Clean and Clear Lemon Juice Toner

Clean & Clear

Lemon Juice Toner

7.50 fl. oz. for $ 5.99
Expert Rating

Expert Reviews

Community Reviews



Brand Overview

Lemon Juice Toner from Clean & Clear has almost nothing beneficial to offer skin. It’s closer to a bottle of lemon-scented bathroom cleanser than a great daily skin care product, and as such we don’t recommend it for any skin type.

Packaged in an opaque bright yellow bottle with a twist-off cap, this toner isn’t the “juicy refresher” it claims to be. We love that drying, irritating denatured alcohol that’s common in toners was left out (also as claimed) but the amount of fragrance this wafts is--while possibly making your nose happy--is bound to make your skin miserable, as we explain in More Info below.

We understand the appeal of skin care that smells nice, but research is clear that minimal to no fragrance is best for everyone’s skin. Besides, if you were hoping this would smell like fresh-cut lemon as the packaging would lead you to believe, you’ll be disappointed that this doesn’t come close to that refreshing scent. (But again, the lemon scent is about making your nose happy, not your skin.)

Along with the fragrance is fragrant lemon fruit extract, an ingredient that poses further risk of irritating skin. This toner offers the tiniest amount of replenishing glycerin and a form of vitamin C known as ascorbyl palmitate (way too little to improve skin tone as claimed), but it’s a far cry from what today’s best toners provide.

It’s been a long time since we’ve reviewed a toner this lackluster and yet still problematic for skin. Skip this and if you love the smell of lemon, burn lemon essential oil in a diffuser rather than use skin care products that contain this fruit.

  • Alcohol-free.
  • Contains almost no good-for-skin ingredients.
  • Strong fragrance highly likely to irritate skin.
  • Lemon fruit poses further risk of irritation.
  • Doesn’t contain enough vitamin C to improve uneven skin tone as claimed.

More Info:

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

A juicy refresher for your skin. Lemon Juice Toner cleanses without over-drying. It’s made with lemon extract and Vitamin C (and no alcohol). The toner gently expels impurities and helps even out skin tone without over-drying for clear, bright, happy skin.

Water, Butylene Glycol, PEG-4, Polysorbate 20, Oleth-30, Methylparaben, Sodium Chloride, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Ceteth-15, Benzalkonium Chloride, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Choleth-15, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Sodium Hydroxide.

Clean & Clear At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; an excellent 10% benzoyl peroxide product; some very good cleansers.

Weaknesses: The majority of products contain irritating fragrant extracts, alcohol, menthol, menthyl lactate, or other problematic ingredients; below-average moisturizers; poor options for those struggling with breakouts or blackheads (at least if your goal is assembling a helpful skin-care routine using only Clean & Clear's products).

The name of this Johnson & Johnson-owned brand clearly communicates what it attempts to provide, and may seem to be a beacon of hope for consumers struggling with acne. The products are heavily marketed toward teens, with commercials and print ads featuring attractive young models with nary a blemish in sight, presumably because these fresh-faced teens adhere to a routine consisting of these attractively packaged products.

Although there are some great, inexpensive cleansers available, blemishes have nothing to do with how clean your skin is; the two issues are completely unrelated. The other failing is that unlike sister company Neutrogena (also owned by J&J), almost all of Clean & Clear's anti-acne products contain irritating ingredients that won't improve skin problems and end up making matters worse. Even a couple of the pH-correct BHA options are marred by troublesome ingredients that only make blemished skin more inflamed and impede the healing process. Moreover, the issue of sun protection is inadequately addressed, with the only option failing to provide sun protection without added irritants. What kind of message is that for teens trying to put together an effective skin-care routine? Clean skin is attainable from these products, but the company's road to "beautifully clear" skin has too many speed bumps to make this a one-stop destination for the blemish-prone.

For more information about Clean & Clear, call (877) 754-6411 or visit

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.

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