September 1, 2000
We continue our new series on product reviews by category this week with a selection of reviews of face toners. I have become a more regular user of toners, fresheners, tonics - whatever you want to call them - since my recent New York trip. The urban climate there was quite a change from my usual pastoral Portland, Oregon, so my skin needed that extra step to exfoliate and refresh; without it, my skin felt clogged and generally unhappy. Upon returning home, I realized that with the right formula, I could enjoy the soothing and refreshing experience of a toner whenever I feel the need - they are not just for oily skin. This week I have reviews of several I've tried for my normal to dry, easily irritated complexion.
Ole Henriksen Balancing Cucumber Skin Tonic ($18 for 6 ounces)
I enjoyed several Ole products in the past, so this toner was a natural extension to my existing reviews. I chose this one since cooler weather is on the way and my skin dries out quickly as the season's change. Balancing Cucumber Tonic has aloe vera gel, witch hazel extract, chamomile extract, camphor, apricot oil, citrus bioflavonoids, korean ginseng, allantoin, and natural cucumber essence. I found it to be the perfect balance of refreshing and gentle (gentler than the Pick Me Up Tonic I reviewed in April).
You can find Ole Henriksen at olehenriksen.com.
Essentiel Elements Revitalizing Chamomile and Rose Toner ($20 for 4.25 ounces)
From the product description, I thought for sure the chamomile
and rose in this toner would help with redness and irritation,
but I ended up with a mixed bag: sometimes it felt nice and
gentle, and other times, for no particular reason, it left my
face red and irritated. If you have sensitive skin, you might be
happier with the more consistent results from the Ole Henriksen
or Naturopathica ones mentioned here instead. If sensitivities
aren't a problem for you, this is a refreshing botanical toner
for most skintypes. It contains chamomile, rose, green tea,
butcher's broom, juniper berries and rosemary extracts, aloe
vera gel, algae extract, witch hazel extract, and essential oils
of chamomile and bulgarian rose.
You can find Essentiel Elements at essentielelements.com.
Naturopathica Rose Hydrolat ($18 for 4 ounces)
I recently reviewed the lavender version of this completely botanical spray toner - loved it! - and I am pleased to say I love this one just as much. This is as basic as a plant-based toner comes; ingredient: rosa centifolia (a particular kind of rose). That's it, and my skin drinks it in. I like to spray on a light layer and then apply my moisturizer to seal in the moisture. As we go into cooler weather, I highly recommend this for any skin type.
You can find Naturopathica products at ibeauty.com, indulge.com, looks.com (for international orders), naturopathica.com, and Sephora.com.
With the seasons starting to change, now is a great time to
evaluate your current skincare routine and make adjustments for
what your skin needs and will need as the weather gets cooler.
If you switched to an oil-free moisturizer and oil-control
makeup for summer, chances are these are not the products that
will work best for you in the coming months. I've made some
changes myself recently, so here are some tips as you think
about your own skin:
The next time you wash your face, wait before applying your
moisturizer and see how your skin looks and feels after a few
minutes. If you notice more dryness or a tight feeling, you
probably need to switch to a gentler cleanser like a cleansing
lotion or lightly foaming gel.
Avoid alcohol in your skincare products. Even if you are
oily, alcohol unnecessarily strips all the natural moisture from
your skin, and it's irritating if you are acne prone.
Find a night cream that you really like and slather it on
thickly once a week after cleansing, almost like a mask but let
the cream soak in. I can always tell when my skin needed the
extra moisture when a thick layer of cream disappears right into
my skin in a matter of minutes. Good moisturizing masks can be
hard to find, so this is a great alternative.
Don't forget to continue to exfoliate, but be gentle.
Sometimes scrubs that are too rough or creams that are too
strong in alpha or beta hydroxy acids can actually make your
skin look worse - rough and dry with flaky patches - so ease up
and try something gentler like a very soft washcloth or one of
the new cleansing cloths from Oil of Olay (available at drugstore.com) or Reflect.com.
Have fun shopping for some new skincare products for fall, and
good luck to everyone going back to school this month!