Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram will know that I took a recent (and very early morning) jaunt to the capital at the invitation of my all time favourite skincare brand, Aesop. The purpose? A morning workshop in Aesop's Covent Garden store with aroma aficionado Odette Toilette to launch the brand's 'Pleasure and Purpose' campaign. Absolutely worth getting up at 5am for. The 'Pleasure and Purpose' campaign revolves around the concept that the essential oils within Aesop's products are selected purely for they efficacy and purpose in providing their individual benefits to your skin and hair. The aromas that accompany the products are therefore entirely incidental pleasures, nothing whatsoever is added to enhance the fragrance that isn't beneficial to the product's purpose. For example, if you go to buy an Aesop shampoo, they won't have a matching conditioner as most brands do. This is because the oils used for the purpose of cleansing your hair have completely different properties to those which condition your hair. Makes sense right? It may not sound like a groundbreaking concept, but in a world where beauty products are packed with completely pointless ingredients and a plethora of synthetic "flavours", it really is. The workshop (led by Odette Toilette, who was lovely and a font of all knowledge regarding fragrance) was designed with the purpose of demonstrating this concept, and was based around a series of scent-related activities. Each activity involved a blind test (or more appropriately sniff) of a specific essential oil and required us participants to pass judgement on the characteristics of certain scents and describe the emotions and memories we associated them with. We also explored the relationships between scent and colour, texture, environment, and sound. Each activity and essential oil was connected to a certain product within Aesop's range, so after experiencing the pleasurable aspect (via the activity) we were taught about its purpose within the products. It was a really interesting way to learn more about the principles and ideas behind Aesop and was an excellent showcase of a wide variety of their products, many of which I'd never encountered before. I've listed the products involved below and given a few details about the essential oil used in each one. If you're looking into trying out some Aesop bits this list will provide you with a good idea of the variety of products Aesop have to offer.
Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Treatment - £39 (Parsley Seed Oil - fresh, green, earthy). Aesop's parsley seed oil is imported from and steam distilled in Hungary. Known for its antiseptic and detoxifying qualities, when used in skincare the oil helps to reduce the appearance of pores and redness, regulates oil production, and leaves skin feeling smooth and hydrated. Aesop stock an entire Parsley Seed skincare range, see here.
Geranium Leaf Body Scrub - £25 (Geranium Oil - floral, minty, summery, inviting). Sourced from Egypt and a popular ingredient in Aesop's body care products due to its astringent properties, geranium oil helps to stimulate the skin and blood cells, preventing loose skin and wrinkles. The oil is also antibacterial and helps to fade scars, as well as ease the symptoms of eczema and dermatitis. This is a lovely refreshing scrub, perfect for summer!
Violet Leaf Hair Balm - £23 (Violet Leaf Oil - sweet, leafy, herbaceous). Aesop source their Violet Leaf Oil from Egypt, the distilling process turns 1000kg of violet leaf into just 1kg of oil(!) making this one very expensive ingredient. It is extremely nourishing and conditioning, perfect for dry and fragile hair and skin. This balm helps to soothe and soften ends without leaving any greasiness.
Remove - £17 (Blue Chamomile Oil - sweet, fruity, relaxing). Gentle, calming, and anti-inflammatory, this oil is perfect for its use within Aesop's gentle eye-makeup remover as it helps to soothe and moisturise the especially sensitive skin around the eyes whilst grapefruit oil dissolves even the most stubborn of waterproof mascara.
Mouthwash - £17 (Clove Oil - warm, earthy, spicy, thick). Sourced from Madagascar, this natural antiseptic is the perfect alternative to alcohol in Aesop's bestselling and beautifully packaged mouthwash, which (fear not) tastes more of mint than cloves.
Petitgrain Hydrating Body Gel - £69/£25 (Petitgrain Bigarade Oil - sweet, fresh, citrus). Known for its hydrating properties and presented here in a body gel format, this will leave your skin feeling instantly cool, soothed, and refreshed. Lightweight and fast-absorbing, this product doesn't leave a single trace on the body other than its deliciously fresh scent. Perfect for skin irritated by shaving and sunburn.
Aesop's only UK stores are in London (fingers crossed they'll head north soon!) so after the event I was given the opportunity to have a skincare consultation with the store manager. She was absolutely lovely and after determining my skin type, customised a skincare regime for me and gave some demonstrations. I was so impressed with her knowledge regarding not just Aesop's products and their ingredients, but skincare in general - Aesop's staff are truly experts in their field, not your average sales assistants. Aesop do sell online, but if you're ever in London and fancy giving Aesop a try I really recommend finding your nearest store and getting a consultation. The staff are always lovely and friendly, and will give you plenty of samples so that you can try products out before you purchase. I was lucky enough to be able to take home a few bits and pieces which I'm looking forward to putting to the test!
I hope that I've managed to present a good idea of what Aesop and 'Pleasure and Purpose' are all about. As someone who uses a lot of skincare products I can wholeheartedly say that Aesop are one of the most genuine, trustworthy, and high quality brands I've used. First on my list of recommendations if you're looking to invest in some high-end skincare would be their facial exfoliants, Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask, and Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Mask I'd love to hear of your Aesop recommendations, and if you have any questions do ask away!