Aesop Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum Product Review

 

FORMULATIONS RESEARCH

Aesop
Moroccan Neroli
— Shaving Serum

Price:  $37.00

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Shaving gels, creams and serums have recently saturated the market as competition against the infamous bottled shaving foams, and rightly so. They have less irritative qualities, as the gel or cream-like consistency doesn’t dispense with air-pockets like a shaving foam does, allowing the hairs to actually stand up in preparation for the razor. Serums on the other hand generally leave out occlusive ingredients like petrolatum or mineral oils that keep water from evaporating, and are generally water-based. They will lather the least, however aim to create maximum slip for a closer shave.  

Aesop have made waves in the luxury skincare market due to their impeccably minimal designs, and carefully formulated signature scents. The brand is for the design conscious, and certainly not targeting those who prioritise organic or natural skincare regimes. Consumer experience is carefully curated through one of Aesop’s signature stores, in renowned department stores, or in high-end independent boutiques.

 
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Who are Aesop?

Luxury formulations coupled with meticulous design are what Aesop’s was built upon. Their objective has been to use the finest quality ingredients, from plant-based to laboratory made, to ensure standout efficacy. This is done through their extensive and independent approach to product research and development, where in-house chemical scientists conceptualise product ideas, research blends and create prototypes.

Through Aesop’s FAQs, there is a level of transparency in regard to their organic and natural status. They state that they don’t associate products within these categories due to their formulations combining high quality botanical, however also synthetic ingredients. Aesop also recognise the source of where their products can also be derived from using non-organic techniques, stating how they are “practical about how realistic it would be for [them] to use only organic ingredients”.  

Aesop believes “well-considered design improves our lives”, and with that in mind, incorporate intelligent and sustainable design throughout the product packaging through their brick-and-mortar and online consumer experience. Sustainability, however, is not a core priority with Aesop packaging, as we are less informed on what materials are used, and rather directed to how Aesop aims to improve this segment of their business as transparently as possible.

 
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First impressions

Fragrance: 
Aesop’s Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum is infused with Sandalwood, Neroli Blossom and Orange Citrus, creating a refreshing yet grounding, sophisticated scent when lathered. The Neroli Blossom adds a hint of spice to the mix, however is predominantly woody and warm in its aroma.

Texture: 
This serum is silky upon dispensing, however forms into a low foaming gel once in contact with water.

Efficacy:
The serum is a significant step-up from canned shaving foams and creams; it glides on and provides a close, comfortable shave. Skin is left feeling conditioned and nourished. The efficacy of the shave does however depend on what razor you choose to couple this product with, as a single blade will need much more product to get through the skin, which may not be ideal, simply due to the price of the product.

 
Aesop places more emphasis on efficacy as opposed to the natural status of their product. Photography by Trevor Mein via  Yellow Trace.

Aesop places more emphasis on efficacy as opposed to the natural status of their product. Photography by Trevor Mein via Yellow Trace.

Ingredient watch

read our full Formulation Analysis

The Good

Panthenol, a pro vitamin of B5.
Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, a soothing, anti-inflammatory plant extract.
Citrus Aurantim Dulcis (Orange) Oil, used for its content in alpha hydroxy acids.

The Questionable

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), a foaming agent correlated with skin and eye irritations and organ toxicity.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine / Lauramidopropyl Betaine is commonly used in the cosmetics industry but is considered a moderate hazard by the EWG.
Phenoxyethanol, a common ingredient linked to allergic reaction, eczema and toxicity in the nervous system.
Polysorbate 20, a surfactant and emulsifier used in cleaners and personal care products.

 
Style over sustainability. Photography of the Aesop store in Fitzroy by Trevor Mein via  Yellow Trace.

Style over sustainability. Photography of the Aesop store in Fitzroy by Trevor Mein via Yellow Trace.

Packaging review

This product uses glass, plastic in its packaging and a plastic label.

Bottle type: Glass - See more about Glass and its impact
Dropper: PP - See more about PP and its impact
Label: OTHER - See more about Plastic Film and its impact

Aesop are incredibly design-focused in relation their design aesthetic. Their priority unfortunately doesn’t lie where the external vessel is concerned, more-so the quality of product within.

Our first question was how to reuse the plastics of the product. Unfortunately, Aesop doesn’t offer refills due to “hygiene and logistics” nor product stewardship for the same reasons, however encourages their consumer to recycle them by providing some examples of make-shift ideas for around our homes – from vases to storage containers. The shaving serum, as well as many other products in Aesop that have a high concentration of active botanical extracts in their formulations, are housed in pharmaceutical-grade amber glass. Primarily this is chosen for the stability of the product, however it’s also much more likely that a customer will recycle a vessel of glass over plastic within their home.

 

Formulation full analysis

The Good

Panthenol has so many great benefits for the skin, as well as having a highly soluble quality that makes it a dream ingredient for many cosmetic companies. This ingredient is actually present in all living skin cells, and once it hits the skin, it results in a conversion to pantothenic acid; readily absorbed by the skin and penetrating past the initial surface layer. The hydrating and moisturising properties of Panthenol is extremely high, as Pantothenic acid works as a humectant by infusing water into cells, and when used regularly over the period of four weeks or more, takes on an anti-inflammatory role. Panthenol is a pro vitamin of B5, and as we know deficiency in vitamin B5 can result in dermatological disorders; this may explain its anti-inflammatory properties.

Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract is beneficial for many different skin types, as it’s soothing and serves as an amazing anti-inflammatory. It’s incredibly hydrating due its high-water content and includes many rich antioxidants such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C, as well as active enzymes that nourish the skin surface. Many manufacturers find this ingredient particularly useful in large quantities due to its effectiveness as a skin moisturizer, as well as its ability to cool the skin. Not only is this music to a beach-goer’s ears, but those who naturally hold more heat in their skin will benefit from buying skincare products that use Aloe Vera as a core component.

Citrus Aurantim Dulcis (Orange) Oil is usually used for its content in alpha hydroxy acids. AHA’s are used in modern cosmetics for their exfoliating properties and therapeutic benefits of minimising photo damaged skin and promote ‘youthful’ looking skin. Apart from their ability to rid skin of unnecessary dead cells, AHAs have a moisturising effect, and contribute to reducing dryness and combating flakiness. This ingredient can be a little too active to those with sensitivities, so best to avoid this if you suffer from irritated skin.

The Questionable

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) has one key job, and that’s to make product foam when in contact with water. This is the second most potent ingredient in Aesop’s Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum after Water – so we thought it was important to dive into the details. Many studies have reported the dangers of SLS and SLES, in particular skin and eye irritations and organ toxicity. After all, these ingredients are strong enough to cut through grease on motor vehicles, and work by corroding surfaces. Originally these ingredients are derived from coconuts. Manufacturing SLS and SLES means many other chemicals are added to the process, however they can also become contaminated by ethylene oxide, nitrates and 1.4-dioxane, making SLS and SLES toxic and even carcinogenic. As we use these products almost every day, it’s particularly important to check for these ingredients, how much is concentrated within the product, and how often you plan to use it. The over-exposure of these ingredients can cause some incredibly detrimental effects to skin, making it more work and even more expensive to reverse. 

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is the third ingredient found in this product, which means it’s in high quantities. This ingredient is used as a surfactant in cosmetic and personal care products, which means it helps clean skin by helping the water to mix with the oil and dirt to be rinsed away. It’s often marked as “natural” as it originally comes from plant oils, however it is a harsh skin and eye irritant, has an overall health concern hazard of moderate” on EWG, and was voted allergen of the year in 2004 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.  

Phenoxyethanol is one of those ingredients we would see right at the bottom of the list of many products, and probably don’t think twice about it… What’s the harm in one little long word in the mix of all these beautiful botanical ingredients? The truth is, this bad boy has been linked to many allergic reactions and skin conditions such as eczema, and toxicity in the nervous system, particularly in infants. The European Union has classed it as an irritant, and Japan has restricted the ingredient. Juxtaposed to this, The Scientific Committee of Consumer Safety (SCCS) has deemed the chemical safe to use as a preservative if concentration does not exceed 1.0%. However, when taking into consideration reapplying the same product, as well as many other products on the bathroom shelf, we may be applying and absorbing more than what we think. 

Polysorbate 20 is a sugar alcohol in its original form. For its purpose in personal care products, its treated with ethylene oxide. The result used as an emulsifier in cosmetics to help mix water and oil. The issue with any ingredient that is mixed with ethylene oxide is that it can become contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which is a known animal carcinogen that can penetrate readily into the skin. It’s also been linked to skin allergies.

 

Thoughts?

Would you still use Aesop irrespective of the ingredients it contains?

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