You’ll notice I didn’t write a brand on this toner. Well that because I didn’t buy it. I made it. That’s right, this an all natural, homemade toner. I was checking my email the other day and I always browse through Yahoo’s top stories stream thing they have going on, just to see what’s going on, and I stumbled across an article about natural treatments for acne. They listed such things as honey, tea tree oil, and lemon juice as good antibacterials and exfoliators, all while being gentle and natural. Not to mention cheap. They had various recipes for how to dilute them and told you exactly how they worked and recommended how to use them (such as whether to rinse it off or just to leave it on) and all of that stuff. The one that I decided to try was the apple cider vinegar as a toner. Just a word on toner before I go on. I have not had good luck with toner. I’ve used several different kinds and it inevitably stings, makes my face horribly red, and sometimes makes my acne worse. Even the non-alcohol containing ones that I’ve used haven’t turned out well. So I just don’t use it. But I’ve heard that it is good for getting whatever your face wash didn’t and preparing your skin for moisturizer so I have considered trying some different ones that have received good reviews. Back to the apple cider vinegar. So, I check my cupboard and I have white vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar but not apple cider vinegar. Then I go to recheck the article I read to make sure I have the dilution right (I thought it was equal parts apple cider vinegar to water but wasn’t sure) and I couldn’t find the article. So I did a google search and found a recipe I decided to go with. According to the experts on About.com, you should use equal parts apple cider vinegar (the organic unfiltered kind) and water (I actually considered using distilled but I settle for filtered water out of my Brita pitcher). There was also an added tip to add green tea for extra antioxidants and to dial down the vinegary smell. It also said that vinegar obviously is very acidic so if you have sensitive skin to dilute the vinegar more. So I decided to add one part green tea as well (I made it regular strength). I did add a little bit less of the vinegar than the other two things just because I was afraid of it irritating my skin too much.
A few tips when you are mixing up your toner. The recipe I found said to use a glass bottle. I just washed out a glass juice bottle that I had and ripped the label off of it. I used organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar, filtered water, and organic green tea (make sure its just green tea with nothing else mixed in). Unfiltered apple cider vinegar settles so shake it up before you measure it out. I would also recommend making a very small amount at a time because it will last you a while and you don’t want anything to spoil or anything. I also keep mine in the refrigerator. It didn’t say anything about that but I figured it would be safest so I didn’t get any bacteria growing or anything.
So how is this supposed to actually work? Vinegar is a natural antibacterial to kill the bacteria that causes acne and apple cider vinegar contains natural alpha hydroxy and amino acids (ingredients that are in a lot of skin care products) that help remove the gross dead skin layer and reveal your lovely healthy skin underneath. It also increases blood circulation to make your complexion a lovely pink. This is all according to About.com.
In the interest of testing the acne fighting properties of this toner, I didn’t use any other acne treatments while testing this out. I just washed my face with my normal cleanser and used my normal moisturizer after toning. I shook the bottle again before dipping my cotton ball just to make sure nothing had settled. Then I just put some on a cotton ball and used it like a normal toner. It has a rather obnoxious vinegar smell (the green tea helped a little but not much) but it didn’t carry over once it had dried on my face (trust me, I made my fiance smell my face). It did sting a little on the actual pimples but didn’t make my face red and I didn’t notice any dryness. Later on I did notice a bit of a tingly, subtle itchiness, but my face didn’t feel dry or tight, and it wasn’t red or sore. I assume maybe its just the alpha hydroxy and amino acids doing their thing? I have no idea. Since I was afraid of this stuff irritating my skin I opted to try only using it once a day for the first two weeks. Just to be on the safe side. I figured I’d see how that did then maybe increase to twice a day depending on how it worked. After just a few days I noticed a difference in my skin. The little, almost microscopic red bumps that have always covered my face (I was actually starting to think I might have rosacea or something) are slowly disappearing. My face feels softer and smoother. I notice less of those little dry patches of skin that I usually pick at. It has not irritated my skin at all and actually after the first couple times it doesn’t sting even the pimples. I think it may have dried my skin out just a touch but not enough to make me stop using it. It also has been about two weeks and while this toner hasn’t done much to get rid of my pimples that were already there but it must be doing something because I haven’t noticed any new pimples since I started using it.
So bottom line, would I recommend this? Well, yes. But I would make super small batches. Like super small. I have noticed a big difference in the smoothness and evenness of my skin. It seems to have prevented new pimples from forming. It has dried my skin out (which is not necessarily a bad thing because it was horribly oily before) but I started using a more moisturizing cleanser with my bed time routine which helped a lot. I never used this more than once a day and if you have normal or dry skin I’m not sure I would recommend this at all but if you really want to try it I would start with every other day to see how your skin reacts. A HUGE thing this toner has going for it is the price. Its ingredients you can get at any grocery store and they are relatively inexpensive for the amount you use. I got my green tea for $4 for 20 bags. I only used one bag in my first batch and this toner will last me forever. The unfiltered apple cider vinegar was $3.59 for 16 oz. So you can do the math on that. I kept this toner in the refrigerator to keep bacteria from forming (although apple cider vinegar is an antibacterial but still) but after a couple weeks weird black sediment started forming it in. I think it was fine gratings from the inside of the metal lid. I don’t know if it would hurt anything but it grossed me out so I dumped it out. Since then I started just making a super small batch of two teaspoons of water and one tea spoon of apple cider vinegar. If I drank green tea I might at a tea spoon of that too but I don’t want to waste it. This small of a batch lasts me a few days and I feel better about the storage of it.