For the longest time, I thought that toner is just over-priced water(actually, still do)that's by no mean needed in one's skincare routine. I mean, Houston is pretty much a giant sauna itself and spraying water in the surrounding will make it feel even muggier.
Ever since my northward move, I have acquired a much drier skin (more like my skin is highly susceptible to environmental changes/things can get very dry in New Jersey)and was in desperate need of moisture. Here are a few bottles of overpriced water I have accumulated when I was on the quest for the best portable hydration. I wasn't expecting much, just an even mist to soften and dry flakes before I put on face oil or moisturizer (it's funny how some can fail at that).
Here is a quick rundown of all the mist and toner. Sorry for lack of ingredient list because I recycled most of the paper packaging.
First here are the Andalou Fruits Stem Cells Science (lol). If it weren't for Monika's post on Caudalie Spray (the comment section when she did the mention), I will probably never give the brand a second look. I mean it's hard to take the brand seriously after reading their claims on the paper box (and I tried not to snort 57 times while doing so). I thought they are being a little greedy wanting to market the brand as both natural and backed-by-fancy-science.
The Clementine + C brightening mist has a fresh citrus scent. I never found out how brightening it is because it stung my eyes and the surrounding area pretty badly (the same way how peeling orange can be a pain in the eyeballs) and gave me little red hives. I reckon it's just the citrus oil and moved onto another one.
The 1000 Roses Floral toner has a pleasant (not what I call natural)scent and not much of an oil infusion so it feels much lighter-weight. It contain Vitamin B5, Vitamin E, a bunch of plant extracts, rose stem cells (that somehow will stimulate growth of human epidermal cells)and some fruit oil (tangerine and rose).
It spritzs nicely, evenly and...stings my eyeballs and the surrounding area again(might be the citrus oil)! I like this a little better to give it more fair trials but it never not stung. I found that slightly gentler when I spray it sideways. It's certainly useable in my routine, just soaking up dead skin, but I think I will just bring it to work, promoting it to the important position of room humidifier.
If it would stop with the muggy weather already.
Next category is rosewater. The Reviva Labs Rose Water is actually not the rosewater we know (hydrosol) but a deionized water with polysorbate 20 (a lab-use detergent I put in waterbath every morning, no wonder it feels so soapy), rose extract, glycerin, simenticone (antifoaming), hyaluronic acid and more extracts .
It's heavily fragrant and the glycerin and soap content are high enough to give a sticky feel ( the squirter of a nozzle didn't help either). It doesn't cause anything averse but (thanks to the wacky-tacky texture) I prefer to just finish it off on my body/or pour it down the drain instead.
The Alteya (just) Rose Water was a repurchase after I finished my spray bottle. The scent is simple and delightful and it does what I expect it to do (calm and hydrate) so I love it. Beside using it by itself, I like soaking peelable cotton pad with it, using it as mask (adding some drop of hyaluronic acid) or makeup remover (adding left over oils that's approaching expiry).
Thayer Rosewater Witch Hazel Toner is another long-time favorite of mine. I mainly use it to second-cleanse (something you need when you are blessed with the tap water of Houston and NJ) and moisturize. It's one of the very few cleansing toners that doesn't sting. I stock on these whenever I see a sale.
Lastly, here are the Sephora (I never buy from Sephora if the company had its own site though) brands.
The Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist (around 20 bucks when the site had a sale) was purchased solely for the spray nozzle, which I have tried and knows its efficiency. Anyway, it broke my heart when I found out it's not refillable.
It gives a very fine and even mist that can be used to set powder. The liquid itself is calming, reminds me of a facial spray from Burt's Bees which was discontinued around 2008. It's nothing special and definitely not worth it now I know the bottle can't be reused.
Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Moist Mist (from Sephora aisle of temptations) - The belly of which was placed sideway, it has some random cute pattern with bow and stuff.
One would say that, at 15 dollars, it's rather affordable in the Sephora world but you know my grudge with Korean makeup: I always think that the Korean products available in US are 50%-100% more expensive than they should be (at that level of quality). The packaging is undeniably cute in an 8th-grader way (which is a bit of an oxymoron as I find those eighth graders annoying as hell).
There are two varieties available, one for setting makeup another for moisture. I picked the latter as my base makeup (white cast of Shiseido sunscreen) doesn't require setting. At a glance, it contains water followed by alcohol denate (then a string of humectants), then it's loads of fruit extracts before it closes with five types of parabens: Methyl-, Propyl-, Butyl-, Ethyl- and Isobutyl-. That's like three months of plain torture/organic chemistry chapters.
Even with the alcohol content, it doesn't sting my eyes/face like Andalou (I test spray them front to back, for science) and it does hydrate to a certain extent. The nozzle isn't the greatest but the bottle seems solid enough and the 60ml size is convenient. I will refill it with Alteya and carry it around.
Hell Yeah - Thayers Rosewater Witchhazel (I don't like other variety by with alcohol) and Alteya rosewater.
Meh - Jurlique, Tony Moly and Andalou 1000 Roses
Do not want - Andalou Clementines + C and Reviva Labs
Just when I thought I have found my holy grail of pricey water. I stumbled upon a new realm of beauty: Japanese lotion( a thicker more moisturizing toner that might help me get through the winter). I have gotten three bottles while wondering around in Chinatown, I will report back in a few months (when the report won't be helpful to majority of the readers here, ha).