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belif

Bergamot Herbal Extract Toner

6.75 fl. oz. for $ 28.00
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Ingredients

Brand Overview

belif's Bergamot Herbal Extract Toner sounds healthy and beneficial, but its ingredients don't live up to that potential.

Whether you smooth this water-light fluid onto skin with a cotton pad or with fingers, it sinks in quickly, leaving skin feeling refreshed and lightly hydrated. It dries to a non-sticky finish, and works well with other skin care product textures without causing them to ball up or pill.

Looking at the ingredients, there are some helpful antioxidants like beta-glucan and raspberry included, along with skin-replenishing glycerin and sodium hyaluronate, plus soothing oat and calendula, to name a few.

Unfortunately, they're not the only ones along for the ride. There's fragrance, which can cause skin irritation, along with the product's namesake bergamot leaf extract, which, while not as sensitizing as bergamot oil, still can stir up issues. Most problematic, though, is the high amount of denatured alcohol this contains.

While alcohol helps make Bergamot Herbal Extract Toner more aesthetically pleasing due to its speedy drying time, over time it can amplify the skin concerns this toner is meant to address (see More Info for details). You're better off selecting a gentle, non-irritating toner, like the ones you'll find on our list of Best Toners & Face Mists.

Pros:
  • Makes skin feel refreshed, not sticky.
  • Formula includes antioxidants, plus skin-replenishing and skin-restoring ingredients.
Cons:
  • Contains fragrance and bergamot leaf extract, both of which can irritate skin.
  • Contains a high amount of drying alcohol.
More Info:

Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Research makes it clear that alcohol, as a main ingredient in any skincare product, especially one you use frequently and repeatedly, is a problem.

When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we're referring to denatured ethanol, which most often is listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.

When you see these types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question the product will irritate and cause other problems for skin. There's no way around it—these volatile alcohols are simply bad for all skin types.

The reason they're included in products is because they provide a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it's easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn't lead to negative long-term outcomes!

Using products that contain these alcohols will cause dryness, erosion of skin's protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.

The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from the alcohol can actually lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. As we said, the alcohol does have an immediate de-greasing effect on skin, but it causes irritation, which eventually will counteract the de-greasing effect and make your oily skin look even more shiny.

There are people who challenge us on the information we've presented about alcohol's effects. They often base their argument on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology (July 2007, pages 74–81) that concluded "alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing…." But, the only thing this study showed was that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash, which contained sodium lauryl sulfate. So, the study is actually just telling you that one irritant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is worse than another irritant, alcohol.

Not all alcohols are bad. For example, there are fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Examples that you'll see on ingredient labels include cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, all of which are good ingredients for skin. It's important to differentiate between these skin-friendly alcohols and the problematic alcohols.

References for this information:

Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80

Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175

Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1–16

Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41–49

Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542–551

Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366

Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179–190

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

A toner formulated with bergamot and sage to balance normal to combination skin, leaving it hydrated, soothed, and balanced after cleansing.

Water, Monarda Didyma Leaf Extract 8%, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat, Butylene Glycol, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Corchorus Olitorius Leaf Extract, Betaine, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Methylpropanediol, Polyglutamic Acid, Beta-Glucan, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Nepeta Cataria Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, Baptisia Tinctoria Root Extract, Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Glycereth-26, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG/PPG/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Caster Oil, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Octyldodeceth-16, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, Tromethamine, Trisodium EDTA, Fragrance, Citronellol, Limonene.

Owned by South Korean corporate giant LG (yes, the electronics company), belif is a natural skin care brand whose main selling point is the fusion of the sensibilities of Korean skin care – sheet masks and essences are featured prominently - with the philosophy of an old-fashioned European apothecary.

The result is an offering of skin care products that is best described as hit-or-miss. Most of them contain a mix of herbs based off “Napier’s Formula,” a blend of herbs concocted by Scottish apothecary Duncan Napier in the mid-19th century. Anecdotal stories tell of its miraculous effect on skin, though there’s no hard research showing this specific blend of ingredients is better than any other beneficial skin care ingredients.

There are some good products with a robust blend of antioxidants to be found, but most of belief’s lineup contains fragrance (or additional fragrance ingredients), and the brand usually packages its moisturizers in jars (which puts beneficial air- and light-sensitive skin care ingredients at risk because of exposure to both). Were it not for these two missteps, we’d be much more enthusiastic to recommend this brand as an option.

You can find out more about belif by visiting the brand’s website at https://www.belifusa.com/.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.