Do You *Actually* Need Under-Eye Toner? I Tried One, and It Left Me Looking Instantly Refreshed

Photo: Getty Images/ Aleksandra Shamomina / EyeEm
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Toner has come a long way since the alcohol-based astringents of yesteryear, but it's still generally inadvisable to use these types of products around your eyes. After all, the skin in this area is the most delicate on your whole face, so taking extra precautions is key to keeping it damage-free. With that in mind—and despite knowing that the toners of today are far kinder than the skin-sizzling formulas of yesteryear—when I caught wind of Leaf People's new eye toner, I was skeptical. Still, always one up for a beauty adventure, I agreed to give the product a whirl.

The certified organic Leaf People Saffron & Green Tea Peptide Eye Area Toner ($52) is made with a blend of hydrating, calming, and brightening ingredients, including cucumber, chamomile, saffron, green tea, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Housed in a glass bottle, the ultra-lightweight toner pumps out like a burst of water that instantly sinks into skin for an instantly cooling effect. But that’s not all. I swear, within seconds of applying the watery toner on the back of my hand (swatch tests are key, especially for someone like me who has sensitive, reactive skin), my skin looked smoother, plumper, and more radiant overall in comparison to my untouched hand.

After not noticing any adverse effects on my hand—and still feeling mesmerized by the initial results—I followed the instructions and pumped the toner onto two cotton pads (one for each eye). Then, despite my admitted nervousness to expose my lids to toner, I pressed the product over the top of each of my closed eyes, as well as all around the under areas. Bracing myself for a stinging sensation, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my lids felt refreshed rather than ruined. Just as with my hand, I found that this toner gave my eyes an instantly revived appeal. They looked plumper, brighter, and smoother overall, and since the toner disappears so quickly, it didn’t interfere with my being able to apply makeup over the top of it.

Now, full disclosure: I don’t have super puffy eyes, deep ocular hollows, or dramatically dark circles. However, if you do have any of these traits, board-certified dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, notes that this toner could help soothe some of the symptoms.

“The Leaf People Eye Area Toner contains hyaluronic acid, which is one of my favorite, good-for-everyone, ingredients that can draw moisture into the skin,” she says. "It’s a natural substance that everybody possesses, making it not only safe for most people but something that your skin recognizes and tolerates very well.”

What’s more, according to Dr. Nazarian, my instantly smoother results aren’t some fluke. “Through the process of pulling water into the skin, hyaluronic acid can successfully address fine lines and some wrinkling around this delicate skin area,” she says.

As for why it feels so refreshing, Dr. Nazarian says the green tea is to thank for that. “Green tea is a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient,” she explains. “Although its effect on wrinkles and collagen stimulation is not well published in the literature, green tea can be quite calming to irritated or inflamed skin, improving redness, and making this toner overall more tolerable.”

Considering my aforementioned sensitive, reactive skin—and the fact that I found this toner to be entirely tolerable—I’d say the ingredient combo works. Yes, I noticed slight tingling from the cooling sensation, but it subsided after a few minutes and even while it was occurring, it didn’t make my skin sting or look red—which is something Dr. Nazarian admits to being wary of.

“The addition of an essential oil blend in this toner is one that I don’t fully support, as many people have irritation and allergy to essential oils, and I feel similarly with the addition of apple cider vinegar, which can be quite irritating for many (with reported cases of chemical burn reaction in some people),” she says. She doesn’t, however, say that’s a reason to avoid adding eye toner into your routine. Instead, she says to test it out first. “I always proceed with caution when starting a new eye cream or product, and recommend testing on a less noticeable area of skin to determine irritation profile before using around the eyes,” she shares.

While this is the type of product that is more of a "nice to have" than a "need to have," it really is nice to have in your routine. Shop it for yourself above.


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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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