Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum
Fenty Skin’s Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum excels in some ways but misses the mark in other ways, landing a middle-of-the-road rating.
Starting with the positives, we’re fans of Fat Water’s thin liqu-gel consistency that feels more substantial than your average liquid toner. It’s easily pourable into hands without dripping through fingertips—no cotton pad needed for application. The serum-like gel texture is lightweight enough that any skin type can use it and experience an instant pinch of non-greasy hydration that leaves skin feeling refreshed.
The downside is that its second ingredient is witch hazel, a plant whose astringent qualities are known to constrict skin, leading to irritation. That coupled with the fragrant components in the formula spells trouble for skin (see More Info for the full research-backed explanation on the repercussions).
Were it not for the sensitizing ingredients, this toner would earn our praise for its generous dose of niacinamide and antioxidant-rich extracts. Niacinamide in particular is helpful for refining pores and evening out skin tone as claimed.
One other note: We’re a little disappointed that Fenty chose clear bottle packaging that allows light to penetrate and prematurely break down some of the delicate antioxidants. However, you can limit exposure by keeping the bottle stored away from light (i.e. in a dark drawer).
The bottom line: Despite having some nice attributes, Fat Water ultimately isn’t on par with the best toners for skin.
- Contains pore-refining niacinamide.
- Antioxidant-rich extracts help keep skin youthful.
- Hydrating liquid-gel consistency is easy to apply—no cotton pad needed.
- High amount of skin-sensitizing witch hazel.
- Contains fragrance, which increases the risk of irritation.
- See-through packaging means this needs to be stored out of direct light to preserve stability.
Why Fragrance is a Problem for Skin: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice.
Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.
Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.
A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for it to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don’t get lulled into thinking that if you don’t see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.
Generally, it’s best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there’s no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.
References for this information:
Annals of the Brazilian Journal of Dermatology, July-August 2017, pages 521-525
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Instantly refines the look of pores. Reduces the look of dark spots. Evens skin tone and fights shine without stripping skin.
Fenty Skin comes on the heels of the successful Fenty Beauty makeup line founded by pop star Rihanna (whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty). According to their website, Fenty Skin is all about making “skincare uncomplicated” with multitasking products that are easy to use and packed with benefits.
At the time of this writing, the line is still in its infancy with just a few products, all of which unfortunately contain fragrance, posing a risk of skin irritation. That aside, Fenty excels in the aesthetics department with textures that create a sensorial self-care experience.
In particular, Fenty Skin’s Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen is touted as inclusive option for dark skin tones, omitting the dreaded white cast that some sunscreens leave. We’re interested to see what other types of skin care products that come out with in the future.
For more information on Fenty Skin, visit https://www.fentybeauty.com/fentyskin.
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.