toner

Review: JASON Super-C Toner

While I am waiting with baited breath with bated breath excitedly for the arrival of my Josie Maran Argan Oil mist-on primer, I thought I’d talk about what I’m currently spritzing on my face, which is JASON’s Super-C Toner.

JASON is a line that promotes itself as being “natural,” and you’ve all heard my spiel on how saying a product is “natural” is about as informative as telling your Aunt Muriel that her green-bean-and-pickle casserole was “interesting.” Because of this, I rarely buy something just because it says it’s “natural.” But this toner did have two things going for it right off the bat: it was inexpensive, and it’s alcohol-free (which is important in any toner; there is never any reason to be swabbing your face with alcohol, even if your skin is oily).

And since the bottle is orange, and it has vitamin C in it, which we all know only comes from oranges <eyeroll>, it should also smell like oranges! Which it does, sort of, like an Orange Julius mixed with baby aspirin. Some people will probably hate the scent; I love it in a total childish-nostalgia way.

The purpose of using a toner is to remove any traces of makeup that your cleanser has left behind, to remove any traces of the cleanser itself that were not rinsed off, and to prep your skin for the application of skincare products by helping to return the skin to its regular (slightly acidic) pH if your cleansers were not pH balanced. If it also provides antioxidants or other ingredients that are beneficial to skin, so much the better. This one, as you might guess, has vitamin C in it, which is an excellent antioxidant for skin. Will this toner change your life? No. Will you see immediate results from the application of a little bit of vitamin C to your skin? Probably not. However, if you’re going to use a toner anyway, then you might as well use one that provides some benefit to your skin. There are other toners that provide more moisturizing or moisture-attracting ingredients, but they tend to be expensive and I’d rather spend my money on getting those ingredients in a moisturizing cream or lotion, where the ingredients are more likely to sit around and soak into the skin rather than evaporate.

This performs almost as well as the Alba Hibiscus Toner that I really like, and can be gotten for considerably less when on sale, so I’m happy to add it to my rotation, and will continue to use it until I get tired of the scent.

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JASON Super-C Toner: $8.99 for 6 oz (list price); often on sale or cheaper online

Provenance: Purchased.

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

Purchase again? Yes.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: Alba Botanica Hibiscus Facial Toner

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).

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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!)