it in the mornings or as a second cleanse in evening. While I tried removing makeup, it didn’t do so well with a full face/intensive makeup face. So if you’re light basic makeup wearer you might be fine with it. This cleanser doesn’t need a washcloth, however after splashing and cleansing with water it left a soapy feel on my skin. Initially I thought it might be the quantity of cleanser I was using however that wasn’t the case. Despite its foaming action, I noticed it did not strip or dry my skin’s barrier and that can be squarely attributed to its formulation (addition of Aloe juice, Glycerin, Vitamin E, Phospholipids, Macadamia Glycerides, Sodium PCA).
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate (Sugar Based), PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Coco/Isostearamide, Lauryl Glucoside (Plant Derived), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Plant Derived), Glycerin (Plant Derived), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate), Pinus Strobus Bark Extract, Phospholipids, Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Shea Butter, Macadamia Glycerides, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Palmitate), Sodium PCA, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita Flower/Leaf (Chamomile) Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Citric Acid.
Moving onto the masks category from this range, starting with Glow & Go Power Peel Exfoliant. This is not a peel exfoliant in the typical sense with hyper charged alpha hydroxy acids or enzymes. I see this product more of stimulant and booster for skin. It also claims to revitalize and brighten the complexion which I didn’t notice in my personal experience. Sadly, both the inci list and performance fell short. I’ve tried the regular and pro version of this peel and the results varied in terms of what gave me most tingle and flush. Or you could say oomph of blood circulation. The thick-ish gel consistency spreads nicely but had to be removed with washcloth and not much to report in terms of results. One cautionary warning, sensitive skinned people should be careful using Cinnamon oil in this formulation, as it may irritate the heck out of your skins. All in all, for USD $75 there are better peel alternatives available.
Ingredients: Water, Hypromellose, Phenol (magic ingredient in Biologique Recherche P50 1970, for numbness), Cinnamon Oil (stimulate the skin and increase circulation), Potassium Sorbate, Chloroxylenol, Grapefruit Extract (purifier, antiseptic, and preservative).
The other mask has quite the opposite performance effect, the Moisture Renew Mask. Everything as the name suggests. Rich delectable cream consistency, can be used as hydration mask or an overnight mask, works wonderfully. If I took the liberty of renaming this mask, I’d rather call it ‘Overnight Barrier Repair Mask’ (overnight plump skin). In this case, the formulation and results are directly proportionate, lusciousness of Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid, Lactic Acid, Linoleic Acid (making it suitable for acne prone skins), Vitamin E balanced with Green tea antioxidant and Cucumber extract for anti inflammatory property. The richness of Avocado oil (rich in Oleic acid – a very healthy fat), is balanced with Linoleic acid rich oil such as Sunflower Seed Oil. This mask is a wonderful formulation to combat both dehydration and lack of moisture (aka, nourishment and hydration).
Ingredients: Water, Squalane, Avocado Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Sunflower Seed Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Glycerin, Lactic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Apricot Seed, Corn Sugar, Sulfonic Acid, Palm Oil, Saccharide Isomerate, Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Sage Leaf Extract, Chamomile Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Coconut Oil, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract.
Next up is the Daily Brightening Tonic, an exfoliating treatment that claims to hydrate while stimulating collagen production. Strong claim and I will reel it back just a touch, look at this product as a gentle, everyday use acid toner that will serve skin other benefits too. While I don’t take fancy to the claims description, the toner itself is quite nice. A simple (in terms of formulation) or basic, every day use, Lactic Acid based toner with other ingredients to help gentle exfoliation (cell turnover) for even the sensitive skinned (all skin type suitable). If Glycolic Acid is no no for you, you will love and adore this toner. No sensitized skin, no harshness of poorly formulated acid based toner and all in all a gentle toner. As simple as that! My skin loved this one particularly on night’s I don’t want to use strong peel pad (i.e. Alpha H Liquid Gold, DrDG, Murad, Biologique Recherche). This one broke it up nicely during the week along with Zelens PHA Pads.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Sodium PCA, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Lactic Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Glycerin, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower (ORGANIC Chamomile) Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract
After an acid toner, follows a refreshing generous mist of Restorative Tonic Mist. One of the first products I ever tried from this brand and I instantly liked it. One of the reasons I really like this is because of its use of Witch Hazel, as simple as that. In our fancy skincare world or #beautycommunity no one really appreciates good ol’ Witch Hazel anymore. And this is where this product stands out. However not basic Dickinson’s Witch Hazel, this is blended in with more goodness of Aloe Juice, Sodium PCA, Rose Oil extract, Glycerin, Panthenol, Licorice extract, Gotu Kola extract and Marigold extract. Doesn’t dry skin, wonderful in skincare routine or over makeup, or as mid day refresher without sucking hydration from skin. All skin type suitable, all situation suitable, simple packaging and mists nicely. Misting is not as fine as a cloud, but not a water gun either. I particularly love using this on my scalp too!!!
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Sodium PCA, Rosa Damascena Flower (Rose) Oil Extract, Glycerin, Sodium Lactate, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Horse Chestnut Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) Root Extract, Linalool, Licorice Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Calendula Officinalis (Marigold) Flower Extract, Geraniol, Citral
An incredibly rich day cream, that sparks a love hate relationship in me, Revitalizing Day Cream. Rich it is, but lightweight cream, that works nicely under makeup and no piling either. Wonderful when I may have overdone an acid or retinol night before, or indulged in bottle full/emptied libations. But on regular mornings, too rich for my skin in a humid summer morning. Within couple of hours, my skin is a reflection of a frying pan causing an avalanche of makeup (not a good look). The jury is out on how this performs with my skin as we get into winter. The inci list boasts some nice and notable ingredients with Niacinamide, antioxidants, Hyaluronic acid. The incident list also explains the rich formulation with inclusion of Vitamin E, Borage Oil, Grape seed oil, Shea Butter. This would be particularly nice for dry skinned folks. I wish it was touch lighter, seems like it is trying too hard for a day cream and it would work for larger population.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Beantree Oil, Beta-Glucan, Verbena Officinalis Extract, Hydrolyzed Soybean Fiber, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, C14-22 Alcohols, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract, Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) Extract, Pinus Pinaster Bark (Maritime Pine) Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Glycerin, Euterpe Oleacea Fruit Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Extract, Aristotelia Chilensisui Fruit Extract, Aronia Arbutifolia/Aronia Melanocarpa (Chokeberry) Fruit Extract, Garcinia Mangostana Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil
On the other hand, Retexturizing Night Cream is a treasure in the chest of night creams. Rich but easily absorbing cream, enriched with Lactic Acid…exfoliating in a beautiful rich formula, truly retexturizing, which rings true to its name. This one works stand alone as ‘one stop shop’ or layers perfectly with a host of other steps in night skin routine. Absolutely adore this cream, with 9% Lactic acid, Peptides, Beta Glucan, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic acid is rightfully the work horse. My skin appears so healthy and balanced the following morning. The gentle exfoliation coupled with ingredients that help repair and build the barrier.
Water (Aqua), Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Sodium Lactate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Verbena Officinalis Extract, Beta Glucan (smooths fine lines and wrinkles), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii, Glycerin, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Soybean Fiber, Niacinamide, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum.
* Products gifted by brand
All in all, a solid brand offering a well thought out and executed range of products (even with a couple of misses). Also important to note is the price point across the board making it accessible to many more with good visible performance and results. One could say, the skimping point on price point would be thanks to the largely plastic packaged bottles. While not packaged in fancy glass bottles or miron glass jars, the packaging is practical and works, which is of prime importance.