Alba Botanica is a brand that I see a lot and interests me because their products seem to have a lot of positive qualities. I find them in both drugstores as well as my local natural health store, which only sells a handful of beauty lines. After finishing up my Raunsborg Skin Tonic which isn’t available in the US (boo!), I thought I’d try some of the more budget-friendly options available locally to me. Historically, I haven’t had the best luck with cheaper toners but I do still have some exploring to do and like I mentioned, Alba Botanica boasts a lot of nice qualities, so I picked their Hawaiian facial toner with complexion balancing hibiscus up from the drugstore to try.
I’ve been using the toner for several weeks at this point, and I’m at least 2/3 through the bottle. When I first started to use it, it definitely stung my face. I don’t have particularly sensitive skin and so sometimes repeated use of a product that stings will allow my skin to get used to it and make the application more comfortable. However, despite my persistence of using the toner twice and day, every day for weeks, it still stings my skin every single time. Stinging doesn’t indicate that “it’s working”, it indicates that it’s irritating my skin. 3 or 4 days ago as I was getting ready for bed, I gave a grumbly outcry as I applied it to my face and my boyfriend said that if it hurts like that, it’s probably not doing me much good. I realized he was probably right and that I may be better off just skipping the toner until I found a new one. I haven’t used it since.
The perplexing thing is that the ingredients list contains a lot of soothing ingredients. It does have grapefruit seed extract in the first half of the list and that just catches my eye because it’s from a citrus fruit, which I’d imagine could be harsh for skin. There are also other flower and fruit extracts on there, so I suppose some of those could be irritating, I don’t know. Guava and bergamot also seem like potential culprits, but they’re both pretty low on the list. I don’t always fully trust the Beautypedia by Paula’s Choice, but if you take any stock in their judgement, this toner is rated “poor” and they pinpoint witch hazel, arnica and bergamot oil as unhelpful and irritating ingredients.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chlorella Pyrenoidosa Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Enteromorpha Compressa Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Laminaria Digitala Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Spirulina Maxima Extract, Ulva Lactuca Extract, Allantoin, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Citric Acid, Erythritol, Homarine HCL, Panthenol, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium PCA, Alcohol, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetate Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Benzoate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance, Sea Kelp (certified organic)
The bottle also boasts a formula that’s pH balanced, 100% vegetarian, not tested on animals, free of artificial colors, parabens, phthalates and sulfates (though, why would it include sulfates? Come on.). The bottle is made with 100% recycled material.
I’ve seen a few other reviews that say that the product stung them as well, so it looks like I’m not alone here. I can’t recommend this one, and I’ll have to keep exploring the drugstore aisles for other options.
Have you tried this toner? What was your experience?