I have always hated toner. There, I said it. As a teenager, a harsh-smelling orange bottle of astringent was a crucial element in my skin scouring routine. Sure, it stung and left my face shiny and sore afterwards…but the pain meant it was working, right? Ugh, so wrong. My struggles with the alchohol-based toners of yore scarred me physically and emotionally, and I haven’t tried a toner since. Until now.
Enter Son & Park Beauty Water ($30, Soko Glam), which has changed my life—and my skin. It’s so good, it’s turned me into a complete toner believer. I’m borderline evangelical about this stuff, and my glowing skin is my testament.
First of all, the packaging is amazing. I love the elegant, geometric bottle—it looks so stylish on my bathroom sink. The rectangular shape is easy to grip and control, which you need in a tall bottle like this—no point in accidentally pouring half of it onto the floor as you’re trying to soak a cotton pad. And while we all know that appearance isn’t everything, there’s no shame in admitting that one definitely uses their pretty products more. Or is that just me?
But the thing that I truly love about this toner is that it’s hydrating, rather than drying. I know: revolutionary! While the alcohol-based astringent toners so common in the US strip skin completely, Beauty Water (which hails from South Korea) is carefully formulated with humectants and ingredients like rosewater to protect skin’s outer layer and make sure that it remains plumped and dewy-feeling all day. And trust me: I’m on a prescription retinoid-topical antibiotic combination that’s powerful enough to strip house paint. If I so much as look at a product that’s drying, I turn into a flaky, sad lizard person. Beauty Water has dramatically reduced the number of mornings I spend trying not to peel scaly skin off my chin (why is it always the chin?) after I wash my face.
Because that’s the other thing: with ingredients like willow bark and papaya extract, it also gently exfoliates and cleanses—and I have been taking full advantage of that. I use it on a cotton round after washing my face, morning and night, and no matter how good I think I am at removing dirt and makeup, I’m always amazed at the stuff Beauty Water wipes away. Korean beauty brands have a reputation for excellence, and after using this for a couple of weeks, I really see why. My skin is softer and clearer, with better tone—plus it feels juicier and more plumped, which I love. Even my dermatologist says that it’s been helping my skin cope with the punishing anti-acne regimen I’ve been on, which is high praise indeed. It’s become a permanent part of my skincare routine.
So if you, like me, were formerly traumatized by toners, you owe it to yourself to give Son & Park a try. It’ll change your life—or at least your complexion.
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