Winter Hydration: The Best Toners

Winter is officially here, and you know that means it’s time to really work on hydrating your skin. In my earlier post this week, I briefly talked about Shiseido’s IBUKI Softening Concentrate as a gentler toner during the colder months. But what if you have really sensitive skin that quickly dries out? Believe it or not, dry patches on your face can happen even if you generally have normal or oily skin. Using a toner that contains alcohol can sometimes enhance dryness during the winter months when your skin needs to be hydrated to combat harsh weather conditions.

First, let’s talk about toners. Toners are probably the step most of us skip during our daily skin routine. We assume that using a cleanser will remove all the impurities and clean pores. This is true to an extent, however, since I’ve incorporated a toner into my daily skin routine, I found that even the “best” cleansers will sometimes leave some residue behind. Using a toner will ensure that you have removed all makeup and impurities and also aids in keeping your pores clean. While most toners contain alcohol, there are some that do not. The alcohol-free toners also cleanse pores and residue but are a lot gentler. Like most women who suffer from acne scarring/hyper-pigmentation, I love a glycolic toner. It has great anti-aging benefits, and really helps with skin discoloration. The downside is that most glycolic toners contain alcohol which can be very drying. So needless to say I went out on a quest to find toners that contained this beloved ingredient without the alcohol so that I could still reap the benefits. Here are my picks for the best toners for the winter months. Click on the product names below to get more info or to shop.


From top to bottom, left to right:

Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner: This is best if you’re on a budget. It’s under $10 for an 8.5 oz. bottle, which will basically last for about two months. It contains Butylene Glycol which is the safest of glycol derivatives making it safe for sensitive skin.

Bliss Daily Detoxifying Toner: This comes in a spray bottle that you can mist on your face throughout the day. It also contains Butylene Glycol and shields the skin against harmful free radicals that speed skin aging while minimizing pore size and balancing the skin’s pH for a clean, matte look. Calming rose water prevents irritation in the skin for an overall healthy appearance, leaving the skin perfectly prepared for further treatment.

Caudalie Moisturizing Toner: This is my personal favorite. What makes this toner unique is that it is gentle enough to use around the eye area without any irritation. It also contains Glycerin is what is called a humectant, meaning that it attracts water. When glycerin or glycerol is applied to the skin, it seals in moisture that might otherwise escape, maintaining the skin’s water balance on an intercellular level and helps to combat dry skin.

L’Occitaine Angelica Face Toner: This toner is unique in that it contains several organic ingredients including Angelica essential oil and water soothe and invigorate, leaving the complexion radiant, clear and well-balanced.

Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Alcohol Free Toner: This toner contains Pentylene Glycol. Pentylene Glycol is both water and oil-soluble and can have moisture-binding and antimicrobial properties. In addition to Pentylene Glycol it also contains Allantoin and Cucumber Fruit Extract. Allantoin is a compound that is found in Comfrey Root. The comfrey plant is a hairy perennial Eurasian herb long used in herbal medicine. Known to be a bacteria inhibitor, Allantoin can soothe and reduce inflammation in various product formulations. Cucumber Fruit Extract  has long been known for its beneficial uses to the skin. This toner is cooling, refreshing, and has been shown to be moisture-binding, moisture-regulating and softening properties. It is used as a treatment for oily skin and for tired and stressed skin, and as skin refresher in sun preparations. This is probably the best for all skin types.

So there you have it, my list of toners for the winter season – what a way to usher in the season. Have you tried any of these toners?

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