Sifting through thousands of beauty products on Amazon is wildly overwhelming, which is why I’ve developed a quick and easy method for figuring out which products are worth adding to my cart: read trusted reviews. If thousands of other people who are shopping for skin-care on Amazon love a particular cleanser or facial toner or moisturizer, chances are I will too. The most recent product to catch my eye is Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner ($7), which happens to be the no. 1 best-selling skin-care product on Amazon right now.
It’s made with rose-petal water and witch hazel to “make your skin bloom,” as the brand puts it. In beauty-speak, that means that the naturally astringent properties of both ingredients will help to tighten pores, control the production of oil, and lock in moisture while protecting your skin from free radicals. The aloe in the bottle is there to provide continued hydration.
And for what it’s worth, it looks like this facial toner’s 4,388 (overwhelmingly positive) reviewers are onto something. According to derms, Thayers really is that great. “Witch hazel is botanical extract rich in compounds known as tannins, which have both antioxidant benefits and astringent properties,” says dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. “It also has a naturally has an acidic pH, which is why it is used as a toner to maintain a healthy skin pH level. Its astringent properties help remove excess oil from the skin which is useful in people who are acne prone.” Dr. Lily Talakoub of McLean Dermatology and Skincare is also a fan of the toners because it’s free of alcohol, parabens, and propylene glycol—all of the stuff you should try to steer clear of. It’s great for wiping off makeup, she says.
In general, deciding whether or not to add a facial toner to your routine can be just as confounding as trying to decide which beauty products to buy on Amazon. Most derms agree that, unlike cleansing or moisturizing, toner is technically an “optional” step in your regimen. It’s a great to add in post-wash, pre-serum as a way to ensure your skin is clear of dirt and debris, with balanced pH and good hydration. As an added bonus, a decent facial toner make the rest of your products go on more smoothly and effectively.
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