In a world where instant gratification is now the norm, it’s easy to forget that all good things take time. Skincare is no exception. Enter Aesop: Founded in 1987 in Melbourne, Australia in a hair salon by Dennis Paphitis, the brand has undoubtedly become synonymous with the ethos of ‘unhurried innovation’—a philosophy that epitomises the need to take necessary time and care to develop meaningful innovations that value quality over speed.
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Starting from just four products at inception, this approach to a slow, natural evolution has now led to Aesop offering over 100 of the most coveted fragrance, haircare, skincare and home care must-haves on the market, and their desire for intentional invention remains ever-growing.
Intentional beauty, according to Aesop skincare
“Instead of quick fixes promising instant results, we extol the virtues of a more measured and meaningful approach: one that is focused on the routine enjoyment of observing and tending to specific—often highly individual—skin care needs,” Suzanne Santos, chief customer officer of Aesop shares with Vogue Singapore. Santos, who was the first ever employee of the brand, has been instrumental in the rise of Aesop’s success and gaining its coveted cult beauty label—crediting the unification of art, science, design and a ‘celebration of living’, as the brand’s unique appeal in today’s crowded market.
With each new development taking between two to three years of meticulous research and testing prior to hitting shelves, Aesop’s focus is on creating uncomplicated formulations that elevate both natural and laboratory-made ingredients, whilst tying seamlessly into a healthy lifestyle. From their minimalistic and sensory stores that highlight materials such as wood and stone, to their growing line of products, Aesop’s offerings break beyond fleeting fads, creating enduring solutions to skincare that are both adaptive and can stand the test of time.
Take for example their skincare range that offers a comprehensive selection of products designed to meet specific needs of various skin types—including the much-coveted Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum. Distinguished by the breathable film it forms on the skin thanks to extracts of red algae and Tara gum, it contains anti-oxidants such as grape seed, green tea and parsley seed extracts. The lightweight formula has gained a cult following in Singapore for its rapid absorption rate and matte finish, making it versatile enough to apply alone, or as a blending companion with sunscreen for the perfect under make-up base. One serum is reportedly sold worldwide every nine minutes.
Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum
“The Parsley Seed Intense Serum which holds and caresses your skin. Its intelligence uses red algae to put a light film on your skin that you can’t feel or see; a silken cover that allows your natural skin to create moisture and the combination of the two is absolutely wonderful,” Santos explains.
Also favoured in our sunny climes: The Lucent Facial Concentrate—a lightweight serum that contains vitamin C, niacinamide, and rosemary leaf oil, which work together to improve clarity, uneven tones and brighten the skin, especially in the hot and humid weather.
“If I were packing a bag today to go to Singapore or Malaysia, I would be very clear that I would need Lucent Facial Concentrate—I couldn’t get on a plane, it’d be panicking if I didn’t have it,” says Santos. “It is the most impressive product for heat and humidity, it delivers the vitamin C—because heat and humidity in my mind means lots of harsh air-conditioning and the need to protect the skin. It’s a brilliant product.”
For rejuvenating our tired eyes, Aesop’s Exalted Eye Serum is fast becoming a top pick, enriched with vitamins B, C, and E that nourish and hydrate the delicate eye area, and diminish the appearance of fine lines and puffiness. The serum is also suitable for most skin types, including those with sensitive, mature, dehydrated and dull skin.
Slow beauty, according to Aesop
At Aesop, beauty goes deeper than what’s applied on the skin. Santos, for one, is quick to point out that our lifestyles and diets play as critical a role as products.
“I have never lost sight of the fact that I need to exercise every day. And those days, like today, when I haven’t begun that way, I am conscious of how I’m going to find the time later in the day to replenish that so the physical is where I would begin. What you put in your body is critical.”
“You need to be conscious, you need to see the colours of life on a plate every day. You need to feel like sleep is not something to avoid but something to gain from. And you also need to feed your brain.”
She continues, “This world is not a healthy world for the body and the mind. I would urge people to disconnect and start to bring other experiences like conversation, reading and adventures into other worlds. A lot of the poor health that people face today lies within here, so I would ask and urge people to shut that done more often.”
In a world that never seems to slow down, Aesop offers a sanctuary where time is a luxury we can not only afford, but truly enjoy. Unhurried innovation is not just about delivering instant results; it’s about investing in self-care and embracing the journey of personal well-being that extends beyond just enduring the routine. It’s the understanding that skincare is an ongoing endeavour, one that requires continuous support and care, carving our moments in our busy lives to connect with our skin and all its changing needs.
You’re invited to Khronos: a Skin Odyssey. From 29 September (2pm to 7pm), 30 October to 8 October (11am to 7pm), relish a conscious, enriching moment and discover Aesop’s skin care formulations through an immersive sensorial experience. Book your slot to join, registration opens on 19 September, 2023.
Beauty direction: Alli Sim
Producers: David Bay and Ong Shiang Siew
Director of photography: Jeremy Kieran Ng
Associate beauty editor: Emily Heng
Camera assistant: Darren Lim
Beauty assistant: Faith Leong
Hand model: Monica Saranya Selva De Roy