Saturday, 30 March 2013

Aesop Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash (review)

Aesop Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash
What I need today is luxury. This week hasn’t gone to plan. Have you ever had one of those weeks at work when you’ve only been able to retain your sanity by way of frequent trips to the water cooler - a desperate attempt at a short break - only to realise later that you haven’t actually drunk anything and there are six cups of it in front of you on your desk? If so, you probably know how I feel. Today, I need one of those truly holistic skincare products--products that do a great job, feel wonderful, smell amazing, and briefly make the rest of the world disappear.

I came across this particular skincare brand - Aesop - several years ago when Cameron and I were on an outing in London. We’d stopped for lunch (well, cakes and teas) at Yauatcha, which in my opinion is one of the best things about Soho. When I say ‘cake’, we aren’t talking about Victoria sponge (which is lovely too, I must say), but gold-leaf-plated creations and unique desserts such as rhubarb gateaux and mandarin macadamia and, for after, a glass of fig martini (Hine cognac, Grappa friulana, figs, lemon, cranberry juice and vanilla sugar).

Such luxury was reflected in the washroom, too, with my first experience of Aesop’s brilliantly holistic handwash. We’re not talking about a pleasant but chemical-like artificial aroma. We’re talking about a hit of a cornucopia of lush essential oils that leave the hands smelling fresh and fragranced for hours: natural oils of mandarin orange peel, cedarwood, lavender and rosemary. The smell was enough to scent the entire washroom. 

What a fabulous product! I made a mental note to buy my own bottle but, at the time, Aesop was not an easy brand to find. Things have changed now and I’ve seen it for sale in Liberty, Selfridges, and many online retailers. The hand wash I had originally trialled in Yauatcha was Resurrection Aromatique, but that’s not the product I’m reviewing here, because when I discovered the Aesop counter in Selfridges (in all honesty I was actually shopping in the chocolate department, which is opposite the counter) I found a newer hand wash that has exfoliating qualities and the novelty of this swayed me. If you’re ever in Selfridges (the London store, that is), it is a nice brand to try because they have running water so you can trial the hand wash and then slap on the hand cream with complementary fragrance to aid your decision.

The product I am going to review here is Aesop’s Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash. Aesop, for those of you unfamiliar with the brand, is a company formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1987. They combine plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients with a philosophy that values ‘human endeavours undertaken with intellectual rigour, vision, and a nod to the whimsical.’ They advocate skincare  products as part of a balanced life.

Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash is infused with vetiver root, petitgrain and bergamot rind. It contains finely-milled pumice to add an exfoliating effect. The aroma is striking and wonderfully plant-based with striking chords of bergamot, grapefruit and bitter orange. In my opinion, however, if you’re looking purely for a nice-smelling hand wash, I’d go for the Resurrection Hand Wash that I tried in Yauatcha. It’s much more striking and luxurious whilst this is fresher. This one is lovely, too, of course, and striking in it's own way, but it lacks the punch the other product has.

This is the product to go for if you want a dual-action hand wash that exfoliates as it goes. The action can be as gentle or as intense as you want it to be. If you want a heavy session then you can lightly dampen the hands and massage the product with particular attention to rough areas. If you are looking for a lighter session then you can apply plenty of water and gently lather up the product whilst washing the hands as normal. Either way, I find the exfoliating qualities rather intense and for that reason I don’t use it more than once a day. I’m in the habit if using it last thing at night and then following it with a rich hand cream that can work magic overnight. Aesop pair both hand washes with a cream, both of which smell wonderful. 

The product is packaged in a dark, plastic, 500 ml pump bottle. I love Aesop’s packaging and, for me, it’s just the kind of thing I’d happily put on my bathroom shelf. It is, in my opinion, modern, simple and elegant. 

To have such a large bottle makes the product far more economical considering the price tag of £27.00, but since this is such an effective exfoliator I doubt you’d need to use it often. My current bottle has been on the shelf for nearly a year and only now am I running out. People who need more frequent exfoliation - in particular, those with ageing skins - might use it more rapidly. Still, 500 ml is a very generous size.

The ingredients range from natural oils to the despised-by-some ingredient sodium laureth sulphate which they claim is a cheap, drying, foaming ingredient. It certainly does foam, and in my opinion the lather is just right, and in this case I think that any potential drying effects are perfectly offset by the natural oils it contains. If you have particularly dry or sensitive skin then you might like to avoid this product. There aren’t any colours in this product and on dispensing it is a perfectly clear, transparent gel with tiny but visible pumice beads. 

Aesop Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash
This is exactly what I want in a skincare product: On a grey, overcast day like today when I’ve spent most of it writing an essay on assisted dying, a fleeting minute when I can enjoy a multi-sensory, holistic product. A few moments when I can close my eyes, enjoy inhaling a natural, beautiful fragrance and imagine I am again in Soho laughing the day way, sipping a fig martini. 

Intense manual exfoliating effect
Contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate which may dry the skin
Fragranced with natural oils


Brand: Aesop


Size: 500 ml
Price: £27.00 (£5.40/100 ml)

Manufactured: Australia

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Acrylates Copolymer, Pumice, Coco-Betaine, Cocamine DEA, Polysorbate 20, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Leaf/Twig Oil, Vetiveria Zizanoides Root Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Fusanus Spicatus Wood Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, d-Limonene, Linalool, Farnesol

1 comment:

  1. It's funny what one remembers. The fragrant hand soap struck me as well, it was like washing your hands in soapy essential oils!