If you, like me, have combination skin, you'll know the struggle. You're on the eternal search for skincare products that make a firm effort to hydrate the areas of the skin lacking moisture, without causing the oilier areas to go into sebum overload. Rarely will skincare products manage to do both.
That's why I've taken to spot-treating each area of my face, like multi-masking, just turned up a few notches. I use a gel cleanser on my forehead (where things are a little oilier) and then an oil cleanser to take off my makeup and replenish my cheeks. I even cocktail my serums to certain points on my face, like a patchwork quilt of potent actives.
I'm well aware I sound utterly batty, and in all honesty, it's a whole load of faff I could do without. So when I heard that Aesop's new range promised to treat both my skin personalities equally, serving each section with its specific requirements without upsetting the other, well, of course my interest was piqued.
Containing ingredients such as salicylic acid and witch hazel, the three-step range really does deliver on its promise to balance out the opposing halves of the complexion. I've inserted the products into my existing collection (alongside a few serums, a mask and my daily SPF, obviously) and seen some pretty remarkable changes.
First to discuss is the cleanser. I've always avoided cleansers that claimed to be tailored to the oilier patches of my combination skin, as I found them too stripping on the rest of the complexion. But this one doesn't leave skin feeling tight at all. It contains witch hazel, to calm down overzealous sebum producers, salicylic acid to flush out any pores starting to become blocked, and sage leaf to fight off free radicals.
Before you roll your eyes, know that I was just as skeptical as you probably are about the phenomenon that is facial toner. I mean, what use is a bit of extra water anyway? Turns out, a fair bit—I've actually started to notice that swiping this over my face with a cotton pad removes enough excess oil from my forehead that my foundation no longer sinks straight in. Like the cleanser, it contains witch hazel and niacinamide, an anti-inflammatory that also sweeps away excess sebum that often leads to clogged pores.
And finally, the moisturiser. I hate using heavy powders, but the shine emitted from my forehead by midafternoon sometimes becomes so strong that I relent. This moisturiser has a matte finish (not grainy, like a silicone-rich primer, mind), hydrating skin using edelweiss and açaí extracts without exacerbating the already well-oiled areas. Which, just FYI, can be pretty dehydrated, even if they are coated in a layer or shine.
I have a feeling we might have just solved all our combination-skin woes.