Review: Alba Botanica Hibiscus Facial Toner

By Voxy  

alba tonerI started using toners when I was a teenager, except back then they were called astringents and their whole point seemed to be to prevent you from breaking out by stripping every bit of oil from your face and making your skin feel like it was being stretched on a canvas. And then you broke out anyway. Typical.

Today’s toners are much more scientifically advanced in general, but it’s still important to look at the ingredient list to make sure that you aren’t getting one of those skin-tightening astringents, which are still out there. There are plenty of good toners available at drugstore prices, and there are also some outrageously overpriced toners from high-end lines.

Do you actually need a toner? Not necessarily. Plenty of people get by without one, and their noses don’t seem to be falling off or anything. I like toners a lot; they are a transition product for me between cleansing and moisturizing. They feel good on the skin (or at least they should), and they prepare the skin to receive other products.

A good toner, applied post-cleansing, will do the following things:

• Remove any lingering traces of makeup that your cleanser didn’t quite get off (with the possible exception of eye makeup, which can be tricky)

• Remove any lingering traces of your cleanser that remain on your skin

• Remove any traces of chemicals or minerals that might have been in the water you wash with

• Help restore the pH balance of your skin, which may have been disrupted by your cleanser

• Deliver antioxidants, water-binding agents, and other skin-friendly ingredients

The most important thing you need to look out for in a toner is that it should be ALCOHOL FREE. Even if you have oily skin, you do not need alcohol in a toner. Read the ingredient list carefully. If you want to use a toner to address acne or oily skin problems, look for a BHA toner without alcohol.

Alba Botanica Hibiscus Toner has been a long-time favorite of mine. It is alcohol-free, paraben-free, and hypo-allergenic. It does have fragrance: hibiscus and guava. To my nose the fragrance is not strong. It contains aloe vera and cucumber extract as anti-inflammatories and some other flower extracts and oils (including witch hazel, to witch [get it?] some people are sensitive).


Alba Botanica Hibiscus Toner: about $13

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (drugstore: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good

Purchase again? Yes

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Let us know in the comments!)

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  1. avatar Voxy
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 8:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is so bizarre. I have now tried to post a comment three times and it has gotten eaten three times.


  2. avatar Inthelab
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t astringents have alcohol or witch hazel, whereas toners may or may not have these in them? Does witch hazel tighten pores?
    Anyway, I personally like alcohol-free toners for morning cleanse with a cotton ball. But ever since I was doused in witch hazel as a child (long story), I cannot stand its smell.


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