Akar Skin's Balance Toning Mist Forever Changed My Mind About Toners

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Orange bottle of Akar Skin Balance Toning Mist on cream gradient background
Courtesy of brand
TL;DR:
A hydrating toner that balances out combination skin

Before last year, the idea of adding a "toner" to my skin-care routine made me cringe. The alcohol-based formulas I reached for when I was a teen stripped my poor, hormonal skin and left both physical and emotional scars. Turns out, I'm not the only one with a general sense of uneasiness for toners. "[They] used to contain high concentrations of alcohol to help remove oil from the skin," Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, previously told Allure. "The newest generation of toners, however, have more than astringent properties, and many of them are alcohol-free. Currently, there are toners on the market to address almost every skin concern and are no longer limited to treating acne and oily skin."

Let me just make one thing clear: Akar Skin's Balance Toning Mist is not the toner of my childhood. Like Zeichner alluded to, this modern-day toner is a more hydrating version of astringents yesteryear. It's made with soothing ingredients such as rose flower water and neroli flower water, along with oil-wicking white willow bark, to moisturize and, as its name implies, "balances" skin.

For my combination, at-times dehydrated skin, a toning mist is a welcome addition. After washing my face in the morning, I'll spritz the mist three to four times all over my face. Then, I let it sink in for about a minute before moving on to the rest of my seven-step regimen of serums, moisturizer, and sunscreen. In the short term, the Akar mist hits my thirsty skin with a quick bout of hydration, and in the long term, it's also slowly controlling my oil production, thanks to the white willow bark.

After a month of consistent, twice-a day-use, I can confidently say my skin feels hydrated after every spritz. Is my combination skin still...combination? Yes, but let's be real: a toning face mist can't just fix that overnight. Over time, though? Maybe. And I'm much more confident in my 2020 choice of toner to see it through.