Hydrating Water Essence
e.l.f.'s Hydrating Water Essence is essentially (pun intended) a toner. On that count it gets a lot right, though not quite enough to earn our top rating.
Despite the budget price, the packaging is elegant and sleek: An opaque glass bottle with a round opening at the top. You're instructed to shake out a bit of this lightweight, slightly milky toner onto a cotton pad, then spread it across skin.
The essence feels refreshing and light, yet hydrating enough for normal to dry skin. It sinks in quickly, leaving skin feeling smoother and plumper afterward. It isn't sticky at all, and is suitable to layer other skincare products over without interfering with their texture.
The best aspect of Hydrating Water Essence is that it's alcohol-free (always welcome, especially in a toner), and includes some skin-beneficial ingredients. Among them are skin-restoring niacinamide, antioxidant coffee extract, and skin-replenishing sodium hyaluronate and sodium PCA.
The only issue is that this toner also includes fragrance. Although there isn't a lot in here, fragrance, even in small amounts, can potentially irritate skin and that is never good skincare.
Without this, Hydrating Water Essence had the potential to earn top marks. Still, it's a good drugstore toner option, and one that's at a good price, too.
- Lightweight, hydrating formula improves normal to dry skin.
- Dries to a non-sticky texture.
- Includes skin-beneficial ingredients.
- Alcohol free.
- Contains fragrance, which is not the best for skin.
e.l.f. (it stands for which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face) was founded by Scott Vincent Borba and Joseph Shamah. The story goes that one day Borba was shopping in a dollar store and noticed women dressed in designer clothing and sporting designer handbags loading up their baskets with inexpensive nail polish, eye pencils, and lip balm. He took note of the products being sold in such stores and quickly decided he could offer products of even higher quality at the same competitive price. His idea paid off, as e.l.f. has enjoyed continued success and increased distribution online and in retail stores.
For a line offering many products for just a dollar (OK, there are plenty that cost $3 and $5, too), there are a surprising number of hits in the mix (especially the makeup brushes). True, not everything is going to be as luxurious or innovative as some higher-end brands, but overall you're likely to be impressed with what they developed for so little money, and you may just find some beauty bargains!
For more information about e.l.f., call (800) 231-4732 or visit www.eyeslipsface.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.