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 lancome.com)
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, paulaschoice.com)
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 neimanmarcus.com). 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 drugstore.com). At the price and level of performance I could just swim in it.
Do you have a favorite lotion/toner? Please share.