While it is relatively easy to tell the difference between different moisturizers, it took me a few years of being skincare obsessed before I was able to tell the fine difference between different toners. A toner removes any cleanser or mask residue and rebalances the skin (cleansers are basic, skin is slightly acidic). My favorite toner for winter is Dior Gentle Toning Lotion from my previous favorite toners post (seriously, unless you have oily skin, go to a Dior counter and try it). However, I need something with a bit more purifying and oil-controlling power in the summer. Most of the toners for oily/combo skin tend to feel harsh and drying, so I was looking for one that will make my skin feel refreshed, clean and matte without drying it out or irritating it.
Dr. Hauschka is a good brand so I’ve been waiting to try it for a while. I got the Clarins toner as a sample when ordering the foamy cleanser (excellent for dry/combination or sensitive skin), and the Lancome toner after reading a ton of review and trying it instore. Well, Dr. Hauschka toner is just ok, but I seriously can’t pick a favorite between Lancome and Clarins. Both have usurped Etude House Wonderpore toner as my favorite summer toner, mainly because they achieve the same effect while being alcohol-free.
Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Toner
My Take: It is a yellow toner with consistency of water and a floral alcohol scent. It makes the skin feel refreshed and clean without being harsh. However, it is a tad drying if you have dry combination skin. They claim it is appropriate for oily and blemished skin, that it helps with oil, blemish and pores. That I can agree with. However, they also claim it soothe redness, irritation and is appropriate for combination skin. I fail to see how a product with so much alcohol would soothe redness/irritation. It didn’t cause my skin to become irritated, but it didn’t soothe either and it is a bit drying for combination skin. Your toner does NOT have to be drying to give you a clean feeling.
Clarins Toning Lotion with Iris
My Take: It is a green, water-like liquid with a mild floral scent. It feels refreshing on the face but with no tingling irritation or stinging. It makes the skin feel clean, smooth, matte but not dry. I like it better than the yellow chamomile one for combination skin, which I used a full bottle of and still can’t form an opinion on (hydrate? eh. cleans/purifies? eh. Soothe?….maybe?). This toner is appropriate for oily/sensitive skin and combination skin. It helps to control the oil and makes the skin feel clean without drying it out. Alcohol-free also means no worry about using with acid, retinol or peels. However, it does contain fragrance and paraben if that’s an issue for you. I have combination skin and likes it better than the chamomile one for normal/dry skin.
Lancome Tonique Douceur (Alcohol-Free)
My Take: It came out of the bottle blue but doesn’t look blue on your face. It feels just like water except better and has a light perfumed scent. It is gentle and does not irritate. It does refresh, tone and refines the skin. I do like the fact it’s alcohol free and skin feels comfortable after use, hydrated but clean and not stuffy, although I don’t know why they would put the blue coloring and fragrance in it. I’m not crazy in love with it, but I got through a full size of this without getting tired/bored/feeling the urge to switch (out of all the toners I have tried, this has only happened with Dior). If you have oily, combination or normal skin and is looking for an alcohol-free toner or have sensitive skin, I would definitely recommend giving this or the Clarin toner a try.
What purifying/clarifying toner is for you? If you don’t mind alcohol and have oily skin, Etude House Wonderpore toner, Dr. Hauschka and Origins United States are excellent choices. However, if your skin is sensitive or not that oily, and you want something alcohol free, then try Lancome or Clarins. Alcohol have its purposes in skincare, but I prefer a toner without alcohol because some peels/acid/retinol products have instruction stating to not use products containing alcohol afterward. Alcohol-free toners play nice with more products and there’s a lower chance of irritation. However, both toners contain small amount of paraben and fragrance (Lancome also contain blue coloring, why???) if that is an issue for you. I’m not too picky and I’d take a little of that over a toner filled with alcohol any day. Clarins.com have a loyalty program and Lancome sometimes give the 7 piece GWP, so which toner I buy will depend on which promotion is available since I like both.