Yüli Facial Toners

I’m often asked if a toner is needed when using a facial oil. As skin goes through its integral changes at those hallmark decade junctions, some feel the need for a toner isn’t as important as the hero cream or serum. I say that may be so smashingly wrong. Sure, the toners from the 80s may have wreaked of cheap alcohol, which left the sting of witch hazel over newly scrubbed faces. But, today’s tonics are less about stripping the skin and more about prepping skin with moisture from essential oils before & after your choice of moisture. And, well…if you’re on this blog, odds are your choice is a face oil.

So, how does a facial tonic and facial oil work together? Synergistically if you take a cerebral approach to using essences & botanicals to soothe aggravated oily & dry skin types. “They're very soothing,” says Dr. Jensen Yeung, medical director of the dermatology program at Women's College Hospital in Toronto. One of the key benefits of facial mists, says Yeung, is “the prevention of water loss when they are applied immediately prior to using a moisturizer.” To most people, a facial mist is something you spritz mid-flight to prevent dehydration. But, these elixirs are so much more.

And, to see what they can really do, I turned to Yüli Skincare, as it’s the first brand to create skin-specific tonics based on need. Founder, Yun Li, took her grad degrees in Natural Sciences and Chemistry & used the benefits of botanical science to rehabilitate her acne-ic skin. In a very non-toxic, non-abrasive, non-irritating way. Something, I totally empathize with as you’ve likely read about my once-a-year bout with cystic acne. Yes, all two of those bastardly zits that simply refuse to come out & play. And, since I, too, face the dehydration & dry patches that follow from my overzealous use of whatever topical I’m testing this month, a mist sounds just about right.

Yun says face oils and toners work in unison to help infuse those pretty desirable blends of active nutrients and botanicals deeper into skin. "I'm a big fan of hydrosols and our elixirs contain the some of the purest, most effective hydrosol combinations on the market, bar none. When I first started transitioning away from the harsh pharmaceutical acne treatments years ago, hydrosols gave me the quickest and most obvious results with my skin issues. You notice the toning and conditioning effects right away and there aren't any side effects like redness or irritation."

Yüli offers three, 100% natural facial toners to wash away dullness & perk up skin:
  • Cocoon Elixir: The skin calmer. It uses regenerative Aloe Barbadensis as the base for Calendula and Rose Otto essences to nurture temperamental skin back to its balanced state. It’s got quite a medicinal tinge at first spritz, which disappears faster than the elixir itself. Calendula brings a healthy dose of polysaccharides to heal up skin while Rose Otto (Yüli imports this from Eastern Europe) de-stresses the pH levels.
  • Panacea Elixir: The anti-zit toner. This one uses Aloe Vera Gel at its core to bring up the pH balance, but also has Rosemary’s antibacterial function to calm down inflammation from occasional breakouts. The stand-out ingredient is Tulsi – India’s holy grail herb. According to a 2004 study by published in the "Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry," Tulsi has potent antioxidant properties whereby it neutralizes dangerous biochemicals that contribute to degenerative diseases and premature aging. Surprisingly, this has a sweet tang to its spritz.
  • Metamorphic Elixir: The mature skin tonic. For mature skins, Yun’s sensitive eye connects organically cultivated bioactives (Rose, Helichrysum, Frankincense, Rosehip & Myrrh) hydrosols with Carrot extracts nurtured alongside Sodium Hyaluronate to plump from within. Helichrysum largely reigns over the Rose with its fenugreek-like scent and lasts the longest of the 3 elixirs.
Yun gives us an elixir tip: “Don't be afraid to liberally mist and saturate your skin with the elixir and then wait a couple of minutes to apply the facial oil, it makes the bioactives more potent and absorb quicker.” I noticed the face oil does sink in rather nicely and doesn’t separate as one might expect with blending oil & water or hydrosol in this case.

As the two are winsome pair, facial tonics seem to be on the rise bringing a new botanical story to any face oil. Yüli’s research suggests some plants work complementarily, which means you may just want to pair your elixir with one the brand’s discerning face oils. Which one? Skin Fuel is the one I’ll try first...

Price: $$$
Scent Classification: Fresh
Viscosity: Ultralight viscosity (1/10)