Meet the Skincare Guru to the Stars
World–renowned skincare specialist, spa owner, author and brand developer, Ole Henriksen’s success in the world of beauty has been powered by passion and expertise. A personal encounter with cystic acne led him on a path from dancer in Indonesia to facialist to the stars in Beverly Hills. After completing studies in cosmetic chemistry in London, Ole moved to California, ultimately opening the Ole Henriksen Face/Body facility in Sunset Plaza. His expertise in natural skincare, beauty, nutrition, health and fitness garnered him a celebrity and media following. In addition, he introduced the Ole Henriksen brand of botanical skincare, which today is sold at Sephora as well as spas in 22 countries.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did your career begin and what were some of its highlights?
It was my own encounter with cystic acne as a young man that paved the way for my career in skincare. At the time I resided in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I worked as a show dancer/model. Looking for expert help, I fell under the magic spell of a brilliant esthetician named Lagita, who began treating my skin on a weekly basis. Her custom blended formulations of botanicals, gradually returned my complexion back to smooth perfection. Impressed with the results, I decided to say farewell to my show dancing career and move back to Europe where I enrolled at The Christine Shaw Collage of Beauty in London. From day one, I fell in love with my new vocation, blessed as I was with brilliant teachers, that taught us students everything from cosmetic chemistry, massage techniques, makeup and an extensive array of face and body treatments. I graduated with honors and found myself in the lucky position of having three job offers. Ultimately, I signed on with Helena Rubinstein where I joined the promotional skincare/makeup team. A year later, I moved to the place of my dreams, Southern California. I was determined to work as an esthetician in LA, but to my great surprise every skincare clinic turned me away because I was a man. Looking back, I am grateful for the rejection, because it led me to open the Ole Henriksen of Denmark, Skin Care Center on Camden Drive in Beverly Hills. With my shoestring budget, but lots of passion and creativity, I set out to conquer the world of beauty in Hollywood. My tightly choreographed and indulgent complexion treatments using sophisticated European equipment, combined with groundbreaking massage techniques and my freshly blended kitchen cosmetics quickly became the talk of LA. The media took note and many feature stories began appearing in national publications. Early on in my career, I got labeled as the Skincare Guru to the Stars, after the likes of Barbra Streisand, Kirk Douglas and Diana Ross became clients. Simultaneously I began making regular appearances on local and national TV shows.
In 1985, I published my first book for Macmillan entitled Ole Henriksen’s Seven Day Skin Care Program. Nastassja Kinski, Hollywood’s hottest young star at the time, was the cover girl. I went on Oprah and overnight my book became a bestseller. Today I have four books to my credit.
Much media attention was bestowed on me when the world’s most famous supermodels – Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista – became regular clients in 1992. Madonna, Sylvester Stallone, Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Halle Berry followed in their footsteps.
1997 marked the opening of the Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa in Sunset Plaza. TV shows, including The Style Network, CBS and ABC News flocked to the spa to capture the visually beautiful and unique wet room treatments. At that time, I also became the first spa on the West Coast to introduce microdermabrasion treatments.
My love affair with bright colors was clearly reflected in the new packaging I created for my skincare range in year 2000. The sleek and colorful look, plus my many new products were received with much applause. Shortly afterward the Ole Henriksen skincare range began its global roll out from Henri Bendel in New York, Harvey Nichols in London, Magasin in Copenhagen, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Fred Segal in LA and Sephora USA. Today Sephora has become my biggest retail partner in the world and I love my partnership with them.
Over the last five years the Ole Henriksen skincare range has won 20 international product prizes, five alone in year 2010.
What is your beauty philosophy?
My philosophy is to be celebratory of life and yourself. Embrace your natural beauty and make the best of it. Don’t fall prey to extreme plastic surgery procedures and fillers. Instead age with grace and take the very best care of your skin. A simple skin care routine, practiced with a loving touch, AM and PM will maintain healthy and glowing skin with beautiful texture over a lifetime.
As a formulator, what ingredients do you currently find very promising?
Some ingredients never “go out of fashion.” Antioxidants, humectants, alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids and essential fatty acids fall into that category. As of late, I have seen amazing results with various peptides derived from micro algae, like Pepha-Tight and Tripeptide-5. I have used these two peptides in my Truth Revealed Super Creme SPF 15, Protect The Truth SPF 50+ Sunscreen, Total Truth Eye Creme SPF 15 and Truth Is In The Eyes-Eye Peel Concentrate. Regu-Age, composed from hydrolyzed rice bran protein, oxio reductases and glycine soybean protein has also impressed me with its ability to enhance the skins microcirculation. I have used Regu-Age in my Truth Is In The Eyes-Eye Peel Concentrate and have seen a remarkable reduction in dark under eye circles. Venuceane is another powerful heat and light activated antioxidant that I have fallen in love with because it strengthens the skins immune mantle.
Does your spa have a specialty? Please describe.
At Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa we remain famous for our Custom Designed Dermabrasion Treatments, the most popular being the Ultimate Hydra-Dermabrasion Experience. In the treatment we utilize a diamond tip (crystal free – microdermabrasion) for those areas that require deep exfoliation/retexturizing and pore refinement. As we polish and refine the skin, we infuse high efficacy, anti-oxidant serums that penetrate deeply into the skin. Red LED light therapy is used in the treatment to stimulate collagen production for fine lines and wrinkles. Katy Perry and Renee Zellweger are fans of this treatment. However our wet room treatments are also in high demand and much talked about in the industry, the most popular being The African Red Tea Spa Ritual, incorporating an exotic sugar scrub, yogurt and red tea body mask, topped with tropical rain rinse, plus a full body massage.
We understand that the formulas for many of your products began in your home kitchen? Do you have a favorite beauty recipe that our readers can whip up themselves?
A favorite is my Honey/Oatmeal Mask that will calm, soothe nourish and renew the skin. Here’s the recipe:
1 teaspoon of plain yogurt
2 teaspoons of honey
1 teaspoon of finely ground oatmeal
1 Vitamin A capsule, 10,000 I.U.
1 Vitamin E capsule, 400 I.U.
5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
Create a smooth paste by blending the ingredients. Apply onto clean skin and leave on for 20-30 minutes, while you lie down and relax. The mask can be used once a week.
Do you have a favorite beauty tip?
A happy face is a beautiful face, so smile and laugh a lot.
What is your desert island face and body product – the one item you simply can’t live without?
My Truth Serum Collagen Booster awakens my face and skin to a youthful glow every morning, and I love the fact that it neutralizes free radical damage. Rub n’ Buff Salt Scrub is the body product that I am totally addicted to. It indulges my body with spa grade level exfoliation and the aroma is deliciously uplifting.