Library Posts Archive - Khloris Botanical

Product FAQ

Do you have a product question? In this FAQ we cover questions about Khloris and skin, using our skin tonic, and what’s in the bottle.

Khloris Botanical Skin Tonic and skin health

Which Khloris skin tonic should I choose?

If your skin is on the oily, and/or congested side of the skin spectrum – try our Damask Rose & Orange Blossom.

If your skin is normal to combination i.e it leans to oily/congested, and/or has some dryness or dehydration – try our Australian Damask Rose Water, or our Damask Rose & Orange Blossom.

If your skin is on the dry/dehydrated side and/or mature side of the skin spectrum – try our Australian Damask Rose Water, or our Damask Rose & Frankincense.

If your skin shows signs of inflammation (redness) – try our Lavender & Helichrysum, or our Australian Damask Rose Water.

If your skin is sensitive – try our Australian Damask Rose Water (and follow the usual cautions of trying a patch test first and using sparingly).

How do distilled plant waters (hydrosols) work?

Distillation is an ancient way of capturing plant compounds in a form that makes them easy to use for skin. It is these compounds (including microscopic particles of essential oil) that are beneficial for the skin.

The specific properties of a distilled plant water will depend on the compounds contained in the plant distilled.

In general, though, distilled plant waters can be very good for treating skin inflammation, balancing sebum production, and supporting the healthy functioning of the skin as a barrier through their natural slight acidity.

How does a distilled plant water’s pH support skin health?

The protective film on your skin is acidic (it’s often referred to as the acid mantle).

If your skin’s acidity levels are not optimal, the protective ability of this film gets compromised. This can impact your skin’s ability to keep in water and increase it’s vulnerability to inflammation.

As distilled plant water is naturally slightly acidic, it’s a good match for supporting your skin’s pH and health as a barrier.

Will a natural skin care product work as well as a non-natural product?

We receive emails from happy customers that show that the answer to this is a resounding yes. Many, many, peer-reviewed studies also confirm the benefits of plant compounds for skin.

Hydrosols for skin

When we use plants, we are co-opting the same chemical constituents that the plant uses to keep itself healthy, for ourselves. This works because humans and plants have co-evolved over millennia.

We believe that a pure and whole plant product is more likely to interact positively with our skin to support its health over the long term.

How long until I see results from using my skin tonic?

This depends on many things, including the health of your skin to start, your health generally, your environment and toxin exposure.  We’ve had enthusiastic emails from customers who saw a difference after a couple of days. We usually advise to give it about 30 days.

Can your skin tonics help with tricky skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea or sensitivity?

Firstly, we’re sorry to hear you may be dealing with one of these tricky conditions. 

Our skin tonics can play an important supporting role in nurturing your skin back to health. They are gentle and don’t burden the skin with unnecessary stress from synthetic additives or multiple concentrated fragrances. They also have properties for soothing and helping inflammation, and helping the skin re-establish itself as an effective barrier.

We believe products are best seen as part of a holistic healing plan, however, so is also essential to work with a good health practitioner to address any health imbalances causing or contributing to the problem.

If your skin is sensitive, we recommend an extra cautious approach. Choose our most gentle tonic (our Australian Damask Rose Water), do a patch test, and use it sparingly at first. 

Using Khloris skin tonic

How long do I have to use up my skin tonic?

We recommend within three months of opening the bottle and before the Best Before date.

Two key things that will impact the freshness of any beauty product are light and oxygen. We use light-blocking glass bottles especially designed to preserve freshness. A small amount of oxygen will enter the bottle when you use the spray pump, however, and over time this can make the product less potent.

Do I need to store my skin tonic in the fridge?

We recommend that if you’re storing a bottle before using it, store it in the fridge. Then once it’s open, if the temperature in your home is fairly consistent, it’s fine in the bathroom.

The most important thing is to avoid big, regular temperature fluctuations. 

How do I use my Khloris skin tonic in my skin care routine?

There are many beautiful ways to use a Khloris skin tonic to suit the rhythm of your skin care routine and your skin’s needs. You are not confined to using your skin tonic like an old-fashioned toner that must come between cleansing and moisturising. Break free!

No matter how you use your skin tonic in your routine, you are actually applying plant compounds to treat your skin. You are also treating your mood and emotions if you inhale.

So, a joy of a Khloris skin tonic is that you can use it to support any step in your routine  – cleansing, toning, moisturising, or supercharging treatments –  and match what your skin needs for its health each day.  Click the article link below to learn more.

How to use Khloris Botanical Skin Tonic

Will I like the smell of a natural product?

Most of us are now conditioned to synthetic engineered scents, so a natural product may smell different at first. Some people love natural aromas right away, for others, they take some getting used to.

A synthetic scent is made by recreating a few key aroma notes. A natural product will contain the complexity of all of the elements of the plant, usually including some green or earthy notes.

Once you reacquaint your nose with natural, it’s likely you’ll be surprised at how your tastes change away from synthetic scents and you come to love the natural.

What’s in the bottle

hydrosols

How does your product and production system work to avoid the need for preservatives?

Many skin care products do need added preservatives. We put a great deal of work, however, into designing and maintaining a product and production system that avoids the need for them. Our ongoing testing confirms our system’s effectiveness.

Our system is built around:

  • The in-built anti-bacterial qualities of the distilled waters we use combined with the heat sterilisation that is part of traditional distillation. Testing of every edition of our skin tonics (unopened after bottling) has shown zero bacterial growth even years after the best before date.
  • Using Khloris doesn’t require opening the bottle or using fingers, which can introduce bacteria.
  • Our glass bottle. Glass has a lower reported rate of accidental contamination than plastic, and we heat sterilise our bottles before filling.
  • Our ability to have oversight of the quality of every step in our production chain because we have direct relationships with our distillers (no wholesalers) and direct control over bottling and selling (in-house).
  • Our stringent product testing. Our internationally accredited lab partner tests samples from EVERY container of ingredient we receive so that we can be confident that ANY product that goes into a bottle is clean. We also continue to test during the life of each edition.
  • Our focus on educating customers (whom we have direct relationships with because we don’t wholesale to other retailers) that our skin tonics are best used within three months of opening the bottle.

Is a distilled plant water different from a floral water?

Yes. Our product is made via traditional, authentic distillation.

Floral waters are made by mixing concentrated extracts with water. They may contain synthetic ingredients and will therefore be very different from an authentic distilled product.  It pays to thoroughly research a beauty brand and their ingredients before you buy so you know exactly what you’re getting.

The article linked below about how rose water is made gives some good info about what the differences between distillates, hydrosols, floral waters are.

Rose water – a buyer’s guide

Why should I choose a Khloris Botanical skin tonic over another hydrosol product?

Because it’s a 100% pure, highest quality distilled plant water (hydrosol), that has not been watered down or adulterated by synthetic or other skin health-disrupting ingredients. It will arrive to you in beautiful, conscious, award-winning packaging.

Because we do not source from wholesalers, and sell only directly to you online, you are just two degrees of separation from the maker of the ingredients. We believe we are the only beauty brand in the world where all ingredients are traceable from field to face.

You are not paying for multiple layers of mark-up for wholesalers and retailers. And, our product is not watered down with cheap ingredients such as water so you’re getting more value in quality of the ingredients for what you spend.

Does the skin on your face often feel taut? Perhaps your moisturiser doesn’t last long and fine lines appear?  That’s dry skin. If you’d like to know how rose water can help, this article is for you.

At a glance: rose water and dry skin

If you want to heal dry/dehydrated skin, a two-pronged approach is best. First, manage your external skin care routine and beauty products to support your skin in performing properly as a good barrier to moisture loss – rose water is great for this.

Rose water provides an instant moisture boost, and its plant compounds have properties that support the skin’s health as a barrier over the longer term, which is essential for retaining good levels of the natural oils and moisture that both dry and dehydrated skin lack.

If dryness is still an issue, work with a trusted health practitioner to optimise your inner health to improve your skin’s oil production.

For dry skin, choose a high quality distilled rose water made from real rose petals. Avoid rose waters containing synthetic lab-made compounds and other added ingredients, such as alcohol, that may place more stress on your skin and impair its ability to work as a healthy barrier.

What you’ll learn if you read on

  • The difference between dry and dehydrated skin.
  • Your skin’s barrier health and why it’s key to dry skin.
  • How rose water supports barrier health.
  • The role of inner medicine in healing dry skin.

The difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin

Dry skin = lack of oil. Dehydration = lack of moisture. They are different but closely related. We cover the difference and why its important further on in this article.

Dry skin - rose water pore image

This is a pore under a scanning electron microscope. Gorgeous! You can see the layers of flattened cells that make up the outer layer of your skin (the stratum corneum); these prevent dehydration by controlling water loss. If your skin is lacking oil, moisture can escape more easily.

Healing dry skin: building skin health as a barrier is key

Healthy, intact skin helps our bodies to retain moisture and provides a protective barrier from physical stress and strain as well as from environmental pathogens. The sebaceous glands form sebum, an odorless oily substance that keeps the skin and hair moist, effectively waterproofing it. The amount of sebum produced and retained in the skin varies depending on hormone levels and your cleansing habits. 

Studies show that rose (damascena) has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities – all of these support the skin’s ability to act as a healthy barrier and retain moisture.

If you’ve been compromising your skin’s barrier function through using cleansing products or beauty treatments that strip away too much of your skin’s protective oil, or irritate it with harsh ingredients, switching to gentle rose water may also help.

Rose water’s gentleness is also important if dryness and dehydration has impacted your skin’s health to the extent that it has become sensitive and/or inflamed, which further compromises its ability to hold moisture.

Dry skin - rose water petal image

As short-term relief, rose water’s high moisture content means it is a great temporary moisture boost if your skin is dehydrated. You get instant moisture and beneficial plant compounds. And, an extra benefit is that when you spritz and inhale rose water, you’re also gaining its calming qualities on your nervous system through aromatherapy.

Using rose water as a temporary moisture boost

Damp skin cells are more porous, so a rose water spritz is a good way to better prepare your skin to receive the next products in your routine. If you have dry skin and have not been using a mist product in between cleansing and moisturising, you’ll be amazed at what a difference introducing rose water here can make.

Pressing in a heavier moisturiser with occlusive ingredients once you’ve saturated your skin with rose water, will prolong the moisturising. Occlusives act as a barrier on the skin to stop the release of moisture. Plant butters, such as shea or mango butter, are good occlusives.

While depending on heavy occlusive layers to seal in moisture isn’t ideal as long term strategy, by using rose water you are supporting your skin’s longer-term health while using this as a quick fix.

More ideas for using rose water to help your dry skin

One of the joys of pure natural rose water is its versatility. We’ve put together one page of our best ideas for using rose water in your daily routine to help nurture your dry skin back to health.

Just zip down the page to the signup box and enter your email to get the link immediately in your inbox.

Dry skin - rose water checklist image

Dry skin and rose water: thirsty for more detail? Read on.

Dry skin - rose water sand image

Dry skin is a skin type, dehydration is a condition

As we covered above, dry skin is defined as skin lacking in oil (i.e. it has low levels of lipids and sebum). This means that its health as a barrier is compromised and it loses its ability to hold moisture well.

Dry skin is officially classified as a skin type, something that is linked to your body’s core biology, which means that it’s something you may grapple with over your life. Its deeper cause is how different systems in your body (such as your hormones) function, so may have a basis in your genetics, and may change as you age.

Dehydration is when skin is lacking in moisture. Dehydration is classified as a skin condition, so it may be temporary. It often goes hand in hand with dry skin because if you have dry skin, and your skin’s moisture regulation is not working properly, you’ll more easily be tipped into dehydration by your environment i.e in dry heating or air conditioning at the office or an aircraft.

It’s not just dry skin that gets dehydrated, oily skin can be dehydrated too.

Can rose water help both dry and dehydrated skin?

Yes. Rose water can help both dry and dehydrated skin. It provides an instant moisture boost, including lovely plant compounds, for dehydration. It also supports the skin’s health as a barrier over the longer term, which is essential for retaining good levels of the natural oils and moisture that both dry and dehydrated skin lack.

Dry skin - rose water spray image

What makes rose water so gentle for dry skin?

High quality distilled rose waters should naturally contain rose oil, but the molecules are microscopic and are very finely dispersed through the water. Applying rose water is a way to get the beneficial compounds found in rose oil into the skin (along with other valuable water-soluble compounds not found in the oil) in a less-concentrated form.

There are currently no known contraindications (reasons to withhold use of rose water because of potential harm) listed in the safety literature.

Pure, natural rose water may be suitable for people who find products containing a high proportion of essential oils, or other concentrated extracts too strong.

If your skin is dry, it’s especially important to avoid rose waters that further burden your skin, such as those with synthetic compounds, fragrance, or a high percentage of alcohol.

How exactly does rose water help the skin’s health as a barrier?

Studies show that rose (damascena) has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities – all of these support the skin’s ability to act as a healthy barrier and retain moisture.

Anti-microbial qualities are linked to the health of the skin’s microbiome (its balance of bacterial populations), which is now understood to be critical to many important skin functions, including healthy immune response to allergens, controlling inflammation, and protecting against pathogens.

Antioxident qualities are linked to protecting cells from stress, for example from UV exposure or environmental pollutants.

Anti-inflammatory qualities are linked to helping relieve signs of inflammation (such as redness and mild irritation).

Some science if you want to geek out: The Pharmacological Effects of Rosa Damascena.

Rose water also supports your skin’s acid mantle, a key factor in its health

Sebum also sets up what is known as the acid mantle, a protective barrier that controls the types of beneficial microbes and pathogens that are permitted to reside in the skin. The acid mantle has a pH of 4.5-5.5. Rose water is slightly acidic (usually pH 4 to 4.5), which is a good match for your skin’s natural pH.

If your skin’s acidity levels are not optimal, the protective ability of this film gets compromised and the outer layer of skin may become more permeable. This can impact its ability to keep in water and increase vulnerability to inflammation.

Dry skin - rose water class image

An important part of maintaining a healthy barrier is making sure that your cleanser is not stripping away your skin’s protective lipid layer. Rose water is lovely to use as part of cleansing.

IF A ROSE WATER CONTAINS CONTROVERSIAL INGREDIENTS, SUCH AS PARABENS, SULFATES OR PHTHALATES, IS IT OK FOR DRY SKIN?

This depends on many things, including the type and quality of the actual rose water in the product as well as your skin’s condition. If you have an impaired barrier, any benefits from the rose water for your skin’s health may be counteracted by issues caused by these other ingredients being absorbed in a way that they wouldn’t if your barrier was healthy. 

If your skin shows any signs of inflammation (redness, flaking, scaling) or noticeable dehydration or dryness, it would be wise to avoid rose waters with these ingredients.

Rose water – the case for pure

A note: the role of inner medicine in healing dry skin

While rose water skin care can be effective at treating your skin’s outer layers, longer-term healing may need to come from within.

If you have switched to natural, pure products and a gentle routine that preserves your skin’s natural oils and supports its health as a barrier, and your skin is still dry, we recommend also working with a good functional health practitioner to explore the underlying reasons why your skin’s oil production is low.

Your dry skin may be caused by impaired fatty acid metabolism, which is hormone related, or by poor gut health.

If there are internal factors contributing to your dry skin this will be key for healing your skin for the longer term.

No matter where and how you use your Khloris Botanical Skin Tonic in your routine, you are actually applying plant compounds to treat your skin. You may also be treating your mood, because you are likely inhaling the same compounds.

A joy of the liquid spray form of our skin tonic is that depending on the needs of your skin each day, you can choose to use it to support any step in your routine – cleansing your skin and/or hydrating/moisturising it (or both). You can also use it to supercharge other treatments, such as masks or exfoliation.  Read on for lots of ideas about how.

Cleanse with Khloris Botanical Skin Tonic image

The fast cleanse

If you can’t summon the time or energy for multiple skin care steps, just do one quick thing for your skin – a quick wipe with a cotton pad using your skin tonic instead of plain water. It’s one minute tops and using skin tonic rather than plain water means you’re adding beneficial plant compounds and supporting your acid mantle – and your nervous system if you inhaling the relaxing aroma.

The compress

The skin tonic compress as a sole cleansing step is lovely. In the morning, it’s great to help remove any excess sebum or toxins your skin has released overnight.  Just soak a large organic muslin cloth in warm water, apply a few pumps of your tonic to it, then press it to your face and gently massage away the grime.

The double cleanse

Double-cleansing just means adding a second cleansing step into your routine.  It’s useful if you’ve had a heavy makeup or sunscreen day and feel there’s a bit of extra work needed to get the residue off.

For double cleansing, do both the quick wipe or the compress. Or do one of them in combination with your normal cleanser.

Moisturise with Khloris Skin Tonic image

The skin tonic spritz – pre-moisturising, or at any time

A solo rose water spray is a lovely way to harness all of the longer-term skin health-building benefits of your skin tonic while giving your skin’s outer layer an immediate moisture boost.

Do this any time of the day that your skin feels like it’s lacking moisture (particularly if you are in air conditioning or dry heat for long periods of time).

Distilled plant water and oil – nature’s combination

Damp skin cells are more porous, so applying a spritz of your skin tonic before moisturising will add beneficial plant compounds as well as preparing your skin to receive the next products in your routine.

In essence, your skin uses a combination of water and oil to keep itself healthily supple, hydrated and soft.  By pairing a Khloris skin tonic with a pure plant oil (such as rose hip or pomegranate), you are seamlessly matching the way your skin naturally functions.

We think this is the perfect minimalist approach – just two pure ingredients! If oil doesn’t work for your skin, then your usual moisturiser is fine.

If your skin is particularly dry or dehydrated we recommend that as a final step you press in a moisturiser that has ingredients that will provide a barrier to stop the release of moisture from the skin’s surface. (We like a pure whipped shea butter for this).

Treat your skin with Khloris Botanic Skin Tonic image

As part of a special treatment

If you’re a fan of the at-home facial, a compress using your skin tonic (as above) is a beautiful way to way to prepare your skin to receive a mask or treatment.

Your skin tonic can be mixed with pure clay to make a lovely and effective treatment mask.

Khloris skin tonic is great to mix with a dry exfoliation product (or a DIY combination of clay and ground almond) instead of water.

In flight or in the office

Khloris skin tonic can be an excellent way to keep up hydration in skin-stressing environments such as aircraft or air-conditioned offices. As well as providing a direct dose of moisture, you get some beautiful aromatic calming for your nervous system.

Applying makeup

Plumping up the outer layer of the skin with skin tonic is a great way to prepare your skin before applying foundation if you’re a fan of the dewy look.  You can also use Khloris skin tonic to dilute your foundation for more sheer coverage. Or, you can spray skin tonic directly on to your face after applying your foundation, blusher or eyeshadow and then go over everything with your make up sponge or brush to really blend.

Is pure rose water better for your the health of your skin? If you’re thinking of making the switch but are not sure about the benefits, or the issues to look out for, this article is for you.

At a glance: is pure rose water better for the health of your skin?

If an irritant gets through your skin’s outer layer and into the living cells below, it may cause inflammation. If your skin is already troubled – if you have flaking, redness, scaliness, rash, lack of moisture, or lack of oil – choosing a pure over a conventional rose water will minimise your chances of exposing your skin to unnecessary stress.

Many of us begin the journey to pure plant-based skincare to address a health issue, or to pre-empt a susceptibility to one. So the choice about whether to seek pure beauty products can go deeper than the aesthetics of appearance – it’s about our health and wellness.

The three rose water purity issues you’ll learn about if you read on:

  • Synthetic vs real rose water – is it the same?
  • Organic vs conventional rose water –  can pesticides get through?
  • Adulteration – what might be added without your knowledge?

Synthetic vs real rose water

Chemists tell us that a synthetic lab-created rose molecule is ‘nature-identical’ so there is no difference between a plant or synthetic molecule. Whether this is true is complex and hotly contested.

Pure rose water - rose image

Is a lab-made rose component really exactly the same as one extracted from a real rose petal?

Aromatherapy chemist Kurt Schnaubelt has done some interesting research. In his book, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, Schnaubelt says that the ‘nature identical’ argument is misleading. Firstly, he says, the physical factors prove it wrong and that there is a difference in isotope distribution and enantiomeric composition (Don’t worry we won’t go into that here!).

Secondly, Schnaubelt says, a natural plant component comes always comes embedded in by-products that are very different to those created via the synthetic process.

Humans and plants have co-evolved over unimaginably long periods of time, during which our biology has interacted with and adapted to the molecules of the plant world.

Pure rose water - petal image

Pure plant compounds have been balanced and proportioned by nature in tandem with human physiology.

It’s worth noting that authentic essential oils and hydrosols cause skin reactions less frequently than those containing synthetic compounds. This is likely to be because our body may identify some synthetic compounds as foreign and activate immune defences.

Another consideration is that most synthetic cosmetic ingredients are also made by global chemical corporations. You are voting for these corporations with your dollars when you purchase products using their ingredients.

At Khloris, we believe that while a synthetic product might indeed give your skin a quick fix, or seem to work well for a while, that a pure and whole plant product is more likely to interact positively for the health of your skin over time.

Given that it’s impossible to quantity how the thousands of chemicals – plant and synthetic – we encounter every day interact with each other and our biology, where we are able choose, we choose pure plant extracts.

If you’re still deciding where you sit on this issue we encourage you to experiment with both a natural and a partly or wholly-synthetic rose water and observe how each experience differs for you and the health of your skin.

Pure rose water - brand image

An organic, authentic, pure rose water made with love not only works well to help support our skin’s health, it can also FEEL different.

Are you interested in ideas to soothe anxiety while treating your skin?

In aromatherapy, Rose is associated with the heart and is commonly used for depression, grief and nervous stress. There are some lovely ways that you can use rose water to treat both your skin and your emotions if you are mindful. See two of our favourites in our one-page, easy save and print checklist emailed to you. Just zip down the page to the signup box and enter your email to get the link immediately in your inbox.

Pure rose water - treatments for the emotions image

Should you buy organic rose water?

Rose water is made from rose petals, and what’s on those petals may wind up on your skin. Should you buy organic rose water? Evidence says yes.

Choosing botanicals for skincare comes with one of the same issues we face today with food – the risk that you’re also buying the chemicals the plant has been sprayed with.

There are hundreds of biocides (pesticides or herbicides) that may be used on aromatic plants (400 by some estimates). Unfortunately, studies show that it is possible for these to pass through the distillation process. One study of rose extracts found that 5.7% of an insecticide used on roses was transferred to the rose water.

Pure rose water - Khloris farm image

(L) The organic rose fields on the family farm that supplies Khloris; (R) A Damask rose bud.

 

Studies also show that rose water can be contaminated by phthalates, the plasticising agents linked to numerous health concerns. This probably happens unintentionally through leeching from plastic bottles.

Contamination with biocides or phthalates may alter a rose water’s chemistry by inciting a reaction with the plant compounds, or other synthetic compounds if you’re using a multi-ingredient rose water. 

And – if you are also applying other beauty products formulated to enhance penetration of their active ingredients into deeper layers of the skin, you may be increasing the likelihood that undesirable compounds travel more deeply.

If an irritant gets through your skin’s outer layer and into the living cells below, it may cause inflammation. If your skin is already sensitive or inflamed – if you have flaking, redness, rash, lack of moisture, or lack of oil – we highly recommend that you choose organic over conventional products to minimise your chances of exposing your skin to unnecessary stress.

It is important to note that not everything you put on your skin reaches your bloodstream. Your skin’s main job is to protect you, and it’s good at it.  Skin is a very effective barrier to water, so the water soluble compounds in rose water do their work mostly in the surface layers of your skin.  Aromatherapy research shows, however, that essential oils can reach your bloodstream.

Pure rose water - rose image

Proponents of industrialised agriculture, and the agencies that regulate our food and beauty products argue that approved industrial chemicals appear in such minuscule amounts as to pose no health risk. This may hold true on a case-by-case basis, but it’s impossible to quantify how the  chemicals – plant and synthetic – we encounter every day interact with each other and our biology.

This issue goes much deeper than the aesthetics of appearance, it’s about our health and wellness as a whole, so where we are able choose, there’s a strong case to choose organic.

Is adulteration an issue for rose water?

Here we’re not talking about the dilutants that you can easily see on a label (look at most rose waters on the market and you’ll see many in plain sight, including alcohol and added water).

We’re referring to potential adulterants that are hidden – the practice of increasing profits by adding substances that dilute. This is a well-known issue in the aromatherapy industry.

Pure rose water - petal image

Hidden adulteration is potentially an issue if you’re buying a rose floral water made with added rose oil. Rose oil is extremely expensive to produce and hugely in demand, which has led to unscrupulous profiteering. One study of 19 commercial rose oil samples found unusual results for most of the oils indicating that a cheaper essential oil (palmarosa oil) had been added.

While added palmarosa oil, for example, may not cause actual harm to your skin, it’s not likely to achieve the benefits you are paying for either. And if a product has been adulterated, you don’t know what you are applying to your precious face that is potentially also being absorbed into your system.

Choosing a pure distilled rose water with no other ingredients and from a brand with a high level of transparency and clear provenance of ingredients will lessen the risk you’re buying an adulterated product.

IF A ROSE WATER CONTAINS CONTROVERSIAL INGREDIENTS, SUCH AS PARABENS, SULFATES OR PHTHALATES, WILL MY SKIN STILL BENEFIT IF I USE IT?

This depends on many things, including the type and quality of the actual rose water in the product as well as your skin’s condition. If you have an impaired barrier, any benefits from the rose water for your skin’s health may be counteracted by issues caused by these other ingredients being absorbed in a way that they wouldn’t if your barrier was healthy. 

If your skin shows any signs of inflammation (redness, flaking, scaling) or noticeable dehydration or dryness, it would be wise to avoid rose waters with these ingredients.

Australian Damask Rose Water

Rose water’s benefits for skin have made it one of the most beloved beauty products since antiquity.  First, we’ll take you through some of the main rose water benefits for supporting healthy skin. Then help you assess whether rose water is right for your skin. Finally, answers to some questions you may have.

Five rose water benefits for skin

It’s important to note that the rose water we are referring to is always traditionally distilled rose water, which should be pure, wholly plant-based, organic and unadulterated.

Rose water's benefits - damask image

1. Studies link rose (damascena) to anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities

Anti-microbial qualities are linked to the skin’s  balance of bacteria (its microbiome). It’s now understood that a good balance of bacteria is vital for healthy skin. The key is to combat pathogens while preserving a balance of microbes that support functions such as healthy immune response to allergens, or controlling inflammation.

Acne and other skin disruptions, such as dermatitis, are now understood to be connected to the skin’s microbiome. 

Antioxident qualities are linked to protecting cells from stress, for example from UV exposure or environmental pollutants.

Anti-inflammatory qualities are linked to helping relieve signs of inflammation, such as redness.

If you want to geek out: a study about rosa damascene’s antimicrobial properties is here. And a paper reviewing research about pharmacological effects is here.

2. Rose water supports the skin’s pH – a key factor in its health

Part of your skin’s protective barrier is an acidic film (the acid mantle). If your skin’s acidity levels are not optimal, this film gets compromised and the outer layer of skin can become more permeable.  This permeability can impact your skin’s ability to keep in water and increase its vulnerability to inflammation.

Rose water's benefits - damask image

The acid mantle can be disrupted by the surfactants in some cleansers, or by environmental stressors.

Rose water is slightly acidic (usually pH 4 to 4.5 ) and as a good match for your skin’s natural pH it may help to support your skin’s barrier in maintaining a healthy level of acidity.

3. Rose water supports skin hydration

At its most simple level, our skin keeps itself hydrated through the movement of water in and out of cells. As rose water naturally contains a lot of moisture, along with the beneficial plant compounds, it gives a moisture boost that seamlessly matches your skin’s innate workings.

Rose water's benefits - petal image

And because rose water may support desirable acidity and a healthy microbiome – both of which are important to the health of your skin’s barrier –  it may also support your skin’s ability to hold on to the right levels of moisture over the longer term.

4. Rose water is gentle

Like all distilled plant waters (hydrosols), rose water is more gentle than its concentrated essential oil counterpart. High quality rose waters should naturally contain rose oil, but the oil molecules are microscopic and are very finely dispersed through the water.

Applying rose water is a way to get the beneficial compounds found in rose oil into your skin (along with other valuable water-soluble compounds not found in the oil) in a less-concentrated form.

Rose water may be suitable for people who find products containing a high proportion of essential oils too strong for their skin.

According to the aromatherapy safety literature there are currently no known reasons to withhold use of rose water because of potential harm.

Rose water's benefits - dance image

5. Rose water’s aromatherapy effects can make you feel good

The desire to plunge one’s nose into a fresh rose is universal. In many holistic healing traditions, rose is associated with opening the heart to all kinds of love and it’s used for a calming effect on the nervous system.  

Create the perfect rose routine for you

No matter how you use rose water, you are applying its plant compounds to treat your skin.
So with the ‘treat’ part covered, a joy of rose water is that you can choose to use it in the way that best supports the care that you feel your skin (and heart) needs that day.  We’ve put together 10 of our favourite ideas into a one-page checklist. Scoot to the bottom of this post and enter your email address to view it.

Rose water's benefits - checklist image

Would rose water benefit your skin?

Rose water's benefits - sand image

If your skin lacks oil (dryness) and/or moisture (dehydration) rose water is  great match for you.

To dive deeper into rose water for dry skin, read our article linked below.

Dry skin to dewy with rose water

Rose water's benefits - barkimage

If your skin is mature rose water is  great match for you.

Rose water's benefits - oil image

If you have too much oil (and need support to balance sebum) and/or your skin is also congested, rose water is worth a try as one of the things it’s famous for is balancing sebum production.

Depending on how much oil your skin is producing though, rose water may not be as strongly effective for you as hydrosols that are more astringent (such orange blossom or witch hazel).

Rose water's benefits - oil sand image

Rose water may be especially suited to you if you are faced with the trickiness of managing two or more skin issues at the same time and have found that other products targeting one issue, make another issue worse. For example, skin with excess oil AND dehydration, or congestion AND inflammation.

Rose water's benefits - petal image

If your skin is sensitive – rose water may be a good option for you to try, but even though it is very gentle, proceed cautiously. Please don’t apply it to broken or severely inflamed skin, as this always comes with an increased risk of a reaction.

And a final note – while there are good reasons why rose water has been such a beloved ingredient for so long, as an ethical beauty company we would be remiss to promise rose water miracles when the performance of your skin is governed by so many factors. Your skin is a magnificently complex biological organ and nutrition, stress, environment, toxin exposure, and quality of sleep are integral to its health. But, rose water can certainly be an effective and lovely part of an holistic approach.

Rose water – the case for pure

Questions? Keep reading…

How long before rose water’s benefits should be noticed?

We counsel to allow at least 30 days because this depends on so many thing, including your skin’s current condition, your underlying health, the stressors in your environment, and the other products in your routine.

It may take longer than very active (synthetic) products designed for quick fixes because gently supporting your skin’s ability to naturally self-regulate and regenerate takes more time. But, we have also received enthusiastic emails from customers who have seen changes in their skin’s softness and hydration after just a few days.

Why does rose water have so many benefits for skin?

Rose water’s specific actions for skin arise from the combination of compounds that are carried over into the water during distillation.

Analysis shows that one of the main constituents of rose water is alcohols. These are a central element in aromatherapy and may account for rose water’s antimicrobial properties. Rose water also contains esters, which are related to effects on the central nervous system (relaxing nervous tension). And another significant group of components are aldehydes, which in aromatherapy are associated with antiviral, calming and anti-inflammatory properties.

Rose water's benefits - petals image

Reducing the actions of a plant to analysis of of individual molecules does reveal useful insights, but is also limited. Rose, like any medicinal plant, functions via a very complex mix of ALL of the substances present at the whole plant level that interact with our physiology in ways that are not yet fully understood or quantified.

Can I use rose water more than once a day?

Yes, if your skin loves it, there’s nothing in the safety literature (or in our experience with our customers) that indicates that if the rose water is high quality, unadulterated and organic, that frequent use is an issue.

Monitor your skin and if you see any signs of reactivity (i.e redness or itchiness), rest your skin then go back to once a day.

What if I also use a serum or eye cream? Do you recommend applying rose water before or after it in my routine?

When the corneoctyes in the outer layer of your skin swell up from water absorption, the skin becomes more porous and this can help active ingredients travel deeper.

So, there’s likely benefit in applying your rose water before other products with active ingredients that you want to get the most out of.

Australian Damask Rose Water

Have you heard about hydrosols and know they can be good for skin, but are not quite sure exactly what they are?  Read on, in this article we cover what hydrosols are and how they support healthy skin.

What is a hydrosol?

A hydrosol is the enriched water produced when flowers or other parts of plants are distilled.

They have long been associated with healing and were in wide use long before essential oils. They are in some ways a fusion of aromatherapy and herbalism.

During distillation, components of the plant are carried over by the steam and found in the water left when the steam condenses. Hydrosols should contain both microscopic particles of essential oil as well as beneficial plant compounds that are water-soluble and thus not present in essential oils.

hydrosols - skin class image

An important note about hydrosols

It’s important to note that not all hydrosols are created equal. The results you experience for your skin will be closely linked to the quality of what you buy.

The final quality of a hydrosol is influenced by many things: the botanical species of the plant being distilled and when and how it’s harvested; how it’s grown; how it’s distilled; and, any processing and additives afterwards.

There is also no single commonly accepted name for waters produced from the distillation process. While ‘hydrosol’ is commonly used in the beauty industry for distilled waters, this term, along with ‘aromatic water’ and ‘floral water’ can all be used for the same product and different products. In this article we are referring only to hydrosols that are produced via distillation.

The best hydrosols for healthy skin

Keen to explore the lovely world of hydrosols?  We’ve pulled together a list of the classics for skin. Scoot to the signup box at the bottom of the page to view it.

Hydrosols image

How hydrosols support healthy skin

Hydrosols are a great way to harness plant actives to keep your skin healthy and to avoid the potential toxins in synthetic beauty products. Read on for the main benefits of hydrosols for skin.

Benefit: they contain valuable plant actives for skin

Hydrosols can contain valuable plant compounds for skin health. They are produced from plant material and water/steam, so in their pure, unadulterated state they are a wholly plant-based product.

The specific properties of a hydrosol will depend on the plant that has been distilled and which of its components come through in distillation. 

Traditionally distilled, high quality hydrosols should contain both microscopic particles of essential oil (unless the flower has no oil Cornflower or Witch Hazel) and water-soluble plant compounds.

Hydrosols for skin

Helichrysum, pictured here, has healing properties that has made it one of the most sought after hydrosols.

Some of the commonly known benefits of hydrosols for skin are: hydration, soothing inflammation, healing and regeneration, balancing sebum and astringing (astringing is constricting small blood vessels, it’s more commonly known as ‘toning’).

Benefit: they are gentle with low risk of skin irritation

Hydrosols are more gentle than concentrated essential oils. While they contain essential oil molecules, these molecules are microscopic and very finely dispersed through the water. This means that hydrosols may be suitable for people who find products containing pure essential oils too strong for their skin.

Hydrosols naturally have a very high moisture content. This makes them a great way to get moisture back into the skin, whether straight after cleansing, or throughout the day if your skin is dehydrated.

Benefit: they are close to the skin’s own PH, which supports its health as a barrier

The surface of the skin is covered with a protective acidic film (known as the acid mantle) that plays an important part in maintaining its health. The acid mantle is an important part of the skin’s protective capability as a barrier. If it’s compromised it can impact its ability to stay hydrated and make it more vulnerable to infection such as acne.

Hydrosols are neutral to slightly acidic, and are a good match for the skin’s natural pH.

hydrosols

If you want to mirror your skin’s natural way of functioning – pair an oil with a hydrosol.

As the skin uses its own oil and water (sebaceous and sweat gland secretions) to keep itself hydrated and healthy,  pairing a hydrosol with a pure oil (such as rosehip or pomegranate) beautifully matches your skin’s own natural way of functioning.

Benefit: they may positively influence mood

Hydrosols contain microscopic particles of essential oils and when you spray on a hydrosol and inhale the particles, they can positively affect your nervous system.

Because hydrosols they were in wide use before essential oils, they may be considered the first aromatherapy.

Hydrosols clouds image

Authentic hydrosols are created by distillation. The earth also has a natural system to distill our water that works in a similar way. Heat from the sun changes water from the sea, lakes, rivers and transpiration of plants into vapour. Once cooled in the air the water falls as rain or snow. Image of clouds by NASA.

Questions about hydrosols and skin care

Does a hydrosol have the same properties as the essential oil from the same plant?

Hydrosols may have generally similar properties to essential oils, but usually not to the same degree.  They also contain water-soluble compounds not found in essential oils, which also may introduce different actions from the oil.

Generally hydrosols tend to be more acidic than essential oils because of the plant acids they contain.

What types of skin care products are they in?

They are most commonly used in facial mists.

hydrosols image - roses in still

Rose water is without doubt the most famous hydrosol. Pictured: Damask roses from Khloris 2016 season’s Australian Rose Water packed into the still awaiting distillation. 

How would I use a hydrosol in my routine?

As facial mists, hydrosols are mostly used in-between cleansing and moisturising.  With their slight acidity they can be helpful in supporting your skin re-establish good levels of acidity if this has been disrupted during cleansing.

Khloris skin tonics contain only pure hydrosols, and are suitable to be used at any stage in your skin care routine.

How to use Khloris Botanical Skin Tonic

Why are hydrosols gentle for skin?

A long tradition of use has shown high-quality hydrosols are almost completely non-toxic, and they are generally recognised as being among the safest of ingredients, especially when compared to essential oils.

A high quality hydrosol will contain some essential oil, but only in microscopic particles naturally diffused throughout. This means they may be more suitable for those with sensitive or damaged skin than products with added concentrated essential oils.

How gentle a hydrosol is for your skin, will of course though, also depend on whether other ingredients are added afterwards to the hydrosol product you are buying.

Are they good for all types of skin? How would I choose the best one for my skin?

Yes, they are good for a very wide range of skin.  The best hydrosol, or hydrosol blend, for your skin will depend on what’s going on with your skin and the specific attributes of the plant distilled.

To learn more about which might suit your skin best, get our one-page guide to the hydrosol classics. It lists our favourite hydrosols, what they are best known for and what type of skin they best suit.

Do you want to buy rose water for your skin and are trying to navigate through all of the options?  Want to know if there’s really a difference between a high-priced rose water and a cheap one?  Or, if a rose floral water and a rose hydrosol are the same?

If you’re looking for high-quality rose water made from real roses this article is for you.

At a glance: how to buy high-quality rose water made from real roses

Buy rose water made via distillation. Floral waters and extracts have a different production process and are not considered traditional, natural rose water.

Check how far down the rose water ingredient appears on the ingredient list. The lower on the list, the less actual rose water the product contains.

Check whether the marketing highlights only the scent of rose, which indicates the rose ingredient is there for fragrance rather than benefit for the skin.

Think twice about products with lots of ingredients. Many ingredients are included not because they benefit your skin, but because they extend shelf life or lower production cost.

Buy from a brand that can answer your questions about exactly how the rose water was produced and what’s in it.

No time to read the whole article now?

Get our one-page, easy save and print checklist emailed to you. It’s a summary of the most useful points in this article. Just zip down the page to the signup box and enter your email to get the link immediately in your inbox.

Buy rose water image

What you’ll learn if you read on

  • The difference between distilled rose water and lab-made rose water.
  • The important things that influence rose water quality.
  • The five terms you need to know to navigate rose water ingredient lists with confidence.

First and foremost in importance: ‘real’ rose water is distilled

Buy rose water - Khloris Damask roses in the still

The only ingredient in authentic, traditionally distilled rose water should be rose petals. Pictured are the Damask roses ready to be distilled for Khloris Australian Damask Rose Water 2016 distillation.

Rose water, as it’s most famously known and used in caring for skin, is made by distilling rose petals.

In traditional rose water steam distillation, fresh roses are packed into a still, steam rises through the petals their cells burst open releasing plant compounds. When the steam is cooled and turns back into liquid, this water is enriched with these compounds including microscopic particles of rose oil.

There is a big difference between rose water produced by distillation and rose waters prepared in a lab.

Things that influence the quality of the rose water you buy

How the roses were grown

Buy rose water - Khloris rose fields at dawn

Just as it is for food and wine, the quality of a rose water starts with the health of the plant, the soil, and the growing conditions.

The specific action of a distilled rose water on skin will depend on the rose compounds that are carried over into the water during distillation. The plant and soil health and growing conditions impacts the composition of these compounds. If pesticides were used, evidence shows that these may end up in the final rose water product.

The quality of a rose water also depends on how it was distilled

Because rose oil is so highly prized, rose water is often re-distilled one or more times to remove as much oil as possible to sell separately. This leaves the remaining water very low or without oil, and it also removes the water-soluble compound that accounts for the rose aroma. Rose fragrance (possibly synthetic) may then be added back in a lab afterwards.

A rose water that is distilled only once, will retain more precious rose oil.

The speed, heat and proportion of water to petals used in distillation also matters; if these are ramped up to increase profits (shorter distillation = less production cost), the quality of the rose water will be lower.

Buy rose water - Damask rose botanical drawing

Many rose waters are highly processed and have other ingredients added

Even if the rose water you buy may have started out as sensitively distilled and pure, by the time it gets into a bottle on shelves, it may have been altered significantly for mass distribution.

A rose water may have been cleaned and preserved by processing such as irradiation, and/or by adding alcohol, parabens and fungacides.

It may also have had other ingredients such as essential oil or synthetic rose fragrance added to sweeten and standardise the scent, and/or to colour it.  Unfortunately when a rose water passes through many hands in the industrialised beauty supply chain, it’s almost impossible to know what has been done to it at each stage.

Some rose waters are fully or partly synthetic

Some rose waters are not distilled at all and have been created in a lab to mimic a distilled rose water. 

A lab-prepared rose water may be fully synthetic.

Or, it may be made by mixing water with another type of extracted rose product, such as rose essential oil or rose extract. A product that is made from plain water mixed with rose essential oil won’t contain the beneficial water-soluble plant compounds that you find in rose water that’s created via the distillation process (because they don’t carry through into oil).  The essential oil or extract used in these preparations may be partially synthetic and of low quality. Other additives are also needed to get the oil and water to mix.

Rose oil is an extremely valuable commodity and is one of the most commonly adulterated oils on the market. 

As for wholly synthetic lab-created preparations that have never been near a rose petal – this is not rose water in our opinion!

Buy rose water - Damask Roses

Is there a difference between a rose water made from Rosa damascena versus one made from Rosa centifolia?  They are thought to have similar attributes. Rosa centifolia is a newer cultivar originating in France, whereas damascena is much older and is the staple in Bulgaria. There is more clinical literature published on Rosa damascena so its attributes are more easily verified. Pictured is a damascena in bud and full flower.

How to buy rose water with confidence

So, you’re looking for an authentic and traditional distilled rose water made from real roses.  You look at an array of facial mist products all called rose water and each uses a different term to describe the rose ingredient. Huh?

Below are the five terms you’ll need to know to make an informed choice about which rose water to buy.

1.ROSE DISTILLATE

If you are after authentic, traditional, natural rose water, this is the term to look for on the ingredient list. The use of the word ‘distillate’ means that this is rose water produced from distillation.

The INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) formal name for distilled rose water is Rosa damascena flower distillate.

FAQ: Why does distillation make a difference?

Traditionally distilled, high quality rose water contains both microscopic particles of rose essential oil, and water-soluble plant compounds. These both come through distillation and account for the traditionally known benefits of rose water for skin.

Khloris Australian Damask Rose Water is a distillate.

Australian Damask Rose Water

2.ROSE HYDROLAT

Hydrolat is the French term that specifically means a product of distillation. So rose hydrolat on the ingredient list indicates that this should be a distilled rose water.

FAQ: Is a rose hydrolat the same as a rose hydrosol? 

Because hydrolat should only refer to a product made via distillation, if the hydrosol is distilled, yes these should be the same. Hydrolat is the term more commonly used in Europe, whereas hydrosol is more common in other parts of the world.

3.ROSE HYDROSOL

Hydrosol is a common term in the beauty industry for distilled plant waters, so this is likely to be a distilled rose water.

But…the word hydrosol means a suspension of particles in water, so it can also technically refer to a rose water that is made by mixing rose essential oil with plain water. This is not the same as a traditional distilled rose water.  If a product is labelled rose hydrosol, it is likely to be an authentic natural rose water, but if you want to be sure, we recommend confirming with the product maker.

Buy rose water image

Check whether the marketing highlights only the ‘scent’ of rose, which indicates the rose ingredient is there for fragrance rather than benefit for the skin and is likely synthetic.

4.ROSE FLOWER WATER/FLORAL WATER

This product is not likely to be a traditionally distilled rose water.

It may be either a mix of rose essential oil and water, or a wholly synthetic preparation with no plant-derived content. We recommend seeking more information from the product manufacturer. This is unlikely to be the product for you if you’re seeking traditional natural rose water.

FAQ: What should I be aware of when it comes to floral waters?

This type of product will not contain the same beneficial water-soluble plant compounds that come through distillation into traditional rose water and are not contained in rose essential oil.

Also, if it’s a prepared dilution of rose essential oil in water, the rose essential oil may be of good quality, but … it may not (rose oil is very commonly adulterated).  It will almost certainly have other additives to help the oil and water mix. If it’s a wholly synthetic preparation, you really don’t know exactly what you’re buying.  We recommend asking for information from the product maker.

5.ROSE FLOWER EXTRACT

A flower extract is a concentrated ingredient and may need dilution to create a product resembling rose water. This is almost certainly not the product for you if you’re seeking traditional, natural rose water.

FAQ: What should I know about extracts?

An extract is likely to have a very different chemical composition to that of traditional rose water.  It may have been produced by macerating roses in a solvent such as alcohol, it may be a high quality prepratation for therapeutic use, or it may be partly or wholly synthetic.  Without full transparency from the maker, you cannot know what it contains, or if it’s included for its benefit for your skin, or for fragrance.

More questions!

Is there a difference between Bulgarian rose water and others?

This is complex to answer. Bulgaria’s Kazanluk Valley, also known as the Valley of the Roses, was historically one of the world’s most specialised and prolific regions for the production of rose oil and rose water. It is famed as such, and this has given Bulgarian rose water its international cache.

The chemical composition of any rose water will depend on many things including temperature, light, soil, pruning, nutrient supply and harvesting time.  The quality of the final rose water is also dependent on the skill of the distillation, whether it has been re-distilled to extract all rose oil (leaving it without), and whether it contains other additives.

A Bulgarian rose water that has been produced to the highest quality in all of these factors will be an example of what rose water can be at its best.

If you’re a rose water lover, explore and compare! Turkey is another region with an extensive history in rose water production and is now one of the biggest global suppliers. India, France, Morocco and new world producers such as ours in Australia, all make lovely rose water if you put the time and effort into finding them at the quality you want.

If a rose water contains controversial ingredients, such as parabens, sulfates or phthalates, will my skin still benefit if I use it?

This depends on many things, including the type and quality of the actual rose water in the product as well as your skin’s condition. If you have an impaired barrier, any benefits from the rose water for your skin’s health may be counteracted by issues caused by these other ingredients being absorbed in a way that they wouldn’t if your barrier was healthy. 

If your skin shows any signs of inflammation (redness, flaking, scaling) or noticeable dehydration or dryness, it would be wise to avoid rose waters with these ingredients.

Rose water – the case for pure

Toners were once de-rigour in skin care routines. They fell out of favour in the 90s and are now gaining popularity once more in the form of facial spritz’s and sprays.

Do you need a toner?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of do you need a toner, it will depend on your skin, your environment and the other products in your routine.

Researching and understanding the ingredients in a toner is key to making a truly strategic decision. Are your other products providing everything that your skin needs? Or, does the toner you’re considering come with ingredients and benefits that you’re not getting from other products? Does the toner contain ingredients, such as alcohol, that you don’t want in your routine?

toners - skin class image

Why toners fell out of fashion

Toners don’t fulfil the role they were originally designed for.

Toning, stimulating or freshening the skin after cleansing was recommended as far back as the early 1900s and grew in popularity throughout the twentieth century.

This was fuelled by a belief that pores were opened and closed by muscles and that if they relaxed and opened during cleansing, then they needed to be closed again with an astringent to avoid clogging-induced blackheads and pimples.

The three-step cleanse, tone, moisturise routine emerged in the 1960s with the role of toners touted as ‘clarifying’ and ‘refining’ the skin, terms vague enough to avoid troubling the advertising regulators. Bar soaps were the most popular cleansers at the time and they left a residue that alcohol-based toners helped to dissolve. They were also alkaline, so toners were seen as helpful in ‘balancing’ skin back towards its natural acidity.

Now that modern cleansers are formulated to match the skin’s PH and leave minimal residue, and our understanding of pores and the functioning of skin has evolved, these traditional needs are no longer relevant.

Further reading: A great overview of the history of toners here.

What can a toner do?

This been answered succinctly by Paula Begoun in her book The Original Beauty Bible.

“What well-formulated toners can do its help reduce inflammation, add antioxidant, skin-identical ingredients, and cell-communicating ingredients to skin, soothe skin after cleansing, help remove any last traces of makeup, and impart some lightweight moisturizing ingredients to skin. “

A modern view – toner as first line of defence after cleansing

A toner can still play an important role post-cleansing.

Immediately after cleansing, your skin is flooded with moisture as the cells in the outer layer attract and absorb water and swell.

Unfortunately, the ability of these cells to regulate this water can be altered, or even destroyed, by the detergents in cleansers. Although this means that more water is allowed in, and there’s increased moisture and swelling of the cells at first, this increase is temporary and the moisture plunges as the water evaporates, leaving the skin dehydrated.

A toner can help at this point by adding moisture and keeping the skin protected, hydrated and ready for a moisturiser’s occlusive ingredients (those providing a physical barrier) to help seal some moisture in.

Toner - pore image

This is a pore under a scanning electron microscope. Gorgeous! You can see the layers of flattened cells that make up your stratum corneum. A toner can be helpful in keeping these cells from drying out.

When it has a lot of moisture, the skin is more porous and has increased absorption ability. So, by keeping the outer cells from drying out, a toner can also help allow for better penetration of other ingredients, either in the toner itself, or in the product you apply next.

Note, we’re referring to the skin’s upper layers of cells, not deeper penetration, which in its role as barrier, the skin is designed to resist.

Toners as astringents

While opening and closing pores is no longer a thing, and ‘toning’ has fallen out of fashion as a beauty term, it is still possible to achieve a temporary tightening of the skin by using a toner with astringent properties (natural options include witch hazel and orange blossom hydrosol). These may work by causing a contraction in tiny blood vessels in the skin.

Toners-part of cleansing image

Toners as part of cleansing

If you’re pressed for time and don’t need to remove makeup, sunscreen, or heavy pollution or grime, a toner in combination with a cotton pad to wipe your face may be the perfect one-step routine. You are removing cleanser residue and left-over grime, while treating your skin.

Or this can also be a second-cleansing step, known as the double-cleanse.

Toners as treatment

While the original three-step cleanse, tone, moisturise routine has the toning step in the middle, this doesn’t have to be the case. If you choose a toner with ingredients to help reduce inflammation or do other things such as balance sebum or support cell regeneration, you can add this step at any stage in your routine that suits. ie. as a stand-alone spritz, instead of moisturising (if your skin is oily), as part of a home facial treatment, mixed with dry exfoliants or to supercharge a mask.

Toners - water image

Questions to help you evaluate: does your skin need a toner?

Read on for our toner question checklist and our take:

  • How good is your skin at retaining moisture?
  • Does the toner have ingredients with benefits that you’re not getting from your other products? Would you notice a difference if you stopped using it?
  • Is your atmosphere dry?
  • Are you moisturising with a cream that already contains water?
  • Do you have oily skin and don’t need a moisturiser?
  • Does the toner contain ingredients you don’t want on your skin?

How good is your skin at retaining moisture?

If your skin is dehydrated, a toner is likely a useful product for you as long as it doesn’t contain alcohol or other potential drying ingredients (many toners do).

Adding back a surge of moisture after cleansing can help your moisturiser, oil or serum penetrate better and depending on the product you use, may also help your skin retain moisture better over time.

Dry skin to dewy with rose water

Does the toner have ingredients with benefits that you’re not getting from your other products?

If you’re a beauty purist and keen on products with minimal ingredients performing one specific role in your routine, ie. you use a very simple cleanser (or oil cleanse) and/or use pure oil to moisturise, a strategic toner choice may be very beneficial to treat any specific issues your skin is showing. For instance, to calm redness or help to balance sebum.

If you’re already in a multiple product routine -i.e moisturiser, eye cream, serum, other treatment products – a toner may be overkill.

Is your skin exposed to a dry atmosphere?

If you are often in skin-stressing dry-air environments, such as offices or aircraft, or suffer through dry Autumns or Winters, a spritz of a simple toner like rose water as and when your skin needs a moisture boost, may help.

This may be a case where a toner is useful strategically in certain situations, rather than as a staple in your routine.

Toners - spray image

Are you moisturising with a cream that already contains water?

If you’re already using a moisturiser that contains water (i.e that’s made by emulsifying water and oil), you may not need the extra moisture a toner can provide.

If you’re using a pure oil (i.e. no moisture) the moisture in a toner may be beneficial.

Do you have oily skin and don’t need a moisturiser?

A toner may be perfect for you after cleansing, especially one that helps to balance sebum.

Toners - oily skin image

Does the toner you’re considering also have ingredients you don’t want?

Many toners come with alcohol and a host of other potential irritants including fragrance. These may contribute to the skin health issues you’re trying to solve and are best skipped.

Exploring hydrosols as toners

A hydrosol is the enriched water produced when flowers or other parts of plants are distilled. They make great toners. Here’s why:

  • Hydrosols can contain valuable plant compounds for skin health. They are produced from plant material and water/steam, so in their pure, unadulterated state they are a wholly plant-based product.
  • They may have antioxident, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, cell-regeneration supporting or sebum balancing properties (depending on the plant they’re made from).
  • Hydrosols naturally have a very high moisture content. This makes them a great way to get moisture back into the skin, whether straight after cleansing, or throughout the day if your skin is dehydrated.
  • They are close to the skin’s own PH, which supports its health as a barrier.
  • They may positively influence mood.

Beauty and the hydrosol

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