With some fantastic beauty innovations centring specific skincare issues like acne and rosacea, it may feel as though the industry has left combination skin types behind in recent years. For those who deal with both oiliness and dehydration, while also wanting to fight ageing and dullness, finding the right skincare range can be a real balancing act.
Enter Aesop. Having spent the past three years developing a new range, In Two Minds, which addresses the complex needs of combination skin, the brand is introducing three new products for "skin of many moods". Ahead of the launch, we spoke to Dr. Rebecca Watkinson, Aesop's innovation and research manager, about what defines combination skin, the hero ingredients to invest in, and just why it took so long to formulate the range.
It's easy to identify 'oily' or 'dry' skin but how would you define 'combination' skin?
Combination skin is typically characterised by an oilier T-zone or forehead, with dry to very dry skin across the cheeks. This skin type is also known to have a greater propensity to reactivity, breakouts, and hormonal flare-ups (for women). The oil zone can be either classic T-zone oiliness, or may also be more focused towards the O-zone (the perioral area).
Combination skin is fundamentally unbalanced, therefore requiring a regime that will not over-strip the skin and confer adequate nourishment post-cleansing to restore balance.
What are we getting wrong about combination skin?
A common misconception is that oily skin is well hydrated. The skin overall may be equally hydrated (or not well hydrated), but excess sebum is still being produced in the T-zone (or the O-zone). An often-overlooked fact is that increased sebum production often goes together with irritated or sensitive skin. The key to all of the formulations within the In Two Minds range is that they address the oily T-zone (or O-zone) without causing disturbance to the drier parts of the face, while assisting with decongesting, soothing and purifying the skin.
Why did the brand want to focus on combination skin over any other type?
As we have opened Aesop stores in new countries and cities, we have observed an increasing prevalence of combination skin in our customers – both men and women – and across a wide range of climates. Although Aesop’s existing range of skincare products consists of products that are suitable, we identified an opportunity to provide a suite of products to provide a regimen tailored specifically for the particular needs of combination skin.
Talk me through the three products in the range...
The clarifying cleanser offers thorough cleansing but is also exceptionally gentle and mild (non-perturbing) to stressed or dry skin. This is followed and complemented by a well balanced toner, with a small input of alcohol to lift excess sebum, while at the same time conferring a gentle veil of actives such as salicylic acid to soothe, niacinamide to counter and assuage irritation, and astringent, refreshing witch hazel. To finish is a lightweight, yet comprehensively hydrating moisturiser that won’t overburden the oilier parts of the face. Extracts of andiroba, copaiba, acai and edelweiss work in concert to soothe and balance.
And why did the cleanser take three years to formulate?
Cleansing is a crucial step in caring for combination skin, working to remove excess oil and preparing the skin for hydration to follow. Inappropriate cleansing products can worsen irritation and increase sebum production. In Two Minds Cleanser is a gel-based cleanser containing salicylic acid, and offers gentle cleansing, removing excess sebum without aggravation. In this way, In Two Minds Facial Cleanser works to bring fragile and reactive skins into equilibrium by providing the exact degree of cleansing required, whatever the conditions.
Aesop's In Two Minds launches on 3rd April.