There probably aren’t any other beauty products that went through as drastic changes over time as toners. A product loaded with alcohol, camphor, ammonia, sage, menthol and salt that was used for ‘making the skin elastic’, ‘strengthening and whitening the skin’ while ‘soothing the terrible nerves’ later evolved into Helena Rubinstein’s Astringent Wash, a water, menthol, zinc sulphate and perfume concoction that was the first incarnation of modern toners. Oh, and do you still remember the alcohol-laden ‘cooling’, ‘refreshing’ product of our youth (over 35s) to ‘close the pores’ (as if!) and ‘take off the remains of your makeup’ (let’s not even go there!) in the ’80s? All these notions sound ridiculous now if you’re at least a bit au fait with skin care. However, surprisingly enough, there is still a huge section of the public that still believes these beauty myths. A decade or so later in the ’90s toners have grown into a luxurious addition to our skincare routine and now they act as hydration boosters, AHA exfoliators or disinfectants containing BHA.
I am big on acid toning and have been for years but I have been quite lazy using hydrating toners. When I saw Fresh coming out with the Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner I thought THAT is something I would love to use but I always shied away from the hefty £34 ($44) price tag. The gel formula infused with rose petals seemed very appealing, I always kept flirting with the idea of splashing out on one bottle. Fast forward a good few months and I got the news that Bodyshop is launching their dupe for the Fresh toner. I was delighted. I’m already obsessed with their British Rose mask, I instantly knew this was for me and I was right. Here are the details:
What it is: a gel hydrating toner without alcohol, rose petals are suspended in a light golden coloured gel formula, 100% vegan.
Who it is for: all skin types that need hydration and softening.
Packaging: clear plastic bottle, shows up the product perfectly, looks pretty on bathroom shelves.
How to use it: after cleansing, according to the website you should soak a cotton pad with the product and ‘cleanse’ the skin but I just patted it in with my fingers.
How it worked for me: the toner has been mostly part of my evening routine and on some mornings when I felt I needed a pick-me-up. The consistency of the formula is just right, not too runny, it is easy to handle. I went against the company recommendation so instead of using a cotton pad (it felt like a wase of product) I was squeezing some into my hand and gently patted it on the skin. On application it instantly felt cooling, soothing, smoothing and my skin felt plumped up.
The fresh rose scent is a lovely addition to the luxurious feel of using it. I have found this working really well after sun exposure or after acid toners, AHA/BHA treatments to sooth the skin.
Ingredient-wise* the Fresh toner wins, obviously, but that doesn’t mean the Bodyshop counterpart is not a great product. It’s a lovely sensorial experience: it looks great, smells great and feels great on the skin. It works for me so without a doubt this will remain in my beauty stash.
Value for money: great – you get 250ml for £9.50.
Next up on my list to try from the Bodyshop? The Chinese Ginseng & Rice Clarifying Milky Toner. I love the mask already and this sounds intriguing.
Bodyshop British Rose Petal-Soft Toner: Aqua/Water/Eau, Propanediol, Methyl Gluceth-20, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Glycerin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Parfum/Fragrance, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Rosa Gallica Flower Powder, Panthenol, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylpropanediol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Rose Extract, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Trideceth-6, Benzyl Salicylate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Limonene, Benzyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Linalool, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate.
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner : Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Rosa Centifolia Flower, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Angelica Keiskei Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG-150, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Citrate, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, BHT, Parfum (Fragrance), Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Geraniol