Melbourne-based brand Aesop was established in 1987 with the objective to formulate skin, hair, and body care products with meticulous attention to detail, and with efficacy and sensory pleasure in mind.
The brand’s minimalist packaging catches your eye, and the formulations appeal to consumers looking for clean beauty products.
But how “clean” are the Aesop skincare products? And how well do they perform? We’ll answer these questions and more in our Aesop review.
We’ll also give you all the formulation details, including the key ingredients in Aesop skincare products and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare.
And to get a better idea of how well these products perform, we’ll share some Aesop reviews from real customers.
What Are The Top 10 Best Aesop Skincare Products?
Aesop offers products that can be used to follow your traditional skincare routine: Cleanse, Tone, and Hydrate. They also offer treatments for specific skin concerns, as well as masks, eye care, lip care, after-shave products, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best Aesop skincare products.
Aesop Hand Soap
Interestingly, this Aesop soap is one of the brand’s most popular products. Also known as Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash, the Aesop Hand Soap is a clear, low-foaming gel that includes surfactants as key ingredients.
A surfactant molecule contains one end that is hydrophilic (attracted to water) and one end that is lipophilic (attracted to oil). This allows surfactants to attract and suspend oils, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away, leaving the skin clean.
There’s also quite a few essential oils in Aesop Hand Soap, such as orange, rosemary, and lavender, just to name a few.
While these essential oils create a pleasant aroma that customers love, we aren’t fans of fragrant essential oils due to the possibility of skin sensitivity reactions. (We’ll explain more about this in the Key Ingredients section below).
Bottom Line: Aesop Hand Soap is an aromatique formula with essential oils to create a pleasant aroma and surfactants to clean skin.
Aesop Hand Cream
Aesop Hand Cream combines skin-softening emollients with fragrant essential oils to deliver rich hydration and a citrus, woody, herbaceous aroma.
We already explained we don’t like to find essential oils in skincare products, so use caution with Aesop Hand Cream, especially if you have sensitive skin.
The good news is the formula includes a good mix of emollients, such as sweet almond oil, coconut oil, macadamia seed oil, and shea butter, just to name a few.
Bottom Line: Aesop Hand Cream smells nice and delivers rich hydration, but keep in mind that fragrant essential oils could lead to skin sensitivity.
Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser
Like most cleansers, Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser includes surfactants, such as sodium laureth sulfate and coco-betaine, in order to clean the skin.
A few other beneficial ingredients in this cleanser include lactic acid, jojoba oil, blackcurrant seed oil, and parsley seed oil. We especially like the inclusion of lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that gently exfoliates dead cells on the surface of skin, thereby revealing the healthier skin underneath.
Of note, this cleanser includes fragrant essential oils, which have the potential to cause skin sensitivity reactions.
Bottom Line: Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser combines surfactants with lactic acid and botanical extracts to clean and exfoliate the skin.
Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Serum
We love that the base of this Aesop serum is aloe vera juice, a super-hydrating and soothing ingredient.
But we don’t love that the other beneficial ingredients — like green tea leaf extract, parsley seed oil, and panthenol (provitamin B5) — are used in very low concentrations (less than 1%).
We know this by looking at the ingredient list (which is in order of descending concentrations). All of these ingredients are listed after the preservative phenoxyethanol, which cannot be used in concentrations more than 1%
Of note, this serum includes fragrance, which has the potential to cause skin sensitivity reactions.
Bottom Line: Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Serum mostly consists of aloe vera juice, and the “key” ingredients, like green tea leaf extract, parsley seed oil, and panthenol, are used in low concentrations.
Aesop Bitter Orange Astringent Toner
The Aesop Bitter Orange Astringent Toner formula is actually quite disappointing, primarily because the highest concentration ingredient (after water) is denatured alcohol — which is odd since it’s claimed to be a “non-drying” formula.
On one hand, alcohol functions as a penetration enhancer by disturbing the skin barrier so that key ingredients can penetrate deeper into the skin. It also helps to remove excess oil and temporarily tighten skin.
On the other hand, alcohol-based products can cause excessive skin dryness and even skin damage (remember, alcohol disrupts the skin barrier). Over time, this can cause the sebaceous glands to compensate by producing even more oil, leading to clogged pores and acne.
While there are some benefits of denatured alcohol, we don’t believe the benefits outweigh the risks, which is why we don’t recommend this Aesop toner.
Bottom Line: An alcohol-based toner that will remove excess oil while tightening the skin — but not in a healthy way!
Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream
Just as the name suggests, Camellia japonica seed oil is the key ingredient in this medium-weight facial cream for normal, dry, and sensitive skin.
Camellia oil is best known for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also absorbs into the skin quickly without leaving a greasy feeling behind.
Other beneficial ingredients in the Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream include rosehip seed oil, coconut oil, macadamia seed oil, and cocoa seed butter. All of these ingredients function as nourishing emollients by locking in moisture while also delivering important nutrients to the skin.
However, cocoa seed butter ranks high on the comedogenic scale, which means that it can clog pores. Thus, if you have acne-prone skin, you may want to avoid this Aesop moisturizer.
Bottom Line: A medium-weight cream that combines camellia oil with emollients to nourish and moisturize skin.
Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Facial Toner
An alcohol-free toner that mostly consists of aloe vera leaf juice, sodium lactate, and witch hazel.
Like we mentioned earlier, aloe vera is very hydrating and soothing. Sodium lactate is the sodium salt of the AHA lactic acid. But rather than exfoliating skin like lactic acid, sodium lactate primarily hydrates skin.
And then there’s witch hazel, which is another one of those ingredients that has benefits but also risks.
Witch hazel has antioxidant, skin-soothing, and astringent properties. The astringent properties are due to the tannins in witch hazel, which work by cross-linking with keratin proteins, creating an invisible film that can temporarily degrease skin, tighten and tone skin, and minimize the appearance of enlarged pores.
However, it should be noted that tannins can cause irritation and sensitization reactions with some people. There’s also fragrant essential oils in this toner, which add to the risk for skin sensitivity.
Bottom Line: An alcohol-free toner that should help to hydrate skin, but the witch hazel and essential oils could lead to skin sensitivity.
Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant
This is a coarse, dry powder consisting of walnut shell, tea tree leaf, and aloe vera leaf powder. It’s meant to be mixed with an Aesop gel- or cream-based facial cleanser to exfoliate skin twice weekly.
Exfoliation is defined as “the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology. There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical.
This formula would be considered physical exfoliation because the crushed walnut shells and botanical powders are abrasive substances that help to scrub away dead skin cells through motion.
One problem with physical exfoliants is that they can be too abrasive and may cause microtears and irritation. That’s why most skin care experts recommend using chemical exfoliants, and we agree.
Bottom Line: A coarse, dry powder that can be mixed with a gel- or cream-based facial cleanser to exfoliate skin up to twice weekly.
Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste
This cream-based cleansing paste is enhanced with fine quartz and lactic acid to slough away dead skin cells and soften the skin.
The fine quartz in this paste physically exfoliates skin while lactic acid functions as a chemical exfoliant. There’s also rosehip and chamomile oil to soothe skin and prevent dryness.
Of note, this paste includes fragrant essential oils, which have the potential to cause skin sensitivity reactions.
Bottom Line: Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste combines fine quartz with lactic acid to exfoliate skin, promoting a smoother, brighter complexion.
Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
We love a good face oil. Applying a few drops before going to bed may leave you looking a tad greasy, but it’s totally worth it for the fresh, glowing skin in the morning.
Unfortunately, Aesop Fabulous Face Oil isn’t one we can recommend.
While the formula contains a few nourishing oils — like macadamia, sweet almond, and camellia oil — the formula also contains fragrance ingredients, such as linalool, d-Limonene, farnesol, geraniol, eugenol, and more.
It’s definitely not worth exposing your skin to these sensitizing ingredients, especially since there are so many great facial oils on the market, like Formulyst Nourishing Oil, Maelove Pure Marula Oil, and The Ordinary 100% Squalane, just to name a few.
Bottom Line: Aesop Fabulous Face Oil includes many fragrance ingredients, which could lead to skin sensitivity.
What Are The Key Ingredients in Aesop Skincare Products?
There isn’t just one key ingredient used throughout the Aesop skincare line. Rather, the brand uses a variety of botanical extracts combined with safe synthetic ingredients to formulate their skin care products.
We noticed that Aesop is one of those brands that aims to create an aromatic experience with their skincare products. We definitely understand that aromatherapy can help ease stress and promote relaxation, among a host of other benefits.
But, in our opinion, it’s better to diffuse essential oils into the air instead of putting them on your skin. Why? Research has shown that essential oils can cause contact allergies, skin irritation, and even skin damage.
For example, a 2016 publication in the scholarly journal Dermatitis, nearly 80 essential oils have caused contact allergy.
This is because all fragrance ingredients (whether natural or synthetic) impart scent through a volatile reaction, and this natural reaction almost always causes a sensitizing reaction on skin.
Even if you don’t have a full blown reaction to the ingredient, the damage may still be occurring every day. Ultimately, this can cause mild problems for your skin in the short term and worse problems in the long term.
Most of the other ingredients used in Aesop skincare products are beneficial, such as hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and panthenol, as well as skin-softening emollients like shea butter and camellia oil.
How Much Do Aesop Skincare Products Cost?
Aesop skincare products are mid-range in terms of cost; they aren’t cheap but they are ridiculously expensive. For example, Aesop Hand Soap costs $39 USD for 16.9 oz, while the Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser costs $43 USD for 3.4 fl oz.
Where to Buy Aesop Skincare Products?
Aesop skincare products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as third party retailers such as Amazon, Nordstrom, Walmart, and more.
Aesop also has brick-and-mortar stores around the world. You can use the store locator on the brand’s website to find an Aesop location near you.
What is The Aesop Return Policy?
The Aesop Skincare return policy states, “We offer refunds for all products returned within 30 days of purchase, in their unopened and original condition. If you would like to return an item purchased online, please contact us. Regrettably we are unable to accept online returns for products purchased in an Aesop signature store, department store or elsewhere.”
Is Aesop Cruelty Free?
Yes, Aesop is cruelty free and the products are officially Leaping Bunny Certified. Leaping Bunny Certification means Aesop products are free of animal testing at every stage of product development.
Is Aesop Vegan?
Yes, all Aesop skincare products are vegan.
Unfortunately, the brand does not display Aesop reviews on their website. Thus, we had to turn to Nordstrom.com to evaluate Aesop reviews.
One product that has received plenty of positive feedback is the Aesop Hand Soap, which has earned an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars after more than 600 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for the Aesop Hand Soap mention how it’s very creamy and smells great.
For example, one review says, “I really couldn’t understand how people could get so excited about a soap, but here I am. I love this. It’s creamy, smells wonderful, and you don’t need very much. The soap is a tiny bit more mandarin than I would like–I think I would prefer it not be there at all and just have the cedar prevalent, but it’s still great.”
And another 5-star review says, “I love this soap so much. So much in fact, I have now purchased multiple replacements for the original I purchased just so I can keep this heavenly scent going. Leaves hands feeling squeaky clean w/o drying them out. Another win from Aesop.”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Aesop Hand Soap from customers who experienced skin dryness after using it.
For example, one review says, “Contemplated ordering this for months, held off because of the price. Jumped on the bandwagon after reading the reviews. Smells great. Disappointed with the thinness of the plastic container and hands felt dry after use. Will be going back to my other brand that is a fraction of the price and comes with a glass container and solid pump.”
There’s also negative reviews from customers who would prefer that the Aesop soap was packaged in a glass bottle, as one reviewer shares, “Beautiful soap…But why is it plastic? For $40 I feel like it should at least be in a glass bottle! Do better Aesop.”
Overall, we don’t recommend Aesop skincare products since the brand places such an emphasis on fragrance in their products. Remember: fragrance is not skincare!
- Products contain beneficial key ingredients (i.e. aloe vera, camellia oil, emollients, etc.)
- Many positive Aesop reviews
- All products contains fragrant essential oils
- Some products contain high concentrations of denatured alcohol
- Many products contain low concentrations of beneficial ingredients
What Are Some Alternatives to Aesop Skincare Products?
If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging, one brand we recommend is Formulyst. Formulyst maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in clinically advanced skin care solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin.
Take Formulyst’s Lifting and Wrinkle Smoothing Cream, for example. This velvety smooth cream is formulated to help lift and refine the appearance and tone of your skin. The formula features Moringa seed oil for intense moisturization, Evodia rutaecarpa fruit extract to help brighten and refine, and peony extract to help improve the appearance of skin density for a smoother, recontoured look.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skincare products.