Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner
Farmacy’s Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner has most of the makings of a great leave-on exfoliant to reduce enlarged and clogged pores. We say “most” because a couple of formulary hiccups keep it from earning an unequivocally-deserved place in your skin care routine.
Housed in a weighty clear glass bottle is a green-tinted, water-light liquid. Farmacy added a plastic disc to the mouth of the bottle, and it’s capped with a tiny plug that needs to be removed before use. The disc makes dispensing easier, and this feels super-light on skin, leaving no sticky or greasy residue once dry.
2% salicylic acid (BHA, short for beta hydroxy acid) is on board, but the formula’s pH of 4.2 (confirmed via digital pH meter and tested twice to confirm) keeps it from working its exfoliation magic. At 4.2, you’ll get some efficacy, but today’s best BHA exfoliants have pH ranges between 3 and 4, which is what research has shown works best.
The other concern is the inclusion of eucalyptus water. Although not as potent as eucalyptus oil, the water’s refreshing tingle indicates skin is being irritated. On the other hand, the tingling sensation doesn’t last too long, but there’s no denying the initial hit of irritation even if you don’t see any signs of it.
We like that this exfoliant doesn’t just rest on its BHA, but also treats skin to several hydrating amino acids such as arginine and plant sugars like xylitol. These boost moisture without feeling heavy, and the brand also includes antioxidant plant extracts from moringa, peony, and tone-improving Scutellaria baicalensis root. The latter ingredients are light- and air-sensitive, so be sure to store the clear glass container away from natural light.
As for the papaya enzyme referenced in the claims, this refers to the ingredient lactobacillus/papaya fruit ferment extract. Although information from companies that supply this ingredient indicate it dissolves dead cells on skin’s surface, independent research supporting this benefit (not to mention the pore-improving benefits Farmacy states) is lacking. What is known is that this ingredient is highly light-sensitive, one more reason we’re puzzled he brand chose clear glass for this product.
- Easy-to-use, water-light texture.
- Contains hydrating amino acids and plant sugars.
- Good mix of natural antioxidants for healthier skin.
- The tingle from eucalyptus water means skin is being irritated.
- pH is outside the ideal range for efficacy.
- Clear glass bottle must be stored away from natural light.
This refreshing, water-light daily toner contains a blend of salicylic acid, moringa water, and papaya enzyme to help reduce shine and minimize the look of pores. Ideal for combination and oily skin, the formula effectively exfoliates and cleans pores to reveal a healthy-looking complexion.
Farmacy is the creation of entrepreneurial businessman and self-described “plant geek” Mark Veeder. Due to a chance discovery, he was able to bring together his childhood background on a farm and his experience as a marketing and public relations expert to create a skin care brand focused on farm-raised ingredients.
As the story goes, during his time as a marketing professional in New York City, Veeder still maintained a 7-acre farm 90 miles away. The chance discovery happened in 1999, when he noticed an unusual green variant of the normally-purple Echinacea Purpurea on his property. Excited by what this could mean, he sent the plant to a lab for testing. The test results showed that this version had 300 times more of the antioxidant cichoric acid than the usual strain of the plant. Veeder patented it, sold it to local nurseries, and named it GreenEnvy. Fifteen years after the initial discovery, he resolved to create a skin care company, Farmacy, with GreenEnvy as its star ingredient.
Before you get too excited: there’s little independent research backing the claims surrounding GreenEnvy’s potency (most of the research has been done on Farmacy’s behalf), though as with most plant extracts, it provides antioxidant benefits and may also prevent collagen breakdown, which is nice but hardly unique to this plant.
As for the products themselves, most have solid foundations (great, plant-based antioxidants abound) but some of them are undone by additions that make them less-than-ideal for skin. Many contain fragrant plant oils which, while natural, aren’t good for skin. Fragrance, whether natural or synthetic, puts skin at risk for irritation that can cause numerous problems. Frustratingly, many of the fragrant plants are, in fact, also brilliant antioxidants; however, plenty of natural ingredients also provide antioxidant benefits without risking skin irritation and other problems.
We like that Farmacy’s take on natural is to combine it with key lab-engineered (synthetic) ingredients. This approach is refreshingly honest and affirms the research-supported fact that just because an ingredient is synthetic doesn’t mean it’s bad for skin. The truth is there are good and bad natural ingredients as well as good and bad synthetic ingredients.
Farmacy’s other issue beyond fragrance is that several of the products are packaged in jars, which exposes their good ingredients to light and air that will eventually cause them to break down and lose effectiveness.
There is one mineral-based sunscreen that’s a standout, especially for sensitive skin, but because of the issues mentioned above, this line isn’t quite the farm-fresh merger of nature and science it’s made out to be.
To learn more about Farmacy, visit https://www.farmacybeauty.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.