Alrighty friends! Now that we've reviewed face serums and cream moisturizers, it's time to discuss a preparation step that will clear, balance, and refine your skin. Let's talk about toners and hydrosols! Most of us are familiar with and have potentially used chemically-ladened and alcohol-filled toners for years. I sure did! If we're trying to provide our skin with the utmost care, we need to take a good look at the ingredients we are using to "tone" our skin. Are we actually getting what we truly want? Let's dive in!
What is a hydrosol and how does it differ from a toner?
A hydrosol is a lightly scented floral water that is created through the distillation of plants. When a plant goes through the distillation process it produces an essential oil and water. The two separate and are used in different manners to benefit the body. The water that separates from the oil becomes the hydrosol— the watery aspect of the plant's immune system that can heal, revitalize, and transform the skin. If you'd like to take a deeper look, take 5 minutes to watch this video covering the process and benefits of hydrosols at Even Healy's distillation farm in Washington.
The term "toner" actually includes hydrosols. The difference lies in the ingredients. Toners that are not hydrosols often include an alcohol. There are two kinds of alcohol, the drying kind, and the fatty kind. When looking at products I try to avoid isopropyl alcohol, the drying kind, because it can injure the top protective layer of your skin, allowing it to become vulnerable to bacteria and other potential contaminants. It can also cause an overproduction of sebum, resulting in oily skin and acne. Cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol, the fatty kinds, can actually benefit the skin, so these are safe to use in a toner.
Plants commonly used for hydrosols and toners include:
+ Witch Hazel: astringent, toning, balancing, and healing
+ Lavender: soothing and healing
+ Rose Geranium: astringent, toning, balancing, and stimulating
+ Neroli/Orange Flower: balancing sebum production, toning, and rejuvenating
+ Aloe Vera: toning, moisturizing, and healing
+ Frankincense: fights infections and healing
Why should I use a hydrosol or alcohol-free toner?
The benefits of this extra step are easy to get behind. Whenever the skin is washed, depending on the cleanser used, it quickly loses it's natural hydration and acidity. This leaves your skin imbalanced, weak, and panicked. A simple healthy spritz or wipe of a hydrosol or alcohol-free toner can immediately help reestablish this balance and return the skin to it's natural protected state.
Does quality matter?
Friends, good skincare is (often) not cheap. If a product is cheap, immediately ask yourself why? Think about the corners that were cut and the damage that was done to the ingredients, lowering the potency and, therefore, the effectiveness of the product, all in order to mass produce and sell at a "marketable" price. That being said, just because a product is expensive does not mean it's filled with high-quality ingredients either.
I define high-quality as: fresh, non-gmo, natural or raw ingredients, wild or organically grown, created with low-heat, and, hopefully, locally or indigenously sourced. Ideally, all the ingredients would meet these standards, but, honestly, it's tough for even the best of makers/brands to source this level of quality. Hence, my real-life approach requires that at least 60% of the ingredients in a product be at this level or close in order for me to put it on my skin. I try to do my research on the maker/brand and make sure the sourcing is one I respect. Once the research is done, if you feel good about the products, then go for it :).
In regards to hydrosols and toners, there are options available at all price levels. If cost is a concern, try an alcohol-free witch hazel for a less expensive option. I still suggest looking at the ingredients and verifying there are no unrecognizable additives or ingredients. My recommendations below include all price points, so feel free to take a peek. I hope you find it helpful!
+ Evan Healy's Rose Geranium Facial Tonic HydroSoul
+ Even Healy's Lavender Facial Tonic HydroSoul
Other Recommendations & Resources:
+ Primally Pure's Complexion Mists - PP always carrying high-quality products.
+ Detox Market's Collection of Makers - a wonderful shop full of excellent makers to choose from. Also offers helpful guides based off of your skin's needs.
+ Radiant Life's Collection of Rosemira's Toners - have yet to try, but a very high-quality brand.
Visit my previous post on serums and scroll to the bottom for my morning and nightly regimen, including an explanation of how and when to apply hydrosols or toners.
Please let me know if you have any further questions as you give them a try! I hope this series is proving useful to your everyday skin care routine. The next share will discuss cleansers, so let me know if you have any questions you'd like me to answer! :)
À votre santé!