Damascan Rose Facial Treatment is said to contain "ten precious extracts," but we're not sure about Aesop's math because very little in this serum-type product deserves to be called "precious," and what is included isn't all that great for skin. Of the ten extracts, five are potent skin irritants; for example, the orange flower oil is potentially phototoxic to skin exposed to UV light. See More Info for details on irritation from fragrance ingredients. Just to clarify a bit: A fragrant extract and a fragrant oil are different; in most cases, the oil form poses a stronger risk of irritation than the extract.
This does contain a dry-skin pleasing mix of beneficial plant oils, such as evening primrose, sweet almond, rose hip seed, and others. Unfortunately, aside from the orange flower oil mentioned earlier, there is also a generous mix of potentially irritating extracts and essential oils, such as carrot extract, rose flower oil, and violet flower oil.
So, despite the beneficial emollients and antioxidants, you're better off skipping this for a formula that will treat your skin to a better blend of ingredients and that doesn't include irritants. In fact, you can add a few drops of plain jojoba oil, argan, or grapeseed to your moisturizer and have a more beneficial impact on your skin in terms of moisture than you get from this so-called "Treatment," which (and we cannot stress this enough) is highly likely to irritate the skin. Even if you don't see or feel the irritation taking place on the surface, it will still be occurring deeper down.
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).
Ten precious plant extracts in this concentrated botanical oil deliver potent doses of Vitamins E and A to nourish, relieve and deeply hydrate parched skin.
Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Tocopherol, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Viola Odorata Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Beta-Carotene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, d-Limonene, Farnesol, Eugenol.
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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