Stubborn curmudgeon that I am, never let it be said that I my mind cannot be changed - as long as the evidence is persuasive. Ever since I took the decisive life-changing step of realizing there was much more to skincare than Clinique and never again bought another bottle of Clarifying Lotion, I have been dismissive of toners. I had my reasons (which I'll come back to), but the world of toners has changed and - thanks to Dermaxime Rejuvenating Toner ($48)  and some very through research on the part of Claire - I have changed too.

Toners used to be nasty, harsh astringent-based lotions that were used, along with a squeaky cotton ball, remove the residue left from whatever you had cleansed with. Soap is notorious for leaving behind an oily film. Even worse were the cold-creams used for cleansing at night. These days, cleansers are gentle souls that, nonetheless, leave your skin spick and span. Hence, toners have changed as well. They maintain the pH balance of the skin, as well as refining it and improving the tone.

Dermaxime Rejuvenating Toner has mostly botanicals and they do seem to all play an active role, most notably as decongestents, antibacterials and antioxidants.

The de-puffers include ononis spinosa, otherwise known as spiny restharrow. This is a decongestent that will reduce puffiness. Rosemary does a similar job, but also helps to hold up sagging skin. Equistetum is horsetail and it is another form of decongestent.

Herbs such as thyme, sage and melissa are all slightly astringent and anti-bacterial (take note, acne sufferers).

Althaea officinalus is marshmallow and there seems to be plenty of evidence that it has antioxidant properties, as does cranberry and rosehip.

I have defintitely noticed the beginnings of more even skin tone. I would also think that if keeping acne or zits at bay is one of your goals, then this toner would be a good primer to use before serums or moistiurizers.

By the way, we'll be reviewing a lot more Dermaxime products over the coming weeks as this very interesting-looking South African company has sent a generous array of samples. If the toner is anything to go by, I have high hopes.

Ingredients in Dermaxime Rejuvenating Toner

Water, polysorbate 80, horse chestnut, centella asiatica, ethoxydiglycol/propylene glycol/butylene glycol/glucose/lactic acid/chamomilla recutita/achillea millefolium/ononis spinosa/rosemary leaf/coltsfoot leaf/thyme/sage/melissa officinalis/equisetum arvense/althaea officinalis, witch hazel, potassium alum, phenoxyethanol/ethylhexylglycerin, zinc sulfate, silk amino acids, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, cranberry seed oil, commiphora myrrha oil, rosa damascena extract.