With every new skin-care launch seemingly developed to target specific issues, from acne and rosacea to dryness and sensitivity, combination skin types tend to fall through the cracks. For those who deal with both oiliness and dehydration, while also wanting to combat dullness and signs of aging, finding the right products to tackle it all at once can be a real balancing act.
This is where the minimalist Australian skin-care favorite Aesop comes in. After three years in development, the brand has officially launched its latest range: In Two Minds, a three-product line for "skin of many moods," meant to address the complex needs of combination skin. We spoke to chemist Dr. Rebecca Watkinson, who doubles as Aesop's innovation and research manager, about what defines combination skin, the hero ingredients to look out for, and why so much time and research went into formulating this specific range.
It's easy to identify "oily" or "dry" skin, but how would you define "combination" skin?
Combination skin is typically characterized 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 area around the chin and mouth.
Combination skin is fundamentally unbalanced. Therefore, it requires a regimen that won't over-strip the skin, and will keep skin nourished after 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 skin-care products consists of products that are suitable [for combination skin], we identified an opportunity to create a suite of products to provide a regimen tailored specifically for the particular needs of combination skin.
Talk us through the three products in the range.
The clarifying cleanser offers thorough cleansing but is also exceptionally gentle and mild for 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 imparting a gentle veil of actives, including salicylic acid, niacinamide, and refreshing witch hazel. To finish is a lightweight, yet comprehensively hydrating moisturizer that soothes and balances without over-moisturizing the oilier parts of the face.
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. What we have here is a gel-based cleanser containing salicylic acid that offers gentle cleansing to remove 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.