First Use Perricone MD High Potency Face Finishing and Firming Toner

This product was sent to be by BzzAgent for the purpose of review. As always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Everything I have used from Perricone MD I have really enjoyed. One was actually a makeup Item. It was the No Makeup Lipstick. It has a light really natural look wash of color and SPF 15 mixed in. I tend to forget that lips need sunscreen too and when I when I know I am going to be out in the sun, this lipstick is a life saver. Just make sure your pay attention to the expiration date, because when this product expires it is done.

The other two items I used were skincare. Both were eye creams and both were really good. The Hypoallergenic CBD Sensitive Skin Hydrating eye cream was really nice however the Cold Plasma firming eye cream was out of this world fantastic. So I was absolutely thrilled when BzzAgent sent this bottle to me to try. The Perricone MD High Potency Face Finishing and Firming Toner is…

This daily, rose-scented lightweight toner gently sloughs off dead skin cells & unclogs pores of impurities, oil & dirt while visibly tightening, smoothing & reducing the look of enlarged pores for a firmer, more refined, even-looking complexion. Revitalizes, hydrates & soothes, leaving skin looking radiant, refreshed & healthy.

This is a first use post, so the pictures in this post are really going to be a base line for comparison after thirty days. There were some notables from the first use though so lets get into that.

It is, first off, a toner. Toners are used after you wash and dry tour face to make suer that every drop of dirt, makeup and other gunk is gone from your skin before you continue. The best toners also have extra skincare properties. The toner pad I am using is reusable and light blue. While my skin was clean with the first use, I did notice that there was a slight darkening to the toner pad after use that is deeper than just the wetness of the product on the pad. That is generally what happens when I use an exfoliating toner or really any chemical exfoliant actually. I’m guessing it is the dead skin cells and other particles being removed. (I will pick up a small pack of disposable cotton rounds for a better look in the follow up post. with both the color and nap of the reusable rounds the details are lost if you aren’t in person.

The scent is Rose, but it is a light, natural scented rose. If you really have an aversion to rose scents you won’t like it, but for me it was light enough and it dissipated quickly enough that I didn’t have to worry about the scent for too long.

There are AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) in the toner. AHA’s are really good chemical exfoliants. My skin always reacts well to it. Initially I do get a little pinking of my skin. So I will look flushed right after I use it and then the flushed feeling/look will fade. This was no different. I applied the toner to my skin and about the time I set the toner pad down, my face started to flush.

The red flush lasted only the length of time that it took for the toner to dry down on the skin. This isn’t a product you wash off, it is one that you let dry down and then continue on with your skin care. After my skin dried I did run my fingers over my skin to see how it felt when it was dry, Many items with AHAs can leave your skin feeling a bit sticky.

This did not feel sticky at all. The toner dried down and my skin felt silky soft. usually after I apply an AHA my skin is more than ready for a moisturizer. To me it always feels as though with the older dead skin and gunk cleared off the new skin feels just a little too exposed, Like someone unexpectedly pulled the blankets off of you on a cold morning when you weren’t quite ready to get up. I think of adding the moisturizer right after like adding on thick fuzzy socks to suddenly cold feet.

Except that i didn’t have that feeling with this Perricone MD High Potency Face Finishing and Firming Toner. I think that might be the soothing effect of the rose water. I know rose does help soothe and settle my skin, which is why I was not really surprised that the AHA redness disappeared so quickly. I thought it was probably due to the rose and it’s vitamin C infused goodness, which it probably was. But that some goodness also made my skin feel comforted after the exfoliation. I still applied the rest of my skincare but my skin felt clean and soft instead of cleaned and stripped back.

I can say that with a single use I know it is a good toner. For the other skin care benefits, only time will tell. But I am more than happy to keep using this toner and hope that with regular use the other skincare benefits will come along. For now, this is how my skin stands as the Perricone trial begins. It will be interesting to see the thirty day comparison photos’ as the product really settles down to work. But for now I am just happy with its use as a toner. I am hoping for good results though. And I will admit that hopes are high, not only from how the first day turned out but because I hae always had fabulous results from the brand.

LovelySkin Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2023

Top Toners

That’s right the list of 2022 Favorites continues with the toners. There are three that fell into this category. All three I would use again. The Thayers of course is a long time favorite and has been for a few years, so Le’ts start with that.

1- Thayer’s Facial Toner in Rose Petal

  • you may see the name and think, I don’t like rose’. It doesn’t actually smell like rose. The rose inclusion just takes the edge off of the witch hazel. Personally I really like witch hazel in my toners. It not only helps remove the left over makeup bits but it sooths the skin. Incidentally witch hazel is great on minor skin irritations like those caused by poison ivy. It was a huge part of my childhood and it stillmakes a great toner.

2- Byroe Bitter Greens Toning Essence

  • this is sort of a combination of toner and essence and honestly one of the few multi purpose products that really does both well. It works as a great toner and it is an excellent essence. It removes the last remnant of dirt and makeup and opens the pores to get them ready to recieve the following skincare benefits. It even feels thicker than just a liquid when you dispense it on to a toner pad. This is a fantastic product and one I will reach for a lot moving forward.

3- Alpha H Liquid Gold

  • This is an exfoliating toner that you should only use every other day instead of every day. It is a chemical exfoliant rather than a physical one so there are no rough bits to it. It does exfoliate well and it is gentle enough to use every other day, just don’t use it more often or you run the risk of over exfoliating. Also skip any other exfoliators when you are using this (for the same reason). It is a great products and like the Byroe one of the few good two in one products that I have tried.

I know it is a short list, but most of the toners I tried were just simply useful while they were there and not worth the trouble of picking up, These three were fantastic. And while two of them are pricy, the best general toner is the Thayer’s which can be picked up at target for relatively little money. the other two are treats for the skin but the Thayer’s is the day in and day out product I turn to. Somehow it always tickles me when that happens. I think it is just proof that not all expensive things are good and not all inexpensive ones are bad. It just tickles my soul to be reminded of that every now and again.


EssenHERB Toner Pad review

Recently I received a trial sized pack of EssenHerb’s Tea Tree 90 Toner Pad. While I like toners and have been using them in one form or another since I was a teenager, the only pre-packaged toner pads I ever used were the acne fighting ones. Normally I use a bottle and cotton rounds. I have no real problem with the prepackaged ones in general, I have just never gravitated towards them. As for Tea Tree oil. I have tried it on my hair before, but not as a skin care product, so I was intrigued.

First of course, let’s take a look at the product claims so expectations can be made.

Interestingly, finding the site proved complex. I generally like to get my product information from the company website instead of a secondary one, but in this case the website I found that looked like it traced back to the company was all in Korean. Alas I can not read Korean. Not even a smidge.

So I had to go to a secondary site, in this case that also proved interesting. I found several sites that offered the trial size that I was testing. I also found a couple of sites offering a full sized bottle of the toner in a bottle without the added pads. I found a cream whose packaging and branding were nearly identical to the image on the front of the pack. Finally I found a site offering the full sized product for a retail price of $31.57. This is where I got the product description. Incidentally if you are interested in just the toner without the pads it retails for $22.47 and you can click here to get you to that site. (and yes those are the prices on the site, I’m guessing it was converted from a different currency and no one wanted to round out the numbers.)

So the product info:

(This is a) Dual Function: Whitening & Anti-wrinkle Ultra-adherent calming pad with tea-tree toner that helps balance oil & water, moisturizes and soothes your irritated skin. 90% Melaleuca Alternifolia(Tea Tree) Leaf Extract, 1% Oryza Sative (Rice) Bran Extract, Contains Botanical Complex Extract

Pretty simple in its claims, but what I found intriguing was the how to use section which is:

How to use: Place on forehead, cheek and chin, remove after 10 to 15 minutes, then tap lightly to absorb. or On a busy morning, put the pad on your skin and try to remove the pad after the hair dryer. Helps makeup boosting.

The very thin individual pads. They are difficult to separate and you can’t use them as you would cotton rounds as they roll up.

Normally, I apply the toner to the cotton round and wipe it around my face. I was unprepared for the mask like timing of this product. I will say though, that the toner pads included in the package are designed for the sit and leave on application method rather than the simply apply to the skin method. If you try to wipe them across the skin, the thin pads roll up and are absolutely useless. they are simply too thin to use in that format.

I will say that I don’t often have an extra fifteen minutes in the morning to sit with toner pads on my face. Their secondary recommendation for busy mornings involving a hair dryer to speed up the process is interesting, and I will admit, I tried it.

First I tried the regular method of applying the toner pads to my skin and letting it sit for fifteen minutes. I will admit I did not do this in the morning, but rather at night when I had a little more time and wasn’t trying to get out of the door. It feels very much like having sections of a sheet mask on your face. As they dry, the edges tend to curl up a little. Mostly they stay moist though, it is just the edges that dry out towards the end of the fifteen minutes.

Toner pads applied to the face. In my opinion they leave a lot of skin bare. Plus I couldn’t get one to stay on my nose.

After sitting for fifteen minutes, I removed the pads from my face and patted in the remaining serum. My skin felt a little sticky but either the serum soaking the pads evaporated or my skin soaked it in as they were no longer dripping wet when I removed them.

Next (on a different evening) I tried the blow dry the applied toner pads. I did not care for this method as even on low heat I didn’t like directing that much direct heat to my skin. It shaved off a little time for the toner pads to sit, but it was cumbersome and somewhat annoying to have to haul out the hair dryer for my face. Also as I pull my bangs back with a headband when using skin care, the blow dryer just insured they were standing up when I was done.

Finally, as I used all of the toner pads, I applied some of the serum to my regular cotton rounds and applied it to my face in traditional toner style.

As a toner (with the cotton rounds) it is not bad. I liked the scent of the tea tree oil and my skin felt nourished. I applied extra and patted it into the skin as well and I did like it. When leaving it to sit with the pads on my face left the sections under the pads feeling a little sticky and over saturated and the rest of my face sort of dry. I think it is a pretty decent toner serum over all, but I can’t get down with those pads. If I was specifically targeting a dark spot, I might get more use out of them, but I tone my face in both the morning and the evening and not only is this more of a spot treatment, it is a lengthy one. While I might consider purchasing a bottle of the toner on its own to see how the tea tree essence works with my skin, I am going to have to pass on these toner pads. this product is not for me.

Quick note, one of the products I use consistently is the Makeup Eraser. It is reusable and long lasting and one of the things I started using after I stopped using makeup wipes. Anyway, I am posting a couple of codes you might find useful if you are interested in trying it out. Both are from Makeup Eraser. They come in a range of colors and styles and they help keep you from ruining your washcloths. Hope they help anyone shopping.

Morning Kisses MakeUp Eraser ONLY $14! Save 30% with code: TAKEOFF30

BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF! Use code: BYEBYEWIPES

Kopari Coconut Rose Toner Review

Kopari Coconut Rose Toner

In a recent Boxy Charm Box I received a bottle of Kopari Coconut Rose Toner. This is one of those products I’d seen lurking on many You Tube Videos and on a few bathroom counters, but never got around to trying. It’s been on my list for a while now and  I was very happy to see it arrive and to get the chance to test it. 

The package is very nice.  It is a mostly metal can with a rubberized feeling bottom half (the part below the pink wavy line). I really like this addition, not only because it looks nice and feels good in the hand, but as I keep toner on the shelf in my bathroom it means that I won’t end up with any metal rust rings on the shelf if water happens to get on the shelf.

Sometimes, I just can’t resist splashing.

The size of the can is also nice.  It fits in the hand well and isn’t too heavy to hold and maneuver with one hand. The spray nozzle works well.  It is not an overly fine mist but as it is a toner and not a setting spray that is fine.  I spray my face and then pat the toner in with my hands before moving onto my moisturizer. I also curl my lips into my mouth before I spray because quite frankly I don’t like the taste on my lips. I know, skin care isn’t meant to be eaten, but if you spray your lips, chances are you are going to taste it. That’s just life. I don’t like the taste, so I get my lips out of range before spraying.

I have to say I like that I can pat it on with my fingers though and therefore skip the need for the little cotton rounds I usually use with toners.  Less waste is always a good thing in my book.

But enough about packaging (and taste), let’s talk product.

Once you spray it out, the first thing you notice is the scent. As both Coconut and Rose can be strong scents on their own I was worried about combining them.  They actually pair pretty well.  In my opinion it reminds me of the confection known as Turkish Delight. As I always thought Turkish Delight smelled a little perfume-y, the scent doesn’t bother me.  Occasionally if something reminds me of desert then I have a hard time using it on my skin.  One recent example would be the Glow Recipe Pineapple Serum.  The pineapple smelled too candy sweet for me to feel comfortable using.  This didn’t have that problem.

Admittedly I did find myself wanting to re-read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis again and wondering why you would betray your siblings for a lifetime supply of Turkish delight when after a piece or two you are generally done with the box for a while.  Or at least I am.  It is a good confection, but it isn’t one I can eat a lot of in one sitting. Admittedly growing up there were times I would have traded my little brother in for less of a reward than a lifetime supply of Turkish Delight, but I’m pretty sure that’s just standard for anyone who grew up with siblings. You love them, but there are moments…

But I digress.

We were discussing toner. Specifically the Kopari Coconut Rose Toner. According to their website this product is meant to:

Revitalize and rebalance skin with our antioxidant-rich toner that helps to minimize the appearance of pores, even skin tone and leaves skin looking hydrated and healthy. Dermatologist-Tested, Non-irritating, Non-Allergenic, Safe for Sensitive Skin, Non-Comedogenic, pH-balanced, cruelty-free, phthalate-free, non-GMO & vegan.

This alcohol-free toner uses naturally astringent witch hazel to help ward off blemishes, refreshing rose and lavender extracts help fight off acne causing bacteria, reduce redness, and calm skin and uses Hyaluronic Acid which provides the ultimate skin hydration by helping to retain moisture in the skin.              

The three most touted ingredients are Witch Hazel, Rose Extract and Hyaluronic Acid. Now I have gone on at length about my past with witch hazel in my last toner evaluation and I am pleased to see it reappear.  It seems my childhood friend has come to stay in skin care, it just flaunts a multitude of scents rather than the witch hazel scent it wore in my childhood medicine cabinet. 

But I suppose anyone can reinvent themselves these days, why should this be any different, after all look at Kale. Once it was just the weird not quite lettuce that cupped the ice cream scoop shape of chicken salad in diners and was thrown away before the plate was washed and now it is a dietary darling. 

As it is excellent at cleaning out my pores and is not as damaging as alcohol on the skin, I am happy to welcome witch hazel back to my shelf in any form it feels like taking.

I have used rose oil in the past to calm redness, so I was fine with seeing rose extract here. I was surprised to see they didn’t list out coconut and make claims for it on their website as the scent is clearly indicating a presence, but perhaps it is included more for scent than any other reason. Personally, I’d like to see more of a reason than just scent to include something, especially if it is going to be so prominent.

The Hyaluronic Acid is something that has been cropping up more and more in skin care lately.  It seems to be everyone’s darling.  (not as darling as kale, I know, but it is nipping at that rockstar’s heels.)

I know it is a humectant which means it draws moisture to the skin and I know that when something is a humectant and you put it on the skin you need to then put on a moisturizer so the moisture it pulls into the skin isn’t just from your skin and it has an outside source to work with. At least that’s what I remember about humectants from a long ago class.

There is some debate about the benefits of hyaluronic acid in skin care as well now that everyone is using it.  After poking around a while I found this article that covers the topic in much more depth than I will.  It is interesting reading and basically points out that if you inject it (as with a needle) beneath the skin it helps with wrinkles, but not so much when applied topically, although it still helps with the moisture (remember, humectant.).

Whatever the science stuff, I really liked using this toner. It didn’t break me out and as I had a dry red patch that it did help calm down and soothe. The scent does make me pull a set of old books from the shelf, but there is nothing wrong with that.  The scent doesn’t linger too long and I don’t mind additional bedtime reading.  While this doesn’t actually beat my current top toner, it is up there in the likeable range and I would not have a problem buying this again (outside of a subscription box). I will just definitely remember the moisturizer right after using. And as the moisturizer I am currently using does include kale on this list of ingredients perhaps Kale and Witch Hazel can have a confab with hyaluronic acid about their past present and future incarnations and plans for world domination.

Thayers’ Facial Toner Review

Thayers’ Facial Toner, not quite the witch hazel of my childhood.

Growing up I could always count on three things in our family medicine cabinet: rubbing alcohol, Vicks Vapor rub and a bottle of witch hazel. Everything else was hit or miss. Looking for something to relieve a headache? Don’t hold your breath.  Need a band aide? Well, chances were we’d have a few tiny butterfly ones that were too small to actually cover the cut or we’d have a couple of giant ones, anything in between and you were probably better off just pressing a wash cloth to the cut until the bleeding stopped. 

Just make sure it wasn’t one of the good wash cloths.

Witch hazel however was trotted out of the medicine closet for anything that didn’t need the fiery cleanse of rubbing alcohol. Acne break out?  Here’s a cotton ball and the bottle of witch hazel. Unexplained rash on your arm that might or might not be poison ivy? Try the witch hazel and if it doesn’t clear up, we’ll see a doctor.

Witch hazel  and Vicks were the scents of all my childhood ailments. Sure, when real medical help was needed we went to a doctor, but for everything else there was witch hazel. we needed no calamine lotion or any of the other creams and ointments that cluttered up the medicine cabinets of my friends. No! we had witch hazel. It did everything.

So of course when I moved out on my own, I never bought the stuff. My medicine cabinet was witch hazel free for years.

Then I met my love and when we combined households I found that his medicine cabinet contained a bottle of aspirin, a bottle of NyQuil so old I’m sure it morphed into something else entirely which is why it went directly into the trash, and a bottle of witch hazel. After throwing away his toxic cough syrup, I wasn’t going to say anything about the witch hazel. I just moved it into the cabinet.

Not that I actually have anything against it. I actually like witch hazel. It helped me through many a teenage acne based crisis.

I just thought of it as the kinder cousin to rubbing alcohol. It stung less and that was it.

But once again it was in residence in our medicine cabinet. The product in the bottle disappeared and was replaced on a routine basis and I wasn’t using it, so I know my baby did.  When I asked he said it helped with the inflammation from in grown hairs and razor burn. (He has curly hair.)

Still I didn’t use it, I was just happy it was being used and not just taking up space.

Then came the display. 

In our Target there was a display of Thayers’ Witch Hazel Facial Toner. You may have seen it.  You may have walked past without noticing it.  Except for the red cap, it is easy to miss.  It certainly isn’t a flashy looking product. It is very easily over looked in the beauty aisle. I’m also certain the red cap is new and added when they started adding the rose petal scent to it. If you don’t have a history with witch hazel, you probably just walked right past without thinking much of it.

In reality, the large display probably wasn’t up any longer than any other display, but once I saw it, I couldn’t stop seeing it.  I saw it on end caps, I saw it on the shelf. And finally I saw it in my basket as I could not resist any longer.

I was also out of toner.

When I got it home the first thing I did was open it up and take a sniff.

The scent of the product is very light.  There is the slight tinge of the witch hazel I remember from childhood and there is a hint of rosy sweetness.  In reality the witch hazel scent seems to cancel out the rose one so there is hardly any scent at all. I know there are other ingredients included but they are all more or less mixed into the witch hazel from what I can tell. It is the base.

So into the bathroom the toner went to wait by the sink until it was needed. 

And to the computer I went to look up witch hazel and see if my childhood cure all remedy actually did anything.  It turns out it does. According to an article on Healthline, the eight benefits of witch hazel are: to relieve inflammation, reduce skin irritation, treat hemorrhoids, fight acne, alleviate scalp sensitivity, soothe sore throat, protect against skin damage, and ward off infection.

While I can’t speak to the hemorrhoids or the sore throat (we only used it topically and for sore throats you put it in tea apparently), the other uses were all a part of my childhood.

I’m still not entirely certain it is the miracle cure my grandparents and parents claimed it was, but the Healthline article, and others I read after impressed me. 

Perhaps there was something to this after all.

So the next morning I tried the Thayers’. The day before I spent time in the sun so my cheeks were a little red.  The slight burn was soothed, and my skin felt great after. While I was at it, since I had a spider bite, I rubbed in on as well and the bite stopped itching, just like when I was a kid.

Go figure.

I kept using the witch hazel (I’m at about a month now) and as you can probably see from the bottle, I am about halfway through it. I’ve been using the small, deluxe sample sized bottle. While I picked it up to try and was content with the smaller bottle, I didn’t actually see a larger bottle on the shelves, so possibly even though it looks like a deluxe sample, it may be a full sized one.  I personally like the size as I can easily travel with it.

After using half of the bottle, I can honestly say I will be buying this again when it gets close to running out.  In fact, I believe this may become a staple in my routine. It soothed any irritation I had on my skin and oddly enough reduced the size of my pores.  Along my nose it was especially noticeable. In all fairness I don’t think it actually shrunk them, I think it just cleaned them out so well that they are less noticeable. But the effect is the same. It also took out a lot of the redness and irritation from a minor break out I had when I started using the toner. Oddly, I haven’t had another break out since starting to use it. While I don’t think it is solely responsible, I think it might be a contributing factor.

And with the rose petal scent, or lack of scent, it doesn’t remind me of my childhood medicine cabinet.

Except for the old man on the label. He doesn’t actually look like anyone from my childhood, he just looks like an older man who would preserve the ‘old ways’. In fact I think he would say it so it sounded like it was typed in all caps, ‘THE OLD WAYS’.

I keep expecting him to turn and look at me and say, ‘I told you so’. And then maybe stick his tongue out at me. But hey, it’s a small bottle and I can easily turn it so that side of the label isn’t looking at me. Given how much I like the product, I’m willing to do that. I just have to be prepared for my mother’s crow of triumph when she sees the witch hazel in my travel bag. Her, I can’t turn towards the wall.  Still, the product is definitely worth it. So I’ll go ahead and say it now.

I was wrong.  Witch hazel is awesome. And so is Thayers’ Facial Toner.