I'm not sure I have ever had lower expectations for a skincare launch than I did when I initially heard that Jo Malone London was launching its first skincare range. I don't want this to come across rude—I had my reasons. Let me first of all say that I love Jo Malone London. I think the brand's scents are up there with the most beautiful ever created, the candles are easily some of the best I own, and I actually really rate the bodycare (particularly the body scrub). It's just that, to me, a fragrance house venturing into the world of skincare just doesn't go. Jo Malone London products are iconic because of their strong scents, and skincare that possess a strong scent is notoriously difficult to get right. It's not that I don't like fragranced skincare, mind you—I love unwinding at the end of the day with a good spa-like skincare routine. It's more that in order to get fragranced skincare right, in my opinion, it has to be gentle enough that it's still easy and fuss-free to use, and that's tricky.
So yes, I was dubious. Then, I discovered that the iconic British name was partnering with skincare brand Rodin Olio Lusso to create the products, and that stressed me out even more. I want to highlight here that I have never had anything against Rodin Olio Lusso as a brand—I have always loved Linda Rodin and loved Rodin Olio Lusso products until the brand stopped trading last year. My issues were with the fact that Rodin Olio Lusso has always specialised in oil—and fragranced face oil is not something I think the skincare industry needs more of.
Oils remain a controversial topic among skin experts. While some (mostly facialists) wax lyrical about the way they lock moisture into the skin and help people find joy in their routines, others (mostly dermatologists) consider them an expensive waste of time that only risk clogging pores and exacerbating acne. As someone with naturally oily skin, I sit with the latter camp. And despite the fact I don't typically endorse face oils (and products that contain a lot of oils), I don't hate them either. My initial reservations about a Jo Malone London and Rodin Olio Russo collaboration were more about what these two brands were going to create when they put their two main areas of expertise together: a highly fragranced range of face oils. Something that screams out irritation.
Having said this, I was still wanting to give it a go. Why, I hear you ask? Because of that old saying, don't knock it till you've tried it. As a journalist who specialises in beauty, it is in my nature to be naturally inquisitive about new launches. After all, I've never met a Jo Malone London product I don't like. So, somewhat reluctantly, I opened up the box containing the new, limited-edition collection.
The collection is made up of five products: a cleanser, a face cream, a face oil, a hand-and-body cream and a body oil—oil-heavy, as expected. Upon opening up my box, the first thing I was struck by was the outer packaging. Considering both brands sit in the luxury sector and champion a high-end aesthetic, I must admit I was a little let down by the boxes. As far as I'm concerned, outer packaging is a waste of time and bad for the environment, but brands and retailers put the need for it down to protecting the product from damage. Only, the boxes these products come housed in are flimsy. In fact, mine had already come undone on their way over in the post. Besides the lack of sturdiness of the boxes, though, I must admit that the packaging design of the products themselves is chic as hell—again, as expected. In a minimalistic black-and-white design, these products look expensive and will make an aesthetically pleasing addition to any bathroom shelf.
Speaking of expense, let's address the price. Good grief, these are expensive products. It's no secret that Jo Malone London is a luxury brand, with the iconic fragrances going for over £100, but the price of these skincare products did take me back a little. With a cleanser coming in at £50, this is akin to Augustinus Bader prices, a skincare brand that contains a plethora of highly technical and clinical ingredients—something that these Jo Malone London x Rodin Olio Lusso products do not contain anywhere near the same level of. Having said that, I totally understand the appeal of treating yourself to a super-luxurious skincare product that makes you feel special when you're using it. I'm not saying anyone needs these products, but if you want them, they're certainly a treat.
So, with all of this in mind, here's my honest and full review of each product within the Jo Malone London x Rodin Olio Lussio limited-edition skincare collection.
1. Jasmine & Neroli Luxury Oil Gel Cleanser
I really, really love this product. For starters, the twist cap on the packaging is wonderfully convenient and easy to use. Beyond that, though, the formula is exquisite. I have never, in all of my years in the job, come across a cleanser with a texture like this. It starts off as a gel that you massage into dry skin. Unlike other sticky gels, the oil in this formula means it glides over skin with ease, taking away any pore-clogging makeup and dirt as it goes. The scent of jasmine and neroli is beautifully subtle and delicately fresh—so much so that I wanted to see how it fared on my eyes. The results on that experiment weren't good but also not the most painful I have experienced. To be safe, I'd recommend removing eye makeup first. Once I removed the product with a wet flannel, my skin felt baby-soft and looked exceptionally glowy. This gets a big thumbs-up from me.
2. Luxury Face Cream
I can't believe I'm saying this, but this face cream is exquisite. The texture is light and beautifully silky, delivering just enough moisture to leave skin feeling pillowy and plump without any greasiness. The scent is barely there and wonderfully clean-smelling. Inside, the formula is apricot kernel oil and shea butter, famously brilliant skin nourishers. Be warned, though: Experts (my dermatologist included) consider these ingredients to be comedogenic (meaning they risk blocking pores), so if you're prone to acne, you might want to avoid using this on the reg.
3. Jasmine & Neroli Luxury Face Oil
The icon of the range, this face oil is the one product I knew from the offset wouldn't be for me. As a rule, I steer clear of face oils in my routine. But for research's sake, I patted four drops over my face cream to "lock in" all of the cream's goodness. Will I be using this product every day? Absolutely not. But was I shocked to my core by how much I enjoyed using it? Ashamedly so. It's easy to go overboard with face oils, but three to five drops of this is the sweet spot. It doesn't leave skin with a greasy film, unlike so many other oils out there, and left my skin with a beautiful glow come morning. The best bit? The scent is to die for. Slightly floral but with Jo Malone London's iconic neroli (this smells citrusy, green and fresh), it's so good that my boyfriend actually leant over to sniff my face a number of times throughout the night.
4. Jasmine & Neroli Luxury Hand & Body Cream
This is nice, just like all of the previously mentioned products. However, I do draw the line at £56 for a hand cream. In my opinion, no 100ml tube of hand cream is worth £56. As a body cream aficionado, I have been known to spend over £50 on a body cream, and this would make for a nice one, but I would certainly expect more than 100ml out of a tube.
5. Jasmine & Neroli Luxury Body Oil
Again, this is a truly beautiful product. While body oils aren't for everyone, this stuff smells absolutely divine and doesn't leave slicks of grease wherever you go. However, my issue, once again, is with the price—£88 for a body oil is truly extortionate levels of money. There are others out there that cost more, I know, but personally, I wouldn't invest. Instead, I'd rather spend my money on a hardworking body cream or serum. Having said that, if you're looking for a real treat or a product to keep for special occasions and leave out on the bathroom side as an ornament, it is a lovely product.