Aesop Rind Concentrate Body Balm

 

Aesop
Rind Concentrate
— Body Balm

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Body balms are immensely hydrating as apposed to moisturisers, as they are free from water content and formulated with predominantly oil components. The Aesop Rind Concentrate Body Balm is for intense hydration of the body but be careful not to use this product on your face as the dense and intense formulation may cause breakouts. This product is suitable for normal to dryer skin due to its nourishing and protective properties. Due to its high level of active ingredients containing natural retinols, this product is not suitable for anybody that suffers from skin irritations or sensitivities. Its retail price for the 500ml pump bottle is $105 AUD. 

Aesop is a relatively new brand in the market, however 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, renowned department stores, or high-end independent boutiques.

 
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Brand integrity

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 an incredibly high 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
The Rind Concentrate Body Balm is exactly what you’d expect – packed full of intense scents of rind from lemons and orange, as well as a refreshing and sharp addition of pink grapefruit. The Carrot extract offers a more grounding scent balancing out the sweetness of the citrus. The fragrance is fresh, light but interesting, and perhaps even more commercially appealing to more than just a niche Aesop customer.  

Texture
This body balm is thicker in consistency then that of a moisturiser, however because of the high nut oil content, a little bit can go a long way. The texture allows to be distributed evenly and hydrates the skin further than surface level. Balms have the ability to sit on top of the skin surface allowing for deep and intense hydration over many hours.

Efficacy
This particular balm is suitable for most skin types, however all sensitive skin types or those with irritabilities may not suit the ingredients included in this formulation, specifically the high dose of D Limonene. Nevertheless, citrus is refreshing and incredibly rich in vitamin C, helping provide a radiant glow to skin. Grapefruit in particular has retinol antioxidant helping treat and renew damaged skin. Hydration is key for this product, as mentioned, there is a thin layer of moisture that suits on the surface level of the skin, keeping you hydrated for longer.

 
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Ingredient watch

read our full Formulation Analysis

The good

Citrus Aurantim Dulcis (Orange) Oil, used for its content in alpha hydroxy acids.

Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, high in retinol and therefore incredibly active.

Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, a thick derivative from the cocoa bean which will protect and moisturise.

The Questionable

D-Limonene, a major constituent in many citrus oils with adverse affect on sensitive skin.

Disodium EDTA, a preservative and a stabiliser.

Phenoxyethanol, a noted allergen with links to skin conditions such as eczema and toxicity in the nervous system.

Ethylhexylglycerin, a ‘natural’ preservative derived from glycerine which has been found to be an irritant.

 
“While we pay heed to the aesthetics of our packaging, Aesop’s priority has always been the quality of what is inside our containers; the vessels must be functional, minimal and humble. Aesop uses recyclable glass and cardboard as much as possible, providing it does not compromise the stability or integrity of our products.”  text and image via  Aesop .

“While we pay heed to the aesthetics of our packaging, Aesop’s priority has always been the quality of what is inside our containers; the vessels must be functional, minimal and humble. Aesop uses recyclable glass and cardboard as much as possible, providing it does not compromise the stability or integrity of our products.”

text and image via Aesop.

Packaging review

This product uses 3 types of plastic in its packaging and a plastic label.

Bottle: PET- See more about PET and its impact
Pump: PP- See more about PP and its impact
Stainless Steel Spring
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. Aesop use PET plastics, as indicated on the bottom of their plastic bottles. Although PET plastic doesn’t contain BPA or Phthalates, unfortunately this plastic isn’t advised to be reused as temperature affects the chemical structure of the bottle.

Studies all over the globe are beginning to emerge regarding plastic health to humans, particularly the surprising investigations of PET plastics may contain estrogenic compounds that leach from the plastic. This is the same plastic used in many water bottles that we used to buy and drink from prior to understanding the effect of our carbon footprint. The way we see it, this is just another nail in the coffin for plastics, no matter how conscious the choice may be.

Even aside from the 500ml plastic bottle we must attempt to ‘reinvent’ in our homes, but what about the plastic pump we have no use for afterward? Unfortunately, pumps are of a higher plastic density than what the actual bottle is – and doesn’t necessarily mean that it is recyclable. Metal springs are commonly found in most pumps and are detrimental to the plastic recycling system unless separated, and therefore makes the pump non-recyclable.

 

Formulation full analysis

The good

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.  


Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract is another ingredient high in retinol, therefore incredibly active in this product. Rich in carotene and vitamin C, these two components leave the skin soft, elastic and add firmness. Again, if you suffer from sensitivities, this ingredient may be a little too active for you.

Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter is derived from the cocoa bean and is an incredible addition to a product that aims to protect and moisturise. The thickness of this ingredient makes it terrible to use on say, your face due to its ability to clog pores, however body care can benefit from this ingredient as it forms a barrier on the skin’s surface slowing the loss of water from the skin. This in turn protects injured or exposed skin from harmful environment and relieves skin from irritations.

The Questionable

D-Limonene is a major constituent in many citrus oils – particularly orange, lemon and grapefruit. Topically, it’s an incredibly strong antioxidant and has the ability to calm the skin. However, when exposed to air, the antioxidant compounds can oxidise and become capable of sensitising skin. Despite the risk of eventually sensitising skin, it’s particularly important to avoid this ingredient if your skin is already sensitive or irritable, or if you suffer from skin conditions such as rosacea, dermatitis, or psoriasis. Given the high content of this ingredient in the Rind Concentrate Body Balm, we’d recommend being incredibly cautious if applying.
  

Disodium EDTA is a really concerning in any cosmetic product. Usually, it’s included as a preservative, to enhance the foaming action or to stabilise the ingredients used. Because this toner doesn’t have a foaming texture, we can assume the first and latter. The primary reason we can’t get on board with this ingredient is that it is a “penetration enhancer”. That might sound like it’s doing its job quite well, but in fact, it is disrupting the surface of skin cells for other chemicals to penetrate easier. This includes the preservatives and chemical additives in the product, as well as the chemicals in your environment. Disodium EDTA has the ability to bind to metals dissolved in our shower water, which isn’t something we want penetrating further than the surface of our skin.


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.
 

Ethylhexylglycerin – is it as dangerous as it sounds? It’s important to know the benefits and risks of every ingredient and understand how it can affect you. We know that parabens are horrible chemicals used in products, and sadly, that they are the most effective preservatives going around. Ethylhexylglycerin may not be as effective as a paraben, but it sure as hell is safer and less detrimental to your health than them. Although the ingredient is labelled as a preservative, it is “natural” in that it is derived from Glycerin. There have been some studies to show this ingredient has been found to be an irritant, so even if it’s a little better for you than the rest, we still don’t recommend it to put on your body.

 

Thoughts?

Do you use Aesop?

Would you personally eschew natural ingredients for efficacy?

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