Cool Off: The Best Nontoxic Toners

It’s hot, humid and sticky here in Charleston, and I’ve been reaching for my mists, toners, hydrosols, sprays, anything to keep me feeling refreshed.  Back in the day, Clinique and the like drilled into our heads, “Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize”.  It was the thing to do.  Little did we know that most toners were basically just water, rubbing alcohol and fragrance.  But the next generation of toners?  Game changers.

So, what are toners?  What do they do?  Are they actually just a waste of money?  As you can imagine, I get these questions a lot.  Now, more than ever, I am a big believer in toners/mists/hydrosols.  Not only do they prep and  moisturize skin, they restore pH balance and make the products you follow up with even more effective.  I don’t need to use as much face oil or moisturizer when I prep with a toner; the following product moves around my face more easily and absorbs more evenly.  I also use a mist to set or refresh my makeup and I even spray my Beauty Blender with it before applying makeup rather than just soaking it in water.  Read on for some toners – it was hard to name just a few – that I’ve loved over the years.  If you are just starting to venture into toner territory, don’t be afraid that you will choose the wrong one.  Because they are so gentle, virtually all nontoxic toners are suitable for all skin types.  Unless you have extremely sensitive skin, you truly cannot go wrong.

If it isn’t obvious by now, I love everything True Botanicals makes.  I have tried all of their mists, and they are fabulous.  My personal favorite is their CLEAR Nutrient Toner.  Many toners formulated for acne-prone skin end up being too harsh for me.  They sting, or dry out my skin, and they definitely don’t double as a midday refresh or makeup setting spray.  This toner is different.  Black Willow Bark extract exfoliates to keep skin clear; Olive Leaf extract provides antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties; Sandalwood Hydrosol is antimicrobial and regenerates skin cells.  It also contains Apple Cider Vinegar and Kombucha (but not enough to make it stink!) which are troubled skin’s best friends.  I use this regularly, day and night.  (New customers can use code JESSICATRUE20 for $20 off any $40+ order.)

I have recommended Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator to countless friends and readers, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t immediately love it.  This mist is like vitamin water for the skin and hair, making whatever else you apply work even harder.  I’ve been known to store it in our fridge in the summer, and it also relieves parched skin in the winter.  This hydrator-toner-light moisturizer is totally addicting, and it smells soooo good; very refreshing an light.

It is said that some of history’s greatest beauties swore by rosewater.  Misting Mun No. 11 Anarose Rejuvenating Rose Toner onto your face will make you a believer.  To make this special toner, roses are hand-harvested in The Valley of the Roses, the famed flower region in Bulgaria.  Their unique hydrating and soothing powers are steam-distilled into the essential oil that enriches the rosewater base.  Other active, organic ingredients include prickly pear stem extract and hyaluronic acid, which create a balancing, soothing, hydrating elixir for the skin.  If you are looking for a firming, plumping effect, this one’s for you.  However, Anarose is great for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin who are normally wary of toners.  (Use code BB!0 for 10% off your order at LeVert Beauty.)

Amly Botanicals has recently rocked my world.  If you have ever been to England’s south-eastern countryside, namely East Sussex, these mists will transport you back there.  Their beautiful, light scents remind me so much of my late English grandmother.  It’s hard to choose a favorite between the two, but I love their Digital Detox Silver Rich Face Mist.  This mineral-rich, detoxifying formula combats environmental and digital pollution that can wreak havoc on skin.  The ingredient list is a beauty junkie’s dream.  Ingredients have been chosen not only for their effect on the skin, but also on the spirit.  (Rose Quartz, Frankincense, Magnesium, Juniper, etc.) This mist has become my “reset button”, and is a must for anyone logging too much screen time, work time, travel time, etc.

La Defense Urban Protect Micellar Cleansing Water is freaking amazing, but it’s not really a toner.  Micellar Waters remove makeup and mineral sunscreen using micelles, microscopic spheres that float in the water; used in conjunction with cotton pads, these micelles act like a magnet, attracting and sweeping away oil, makeup, and dirt smoothly and easily. Micellar waters are simple and easy to use, and they’re a great first step in a double-cleansing routine — particularly for easily-congested skin that doesn’t love oil cleansers and those in hot, sticky climates.  This one is particularly great at combatting pollutants our skin encounters in urban environments; mineral detoxifiers even calm inflamed skin.  This product even increases skin cell turnover, which is helpful for those who tend to get clogged pores.  If you are acne-prone and get anxiety every time you apply thick sunscreen, this stuff is for you (and me).  Also, like many of their products, it smells like watermelon.

Looking for something travel-friendly?  Ilia’s Cucumber Water Stick will become your TSA-Approved best friend.  Glide it over temples and around eye area, over cheekbones and forehead, then gently press into skin. It’s a solid toner that refreshes, helps to de-puff and provides a cooling flash of hydration to the skin—and it feels amazing.  Throughout the day, dot under the eyes and around the temples to refresh and revitalize your skin. It’s a must-have beach accessory, stick it in the fridge – or cooler!  (Use code BB!0 for 10% off your order at LeVert Beauty.)

Stay cool.