Fabulous Face Cleanser

by Aesop  
Price:
$31 - 3.4 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Body-Care Products > Face/Body Oils
Last Updated:
3/12/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

Fabulous Face Cleanser would have been a great choice for normal to dry skin because it's mostly a blend of olive oil–based extracts and mild cleansing agents. However, Aesop also included a generous dose of fragrant irritants, such as fragrant plant oils, that can be a distinct problem, especially when used around the eyes (see More Info to learn why highly fragrant products are such a problem).

While fragrance is less of an issue in rinse-off products like this, Aesop is specifically marketing Fabulous Face Cleanser to those who have dryness or sensitivity—and these fragrant extracts are anything but appropriate for sensitive-skin.

Those with dry, sensitive skin have many better formulas to consider without lowering their standards to this (less than) Fabulous Face Cleanser. Consider any of the options on our list of Best Cleansers for Dry Skin.

Pros:
  • Contains gentle cleansing agents.
Cons:
  • Contains a potent amount of irritating fragrant oils and other fragrant ingredients.
  • Not at all "fabulous" for sensitive skin.
  • Expensive for the amount of cleanser you get.
More Info:

Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin. What is perhaps most shocking is that all of these damaging responses can be taking place underneath the skin and you won't even notice it on the surface. The clearest example of this is the significant and carcinogenic effect of the sun's "silent" UVA rays. You don't feel the penetration of these mutagenic rays, but they are taking a toll on your skin nonetheless (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).

This Olive-derived formulation offers exceptional cleansing without stripping skin; ideal for those prone to dryness or sensitivity. A careful blend of botanical ingredients effectively cleanse without disturbing the skin's natural tonal balance.

Water (Aqua), Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Glycerin, PEG-150 Distearate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Sea Salt (Maris Sal), Coco-Betaine, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, d-Limonene, Linalool.

Australian brand Aesop bears the same name as the famous Greek storyteller, and their skin-care products certainly emulate the art of storytelling with their formulas and marketing. The question is whether or not you can believe Aesop and their natural-themed skin-care stories, or if it’s mostly fable.

From Aesop’s stripped-down, utilitarian packaging, “earthy” product descriptions, and overall design aesthetic, it’s easy to see why those interested in natural-oriented products are attracted to the Aesop brand. How could skin-care products that seem to be so pure and natural be bad, right? We certainly understand the emotional pull natural products have on many people, but the truth is there are good and bad natural ingredients (snake venom and poison ivy are both natural ingredients, but you wouldn’t want them on your face), just as there are good and bad synthetic ingredients. Going natural without knowing the details of what you’re buying is a recipe for skin problems, not a guarantee of better products.

Refreshingly, compared to many natural-themed lines, Aesop doesn’t rely on scare tactics or outlandish claims. Therefore, you won’t read anything about “toxins” or about made-up claims that all chemicals are bad (because everything is composed of chemicals). Instead, Aesop prefers to rest on the quality of their formulas and oeuvre to do the real selling. Judging by the number of requests we’ve had to review this brand, their less sensationalized approach is working!

With that promising start, it’s disappointing that Aesop chose to include such a generous amount of fragrance and plant-based irritants in many of their products. In fact, there wasn’t a single fragrance-free option in any of the products that we reviewed. (In fact, the box they were shipped in was saturated with fragrance just from the shipping process.) There were a few products with lower amounts of added fragrance—these instances are noted (where applicable)—but there usually were other compelling reasons to avoid any given product in this brand, or at least to consider it cautiously.

Also noteworthy: You will find that much of Aesop’s line, from their cleansers, toners, and moisturizers to their masks and eye treatments, have high-end price tags. While we tend to leave it up to the reader to determine what is or isn’t expensive, there were a few instances where the formulas were so basic that we had to mention the disconnect with the cost—these were truly simple blends of ingredients that in no way justified their cost.

All of the above is a prelude to the most critical downfall of the Aesop products: There are no options that can successfully (and without potential irritation) address the needs of various skin types or skin concerns of many people. Whether you’re struggling with acne, wrinkles, both, or numerous other concerns, from sensitive skin to conditions like rosacea or eczema, you won’t find brilliant products to treat them here. Overall, that means assembling a great skin-care routine with Aesop products just isn’t possible.

Aesop is sold primarily in department stores like Barney’s New York, online, as well as freestanding Aesop stores throughout the United States. Despite their growing distribution, we cannot stress enough how much this line’s products disappoint. Aesop has natural ingredients aplenty—but what good is that when so many of the natural ingredients they chose are of little to no benefit for skin, or are potentially problematic?

For more information about Aesop, visit http://www.aesop.com/usa/

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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