At some point, the 90′s mantra of cleanse, tone, and moisturize became cleanse (with or without water), serum, and oil, completely forgoing the toning part. Recently, the talk has been focused on oils, but I’ve begun to notice that toners are creeping up to the front of the beauty cabinet. Toning, or using a skin tonic, has many benefits; as a step after cleansing, the misting or swiping across the skin can prepare skin for moisturizer and offer another option of correction or care. But with all the new and natural offerings cropping up on the market, I figured refresher was in order.
I chatted with natural beauty guru, Soapwalla founder, Rachel Winard, (who it must be noted went through over 100 recipes before launching her new line of all-natural toning mists).
Formerly the alcohol-based astringents of yesteryear, the new toners on the block are a sophisticated, and much more gentle, blend of hydrosols and essences. Winard schooled me on what a hydrosol is. “Hydrosols are created through a distillation process – fresh herbs or flowers are placed in a copper unit and steamed until vaporization occurs. The vapors condense, and this condensation is the liquid hydrosol. It’s a really amazing process.”
Winard also let me in on the name game, explaining that “Hydrosol is the more modern term for what was traditionally called floral water. You may also see the terms ‘hydroflorates’ or ‘flower distillates’ as well,” she noted. Though she warns that, “a lot of ‘floral waters’ on the market today are simply tap water with fragrance added.” Buyer beware!
Not forgetting the oxy-pad-crazed days of my teens, drenching my face in harsh concoctions as I aspired for clear skin, I had to know, how bad could alcohol-based toners be? (That tingly sensation was bacteria-killing right?) Winard said, “alcohol-based toners aren’t bad per se, but they are quite harsh and will dry out the skin. They can also strip the skin of its protective mantle, which is a very fine film that protects against bacteria, viruses and other nasties from penetrating.” Ok, I'm onto you alcohol: You’re drying me out and I have to be kind to my skin. It’s you. Not me.
Finally, now that alcohol-free is the game plan, I was curious, for all of the rosewater and witch hazel preachers out there, are there benefits of using a blend of hydrosols and essences as opposed to straight up ingredients from the health food store? While Winard admits to loving pure rosewater, she did work hard (100 recipes, I remind you) to make specific skin-type options. “The blends I’ve created have a ‘whole is more than the sum of their parts’ quality about them”, meaning there is a skin tonic out there for you come dryness, break out, or anything in-between.
Now that I've freshened up, I'm off to get toned this summer (no stinging required)!
Soapwalla Hydrating Facial Toning Mist is available at Soapwalla.
A version of this post was featured on The Luxe Life.