The Truth about Toners
You must have heard about toners and are probably using one as part of your beauty routine. Toners are necessary as they prime your skin for application of moisturisers or serums. They also help in hydration and balancing the skin’s PH level. Toners are made up of water, hence they require preservatives to lengthen the shelf life. Many toners in the market use synthetic preservatives because they are more economical and generally more effective. Preservatives are essential in any water based cosmetic products but we would want to avoid them as much as possible, especially the synthetic ones. Preservatives are known to increase skin sensitivity, weaken the skin barrier, and may even pose potential health hazards. Toners may also contain alcohol which dries the skin and chemical fragrances (often known as parfum) which is sensitising to skin.
An alternative to replace toners would be hydrosols. What exactly are hydrosols? Read on to discover why we absolutely recommend a more natural alternative to toners.
What are Hydrosols?
Hydrosols are pure botanical extracts, produced by the steam or water distillation of botanical plants. As an aqueous by-product after the distillation, it contains the water-soluble aroma and therapeutic properties of the plant. They have long been associated with healing and were used widely way before essential oils.
Benefits of Hydrosols
Hydrosols give support to a healthier skin. They contain valuable plant actives which are beneficial for the skin. Depending on the types of plant, hydrosols provide various benefits for skin. Generally, they are hydrating and soothing to skin. They help in balancing skin sebum, and are naturally astringent. They can even help in healing and regeneration of skin.
Hydrosols are gentle to skin. Unlike essential oils, which need to be diluted before use, hydrosols have low risk of skin irritation. Their moisture content is high so misting your face with hydrosols is great to bring intense hydration to your face.
Healthy skin is slightly acidic in nature. The skin’s pH level varies according to stressors like diet or environmental factors. Sometimes, our skin’s pH levels are disrupted due to the skincare products we are using. The occurrence of acne and breakouts could be the cause of a shift in this pH level. Hydrosols have a pH level similar to our skin (ranging from acidic to neutral). Hence, applying hydrosols after cleansing is good to ensure our skin’s pH level stays at a healthy range and it will help to rebalance the sebum production.
Hydrosols contain the microscopic particles of the essential oils and usually take after the scent of the plants, so they have a lovely aroma. They do not contain preservatives, thus have a short shelf life of generally a year. Storing hydrosols in a cool, dark area (eg. fridge) can help to prolong their shelf lives. Adding preservatives in hydrosols will alter their pH levels, so usually they do not contain preservatives.
Using Hydrosols as Part of your Beauty Regimen
There are several ways to use hydrosols as listed below.
- For hydration: Use it prior to the application of face or body oil. Mist your skin with hydrosol, then apply the oil while your skin is still moist. This helps to lock in the hydration to give your skin the extra protection.
- For setting makeup: Mist your face with hydrosol after makeup to help it stay in place. It also gives your skin a dewy healthy finish, providing a natural look to your makeup.
- For replenishment: Anytime your skin needs hydration, you can mist it with hydrosol to keep it hydrated and plump. Hydrosols are very gentle on skin, thus you can use them as often as you like.
- For removing oils, traces of makeup, dust, or impurities: Spray the hydrosol on a cotton pad, then gently wipe your face.
Hydrosols Vs. Floral Waters
Some beauty companies sell floral waters and advertised them as hydrosols. Floral waters are made by adding essential oils into water. They contain preservatives (usually synthetic due to its low cost) and solubilisers (to solubilise the oil into water). They contain over 90% water, with only a small percentage in essential oils (usually 1% or less). Some beauty brands do not use naturally-derived solubilisers, but instead use PEG-based solubilisers. Some floral water brands may not even use solubilisers, and require you to shake the bottles before usage. Usually, it is very difficult to reap the benefits of the essential oils without solubilisers because the oils (mostly being less dense than water) will float in the floral waters. Shaking the bottles will not make the essential oils distribute evenly in the floral waters.
So, when purchasing hydrosols, it is important to look at the ingredient listing. An honest beauty brand will list its products’ full ingredients in the packaging or website. If you notice “Aqua” as the first ingredient, and a preservative system with essential oils or solubilisers in the ingredient listing, most likely, they are floral waters and not hydrosols. Floral waters like such do not contain the true therapeutic properties of hydrosols. They do contain some of the volatile ingredients of the plants but to a much lesser extent.
Ready to Start Using the oh-so Divine Hydrosols?
Hydrosols simply boost the support your skin needs. Being so effective and versatile, they are a must have beauty product at home! Do check out our Mist Toners, both formulated with pure, organic hydrosols, which contain all the essence of the plants in every drop, delivering all the benefits to your face.