Thursday, 5 February 2015

Aēsop – Skincare Brand Branches out to Selfridges Manchester

I hadn’t heard of the skincare brand Aēsop until recently when it popped up in the beauty department of Selfridges. The small concession caught my eye immediately, with natural open shelving offering rustic charm and beautiful simplicity. The utilitarian brown bottles are also easy on the eye, stripping down to basics and removing the unnecessary frills of most modern skincare packaging.

When I delved a little deeper into the brand, I found out that Aēsop was established in Melbourne and I was instantly hooked! Since 1987, the apothecary-style products with anti-oxidant properties have been sold in Australia and it wasn't long before the brand took off worldwide. However, you’ll only find them in the coolest cities…Paris, Tokyo, New York, London – it made sense to move onto Manchester.

I've tried quite a few of the skincare products now and I've loved every single one. My Mum is a skincare junkie and literally spends hundreds of pounds on the stuff every year. So I’ve always had a chance to try out the best in that field, from Elemis to Gatineau, and I have to say Aēsop reminds me of the botanical smell of Liz Earle. As soon as you use a product the natural smells of mandarin, parsley seed, rose petal or aloe vera have the power to freshen up the skin (and your mind).

One of the best smells I find is the parsley seed, and lucky for me there is a whole Parsley Seed collection. Brimming with anti-oxidants and other extracts of goodness, the range is suitable for all skin types which makes it an easy choice. Afterwards it’s impossible for the skin not to feel refreshed and moisturised, and ready for whatever the day throws at it. In fact, it’s recommended for ‘city dwellers’ who crave a quick fix of exfoliation and hydration.

But there are also a range of products designed especially for certain skin types. Personally I struggle with an oily T zone and am partial to the odd dry patch too, so I fall under ‘combination.’ That’s why I chose the Amazing Face Cleanser (I’d buy it just for the name) the B & Tea Balancing Toner and the Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream. I love the moisturiser because it is lightweight and never leaves any shine or residue like many other moisturisers I have tried.

But as much as I do love the skincare (they also have a hair and body collection which is in my list to try next), Aēsop is so much more than its products. The brand is big on quirky design, and each store or concession is bold and completely unique. It has a flagship store in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda (where I used to live) which is basically a ramp leading to an old underground car park – this was the start of its architectural ambitions.

And rather than selling out to the big guys like other beauty companies, Aēsop prefers to stay independent and small – they don’t have any garish global marketing campaigns or tricks up their sleeve. Most people know about it through recommendations and word of mouth – it’s almost like being in the cool, cult skincare club if you know about Aēsop.

Aēsop’s Founder Dennis Paphitis also seems like a cool guy. In an interview he said, “I was horrified at the thought of Aesop evolving into a soulless chain. I've always imagined what we do as the equivalent of a weighty, gold charm bracelet on the tanned wrist of a glamorous, well-read European woman who has travelled and collected interesting experiences.

So yes I love the products themselves but I think it’s everything else that’s integral to the brand that makes me love Aēsop more. For instance on the website it states: We advocate the use of our formulations as part of a balanced life that includes a healthy diet, sensible exercise, a moderate intake of red wine and a regular dose of stimulating literature.
It's like they had me at hello.

**I would just like to point out that unlike other bloggers, I HAVE NOT been paid or compensated in any way for this review. I've done it simply because I feel the need to write about how awesome Aēsop is.