Pros: Nice packaging. Doesn't dry out skin.
Cons: Doesn't dry at all. Leaves skin wet, then turns to a sticky mess.
As a fan of Neutrogena products, I decided to give this toner a try. I don't use toner regularly, though I know I probably should. My memories of using toner are from my teenage years when I used Sea Breeze, which tingled my skin and gave it a tight, dried out feeling. I've since learned that alcohol not only dries out your skin, it actually can dry it out so much that it can cause your skin to react by creating more oil.
Given my combination skin, alcohol-free seemed the way to go, so when I saw this bottle at my local drugstore, I decided to check it out. It comes in a light blue, plastic 8.5 oz. bottle with a white cap and simple white writing. The bottle has a nice smooth, matte texture. The catch phrase across the front reads "Won't strip skin's natural moisturizers." Sounded like exactly what I was looking for, and given my good track record with Neutrogena products, I decided to take it home and try it out.
The toner has a nice, mild, sweet, flowery scent. Not too strong as to overwhelm, but rather pleasing. However, I'm not sure how this fragrance will react to your skin if you happen to have particularly sensitive skin.
Doesn't Overdry or Tingle
I pressed a cotton ball against the opening, turned the bottle upside-down, and moistened the cotton ball. I swiped the cotton ball against my face, making sure to cover my cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. Initially, I was pleased. I did not feel any stinging or tingling against my skin, and it didn't cause my skin to tighten. The toner seemed rather mild, and, as promised, didn't seem to strip my skin's natural moisturizers.
Leaves Skin Wet, Sticky
After a few seconds, I noticed that while the toner didn't dry out my skin, it didn't seem to dry at all. I still had the wet toner all over my face. It wasn't even evaporating as time went on. I felt an urge to wipe a towel across my face, but I didn't want to waste the effects of the toner by rubbing it all off, and I also didn't want to get it all over the towel. I then contemplated rinsing my face with water to get the toner off, but what would that accomplish? Okay, I figured maybe I was being too impatient. Maybe I needed to give it a few moments to do its magic, then it would evaporate or sink into my skin, leaving me with nice, soft skin. Hmm, nope, that's not what it seemed to do. Instead, it seemed to dry right on top of my skin, leaving a layer of stickiness. This certainly wasn't the soft, clean skin I was hoping for.
You might be thinking that I put too much toner on my cotton ball, but I thought of this and tried it again the next night, this time making sure to only lightly moisten the cotton ball. I swiped it all over my face, yet again I noticed that my skin remained wet, then turned to a sticky mess in less than a minute.
I've read other opinions of this product and all seem to endorse it. Given my successes with other Neutrogena products, I don't doubt the success that others have found with this toner as well. However, it isn't for everyone. I would have thought that my combination skin would be perfect for this type of toner, but obviously it isn't. However, if you're looking for something very mild that doesn't tingle or dry out your skin, and you can find a way to avoid the stickiness I experienced with this product, you might want to check it out. I, on the other hand, will be searching for a new toner.