Aesop

Strengths: Some products are packaged to keep their light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable.

Weaknesses:Multiple fragrant ingredients are present in each product reviewed, and this poses a strong risk of irritation; no effective options for treating concerns like acne, brown spots, or rosacea; jar packaging for some of the moisturizers won’t keep the beneficial ingredients stable; overpriced.

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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+ Rating Product Brand Category Price Size
Average Rosehip Lip Seed Oil Aesop Lip Balm  $15.00 0.20 fl. oz.
Poor Bitter Orange Astringent Toner Aesop Toners  $33.00 3.40 fl. oz.
Average Fabulous Face Cleanser Aesop Face/Body Oils  $31.00 3.40 fl. oz.
Poor Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum Aesop Serums  $59.00 3.40 fl. oz.
Average Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser Aesop Face/Body Cleansers  $37.00 3.40 fl. oz.
Average Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser Aesop Face/Body Cleansers  $37.00 3.40 fl. oz.
Poor Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion Aesop Moisturizers Without Sunscreen  $49.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Poor Damascan Rose Facial Treatment Aesop Serums  $75.00 0.90 fl. oz.
Poor Control Aesop Blemish/Acne Treatments  $23.00 0.20 fl. oz.
Poor Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum Aesop Serums  $67.00 3.40 fl. oz.
Poor Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque Aesop Moisturizing/Firming Masks  $39.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Poor Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Hydrator Aesop Moisturizers Without Sunscreen  $65.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Poor Geranium Leaf Body Scrub Aesop Face/Body Scrubs  $35.00 5.70 fl. oz.
Poor Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Toner Aesop Toners  $39.00 3.40 fl. oz.
Poor Fabulous Face Oil Aesop Specialty Skin Care Products  $57.00 0.90 fl. oz.
Poor Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque Aesop Moisturizing/Firming Masks  $49.00 4.10 fl. oz.
Poor Perfect Facial Hydrating Cream Aesop Moisturizers Without Sunscreen  $120.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Average Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant Aesop Scrubs  $40.00 1.10 fl. oz.
Poor Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol Aesop Moisturizers Without Sunscreen  $25.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Poor Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque Aesop Masks  $50.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Average Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Cream Aesop Eye Moisturizers  $87.00 0.30 fl. oz.
Poor B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel Aesop Oil-Absorbing/Mattifying  $120.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Average Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste Aesop Scrubs  $49.00 2.50 fl. oz.
Poor Oil-Free Facial Hydrating Serum Aesop Serums  $63.00 3.40 fl. oz.
Poor Sage and Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream SPF 15 Aesop Moisturizers With Sunscreen  $40.00 1.30 fl. oz.
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