A Toner for the Skeptics

I have put my skin through the wringer, for real. There’s honestly not much I haven’t tried. For a long time, I was convinced that I had “hardy” skin. I was convinced of this fact because I could put anything on it, including pretty intense acne creams and high volume acids, and my skin didn’t like burn off or anything. But as I get older, I’m starting to feel like it hasn’t really done me as much good as I’d first intended, and that perhaps my skin isn’t exactly “hardy” but instead “holding on for dear life”. Anyways, I started using Thayers Witch Hazel about a month ago and I L-O-V-E it. Here’s why.

My skincare story is a long and exhaustive one that I’ll get to, in parts. But I wanted to post about this toner because good lord, it’s been treating my skin nicely as I transition from using everything-under-the-sun on my skin to as many organic/cruelty and toxin free products as possible, while also cutting down on the general volume of products that I’m using in the first place.

I say this is a toner for skeptics because I am a toner skeptic. I’ve used many different toners over the years. When I was a kid I had this DIY facial book that I was crazy about, and I used to make toners out of there by putting mason jars of water and rose petals on the window sill and waiting for them to mature into some sort of miracle skin elixir (suprise: they didn’t!). After that I used every kind of drugstore and a few high-end ones, too. I’ve hit up Neutrogena, Clean and Clear, Loreal, Simple, Nivea, a bunch of different french pharmacy ones, and man I don’t know, literally every other under $40 toner you can imagine. Long story short, none of them did anything other make my face feel kind of dry/stingy. Actually, the last Neutrogena one I used straight made my skin scaley and flakey which was a bummer because it was otherwise doing well until I introduce that innocent looking white bottle of what turned out to be maybe 50 grade alcohol or something.

Anyways I mostly used toners because I have tried to adhere to a typical skincare regime for a long time. When I say typical I mean cleanse, tone, moisturize. Then I tried to adhere to a semi-K beauty one. So double cleanse, tone, essence, snail stuff, liquid exfoliator, serums, sheet masks, night creams and so on. But I never really bought it, you know. The toner did fuck all for my skin at the best of times.
People had told me to try this Thayers one before. In particular, I’ve heard good things about the one that has rose water in it, as well. I’ve been using the Aloe one though. I decided to buy it pretty much because I was in London Drugs and I saw it and I have little-to-no willpower and because it was one of the few things I hadn’t tried on the shelves in there so you know, try everything twice.

My skin: To start with–it’s combo/acne prone/sensitive. Right now, the everything about my lips is pretty damn clear and smooth, but I’m struggling with pretty consistent hormonal outbreaks below the lip equator, which I’ll talk about some other time because it’s a long ass story. I don’t have a lot of active pimples right now, but I definitely have red marks/hyper pigmentation, and my the pores on my nose are large and in charge.

Use: After cleansing (I’ve been using CorsX low pH cleanser, which is okay), I apply this either just with my fingers or with a cotton pad if I have one handy. Sometimes I moisturize after, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s probably good practice to moisturize after, particularly if you have dry skin, but I’m just trying to use as few products as possible on my skin right now and honestly it hasn’t been too dry at all. In the morning, I’ve just been using this and nixing all other skincare stuff.

Results: Feels nice and tingly but without that chemical punch that most drugstore cleansers carry with them, or the raw alcohol burn of the damn Neutrogena one. Anyways, even when I’ve just been using this alone in the mornings, my skin has been feel satiated. Not too dry, not oily, nice little glow. It’s not something that I’ll use by itself long term probably, but as far as getting a footing while I figure out what the hell to do with my skincare routine next, it’s been a nice cleansing agent.
One thing I can say–it’s been great at fading my hyper pigmentation. Over the years I’ve used Paula’s Choice BHA, Lemon Juice, Baking Soda, various drugstore “brightening creams”, and daily whiney prayer to try and get rid of the red marks that proceed my acne and nothing has done much. Maybe all the years of applying those things finally paid off in the last month, or maybe this stuff really works. In any case, skin looking good, skin feeling good, bank account not mad, no chemical shit, and Thayers is 100% vegan and doesn’t test on les animaux. Weeeee!

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