Tested on animals:Yes
Laneige bills Power Essential Skin Toner Normal/Dry as a softening toner that allows skin to maintain ideal moisture levels; in reality, however, it has the exact opposite effect on skin. The high amount of alcohol present can induce free-radical damage, destroy elastin, impair skin's ability to heal, and increase inflammation, all of which add up to disaster for your skin!
The potential risk to skin is even greater because of the inclusion of potentially irritating fragrance, which can speed up the signs of aging via inflammation (see More Info). Sure, the formula boasts a few beneficial ingredients as well, but they don't even come close to making up for the overall damaging effect this toner could have. More to the point, the clear packaging allows the beneficial light-sensitive ingredients, such as the antioxidants, to break down.
As for the claim about this whisking away dead skin cells, there's nothing in the formula that functions as an exfoliant, so you can toss that hope to the side as well.
In the end, this toner leaves dry skin (or any skin type for that matter) worse off—not better. For truly replenishing options, see our list of Best Toners instead.
- Contains a smattering of skin-beneficial ingredients.
- High amount of alcohol damages skin and can make dryness worse!
- The pro-aging irritancy factor is further compounded by fragrance.
- Clear packaging allows the beneficial antioxidants to degrade.
A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol actually causes skin cells to self-destruct (Alcohol, 2002).
Research also shows that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Alcohol, 2002). In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012; and Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
For more on alcohol's (as in, ethanol, denatured alcohol, and ethyl alcohol) effects on skin, see the Paula's Choice Research Team's Expert Advice article on the topic, Alcohol in Skin Care: The Facts.