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Toner & Essence: What's the difference?

Products linked to Sephora and Amazon- I do gain a small comission by shopping my links so thanks for your support and I hope this is helpful!


Essence vs. toner⁣ I use the two interchangeably with the only main difference being that I like to layer on an essence by gently patting my skin and applying layers. I do this when my skin is feeling really dry or I used a treatment the night before (clay mask, retinol, etc.) I’m a huge fan of Beauty and the “7 skin method”.⁣ ⁣ Does everyone need a hydrating toner or essence? No. It’s a great way to add some hydrating steps and more- but there are also other ways to do that. ⁣ ⁣ -using a toner/essence after cleansing can help to prep the skin for the rest of your skin routine. A common analogy is to think of your skin as a sponge. It takes a little extra effort for a dry sponge to absorb water. But if the sponge is slightly damp it will absorb with ease. Pro tip from the world’s best esthetician ( my mom :)


Exfoliating toners// here are some quick reviews- I think there is a toner for every budget and skin type here. All of these get my own seal of approval ⁣ ⁣I prefer exfoliating toners to scrubs and pore strips any day! These toners help clear clogged pores and prevent blackheads from coming back, help with hormonal acne, fade dark spots, exfoliate the skin (and help bring milia to the surface) + more.⁣


Let's get into some reviews:



Products linked to Sephora and Amazon- I do gain a small comission by shopping my links so thanks for your support and I hope this is helpful!


Hydrating Toners/Essence:


Indie Lee coQ10 toner⁣

$34 ⁣

Aloe, CoQ10, Hyaluronic Acid⁣

I’ve repurchased this countless times. I love the spray cap and the natural scent. This is a really nice skin refresher! ⁣

Tatcha The Essence

5.1 Fl oz.⁣ $105 (price on picture has changed)

One of my favorites— I know I know this price. This is an essence that is really well formulated and feels similar to water but I KNOW it does more than just water. All the fermented, skin plumping goodness! ⁣

First Aid Beauty Wild Oat Hydrating Toner⁣

6 oz. $22⁣

Lightweight creamy liquid- this is great for all skin types especially dry, sensitive skin. No fragrance and colloidal oatmeal, and honey for soothing the skin and keeping it hydrated.⁣

Cosrx Propolis Synergy Toner⁣

$22 for 5 oz.⁣ (last I checkd this was $19.75 on Amazon)

All skin types including acne prone skin- Black Bee Propolis extract has antibacterial components. This isn’t sticky— it’s light and doesn’t have a scent.⁣

Peach Slices Snail Rescue toner⁣

$14 for 4 fl. oz. ⁣

This has a slippery texture, and really leaves my skin feeling plump and hydrated (can you tell that’s a theme for what I look for). Snail for snail mucin and it’s cruelty free and leaping bunny certified.⁣

⁣Cocokind Glow Essence⁣

$18 for 2 fl. oz.⁣

This has blue algae extract, and sea buckthorn extract. Love this refreshing, natural scent. After cleansing I spritz, pat and then continue with my routine!⁣


Exfoliating Toners:




PHA Toner The Inkey List

$11 for 3.4 fl. oz. // this is a gentle exfoliant for sensitive skin! I like this one and find it gentle enough to use daily. It has aloe + Niacinamide too.⁣

Soft Reset Summer Friday

$54 for 3.4 fl. oz. // lactic acid, glycolic + Niacinamide. This is a little on the stronger side! But that’s not a bad thing! I love the combo of lactic and glycolic!⁣

2% BHA Exfoliant Paula's Choice

$29.50 for 4 fl. oz. // this has been my ride-or-die for a longggg time. I consider this less of a toner and more of a treatment because of its strength. I only use this 2-3x week. ⁣

BHA Liquid 2% Exfoliant Naturium Skin

$20 for 4 fl. oz. // this one is newer to me! I was curious how this compare to my beloved PC exfoliant. The texture between the two is slightly different. This one seems a little more “slippery” I think this is a great option especially if you found the Paula’s Choice BHA to be a little too intense for your skin type. ⁣OR you are looking for an affordable option!

Aloe BHA Skin Toner Benton Cosmetic

$17 for 6.76 fl. oz.// this has a lot going on! It’s hydrating and helps to fade hyperpigmentation and yes snail mucin. It’s lovely- fragrance free and gentle.

Watermelon PHA+BHA Pore Tight Toner Glow Recipe // this texture is incredible- almost jelly like! It’s very hydrating and gentle enough for me to use everyday. It does have a watermelon scent but my skin and nose don’t mind. I like to apply this directly to my hands and gentle press/Pat into my skin. You can use ALEXA 20 for 20% off


Do you have a preference? Tell me your favorite essence/toners!


xx Alexa



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