Review: Human Nature Hydrating Toner

TL;DR
+ formulation seems to have improved (judging from the reviews on the HHN website)
+++ effects last 1-2 days
+ affordable
+ lightweight
+ suitable for 3- or 7-skin method
+ plumps up skin
+ paces absorption…
– …compared to the usual toners that help speed up absorption (eg. Hada Labo)

Ingredients: Aqua, glycerin, moringa (malunggay) seed extract, hydrolyzed corn starch, beet root extract, sodium lactate, sodium gluconate, natto gum, xanthan gum, sodium citrate, citric acid, fragrance, gluconolactone, ethyl alcohol, sodium benzoate
Note: The list on the website seems to be outdated. The list above comes from the label on the bottle.

pH Test

hhn-hydrating-toner-pH
pH of about 4.5

Full Review

So turns out moringa is a pretty popular ingredient. You’ll find the extract in SK-II’s Facial Cleansing Oil, Missha’s Time Revolution Immortal Youth Blue Essence, and the well-loved Neogen Real Fresh Foaming Cleanser. Here in the Pearl of the Orient it’s better known as malunggay or that tea that cures everything.

This toner was the trickiest product to assess so far. Being accustomed to mainstream AB, I thought this would be an easy review. Toners are usually meant to prep the skin for the succeeding steps, with Klairs and Hada Labo being two of the biggest AB favorites. I’ve yet to bust out my Klairs Supple Prep, so Hada Labo will be my main point of comparison for the meantime.

If you’re familiar with Hada Labo, it works wonders with basically every product. It helps the succeeding steps absorb better – even the thickest of oils. Human Nature’s toner is often considered a dupe because it aims to accomplish the same goal (ie. prep the skin) and has the same thicker-than-water consistency. This product was so difficult to review because the differences in comparison to HL were barely noticeable, but once you feel it, it’s hard to miss.

Human Nature’s moringa toner works differently than what we’re used to in Asian Beauty. It actually tends to “fill up” your skin so that the succeeding steps don’t absorb as quickly as they normally do. So how the hell does a product that hinders absorption triple the effects of my skincare routine??

Well, it seems to pace absorption rather than hinder it.

If your usual AB toner is your stereotypical tough-as-nails high school coach, Human Nature’s is the Nike+ running app with its take-your-time “Hey, [famous athlete] here” go-at-your-own-pace training and support. It seems to pace the amount of product your skin absorbs which somehow makes your routine more effective and more long-lasting.

Used alone, it does make my skin more firm and plump but used in conjunction with the rest of my routine, it magnifies the effects. Note that it makes each step more effective. My hydration layers, for example, do a pretty good job on their own, but with the toner, they plump up my skin enough to noticeably lessen my sebaceous filaments. My lightweight moisturizer? Now moisturizes the bejesus out of my skin. The best part is that the effects are still noticeable after two days, which I’ve yet to encounter with similar products – even Hada Labo.

I can’t explain it, but the layers that don’t absorb immediately because of the toner do make their way into your skin. It just does this at a slower pace, giving your skin and the product more time to work its magic. Think sheetmask without the mask. This toner functions as the mask and your routine serves as the essence.

It does really well on its own too. It makes my skin firmer and plumper and the effects also last a good two days. It’s easy to layer on which works well for the 3-skin method. However, it’s impossible to compare what it does when used other routines. That’s when this product really shines and becomes irreplaceable, even if it’s just with a single layer of moisturizer after.

It’s really hard to see the difference, but it’s there. It took me a month of applying on only half my face, but once I was able to pinpoint it, I can always clearly feel the difference. It’s just hard to pinpoint at the beginning because it feels so different from other products – yet it works and at less than a hundred pesos (US$2).

Just like moringa, this toner is definitely an underdog. It seems to have gone through a few formulation changes so don’t be put off by the negative reviews on the website. Overall, I feel like I didn’t do this toner justice with this review. It is absolutely worth a shot and well worth the extra effort put into seeing what makes it so special. I prefer not to compare it to Hada Labo because they work so differently, but considering the pricepoints, I do think Human Nature is at an advantage. I like to think that if I still have amazing skin in 50 years, I’ll tell people it’s because of this moringa-powered toner.

 


Where to buy:
Philippine residents: website, nationwide stores and resellers, BeautyMNL
Non-Philippine residents:Β website

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