How well do you cleanse your skin? We get the lowdown on Aesop’s gentlest formula yet

How well do you cleanse your skin? We get the lowdown on Aesop’s gentlest formula yet

Milk it

Text: Emily Heng

Interview: Jolene Khor

There's no denying the longstanding — and integral! — role of food in the beauty industry; be it the inclusion of trendy ingredients in much-adored formulations (e.g. honey, tea, and kale) to whole collections dedicated to foodstuff as seen in offerings from Colourpop, Too Faced and Beauty Bakerie.

Milk cleansers — to those non-versed in skincare — may appear to fall under the same umbrella. Surprisingly enough, though, its connection with food ends with its name. Made from a natural emulsion of fats and water, milk cleansers are the gentle giants of skincare: removing dirt, makeup, and various impurities without stripping complexions of its natural moisture. Plainly speaking, it's an ideal cleanser for the dry, fragile, and sensitive skin set. 


The latest member to be inducted into the milk family? Aesop's Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk. We get the lowdown on Aesop's gentlest formulation yet from Dr. Kate Forbes, the head of Aesop's Research and Development team — as well as her stance on cleansing, the necessity of milk cleansers, and what sets Aesop's Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk apart from the rest. 

What are the benefits of using a milk cleanser?
A milk cleanser like the Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk efficiently purifies the skin without stripping it of moisture, offering an exceptionally mild yet thorough cleanse suited to most skin types, but of particular relevance to those with dry or sensitive skin.

What makes the Aesop milk cleanser unique?
Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk does exactly as its name suggests. The mild, Olive-based surfactant delivers efficient cleansing without stripping the skin. It swiftly lifts and removes grime, excess sebum and makeup. The formulation contains hydrating Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) which works to prevent dryness post-cleansing. Skin-nourishing Grape Seed Oil, in concert with a blend of waxes of Mimosa, Jojoba and Sunflower, helps to reduce moisture loss during cleansing and leaves the skin feeling soft and refreshed.


This cleanser is said to remove makeup; can we go without a makeup remover?
For most people, double cleansing is simply not necessary and one runs the risk of over cleansing and disrupting the skin's hydrolipidic film by using this approach. If an Aesop facial cleanser is applied and rinsed diligently, a single cleanse will be sufficient, and each formulation is designed and formulated for this purpose. For makeup wearers, Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk and Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil do a superb job of removing heavy makeup from the face, and Remove is designed especially for the delicate skin around the eyes. Note that Remove can be considered as a pre-cleanse product and should be followed with an Aesop facial cleanser.

Why does the bottle need to be shaken before the cleanser can be dispensed?
The formulation is thixotropic, in practice this means that the formulation sets in the bottle, but become liquid when shaken. You will notice that it flows more freely when shaken. This is similar to the behaviour of tomato ketchup.


7. What do you think is going to be a game-changing beauty ingredient in 2019?
There are countless new and exciting ingredients available across our range that we are currently investigating. One particularly interesting area for us is the growing research into improved environmental sustainability and traceability of cosmetics ingredients. There are new developments in how raw materials are grown or produced, in addition to finding new ways to convert agricultural waste into effective ingredients. These all help to meet growing customer expectations about the sourcing and environmental impact of products.

What are the common mistakes people make when it comes to cleansing their skin?
A skincare myth is that not cleansing the face enough causes acne. Our approach to skin care, and cleansing, is built on a foundation of keeping the skin in balance. We advocate twice-daily cleansing to remove grime, dirt, bacteria, excess sebum and other impurities from the surface of the skin, complemented by regular exfoliation and a deep-cleansing masque to remove dead skin cells and clear congestion. A gentle but disciplined approach to cleansing helps purify the skin and maintain its natural balance.


Another skincare myth is that physical skin exfoliators are more effective than chemical exfoliators because you can actually scrub the dead skin cells and impurities off. Both physical and chemical exfoliant perform a similar function — helping to increase cell turnover of the outmost layers of the skin, but they operate via different mechanisms. Using either exfoliant type too frequently can actually damage and irritate the skin if too many of the outer layers are removed. There is a higher risk of this occurring with physical exfoliants. We recommend gentle exfoliation twice weekly, using whatever exfoliant type you are more comfortable with.

There are so many types of cleansers to choose from. How do we know which is right for us?
Understanding one's skin type and condition is key to selecting an appropriate cleanser. Consider your environment and consider altering your selection as seasonal changes approach. A gentle cleanser boosted with skin-nourishing extracts may be more suited to dry skin, winter and cooler climates, whereas a more invigorating gel cleanser may be ideal for hot, humid climates and for those with oilier skin. Also, do not use hot water. This strips the skin, compromising its natural lipid barrier which may heighten sensitivity and cause dryness. Tepid or cool water is preferable, especially for dry skin.

The Aesop Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk is available at all Aesop boutiques and counters from 2 April, at $45 (100ml) and $70 (200ml) respectively.