Soothing Facial Toner
Simple's Soothing Facial Toner does not contain the alcohol seen in a lot of its competitors' toners, which is good, but it doesn't bring a lot to the table otherwise, certainly not when compared with today's best toners.
This fragrance-free liquid toner contains a few skin-replenishing ingredients, which is especially good because this is a leave-on product, but again, it falls short in some key areas.
The first problem is that it contains witch hazel water. While that doesn't have quite the potential to aggravate skin as the more potent witch hazel extract or distillate, the potential is still there, particularly if you have temperamental skin.
The other issue is that this is a relatively non-descript formula that doesn't offer much in the way of skin-beneficial ingredients. The very best toners include a mix of skin-restoring and skin-replenishing ingredients as well as antioxidants to help boost skin after cleansing, and those are lacking here. The vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is nice, but skin needs a mix of antioxidants, not just one.
Despite the budget-friendly price, this is a pass. For far superior options (including drugstore choices), see our list of Best Toners & Face Mists.
- Fragrance- and alcohol-free formula.
- Contains some good soothing agents.
- Contains antioxidant vitamin C.
- Contains witch hazel water, which has the potential to aggravate skin.
- Formula lacks an array of skin-beneficial ingredients.
Launched in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, the general philosophy of the Simple skincare brand is, well... simple! Back then and presently, the brand's claim to fame is that all its products are designed with sensitive skin in mind (as all skincare products should be), omitting fragrance and other ingredients that can potentially cause reactions.
For the most part, we're happy to say Simple gets it right. A series of reformulations in 2015 resulted in a nearly across-the-board improvement in its products. Although they remain decidedly no-frills, they are indeed suitable for sensitive skin.
That doesn't mean there aren't a few missteps in the bunch (you can learn more about this in our individual reviews), but for the most part Simple is a good, reliable, inexpensive line, particularly for facial cleansers and makeup removers.
Note that if your sensitive skin is accompanied by redness, Simple simply doesn't go far enough. Minimalist formulas are one thing if you're operating on the principle that for sensitive skin, fewer ingredients are better; however, to alleviate redness you need proven soothing ingredients present in concentrations that are highly likely to make a visible difference. That's one area where Simple falters. Maybe the next revamp will correct this deficiency; what's been done to date has us encouraged.
For more information about Simple (owned by Uniliver) products visit www.simpleskincare.com. Because Simple products are sold in mainland China, where animal testing is required on imported cosmetics, we do not consider them to be a cruelty-free brand.
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.