05.01.2014
0
Alcohol-Free Face Toner
6 fl. oz. for $14.50
Expert Rating
Community Rating (0)
Expert Reviews
Last Updated:05.01.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No

Alcohol-Free Face Toner is a good example of what's wrong with most toners on the market, and why many people don't see any point in using one. The formula isn't terrible, but it's far from impressive, and because the second ingredient (witch hazel extract) contains alcohol, this toner's name is inaccurate. Your skin will definitely be disappointed!

Witch hazel is an irritant due to its high tannin content, along with the alcohol needed to extract it from the plant. So, despite the fact that it also contains antioxidant compounds that benefit the skin, witch hazel is not a plant extract to embrace for daily use (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). We can't stress this strongly enough!

The aloe and cucumber in this toner are nice, but rather ho-hum, and there's nothing else of interest to benefit your skin. If anything, the lemon extract is just one more source of irritation, not help, for the skin.

Last, this toner contains fragrance ingredients that pose further risk of irritation. A well-formulated toner can do a lot of great things for the skin, but this misses the mark by a mile. See our list of Best Toners for the (surprisingly small) list of top picks. Please know that a well-formulated toner can make all the difference in the world for your skin!

Pros:
  • Helps remove the last traces of makeup.
Cons:
  • Not alcohol-free as claimed because witch hazel extract contains alcohol.
  • Lacks a mix of beneficial ingredients that make daily use worthwhile.
  • Contains a mix of fragrance ingredients that pose a risk of irritation.
Community Reviews
Claims

Alcohol-Free Face Toner refreshes and soothes your skin using Aloe Vera, Lemon, and Cucumber extracts. This toner works well with even the most sensitive skin.

Ingredients

Water, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Polysorbate 20, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate

Brand Overview

Strengths: An excellent tinted moisturizer and lip and cheek stain; good powder blushes and highlighters; mascaras and the cream concealer perform well; effective AHA exfoliants; a very good foundation primer; the eye-makeup remover.

Weaknesses: Lip products that contain irritants such as menthol; some of the brand’s eyeshadows are overly powdery and tend to flake/migrate onto other areas of the face; unnecessary fragrance in an otherwise good lip balm; mostly average to irritating cleansers, toners, eye-area products, and moisturizers; no products to treat breakouts or dark spots; several products contain fragrant plant extracts or oils that pose a risk of irritation; jar packaging.

Today, most cosmetics companies seem to be launched for one of three distinct reasons: they come about as the extension of a high-end fashion house's brand (like Burberry, Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, or Armani); they're created by some corporation under the endorsement of a celebrity (Drew Barrymore's Flower Beauty or Kat Von D's line); or, as is the case for theBalm Cosmetics, an entrepreneur saw an "unfilled niche" in the cosmetics market and decided to get to work.

theBalm was founded in San Francisco by Marissa Shipman, who spent years trying to break into the cosmetics industry before forming her own company in 2004. As the story goes, she crafted her own products in her kitchen by consulting makeup books she bought from Amazon.com. (We hoped that one of them was Paula's Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, but given many of the formulations, we don't think so.) Eventually she was able to hire a chemist, get a lab (Bye-bye, kitchen workshop!), and secure distribution through cosmetics retailer Sephora. theBalm's products have (pardon the pun) exploded and are now sold in dozens of countries worldwide.

It's interesting to note that theBalm is quite reminiscent of the Benefit brand; the similarity of the packaging, marketing, colors, product selection, and even the place of origin - San Francisco – is blatant. Featuring recyclable cardboard packaging with retro pinup-style artwork and cutesy names, theBalm line includes both makeup and skin care products, and is reasonably priced, although it's definitely more expensive than what you'll find at the drugstore.

The company's makeup is definitely its stronger suit, with some good options, such as a couple eyeshadow palettes, the mascara, and its pressed-powder blushes. It has one true blockbuster product: Balm Shelter tinted moisturizer. This standout product performs amazingly well and is deserving of its many accolades.

Unfortunately, theBalm also has some problematic makeup, in particular, and ironically, their lip products. The inclusion of irritants in two of its lip products is disappointing, and an otherwise excellent lip gloss (with SPF, no less) is marred by a fragrance that's downright overwhelming initially and potentially irritating if used every day.

As far as skin-care, the company's collection, called TimeBalm, is surprisingly larger than you might think. It includes cleansers, toners, moisturizers, AHA exfoliants, masks, eye-area products, and a handful of ancillary items that are questionable in terms of their benefit—though some of them, like the foundation primer, are indeed worth checking out.

Overall, based on the formulas, there’s little reason to give the majority of these skin-care products a second thought, as most of them are laced with one or more problematic ingredients or, in the case of most of the moisturizers, suffer due to jar packaging, which compromises the product’s stability. The prices are good, but there’s not much value in saving money on average-to-problematic products, especially when spending just a bit more can get you far better formulas.

theBalm boasts that TimeBalm skin-care products are free of parabens, synthetic dyes, and phthalates, and many consumers seem to be seeking such products. However, parabens are not a problem, and phthalates aren’t usually included in skin-care products—they’re more often seen in nail polish and in some fragrances. Not including synthetic dyes is helpful, but it would have been even better for your skin if theBalm had avoided fragrant oils and other plant-based irritants. Lots of theBalm products contain great natural ingredients, but they’re often commingled with potentially irritating natural ingredients, and that doesn’t add up to great skin care—it’s more of a ticking time bomb than anything else.

For more information, call 510-522-3610, or visit www.thebalm.com. And yes, we're aware that "it's thebalm.com" is an expression used to indicate something that's totally cool. Coincidence? We'll let the reviews speak for themselves!

About the Experts

The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.


Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!

See all reviews for this brand

Strengths: An excellent tinted moisturizer and lip and cheek stain; good powder blushes and highlighters; mascaras and the cream concealer perform well; effective AHA exfoliants; a very good foundation primer; the eye-makeup remover.

Weaknesses: Lip products that contain irritants such as menthol; some of the brand’s eyeshadows are overly powdery and tend to flake/migrate onto other areas of the face; unnecessary fragrance in an otherwise good lip balm; mostly average to irritating cleansers, toners, eye-area products, and moisturizers; no products to treat breakouts or dark spots; several products contain fragrant plant extracts or oils that pose a risk of irritation; jar packaging.

Today, most cosmetics companies seem to be launched for one of three distinct reasons: they come about as the extension of a high-end fashion house's brand (like Burberry, Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, or Armani); they're created by some corporation under the endorsement of a celebrity (Drew Barrymore's Flower Beauty or Kat Von D's line); or, as is the case for theBalm Cosmetics, an entrepreneur saw an "unfilled niche" in the cosmetics market and decided to get to work.

theBalm was founded in San Francisco by Marissa Shipman, who spent years trying to break into the cosmetics industry before forming her own company in 2004. As the story goes, she crafted her own products in her kitchen by consulting makeup books she bought from Amazon.com. (We hoped that one of them was Paula's Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, but given many of the formulations, we don't think so.) Eventually she was able to hire a chemist, get a lab (Bye-bye, kitchen workshop!), and secure distribution through cosmetics retailer Sephora. theBalm's products have (pardon the pun) exploded and are now sold in dozens of countries worldwide.

It's interesting to note that theBalm is quite reminiscent of the Benefit brand; the similarity of the packaging, marketing, colors, product selection, and even the place of origin - San Francisco – is blatant. Featuring recyclable cardboard packaging with retro pinup-style artwork and cutesy names, theBalm line includes both makeup and skin care products, and is reasonably priced, although it's definitely more expensive than what you'll find at the drugstore.

The company's makeup is definitely its stronger suit, with some good options, such as a couple eyeshadow palettes, the mascara, and its pressed-powder blushes. It has one true blockbuster product: Balm Shelter tinted moisturizer. This standout product performs amazingly well and is deserving of its many accolades.

Unfortunately, theBalm also has some problematic makeup, in particular, and ironically, their lip products. The inclusion of irritants in two of its lip products is disappointing, and an otherwise excellent lip gloss (with SPF, no less) is marred by a fragrance that's downright overwhelming initially and potentially irritating if used every day.

As far as skin-care, the company's collection, called TimeBalm, is surprisingly larger than you might think. It includes cleansers, toners, moisturizers, AHA exfoliants, masks, eye-area products, and a handful of ancillary items that are questionable in terms of their benefit—though some of them, like the foundation primer, are indeed worth checking out.

Overall, based on the formulas, there’s little reason to give the majority of these skin-care products a second thought, as most of them are laced with one or more problematic ingredients or, in the case of most of the moisturizers, suffer due to jar packaging, which compromises the product’s stability. The prices are good, but there’s not much value in saving money on average-to-problematic products, especially when spending just a bit more can get you far better formulas.

theBalm boasts that TimeBalm skin-care products are free of parabens, synthetic dyes, and phthalates, and many consumers seem to be seeking such products. However, parabens are not a problem, and phthalates aren’t usually included in skin-care products—they’re more often seen in nail polish and in some fragrances. Not including synthetic dyes is helpful, but it would have been even better for your skin if theBalm had avoided fragrant oils and other plant-based irritants. Lots of theBalm products contain great natural ingredients, but they’re often commingled with potentially irritating natural ingredients, and that doesn’t add up to great skin care—it’s more of a ticking time bomb than anything else.

For more information, call 510-522-3610, or visit www.thebalm.com. And yes, we're aware that "it's thebalm.com" is an expression used to indicate something that's totally cool. Coincidence? We'll let the reviews speak for themselves!