January Labs’ pH-Optimized Skincare

Championing recipes for maximum effectiveness instead of a single miracle ingredient

With the first pump of January Labs antioxidant-rich Day Cream, one notices the lightweight consistency, the pale orange-yellow color, and the absence of added fragrance. Another indie skincare brand that promises products free of parabens, sulfates and other additives, and keeps routines uncomplicated with a very small line (similar to another CH fave, Peet Rivko), January Labs has fewer than 10 products to browse.

The small number comes from the fact that each product has been formulated to be pH-optimized. It’s also to ensure that ingredients are synergistically supporting each other for maximum effectiveness. Rather than boasting a large percentage of the latest “miracle” ingredient, each product works like a puzzle piece instead. “There are ingredients that we all know to be very beneficial, like hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and vitamin C, so we are all looking for those ingredients in our products. What we need to be aware of is that the pH of some ingredients diminish, and often negate, the effect of other ingredients when they are combined, particularly when the percentages in the formulation are not perfect,” founder January Olds tells CH.

Hence, more products in your bathroom cabinet arsenal doesn’t necessarily mean a better defense—it could mean a waste of money as they hinder each other’s efficiency. The major example January Labs gives is that products with vitamin C need an alkaline pH environment, while exfoliating ingredients need an acid pH environment.

“Also, there is a trend of layering ingredients that are actually counteracting what is supposed to be beneficial. We hear a lot about the issues of sensitive skin and we find that it is often caused by the ingredient formulations that are being used. One of the ways our pH-optimized skincare comes into play is with proper exfoliation. Often, people think that a higher percentage of an active ingredient will give them better results, when actually, it can be too aggressive and cause sensitivities,” Olds explains. “Our approach to exfoliation is ‘low and slow,’ meaning lower percentages of actives so you are promoting cell turnover, but you are using active ingredients combined with ingredients that are calming and soothing at the same time to promote a fresh, healthy glow.”

While many people want instant gratification and quick fixes, January Labs is playing the long game. The Day and Night Creams apply more like mild serums and, with longterm, consistent use, became a quiet powerhouse in our skincare routine. You don’t notice much until days later, a quick glance in the mirror turns into a double take at the glowing skin reflected back.

Images courtesy of January Labs