Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Favorite Lotion/Toners

As promised, here's a look at five of my favorite skincare items: lotion toners. All of them are in my current rotation (I gathered the bottles from both bathrooms, my dressing room, and the dresser in my bedroom. Basically, I live in a spa). I use these lotion/toners either patted onto clean face, or as mask (similarly to the Chizu Saeki lotion mask). Just to recap for those not familiar with the toner/lotion concept, and still think of toners as astringents used to remove residue from cleansers/grime/makeup and "tone" the skin to shrink the pores-- that's not it (and shouldn't be). Toners, which Asian companies refer to as "lotions" are a soothing product that replenish moisture and help bind your serum and cream with the skin. All the products I'm talking about here belong in this category.

Lancome Tonique Confort is the one I've been using for longer than I can remember. It's a thick-to-gooey liquid that binds moisture to the skin. Using it in a mask feels like a real spa treatment.  ($25, 6.8 oz, the bottle in the photo is the GWP size, available at the counters, Sephora, select Ulta locations and

Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner- This is probably the lightest of this bunch of products (read: not as rich) and would suit just about any skin type. It's an anti-aging product, chock-full of antioxidants.  I especially like using it in the morning, as a wake-up treatment for my skin.   ($21, 4 oz,

Kanebo Sensai Collection Lotion II (Moist). A long name for a fabulous product. If the Lancome one feels like a spa treatment, this one feels like the swankiest spa in town. It has the most elegant texture yet does the job like a workhorse ($70, 4.2 oz at Bergdorf Goodman and Repurchased several times after getting a press sample.

Koh Gen Doh Oriental Plants Lotion—II (I think this is the older packaging-- it's my backup bottle) has the elegance of the Kanebo Sensai lotion but is not scented. At the rate I drained my other bottle I'd say this is a favorite. ($54, 5.7 oz at Sephora and Barneys)

There are two Hada Labo products on my list. As far as I can tell from the ingredient lists these are slightly different formulas, but both focus on hyaluronic acid and I tend to use them interchangeably. The Replenishing Hydrator is sold at Ulta in the prettier packaging ($17.99, 1.7 oz, press sample) and comes in a pump bottle (I love the cleanliness). It's a serum-like product that allows for repeat application over makeup, but I admit to never doing that. The other Hada Labo is the Gokujyun Lotion ($19.99, 5.7 oz on At the price and level of performance I could just swim in it.

Do you have a favorite lotion/toner? Please share.


  1. It's like you knew my skin needed these recommendations! Finding a good toner for dry/dehydrated skin is not easy. Out of these, I've only used the Paula's Choice and Lancome - both of which I love but sometimes I want to try something new.

  2. So glad you posted about these! Love the Ko Gen Doh and the Hada Labo Gokujyun you mentioned. Naruko's Narcissus Total Defense toners (both the day and night ones) are quite inexpensive and have worked well for me in the past and have also had very good results from Kose's Sekkisei lotion. Just recently have been trying the SK II Cellumination Mask-in Lotion. Have been really curious about the Kanebo - will definitely have to try it now.

  3. Two British ones I love - Neal's Yard rosewater and Liz Earle's great toner.

  4. No love for Eudermine? Eudermine is *my* Lancome, been using it for years and it works v well as a mask too. Basic hyaluronic thingy, the first ever!

  5. I use a La Mer lotion. Before this, I hadn't used one in about 10 years. I love this one though: great for my sensitive skin, very caring and calming after double cleansing.

  6. I love SKII Cellumination Mask In Lotion. I pour a bit into the palm of my hand, press my hands together to distribute the lotion, and then pat it all over my face, neck, and chest. It's a bit sticky when it first begins to dry/absorb, but it doesn't remain that way. The pitera, glycerin, niacinamide, etc. make this a soothing "toner" that calms my skin. It's also great as a mask treatment.


  7. I use the Paula's Choice Resist Toner as well and love it. However, I do like Juara Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner (need to pick this up again). I would use Juara for all over my face but loved it as an eye mask by soaking cotton pads and placing on my eyes for a few minutes. It really helped soothe my tired, sensitive eyes.

  8. I've been using the Hada Labo as a regular moisturizer over my serums and Rx creams. Didn't realize I was using it all wrong. I guess I need to learn more about these, especially since I've got a lot of surface dryness lately. Once again, I'm learning so much from reading your blog.

  9. I love the Hada Labo Replenishing Hydrator too. I got it at Ulta, and I looked on Amazon to re-order it and I really can't distinguish between the various products that come in the non-English packaging. It seems as long as there's a good amount of Hyaluronic Acid it doesn't really matter? I also have a tube of Hydraluron from Indeed Labs which is quite similar, just a little bit thicker in consistency...also pricier!


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