All those years ago, I found my holy grail astringent/toner in Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2, the beauty must-have of my mom’s side of the family that speeds up the clearing of blemishes. The only thorn to this rose being the formula is a little too strong for everyday use, so I only limit it to emergency zit assassination missions several days before important events. When I’m not furiously dabbing away with Clinique, a mild toner suffices. That’s how I discovered Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner as a gentle giant—bottle of daily toner, that is.
Over one of our many casual lunches together, my friend Boni recommended Dickinson’s from Healthy Options for being affordable and preventing breakouts on her sensitive skin. (What the heck? All my friends have uber sensitive skin.) I did my research, saw the witch hazel and grain alcohol content, and assumed it would be a dupe for my beloved Clinique. That’s when I gave in and bought the biggest bottle (473 ml) for PHP 379. There are smaller amounts, but I didn’t mind upsizing because of the price.
Let me tell you, this turned out to be surprisingly mild. I expected strength when I saw grain alcohol on the ingredients list, but there’s only 14%. In fact, it’s gentle enough that I use it twice a day without suffering any dryness. If I have to compare this with Clinique, Clarifying Lotoin 2 gives me redness for several minutes after application, while Dickinson’s doesn’t . That’s why I can’t use Clinique regularly.
There are plenty of other things to like such as the simple packaging of a transparent plastic bottle that allows you to see how much is left and the all-natural formula that won’t give you any “chemical guilt”. However, the one thing I almost can’t stand is the freaking smell. *vomit* Is this what witch hazel really smells like?! Picture a veggie that has oxidized completely and is just about to start rotting away. I always hold my breath a little as I dab near my nose, but the smell doesn’t linger for too long. That’s the only potential dealbreaker I can think of.
For sure, you’ll save more per ml if you just jump right in and buy the biggest bottle like I did, but if you’re sensitive when it comes to odors, I urge you to resist and spring for the 59 ml trial size instead for only PHP 75.
Rating: 4/5 — Almost a perfect toner, except for the smell.