have come a long way since they were little more than witch hazel and alcohol. Now they perform an important balancing act between controlling excess oil, refining pores and providing antiaging nourishment. In the height of summer, toners take on a role all of their own to cool, refresh and help clear out sweat and pollution clogged pores. Our latest Five Best toners are full of botanical antioxidants and peptides. There is Skin Nutrition’s fruit packed toner ($40), L’uvalla’s ever refreshing Eucalyptus Toner ($31) along with the Orange), Hydropeptide’s antiaging toner with lactic acid and peptides ($38), for organically inclined guys Jimmy found Buster’s toner in a unique gel form, and Amala’s organic toner with hibiscus.
L’uvalla Eucalyptus Toner
($30.99). It is incredibly refreshing, removes excess oils from pores that are expanding as temperatures soured into the 90s, calms and invigorates – all without the drying effects of alcohol. This toner also seems to be helpful at keeping breakouts at bay. Zit control is thanks to antibacterial eucalptus, which also does a good job of keeping storm headaches at bay. Another reason to keep this toner handy in summer is that eucalyptus extract is an effective bug repellent (especially midges and flies). Niaouli (the paper bark tree) is another antibacterial that in Australia is used as a natural hand sanitizer. There is also lotus flower – something of a signature ingredient for L’uvalla. It is a potent antioxidant (source) and the quercetin it contains seems to strengthen capillaries (so potentially good against broken thread veins).
Skin Nutrition Toner Spritz
($40) There is an orchard in this toner including skin brightening bearberry (a natural source of arbutin) and antioxidant raspberry, goji and acai. This toner really feels as if it is nourishing and balancing the skin. If Skin Nutrition has a signature fruit it is probably cactus pear. The fruits of the cactus pear, some of you may be interested to note, are a hangover cure. More pertinent is the fact that recent studies have shown the extracts to have antioxidant properties and reduce DNA damage. Cactus pear fruit contains substantial amounts of vitamin C, biothiols, and taurine and betalain, a kind of pigment that tests have shown are especially responsible for the plant’s antioxidant potency.
$38 This toner with lactic acic brightens dull and aged looking skin. But this is no mere quick fix; there are a host of skin repairing ingredients of the kind you'd expect to find in a serum. I especially like tripeptide-10, a new peptide that regulates the formation of collagen fibres. The regulation of collagen fibres is controlled by a number of molecules one of which is called decorin. As we get older, decorin activity declines. The new peptide, tripeptide-10 citrulline, is supposed to mimic decorin so that the collagen fibres are fooled into thinking they should still be productive. There's also wheat protein, green tea and moisturizing pseudoalteromonas ferment extract and sodium hyaluronate.
Buster’s Organic Facial Toner
($19) An impressive toner that gently tones the skin without over-drying. What’s unique about the facial toner is that it’s not in liquid form—it’s a gel! One of the advantages of this is that you don’t have to use cotton pads to apply. The toner not only slows down oil production and prepares your skin for moisturizers and serums, but it’s chockfull of other products that’s beneficial for other uses. It’s packed with aloe vera, vitamin A and vitamin E, plus tea tree (great for acne prone skin) and calendula (offering a variety of benefits, including the promotion of skin cell renewal).
Amala Rejuvenating Toner
($40). For people who like their toners to be pore tighteners while removing any residues of cleanser or makeup, they won’t be disappointed by this refreshing spritz. However, its touch on the skin is as gentle as the light fragrance. A key ingredient is hibiscus, an antioxidant and healer of wounds. Euterpe oleracea is acai, a berry with plenty of antioxidant punch. Plantago lanceolata is ribwort and a favorite of the Primavera range. This plantain removes impurities from the blood and helps with ezcema, irritations and cuts. Licorice root is good at improving skin tone.