On a recent visit to Aesop headquarters, I got to spend some time with their head scientist, Dr. Kate Forbes. She’s been with the cult-favorite hair and skincare brand for two decades, and has long led their research and development. Forbes has been involved in developing some 90 percent of the products in Aesop's current lineup at this point, so when I asked what her favorite Aesop product was, I expected her to react as if she had to choose her favorite child.
But she didn’t hesitate to name Aesop’s B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel.
“From a chemist’s point of view, it was very hard to get that gel to stabilise and be clear,” she said. “It was this perfect balance of being both technically complicated to produce and working really well – that's why it's my favorite.”
“Nobody else has something like this,” she went on. “It has this honey-like texture. You need to melt it a little in your hands before you apply it. The process of applying it is actually a process. It’s a ritual to warm it up and activate it, and then you feel it tighten a little as it soaks in.
So I had to pick up a jar for myself. That bit about the honey-like viscosity is so true. It’s dense – it feels like a face-tightening mask on application, then softens within a minute to a barely-there protective layer. The only trick is applying it, since you can’t put it on in a fast circular motion like any other moisturiser. It’s slower, but it does distribute easily if you respect that pace. We’re talking 10 seconds instead of five; it’s not like you’re watching water boil on the stove. And if it adds a five seconds to my grooming regimen each day, it’s that tiny bit of slowing down that lets me appreciate the regimen itself.
Aesop B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel, $120 at Nordstrom
Forbes says that while it’s mostly intended as a before-bed treatment, the gel performs well whenever your skin needs a hit of hydration. (You can mix it with another hydrator or apply it over a serum or retinol at night.)
I’ve been using it for two months now, both morning and night, and it's working. As proof, I’ve flown nearly around the world in that time – a dozen flights and roughly 22,000 miles – and although I’m more exhausted than I’ve ever been, my skin looks bright and supple. Rested, even.