As most of you know by now, I suffer from adult hormonal breakouts, and having tried just about everything to curb them without success, I eventually decided to give an exfoliating toner a go. I, as I'm sure many of you are too, an avid reader of Caroline Hiron's Beauty Mouth, and find her skincare advice really useful, so having trawled her site for something I might be missing and tweeting her once or twice, she recommended I give the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner a go.
Containing Tamarind extract to eliminate impurities and dead cells, and white nettle for its soothing and astringent benefits, the toner works to boost the skin's natural exfoliation process as well as tightening pores and smoothing the overall texture of the skin. You may well have heard quite a bit about AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) floating around the blogosphere over the past year or so, what with the huge hype surrounding products such as the infamous Alph H Liquid Gold. It has been largely touted as the answer to many skincare prayers, from blemishes and scarring to dryness and dehydration, and used twice weekly it is said to make quite a dramatic difference to the overall appearance and condition of the skin.
The Clarins B.E.B.T is not so dissimilar, though containing much lower levels of AHAs it is generally safe to use on a daily basis. It does say on the packaging that once or twice is enough, but personally I don't find that it makes any difference to my skin when used that sparingly. It's incredibly gentle and doesn't cause any irritation at all, but essentially it's your call - if you feel that you have particularly reactive skin then it might be an idea to start at the bottom and see how you feel about upping your weekly uses bit by bit. Just in case anyone thinks I'm going a bit crazy, Mrs Hirons herself has talked about daily use of this toner on her blog here, so do pop over and have a read of that if you are in any doubt.
I tend to use this toner in the evenings only, as I do think that twice a day might be overkill. After cleansing, I pop some of this onto a cotton pad and sweep it over my face and neck, including any congested or blemish-prone areas, wait for at least a minute until it has dried, and then continue on with the remainder of my nightly skincare routine. In the morning I wake up to soft, smooth skin that feels plump and well-hydrated.
While this hasn't completely cured me of hormonal breakouts (I don't think anything can), I have noticed a marked improvement in the general texture of my skin since I began using this, and a sure reduction in the number of blemishes I do get as well as the severity of them. I find that it generally keeps my skin feeling calm and comfortable, and I have grown quite attached to it as I like knowing that I really am removing all traces of debris and dead skin before I go to bed at night. I have completely stopped using mechanical exfoliants now, apart from on my nose, which could do with a little extra help thanks to the pesky blocked pores I tend to get there. I avoid this on the rest of my face, however, as the Clarins toner does the job nicely without irritating or exacerbating any existing breakouts.
This is a skincare must-have for me now, and I'm so glad to have discovered exfoliating toners as they really do make a world of difference to the skin, leaving it looking bright and radiant.
Have you tried any exfoliating toners? Are you a fan of AHAs? If so then do let me know your favourite products in the comments below, as I am always eager to try out new skincare gems.