AD | This post features products that have been gifted to me in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and my own.
Our skin’s health can be affected more than we realise by the changing seasons. It’s September now, and colder weather is approaching that can potentially dry out our skin. With this in mind, September is the perfect time to upgrade our skincare routine for the Autumn. This is exactly what I did when the natural skincare brand Olae gave me the opportunity to try out some of their products. Read on to find out about Olae and what I thought of their skincare range.
Olae is a French skincare brand founded by Ioan and Sabita Biris. They started making their own cosmetics in 2012 using natural ingredients because they felt the bigger brands were either too expensive or contained harmful ingredients. Their creations became popular among their family and friends, who convinced them in 2019 to begin selling their products. That’s how Olae was born!
Olae’s products are designed for all skin types and sexes. All of their formulations contain at least 97.9% natural ingredients with some boasting 100%. They don’t use any potentially harmful ingredients such as parabens, silicones, mineral oils or alcohols. This makes them great for sensitive skin. Their range is vegan and they don’t test their products on animals.
With all these fantastic claims, you might expect their products to be on the expensive side. However, they strive to be an affordable brand and all their products are priced between £6 and £12 for a 30ml bottle.
The name Olae looks and sounds very similar to the well-known skincare brand ‘Olay’. I’m not sure if this is a deliberate play on words or just a coincidence, but certainly the name sounds right for a skincare brand!
What products did I receive?
I was kindly gifted the following natural skincare products from Olae:
- Anti Aging Sugar Exfoliant
- PHA / Succinic Acid Exfoliant
- Anti-Spot Serum
- Glow Serum
- Fermented Daily Hydration
- Mushroom Hydrator
- Natural Anti Aging Oil
This is nearly Olae’s entire range. They also do a Purifying Manuka Oil which contains manuka oil extracted from trees. This has antimicrobial, anti-fungal and wound healing proprieties.
Packaging and presentation
The skincare products are all packaged in glass bottles with dropper lids. They come in individual cardboard boxes and these all arrived together in a larger cardboard box. The box was padded out with bubble wrap and foam, which is understandable as the package had to travel from France and the products needed to be securely wrapped, especially because of the glass. However, I would have liked to see more sustainable packing materials such as tissue paper or starch-based foam. The packaging of the products themselves, though, is fairly sustainable, being mainly glass and cardboard.
The labelling on the bottles is simple and minimalistic, with the product details clearly printed in black ink on a white background. Because the bottles are quite small, there isn’t room for detailed descriptions or instructions, so you have to look these up on the website to find out exactly what each product does. Despite there not being much information on the bottles themselves, I was impressed with the amount of information there is on the product pages of the website. The science behind how each product works is explained in detail, and there is a chart showing information about each of the ingredients. This is really helpful for knowing which products are right for you.
As Olae is a French company, the products were shipped from France. It is more sustainable to buy products that are produced locally rather than shipped from abroad. However, as I live in the South of England, France is really not that far away! Therefore I feel Olae is a fairly sustainable skincare option for anyone living in the UK, or mainland Europe. They do however ship worldwide so if you live further afield, you still have the option to try these products.
My skincare routine using Olae’s natural skincare products
Since recieving Olae’s products just over three weeks ago, I have been using them as exclusively as possible so that I can get a better idea of their effect on my skin. I stopped using my other exfoliators, serums, moisturisers and oils and replaced them with Olae’s products. The only other skincare products from other brands that I continued to use were cleansers, because these are not included in Olae’s range, and sunsceen when required.
Olae have produced a helpful product chart which shows which of their products are best for which skin type and purpose. It also gives a suggested weekly usage. In addition, Olae provide instructions on how to layer their products. This was so helpful to me because at first I had no idea which order to use the products. I followed their recommended order when using the products, sometimes skipping step 1 or 2 but always doing step 3 (Hydration serums) and usually step 4 (oils). They recommend using 2 types of hydration serum to provide more diversity. I followed their suggestion by alternating using the Fermented Daily Hydration and the Mushroom Hydrator.
Olae’s products can be used in the morning and/or the evening, but I used them only in the evening because this is when I typically do my skincare. Each of the products has a recommendation of using 1-3 drops per use. Most of the time I went for the middle option and used 2 drops.
My comments on each product
So what did I think of each individual product? Here are my comments:
Anti Aging Sugar Exfoliant
This sugar exfoliant is a great alternative to acid exfoliants and can be safely used up to 6 times a week. It uses the sugar, N Acetyl Glucosamine, which works by binding to the cell receptors signalling renewal, speeding up the natural exfoliation of skin. As well as exfoliation, this also has anti-aging effects! I had never used this kind of exfoliant before but I have been using this one a few times a week and it seems to make my skin really smooth.
PHA / Succinic Acid Exfoliant
The PHA / Succinic Acid Exfoliant is the only product in the range that I didn’t get on so well with. The first time I used it, I felt my skin sting a tiny bit, but didn’t think anything of it. Around 15 minutes after applying, I looked in the mirror and noticed that my skin had gone red and patchy where I had applied the product! I was a bit freaked out so I washed my face to get any remaining product off. Thankfully, after about an hour, my face was back to normal and I had no more adverse effects.
I did some research to see if PHA and/or Succinic Acid could sometimes cause redness, but I couldn’t find anywhere where it said so. In fact, these are both supposed to be very gentle on the skin compared to other kinds of acid exfoliators. Olae does warn in the layering guide not to use acid exfoliators more than three times a week, but I only used it once.
I was cautious to try this product again, but a week or so later I decided to give it one more try, just in case it was a one-off reaction. This time I only used one tiny drop and I was careful to distribute it evenly over my face so it wasn’t too concentrated in any area. Unfortunately, my face went red again! I don’t know if this was a normal or harmful reaction to this product, but I wasn’t comfortable with it so I rinsed my face and I won’t be using this product again. I will stick to the Sugar Exfoliator which, thankfully, doesn’t make my face red!
Olae’s anti-spot serum uses Niacinamide and N Acetyl Glucosamine to target pimples and dark spots. I was especially excited to see if this would help reduce my spot outbreaks.
I applied the serum to my whole face, but with special attention to problem areas where I tend to get spots. This seemed to really work, because there were a couple of occasions where I saw a spot developing, but after using this product the spot went away. I still got a few spots but they were small and mild.
The glow serum is made with Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, an antioxidant that counteracts the free-radical damage known to cause fine lines, dullness, discoloration lines and dark spots. This can make your skin look fresh and glowing.
It is a cloudy liquid with a faint scent, but like all the products there is no added fragrance. I only used the glow serum a few times as I used the anti-spot serum more. However, my skin is overall looking glowy from the combined effect of the products.
Fermented Daily Hydration
The Fermented Daily Hydration moisturiser uses fermented millet combined with Polyglutamic acid to moisturise and help the delicate flora of your skin, working with nature rather than against it. I used this every other day, alternated with the mushroom hydrator, and my skin is feeling hydrated.
The Mushroom Hydrator uses Beta Glucan which is a safe, natural and more hydrating alternative to hyaluronic acid. I’m not sure why it’s called a Mushroom Hydrator, but I’m guessing the Beta Glucan might be derived from mushrooms. It is a cloudy liquid like most of the other products and made my skin feel slightly sticky after applying. I alternated it with the Fermented Daily Hydration.
Natural Anti Aging Oil
Unlike the other products that were clear or pale in colour, I was surprised to find that this anti-aging oil is bright red! I learnt that the red colour comes from one of the active ingredients, Astaxanthin. I found the colour slightly disconcerting at first, and I was worried it might rub off on light coloured pillowcases. However, once applied to my skin, it didn’t seem to make my skin red and I didn’t notice any rubbing off. This oil felt really nice on my skin. It is soft and smooth and feels warming.
Results on my skin – did the products work for me?
The big question you probably have is, did the products work? It’s difficult to isolate the effects of each individual product because I have been using the whole range, and only for a relatively short amount of time. However, overall my skin is looking and feeling really good, and I attribute that to Olae’s products as they are what I have almost exclusively been using. My skin feels hydrated from the combined effect of the moisturisers, and this will help to protect my skin against the colder weather.
I have just had a few spots on my chin, but as I mentioned earlier, these have been small and mild, and some of them cleared up before they even properly emerged. I think this is thanks to the anti-spot serum because usually, my spots don’t disappear until they have run their course.
The only product that I didn’t get on with is the PHA / Succinic Acid Exfoliant which caused redness on my skin. Thankfully I am able to use the Sugar Exfoliant as an alternative.
Final comments on Olae’s natural skincare range
Overall, Olae’s natural skincare products seem to have helped my skin and I intend to continue using the products I received throughout the Autumn. I will keep experimenting with the different moisturisers and serums to get a better idea of their effects over time, and figure out which combinations work best for me.
I recommend these products for anyone looking to upgrade their skincare at an affordable price. However, I stress the importance of doing a patch test for each product first to make sure it is okay for your skin. I recommend caution especially with the PHA/Succinic Acid Exfoliant, in case you experience redness like I did. This doesn’t mean you should rule out this product before trying it – it didn’t work for me but it might be an amazing product for you!
You can find all of Olae’s skincare range on their online shop.
Will you be upgrading your skincare routine for the Autumn? Which product from Olae do you like the sound of the most? Let me know in the comments below.