Tested on animals:No
The Body Shop touts their Pomegranate line as anti-aging collection, and in particular this toner is supposed to "prime skin for moisture" while removing last traces of makeup/impurities. Unfortunately, however, Pomegranate Invigorating Toner primes skin in all the wrong ways, including with irritating ingredients that pro-age skin!
Chief on the naughty list is alcohol, listed as the second ingredient meaning it's in a high enough concentration to cause free radical damage, destroy collagen, impair skin's ability to heal, and increase inflammation, all of which are anything but moisturizing or anti-aging for skin (see More Info for the full scoop).
Adding to the irritancy factor, Pomegranate Invigorating Toner contains a problematic blend of fragrant ingredients that can irritate skin and leave it worse for the wear (see More Info for the list of detrimental effects fragrance has on skin). Making matters worse, this combination alcohol and fragrance can actually trigger an inflammation response that makes oily even oilier (see More Info)– eek!
What about the highly touted pomegranate? While it's a beneficial antioxidant for skin, Pomegranate Invigorating Toner contains a higher concentration of irritating ingredients than pomegranate. More to the point, skin would benefit from a more robust blend of repairing ingredients, antioxidants, and cell-communicating ingredients rather than just focusing on one "superstar" ingredient.
Suffice it to say, even if this product didn't include alcohol and fragrance, there are better anti-aging toners to consider. Find those options on our Best Toners list.
- High concentration of alcohol wreaks pro-aging havoc on skin.
- Contains a problematic amount of fragrance that further irritates skin.
- Lacks a range of beneficial antioxidants and repairing ingredients.
Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: 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 & 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.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
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 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Irritation's Connection to Oily Skin & Breakouts: Inflammation in skin is usually related to external factors such as irritation that damages the skin's barrier in numerous ways, whether you can see the reaction or not. When irritation on the surface of skin happens it activates specific chemicals called neuropeptides in the brain (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2007). Those substances are specifically the kind that regulates the hormonal system of the body.
When this happens, it leads to the formation of inflammatory chemicals directly in the oil gland. These inflammatory chemicals trigger an increase in oil production, which can increase the size of the pore, and the likelihood of acne—the more inflammation that occurs, the worse the risk (European Journal of Dermatology, 2002 & Dermatology, 2003).
Bottom line: Inflammation and its resulting irritation, whether internal or external (for this discussion externally it would be due to the use of irritating ingredients, hot water, overusing scrubs, etc.), is practically a guarantee you will see excess production of oil, larger pores and more acne breakouts (Experimental Dermatology, 2009 & Dermato-Endocrinology, 2011).
That's reason enough to avoid products with irritating ingredients, which often come in the form of fragrance including the misnamed "essential" oils.