As a disciplined face washer—I’ve only missed a handful of days since middle school—it’d be an understatement to say I take my skin-care routine and product arsenal seriously. Cleansers, of course. Oils, serums, and moisturizers, duh. Eye creams and clay masks, definitely. But there was one step I could never get excited about (or really understood very well): toners. Until recently, when I added Isla Tone Balance Elixir to my routine. The product has sold out four times and is finally back in stock (… after boasting a 2,000 person waitlist), and it’s easy to see why people—including me—love it so much.
If you remember toners as the severe, drying products of decades past, I was right there with you. “Toners were initially alcohol-based products used to counteract the effects of lye-based soaps which left a residue on the skin,” says Jamie Rosen Manning, MD and FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “While they helped remove excess dirt or oil build-up, the harsh ingredients of traditional toners had the potential to overly strip or exfoliate the top layer of the skin, and compromise its barrier function.”
No more. Now, toners like Isla’s Elixir are used to restore the skin’s pH, hydrate the skin, exfoliate dead skin cells, control oil production, and soothe and protect the skin’s barrier function.
“What I love about this product is that it approaches skin health through antioxidant repair and hydration,” says Rosen Manning. And since it’s water-based, lightweight, and made from 100 percent natural ingredients, it can be included in everyone’s daily routine, no matter your skin type.
Since incorporating the Elixir into my multi-step routine—after cleansing, before serum—I’ve been thrilled by how refreshing, and not drying at all, it is. My face feels hydrated and glow-y, no easy feat considering it’s been a long winter.
Rosen Manning points to a few special ingredients that make the Elixir special: wildberry extract, glycerin, and aloe vera. Wildberry extract, a blend of indigenous Australian super berries, provides a potent source of antioxidants. “Antioxidants act as a sponge to soak up and scavenge free radicals caused from oxidative stress—think UV, smoking, pollution—that can contribute to premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles,” says Rosen Manning.
Another hero ingredient is glycerin, which is a naturally occurring and water-loving compound that acts as an excellent humectant (aka, it keeps the skin hydrated). Since glycerin is a small molecule, it can penetrate the skin, enabling it to improve moisturizing at a deep level. “This is why the Elixir delivers a plump, dewy and hydrated affect—a look everyone is after,” she says.
Then there’s aloe vera. You’re likely well aware of its soothing anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful for sunburns and wounds, but, according to Rosen Manning, it’s also a great moisturizer that can reduce wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. Win/win.
Rosen Manning recommends the Isla’s Elixir for anyone looking for a boost of hydration (yep) and antioxidant repair (yep again), especially since it contains completely natural ingredients. Just remember to apply a moisturizer or serum after the Elixir to trap your newly added hydration. “This locks in the nourishing ingredients that leave the skin smooth, dewy and glowing,” she says. Yes, yes, and yes please.
Do your spring skin a favor and snag this stuff before it sells out again.