Until about four years ago, I was ridiculously skeptical about toners. Like, you're telling me I'm supposed to rub this watery stuff on my face every time I do my routine? What does it even do? Since becoming a beauty editor, I've learned my lesson and have since collected 8345934599203 toners. But now, there's a new one I'm actually pumped about. Enter: Glow Recipe's new Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner, which launched on Sephora.com and GlowRecipe.com on Friday, April 17.
After cleansing your skin, you should apply a toner first, because, as co-CEO of Glow Recipe Christine Chang says, it "sets the tone" for the rest of your skincare. In addition to removing any excess, surface-level dirt or impurities from the skin, the molecules of a toner can penetrate into deeper layers of your skin to deliver a wealth of benefits, like hydration, antioxidants, gentle exfoliation, and pore tightening, and it'll prepare the skin to reap the benefits from the rest of your routine.
In the past, some toners on the market were harsh, drying, and made with mostly alcohol, which wreaked havoc on most people's skin. However, toners now, particularly Glow Recipe's latest, have finagled their formulas to carry the same benefits of a toner, but with more hydrating properties. The Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner ($34, Sephora) , specifically, is designed to help you achieve smooth, supple skin, with alllllll the hydration you need for a super dewy glow.
The formula contains a blend of actives meant to help minimize the appearance of pores, including polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), a combo of acids which help significantly improve skin's texture by sloughing off dead cells in a way that's still safe for sensitive skin. The toner is also made with 6% hyaluronic acid, which locks in moisture, as well as tea tree oil to soothe irritation, cactus water for antioxidants and electrolytes, and, naturally, watermelon for added hydration. Even better, the formula is cruelty-free, vegan, and devoid of all the things you effing hate to see: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and super drying alcohols.
When I tried this product just before launch, I was (spoiler) so pleasantly surprised, particularly because I had fallen into a slump with toners feeling too drying or harsh for my sensitive skin. After I cleansed with Glow Recipe's Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser ($34, Sephora), Chang walked me through using the new Watermelon Glow Toner. After shaking out a few drops into my hand, I rubbed the product between my palms and pressed it into my skin, which instantly felt hydrated to the touch and looked wildly glowy (but not the bad, sweaty kind of glow). I finished my skincare routine like usual, and the end result was a much more moisturized, dewy version of myself, with skin that looked like one even canvas:
What surprised me about adding the Watermelon Glow Toner to my routine was that this glow and dewiness stuck around a lot longer than usual. Whereas the residual glow from my skincare products sticks around, just not heavily, my skin was "I just walked out of a facial" dewy for almost eight hours. Bible. And after that, my skin still felt baby butt-level soft and moisturized through the remainder of the day.
If you want that good glow, too, Glow Recipe's Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner is available now on Sephora.com and on the Glow Recipe website.