First beauty post of 2016! And I'm kicking it off with probably the most talked about facial toner in the blogging community. We've all heard about the difference between the two kinds of toners; there is the hydrating one that is usually geared toward gentle cleansing and hydration, then there are the acid toners which are designed to decongest problematic skin and exfoliate dead skin cells without the use of harsh beads or grains that you'd typically find in face wash exfoliants (I'm looking at you Neutrogena). I've only ever used the bog standard moisturising toners in the past so I was a bit wary of how strong or concentrated Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Brightening Toner would be and whether or not my sensitive skin would react well to the active AHA ingredients. Nonetheless, I still took the plunge and have been using this toner for roughly about 2 months now, so I have formed a solid opinion on what I think of it. 

Before I get into it, I'd like to say that I have very sensitive spot-prone skin, which depending on factors like hormones, diet, weather etc, tends to fluctuate between good skin days and bad skin days. Lately my skin has been on the temperamental side where random spots keep forming and scars take forever to disappear. This is where the Clarins toner comes in. I have noticed that this has significantly helped to calm down my skin from further inflammation and slowly but surely, helped to reduce those damn acne scars. My scarring always takes a long time to fade and although I wouldn't say that this totally gets rid of them, but regular usage has definitely shown effective results. 

I'd also like to point out that it does contain alcahol too in case some of you are a bit iffy about it. But take it from someone whose skin gets agitated really quickly that it barely causes any distress or leaves my skin feeling super dry and lack lustre. It does quite the opposite actually as my skin visibly looks a lot brighter after immediate use. And that is one of the main selling points for me about this toner. I dont know what it is but I'm assuming the tamarind and white nettle extracts in this contributes towards making my skin look radiant and a lot clearer after a single swipe following my cleansing step. 

Since my acne phase, I've learned a thing or two about the importance of incorporating AHA and BHA ingredients like glycolic, tartaric and salicylic acid in my skincare routine. Both are great and essential for cell renewal and helping to repair the damaged surface of the skin, while gently lifting impurities and elminating spots and blemishes. Because of this, I was pleased to find that the Clarins toner contained these active ingredients to sort out my breakouts. The acids in this toner are surprisingly gentle enough to combat problematic issues all the while revealing a softer skin texture. 

It says on the instructions to use it only 1 or 2 times a week, so for the first few days I did exactly that by only using it 2-3 times. But as my skin started getting more used to the PH balancing acids, I upped my usage to now using it once every evening. Of course, I occasionally switch it up to using a spritz toner or missing a day but I find that this routine works well for me. I think for anyone trying it for the first time should initially start with using it once of twice per week but it all really depends on how your skin reacts to the product. Bare in mind I do live in a hot country so I top this up with a SPF as AHAs in the long run can have the tendency of increasing your skin's sensitivity. But as I mentioned before, Clarins is the gentlest out of the more popular acid toners in the market like Pixie Glow or Liquid Gold. Which is why I think its perfect for someone trying out acid toning for the first time, particularly those with acnaic skin types. 

I think using this toner alongside with La Roche Posay's Effeclar Duo + (you can find my review here) is the prefect combination for taming spot-prone skin and clearing up my acne scars. Would I repurchase this? Definitely as you only need the littlest amount to use a couple of times a week in case you already have a hydrating toner in your routine. I've even got my mum using it too as its brilliant for ageing skin and those with hyper-pigmentation. Yes, it is on the pricier side but I think its well worth the bang for your buck as I don't usually trust the ingredient lists of most drugstore products. The Clarins toner really is a brilliant exfoliator for sensitive skin types and defo one that commits to enhancing your skin complexion from dull and uneven to a more healthy smoother skin. 

What are your favourite acid or hydrating toners? I'd love to experiment with a couple of them as soon as I run out of this one! 


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