Aug 102017

Madara Balancing Toner for combination skin helps skin absorb moisture more efficiently, whereas Madara Clarifying Toner, especially with the help of salicylic acid, purifies the skin.

Madara Balancing and Clarifying Facial Toners Review


Toners – is there ever enough of them? For this round, I decided to review two of the Madara facial toners, targeting oily and combination skin – the balancing toner and clarifying toner – which, aside from the, in my opinion, too high of an alcohol content, make for the toners working hand in hand for combination and oily skin, when you’re looking for toners to minimize the acne and blackheads, minimizing the pores and controlling the shine.

Madara Clarifying Toner contains , first and foremost, the ingredient much welcomed by oily skin prone to acne and blackheads – the salicylic acid, which helps to prevent outbreaks, gently exfoliates the skin and helps to reduce blackheads. The Clarifying toner also contains powerful and potent astringent ingredients, all directed at fighting large pores, unbalanced skin, prone to acne.

Madara Clarifying Facial Toner


Between the two Madara toners, I’ve been using the Clarifying Toner in my evening routine, especially due to its mild exfoliating properties.

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So how about the ingredients?

Ingredients: Aqua, Alcohol, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower, Water, Acorus Calamus (Sweet Flag) Root Extract, Betaine, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Quercus Robur (Oak) Bark Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Salvia) Leaf Extract, Salicylic Acid

Cucumber Fruit Extract has astringent properties. It’s very hydrating, cooling and soothing and works well against skin’s puffiness. Quercus Robur (Oak) Bark Extract has potent astringent properties and is ideal for oily skin and for fighting large pores. Oak extract contains tannins compound, the most powerful natural astringent. It minimizes pores. Salvia Officinalis (Salvia) Leaf Extract has antibacterial, antiseptic and skin balancing properties.
Salicylic Acid, a beta hydroxy acid – a chemical peel, is excellent for oily and acne prone skin, as it cleans the skin of impurities, exfoliates and prevents acne and blackheads.

And Rosa Damascena Flower Water.

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Potentially problematic ingredients?

  • Alcohol – it’s second on the ingredients list, which means there’s quite a substantial amount of it in this toner, and it shows – both with an occasional over-production of skin’s oil as well as with the scent, which is quite strong. I am not certain what type of an alcohol this is (denatured alcohol is by far the worst for the skin), but either way, alcohol is really bad for the skin. On the surface, one might think, especially when it comes to oily skin, that alcohol might be a welcomed ingredient, but it’s not, as it actually dries the skin and sends the skin a message it’s dehydrated, thus producing even more oil in the short run. In the long run, it actually damages the skin, as one can imagine. It may be also used as a cheap(er) preservative, especially since it looks better on the ingredients list compared to other preservatives; given this toner contains water, at least one preservative is a must, but it seems there’s none.
  • Acorus Calamus (Sweet Flag) Root Extract – now this is an ingredient I don’t think I’ve encountered in any of the beauty products so far. While it does have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, I am very much on the fence due to its potential harmful properties, mainly – the compound called β-asarone, which, some studies show, there may be some some toxicity.

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The Madara Balancing Toner is, when it comes to ingredients, a mixture between the Clarifying Toner and Madara Micellar Water. While it contains a cooling cucumber extract and a calming chamomile extract, it contains even more alcohol than the Clarifying Toner and the amount of alcohol is obvious immediately – the scent is that strong. The Balancing Toner contains humectants and antioxidants, but I am afraid the high amount of alcohol negates many of the skin-beneficial properties of this toner; given it contains an excellent witch hazel hydrolate, a natural astringent, with potent antibacterial properties – all in all a great ingredient for oily skin, I do not understand the high amount of alcohol in this toner.

Madara Balancing Facial Toner


I’ve been using the Balancing Toner in my morning routine (it irritates the eyes, again, due to high amount of alcohol) before applying a moisturizer and makeup and right off the bat, it does give off this matte effect and tightened pores but my skin over-produces the oil later on in the day.

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The ingredients? The ingredients listed on Madara official site are not in the same order as on the bottle; this has to be pointed out as the order of the ingredients tells the amount of each ingredient in the product.

Ingredients: Glucuronic Acid, Glycerin, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch-hazel) Leaf Water,  Plantago Major (Plantain) Leaf Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Propanediol, Rhamnose,  Rosa Damascena (Rosa) Flower Water, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium PCA,  Xylitol, Xylitylglucoside, Aqua, Anhydroxylitol, Benzyl Alcohol, Betaine, Chamomilla Recutita (Camomile) Flower Extract, Glucose, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract

Witch hazel Leaf Water has astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. It moisturizes and balances combination and oily skin. Plantain Leaf Extract promotes renewal of damaged skin cells. It stimulates collagen synthesis to improve elasticity and firmness of skin tissue, helps to eliminate excess water from body tissue, creates a protective and moisturizing layer on skin. Raspberry Seed Oil, potent antioxidant, contains extremely high amounts of essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6, up to 85%. Raspberry oil improves the hydration and elasticity of the skin, it works to correct the signs of ageing. Chamomile Flower Extract moisturises, softens and purifies skin; it has anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, calming and regenerating properties. Cucumber Fruit Extract has astringent properties. It’s very hydrating, cooling and soothing and works well against skin’s puffiness.

Sodium PCA, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxlitol, Glucose and Glucuronic Acid are humectants. Sodium Hyaluronate lessens oxidization. Xylitol, natural sweetener, has antibacterial properties. Betaine hydrates and gives a silky and smooth feel to skin.

And Rosa Damascena Flower Water.

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Potentially problematic ingredients?

  • Benzyl Alcohol: it plays several roles in cosmetic industry – a solvent, masking agent/fragrance agent, preservative. While Benzyl Alcohol is also a naturally occurring ingredient, found in essential oils (jasmine, ylang ylang), in cosmetic industry, it’s mostly used the synthetic one. It is a possible skin and eye irritant, and it can cause contact dermatitis. It’s also noted it can be toxic to infants.
  • Sodium Benzoate, preservative, which can be skin irritant. Given this toner contains water, such a preservative is, unfortunately, a must.
  • Propanediol, solvent, is a potential skin irritant.
  • Alcohol – unfortunately, the Balancing Toner contains even more of it than the Clarifying one.

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My final word?

Madara Balancing and Clarifying Facial Toners Review


I’ve been really enjoying the Madara products so far, and I was really eager to try these toners, especially the Clarifying one, given it contains quite a few great ingredients, targeting oily skin, prone to acne. I admit, I hesitated before ordering these two toners – I am put off by toners, which contain alcohol, but I thought I’d give these two a fair try nonetheless. Unfortunately, if the Clarifying Toner was not a big of an alcohol bomb, the Balancing Toner was. Yes, they both contain many great ingredients for oily, combination, acne prone skin, but the alcohol exacerbates the very problem these two toners are suppose to fight against – the over production of oil: alcohol dries out the skin, so the skin makes even more oil, while at the same time, making the skin dehydrated and dry, thus it’s no surprise when dry patches show up. Both toners, at the beginning, minimize the pores and even mattify the skin, but the effect of the alcohol kicks in later on.

The Balancing Toner contains excellent natural water base – Witch Hazel hydrolate, so in my opinion, there’s really no need for any alcohol, much less such a huge amount of it – it defies the purpose of the toner, as alcohol creates imbalance. And given both toners contain hydrolates as it is already – the rose and witch hazel ones – there’s really no need for water either; hydrolates are water, containing around 10% of the essential oils they were by-produced of.

Given the Clarifying Toner contains salicylic acid, I might, somewhere down the line, re-purchase it, but only to be used occasionally, if the toner still contains (such a high amount) of alcohol. As for the Balancing one – until there’s so much alcohol in it, I will skip it. Both contain promising ingredients – one ruins the formulation, unfortunately.

The price? Around €15 for 200ml for each of the toners, which, going only by the good and even great ingredients, would be very affordable.

While it’s true – every skin is different, and if one’s skin absolutely adores rose essential oil, for example, someone else’s might have an adverse reaction to it; what works for me, might not work for someone else. But when it comes to (high amount) of alcohol in beauty products, I can assuredly say it is not good for anyone.

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How about you? Have you tried these Madara Toners? What’s your take on them? What’s your opinion on the alcohol in skin care (or any other) products? Let me know!

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For more information on Madara, please visit their dedicated brand page.

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Madara Balancing and Clarifying Toners have been provided to Nature of Europe by Love Lula for the purpose of an honest review.

Nature of Europe is Love Lula’s Accredited Blogger.

The post contains affiliate links. For more info, read our disclaimer.

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