The Review: Kalaya Renew Essential Toner
Question: Where the heck did Fall go? I feel like I must have napped through it because all of a sudden I’m scraping ice off my car and buying snow tires. It feels like only a week ago I was sweating my face off in the final throws of the Summer! It’s amazing how fast the seasonal change kicks in and so easy to get caught off guard by the changes. My skin seems to be protesting the seasonal switch as well - I noticed right away once the heating got turned up, how much dryer the air was. It started effecting my skin very quickly too. It feels like I'm using twice the amount of moisturizer and yet my skin still feels dull and dried out. What’s worse it’s more prone to irritation and breaking out.
This could all come down temperature extremes and fluctuations in the winter - when we’re outdoors the cold and windy weather is tough on our skin, and indoors, we crank up the heat which dries out the air. Because of the lack of humidity and summer sweating you’d think this would be the time of year you’d be the least prone to break outs, blemishes and oily skin, but for many (myself included) that isn’t the case. When your skin is dried out it’s actually more prone to breakouts because it will over-produce oils as a defense to protect itself in harsher temperatures.
This month’s featured Review product is one that I would normally never expect to use for my current skin concerns: a Toner. Specifically the Kalaya Renew Face Essential Toner. I hadn’t actually used a toner since I was 15 or 16 and have since then have been of the opinion that they were an unnecessary and frivolous add-on to skin care lines. Toners do have kind of a bad rep, since in our teenage years we'd have used astringent toners that were alcohol-based. Now that stuff was definitely no Bueno! Now that we’re older and wiser we know that alcohol is too harsh and strips the skin of its moisture. However, toners have recently been making a comeback (along with the Korean or K-Beauty trend), and they’re nothing like how we remember them! Toners are designed to help restore skin’s pH balance because cleansing can disrupt the balance in our skin.
Now this was all a bit of a surprise to me since I never (properly) used a toner, but the primary purpose of toning is to:
A) Clean away any remaining impurities or residues after cleansing.
B) Hydrate skin (NOT strip it of moisture!).
C) Balance your skins pH levels which can get disrupted by cleansing or environmental stresses.
D) Protect your skin by tightening pores and cell gaps after cleansing.
E) Prime skin to fully absorb your moisturizing products like serums or night creams.
If you’re like me and experiencing all the skin concerns at once (dryness, irritation, blemishes, OH MY) then the aforementioned Renew Essential Toner is probably a great option for you! It's a water-based toner, so it’s definitely nothing like a drying, alcohol-based toner. This toner is also full of very powerful yet gentle moisturizing and anti-oxidant ingredients that hydrate and sooth dry, irritated skin while cleansing away the gross stuff that leads to the mid-winter blemishes. I started using the toner immediately after my nightly cleansing routine (I read that it’s best to apply any moisturizing product while you skin is still wet as the ingredients can penetrate the skin more easily). You can spritz the toner onto a cotton pad and apply or spray it directly onto your skin and lightly dab it in until it absorbs. It felt super light and refreshing, not at all like the tight, stinging sensation I remember my old toners having.
I applied my moisturizer and eye treatment after that and when I woke up the next morning my skin still felt wonderfully moisturized. I didn’t feel like I needed to use as much moisturizer as I had been lately! This is probably because when you have dry skin products like moisturizers, serums and masks will just sit or the surface of your skin because there is a layer of dry, dead skin in the way preventing them from absorbing properly. When your skin is hydrated and balanced at a proper pH, other products can fully penetrate the skin. Think of a toner almost working as a booster for all the important moisturizing or anti-aging ingredients in your other skincare products!
So let’s also do a deep dive into the ingredients that make this particular Renew Essential toner such a good tool for keeping skin healthy and moisturized:
Provides antioxidant protection from environmental stress like pollution and also more extreme weather and temperatures. It’s also very effective in helping to balance skin tone and provide moisture without clogging pores.
A gentle anti-inflammatory agent and skin cell re-generator that moisturizes, calms and reduces redness, all while prepping your skin for your other products like serums or moisturizers.
It’s a key ingredient to look for in skincare products to boost elasticity and hydration in your skin. Hyaluronic Acid has a unique ability to aid in moisture retention in skin and is also a smart nutrient that can adjust its moisture absorption rate based on the humidity relative to the climate and season.
Imperata Cylindrica (Desert Plant) Extract
Contains very high concentrations of potassium which provide immediate and long-lasting hydration to skin. It helps to store and retain moisture efficiently even in the driest weather conditions.
Moisturizes the skin and also provides healing and anti-inflammatory relief that reduces skin inflammation and irritation. Aloe also contains vitamin C and E which helps improve the skin's natural firmness & keep the skin hydrated.
So what you have in this toner is an incredibly healthy and gentle, moisture-quenching cocktail for your skin, and the best part is that it’s so easy to incorporate into your skincare routine! For me, it helps to think of a toner as an essential foundation to all of the other components of your skincare routine; it plays a support role to your cleanser and sets the stage (or your face) to allow your other players like moisturizers, masks and serums to perform as best they can. AND a good toner will also perform some extra magic on its own by adding further hydration or relief to your skin when it needs a little more TLC. When you think about it that way it’s pretty easy to see why a toner is such a great addition to your skin care regimen!