My holy grail toner is Dior Toning Lotion with Velvet Peony. As with all holy grail items, there’s always the fear of it being discontinued or reformulated, so I’m always trying to find a similar/dupe/backup product just in case. I’ve tried quite a few popular toners, they were nice but didn’t impress me, so maybe it’s time to go Korean?
I got the Algenist Hydrating Essence Toner because all my friends love it, then two popular Korean toners off SokoGlam to see if they are any good (Son&Park Beauty Water and Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner) . They are a little different from what I expected, but quite nice, especially if you have dry skin.
Algenist Hydrating Essence Toner
Algenist is a brand that revolves around algae, which provides calming and anti-aging properties. In addition to the algae, this toner also contains witch hazel and chamomile to hydrate and calm. The toner feels just like water but with a green planty scent. I hate it when hydrating toner leaves residue on the skin, but this feels absolutely weightless so it’s appropriate for all skin types. It leaves the skin feeling hydrated and comfortable.
It doesn’t leave the skin feel as nice as Dior does but it is a tad cheaper ($5 per oz while Dior is $5.30 per oz). If you are looking for a hydrating but weightless/clean toner that is alcohol and paraben free, Dior and Algenist are your best bet.
Son & Park Beauty Water
It’s got such raving review on Soko Glam that I had to try it. You can use it as a cleansing water or toner. It contains willow bark and papaya extract for mild exfoliation. And it contains lavender water, rose water, and orange fruit extract for subtle hydration. Beauty Water also has a pH of 5, effectively resetting the skin’s natural pH after cleansing.
It has a refreshing floral scent and feels slightly cooling due to the mint and alcohol. It does clean off makeup, although not quite as effective as Bioderma and Koh Gen Do cleansing water. While it didn’t irritate, I’m not comfortable using it to remove eyeliner/mascara due to the mint and alcohol. As a toner, it hydrates and refreshes the skin. My skin feels comfortable and it works well with any products on top. It is a nice toner for all skin types except sensitive due to alcohol and mint (and it does contain parabens). It does indeed refresh, lightly cleanses and hydrates so I’m enjoying using it in the morning.
Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner
Benton is a brand based around snail secretion, which is hydrating, healing and antiaging. A lot of product are water based with only a few drops of the key ingredients, but the top three ingredients of this toner are aloe vera, sodium hyaluronate, and snail secretion. Everybody loves aloe vera, and sodium hyaluronate is my favorite hydrating ingredient, which is why I picked it up.
The toner has an earthy scent, typical of snail products. It has more of a liquidy serum consistency, a bit thicker and more slippery than toners. You can apply with cotton pad but it’s less wasteful to apply with hand. I don’t feel the cooling effect it claims but it is moisturizing. It absorbs well and is a great hydrating/calming product at $17, just that I’d recommend it as a substitute for essence instead of as toner. It is a wonderful toner for dry or mature skin, oily and combination skin may want save this for winter or use as serum.
Overall these products are definitely nice, but they did not wow me like KGD cleansing water or Dior Gentle Toning Lotion with Velvet Peony did. If you don’t want to splurge for Dior then Algenist is my second favorite toner. Son&Park Beauty Water is a nice product, I would consider repurchase if it didn’t have alcohol and paraben. The Benton toner is really a essence/serum, but it’s got good ingredients and feels nice so I like it in the morning under SPF and for winter. At $17, it’s a good product and I might repurchase for winter.