Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser

by Aesop  
Price:
$37 - 3.4 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Sensitive Skin Products > Face/Body Cleansers
Last Updated:
3/12/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

This cleanser gives you a blend of totally standard cleansing agents, olive-based extracts, and a mix of fragrant essential oils and non-fragrant plant oils, all for a higher-than-usual price. Aside from the absurd cost, this would have been a good option for dry to very dry skin not prone to breakouts—if it weren't for the addition of multiple irritant essential oils. See More Info for details on fragrance in skin care.

This also includes the AHA ingredient lactic acid. While lactic acid is a great exfoliant when properly formulated, it's wasted in a cleanser because it is just rinsed down the drain before it has a chance to do its job. Even if you did leave this cleanser on your skin (we don't recommend you do that because the aforementioned irritants and cleansing agents should not be left on your face for any length of time), the pH of the product is too high for the lactic acid to work as an exfoliant.

Ultimately, the promise of the Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser is much ado about (almost) nothing. By the way, there is almost no parsley present in this formula, but that's a good thing because parsley is a potent skin irritant (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).

If you are interested in a well-formulated, leave-on AHA (like glycolic or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant, check out the many recommended picks on our Best Products list. For cleansers that contain skin-friendly ingredients, see the Best Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) list, which you can sort by skin type.

Pros:
  • Mild cleansing agents are especially helpful for dry skin (just not with this much fragrance).
Cons:
  • Contains a potent amount of irritating fragrance extracts.
  • Expensive for the amount and quality of this cleanser.
More Info:

Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. 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 (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 clarifying gel thoroughly removes surface impurities and offers mild exfoliation from Lactic Acid. Ideal for maintaining immaculately clean skin in polluted urban environments.

Water (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters, Sodium PEG-7 Olive Oil Carboxylate, Coco-Betaine, Potassium Lactate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Sodium Citrate, Lactic Acid, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Blackcurrant) Seed Oil, Ormenis Multicaulis Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Linalool, d-Limonene.

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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