Keep Your Balance Hydrating Toner
e.l.f. Cosmetics has been improving its skin care options as of late, with some impressive additions – but Keep Your Balance Hydrating Toner is not among them.
This water-light liquid comes in a light blue, see-through bottle. As with most toners, you’re instructed to apply it using a cotton pad or fingers, removing any impurities your cleanser may have missed, leaving skin feeling refreshed.
The packaging touts its inclusion of aloe and skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate, and while both ingredients are in the formula, as well as water-binding sugars and amino acids, they’re all fighting an uphill battle because this toner’s second ingredient is drying denatured alcohol. This type of alcohol causes all kinds of problems for skin – including the dullness this is supposed to combat (see More Info for details).
More problematic: this also includes witch hazel water, which can also be drying (it’s a hidden source of denatured alcohol), as well as fragrance, which puts skin at risk for irritation.
Many toners of the past have been alcohol-based because of the belief that alcohol controls oiliness, but you don’t have to hurt your skin to do that! Try any of the products you’ll find on our list of best toners for alternatives that won’t irritate skin, yet provide all the good aspects a toner can add to your skin care routine.
- Includes sodium hyaluronate, aloe, and water-binding ingredients.
- A high amount of drying denatured alcohol (it’s the second ingredient) negates the gentle claim and can damage skin.
- Includes witch hazel water, which has additional alcohol.
- Contains fragrance, which causes further skin irritation.
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
Say goodbye to dull skin! This gentle toner removes impurities and refreshes the skin with Hyaluronic Acid, Witch Hazel and Aloe. The result is soft, fresh and balanced 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.