Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant

by Aesop  
Price:
$40 - 1.1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Scrubs > Scrubs
Last Updated:
3/12/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant has an interesting concept, but, ultimately, is overpriced for what you get—which is primarily ground-up tea-tree leaves, walnut shells, and minerals. The idea behind this product is to mix its powdered formula into any cleanser, effectively turning it into a scrub. The problem is that walnut shells and minerals as scrub agents are particularly harsh because they have irregular, jagged edges. These sharp edges can tear into the skin, increasing the risk of irritation (especially from Aesop's cleansers, which often also contain a generous dose of irritants).

Tea tree oil does have benefits for skin in terms of antibacterial action, which is potentially helpful for breakouts, but these benefits don't extend to the dried leaves of the tea tree plant; rather, it is the oil that potentially has benefit.

When well formulated, scrubs are a good option to facilitate the cleansing process (like using a soft washcloth with your cleanser or a facial brush like the Clarisonic), but they don't replace a proper AHA or BHA leave-on exfoliant in terms of anti-aging benefits, unclogging pores, or fading discolorations.

Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant isn't that bad, but it's hard to recommend as a scrub over the many better, more gentle, and less expensive options available on the market. Check out our list of Best Scrubs for our top picks.

If a well-formulated AHA (like glycolic or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant is something you are interested in (and you should be, as they benefit any skin type), check out the many recommendations on our Best Products list.

Pros:
  • None, really, other than that the bottle is interesting.
Cons:
  • Walnut shells and the mineral illite as scrub ingredients are harsh and potentially irritating.
  • This scrub is bound to cause more problems than it could possibly prevent.
  • Tea tree leaves don't offer the same benefits as tea tree oil.

When mixed with an Aesop cleanser (gel or cream-based), this powder of ground Tea Tree leaves, crushed nut shells and purified clay sloughs away tired surface cells to effect immaculately cleansed and polished skin.

Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Powder, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Illite, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract.

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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