Say the words "aromatherapy," and what comes to mind? Chances are, it's an oil diffuser, puffing subtly with a light stream of steam. Or perhaps it's the mental image of a little glass bottle labeled with words like "eucalyptus" and "lavender oil." But a skin toner? That's a stretch.
Plot twist: it's not. Bathing Culture's herbaceous toner proves that aromatherapy doesn't have to shaped like a trendy oil diffuser or roll-on tincture. In the case of the brand's Golden Hour Holy Basil Hydrosol ($20), aromatherapy doubles as skin care, transporting your skin and senses to a summery garden with every spritz.
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If you're not familiar with hydrosols, they're effectively scented waters made by distilling flowers, herbs, and other botanicals. The steam from the distilling process is collected and bottled, so the essence of the botanical elements are still there, only more diluted and liquified than traditional viscous oils.
Depending on what plants you use, these fragrant mists can be used for a number of things, including skin care. In this case, Bathing Culture's blend is made using holy basil, or tulsi, a green leafy plant similar to the one you might have sprouting out of your herb garden. From its antioxidant properties and immune-supporting powers, to its effects on mood and anxiety, the benefits of tulsi are still being researched but are renowned in wellness and holistic medicine communities alike.
As someone who's tested both many toners and essential oils, I adore this refreshing spray for its multitasking talents. For one, it makes an excellent toner, adding a burst of hydration before I layer on my day cream. It's also a midday hydration boost, especially on the go. I love carrying it with me for a quick mist when I'm out of the house and need something to wake me up. On particularly dry days, or in areas where I feel my face needs a refresh, a pump of this stuff over my forehead, cheeks, and chin quickly brings it back to life.
But the showstopper is its green, garden-y smell that has me absolutely hooked. I'm a sucker for anything that reminds me of summer, and this mist is practically a vegetable garden in a bottle. There are certain scents that instantly soothe me, and traditionally, those are the stereotypical beach-y fragrances, like salt water and coconut. But a few sprays of my basil hydrosol have unlocked my love for earthy scents, too, instantly calming me with its soothing grounding smell the moment I spray.
I will say, the herbaceous scent is a little strong, so if you're not one for overpowering earthy whiffs, maybe opt for another scent. Bathing Culture also makes a warm Neroli & Rose ($20) that, "smells like drifting on a canoe," per the website, and a Cistus & Sage ($20) that's blended with woodsy notes.
Whatever you choose, you can spend a lot of money on diffusers and skin care alike. But Bathing Culture's hydrosols are just $20, making them an affordable alternative to both. One bottle brings you the best of both worlds: a hydrating facial toner that leaves skin nourished and dewy, and an aromatherapy tool that soothes your senses as much as your skin. Who says you can't have it all?!
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