“ Brand: The Sanctuary / Type: Toner / What it does: Cleanses, Hydrates / Quality Standard: Organic „
I use toner twice a day for my cleaning routine, and I have tried many different brands so far. I have found price is not definitely an indication of quality. I have tried really bad Toners, including Boots no 7, and really good ones, my favourite being Clarins. The Clarins one is fantastic but really expensive so I was hoping to find an equivalent, at a lower price. I know, that was very hopeful of me!!
Sanctuary toner costs around £5 but can be bought in various special offers and multi buys, so the price varies as to how you buy it. The standard product size is 200ml. The tub it is in is tall and rounded, white, with classy packaging. It has a clear plastic snap on and off lid. Underneath that the dispensing area is made up of two parts, one you push down and the other side which pops up. You then have to tip the bottle upside down then squeeze it to get the product out. It's actually quite hard to control how much you get out, which means you end up wasting quite a bit each time you use it, until you get control!!
The liquid itself is clear. It has a tiny scent, which I think smells a bit like Rose. It is a lovely scent to use on your face, but sadly it does not last after you use it! I would love it if you carried that scent round on your face all day. The liquid is soft and sensitive and doesn't irritate my face at all, or make it sting like some Toners do. The Toner makes my face seem really clean afterwards, and nice and soft. It doesn't make my skin tight, which some toners do and I know a lot of people who do look for this in a toner.
All in all this is an average toner. It does the job, but not fantastically or perfectly. I have used better, but then again I have used worse! I would buy this again, but only if it was on special offer. I certainly would not seek it out.
Towards the end of 2009, I decided that enough was enough. I needed to overhaul my skincare routine and start using something new.
After searching the usual aisle in Boots, to no avail, I decided to head towards the mid-range section and after a fleeting glance at the Soap & Glory products, found myself in front of Sanctuary's section.
Needless to say, I came away a few pounds poorer but full of expectation. I decided to go back to basics and bought a cleanser, toner and moisturiser.
~~Why tone in the first place?~~
While the mantra of cleansing, toning and moisturising might be imbedded in the heads of many girls, not many would really know why it's important. I have certainly been one of those girls for a long time. From what I gathered, it was to help remove all traces of cleanser that might remain on the skin and to really get down into the pores. Though this is true to some extent, I've learnt that there's quite a bit more to toning than just that - toners come in different forms and have different functions depending on your skin type. More about this later...
Sanctuary is a brand I am familiar with, although I think of them more as making luxurious products for pampering your body, not everyday skincare products. This is why I was intrigued and willing to see how their skincare products fared.
Other things you might like to know about the brand:
- All of their skincare products are dermatologically tested.
- Their products are not tested on animals - they claim to be 'against animal testing' which would also suggest that they use ingredients which have not been tested on animals.
I must admit, as clean and polished as it looks sat on my bathroom shelf, I did have some reservations about the packaging when I first bought the product. First of all, it's pretty big. 200ml of product housed in a long, thin bottle. That's great if it means I'm getting value for money and is no problem when sat on my shelf at home, but I was worried about having to travel with this bottle, particularly since the cleanser is the same size and the moisturiser isn't exactly travel-size either.
Still, the bottle has a sturdy enough lid, providing you make sure that it's clicked on correctly and I always travel with my beauty products in a plastic bag anyway, just in case. Another great thing about this product is that the top unscrews easily meaning you can decant the toner into a smaller bottle should you wish to.
The opening is one I wasn't expecting to see, when you remove the lid, the top of the bottle is split into two sections. When you push one side down, the other side pops up to reveal a slot where the toner will come out. I find the slot to be just the right size, the product comes out in drops, not too slowly but easy enough to control so as you don't pour out half of the bottle's contents.
Aside from functionability, the packaging contains all of the necessary information on the back, remaining clean looking and simple on the front. The ingredients are listed in full, so if you have any worries about what you can and can't use, you'll be able to find out straight away whether this toner is for you or not. There's also a blurb describing what the product does and how to use it.
The packaging can be recycled and the product has a shelf life of 12 months.
~~The Toner Itself~~
My research into toners has led me to believe that this is one of the mildest forms of toner. The many worry with using toner is that it will leave your skin feeling tight and stinging and that it will dry your skin out.
Some toners are designed to draw moisture out of your skin - for those suffering with oily skin for example - but obviously this is not always a desired effect.
Generally, the difference between toners is how much alcohol they contain. Almost all toners contain some form of humectant - an ingredient which helps the upper layers of the skin to retain moisture.
Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing what percentage of alcohol this toner contains, but I can see from the ingredients list that a lot of the ingredients are very gentle - such as rosa damascena flower water - rose water is the gentlest type of astringent and is often used in toners designed for dry skin. It is also a well-known ingredient in anti-ageing products.
Linden blossom is another ingredient which is great for hypersensitive skin because of its soothing and relaxing effect. And Sanctuary only use organic linden blossom in their toner.
Of course, not all of the ingredients are organic or even natural, but it certainly seems like a very gentle toner with a lot of great ingredients.
~~Using The Toner~~
Although there are directions on the back, it's easy peasy to use - simply pour a small amount on a cotton wool pad and wipe over face and neck. There's no need to rinse, just go straight ahead and apply your moisturiser. You'll see it removes any excess cleanser (particularly useful when I've used my exfoliator, even though the exfoliator doesn't mention following up with toner, while the cleanser does) and leaves you skin glowing without it looking too shiny. The toner has a very delicate fragrance, with the rose being the strongest scent I can discern. It's a very pleasant fragrance which doesn't linger too long and doesn't interfer with anything else you might put on your face afterwards.
When I first started using the Sanctuary products that I bought, I have to admit I was disappointed. It really took some getting used to, I found that the cleanser dried my skin out and while the toner and moisture provided instant relief, it was temporary and my skin ended up drier than it was to begin with. However, I stuck with it, mainly due to how much money I had spent and within a week or so, I was already seeing improvement. I am very very happy with the entire range of products that I use.
It is of course important to remember that I use all of the products, so it is hard to pinpoint what exactly does what, but I know that my skin doesn't feel tight after using this toner, it feels refreshed and clean. It takes a minute or so for it to dry and then I'm ready to apply my moisturiser. The effect is immediate and my skin looks radiant and refreshed.
I apply my make-up but find that my skin remains radiant throughout the day and that the products work well together.
It is obviously recommended that you don't get the toner in your eye, but it is mild enough for me to use on my eyelids and just underneath my eye without it irritating in any way. I've even used it when I was in a fix after smuding my eye make-up in the morning and it removed it quickly and easily.
~~Price & Availability~~
The toner costs £5.87 from Boots, which definitely doesn't seem outrageous. Of course, when you combine that with the price of the cleanser and the moisturiser, it does mount up. However, a 200ml has lasted me well over 8 months and still has enough left to keep me going for another month I reckon. To my mind, that's excellent value for money and I have already bought my next bottle.
It's available from Boots, Sanctuary Spas and online.
Absolutely. When I first started using the range, I was already planning in my mind a rather scathing review and was despairing at the money I had wasted. As it turns out, I think my skin was just in a really bad way with the winter and needed to ride out the storm before Sanctuary to get to work on it. I had a couple of days recently of not using the product - I went away for the weekend last weekend and didn't have any bottles small enough to decant into so decided to brave it and leave my Sanctuary stuff at home, taking some face wipes instead. Having a break from the products has shown me how effective they have been. I saw that I do still suffer from dry patches around my nose but there's been a vast improvement and my skin was nowhere near as dry as it was before I started using Sanctuary products. My daily use of Instant Hydrating Toner has made my pores a little more refined - there's not been any miracle by any means, but there's a definite improvement. Overall, I really like all of the products I use but I am particularly impressed with the toner. Normally I find toners to be no better than water at removing excess cleanser and I find they make my skin feel tight and dry. This toner is gentle but still effective and I would absolutely recommend it to all skin types.
I purchased Sanctuary's Instant Hydrating Toner from Boots online store. At the time of purchase there was a 3-for-2 offer across the Sanctuary range, so this was actually my freebie, but it can be purchased for £5.87.
Sanctuary claim the toner "Gently removes all traces of cleanser to leave your skin feeling really clean, soft and hydrated with noticeably toned pores".
The toner comes in a pretty plain white 200ml bottle with white and silver text. Sanctuary explain on the bottle how the toner will refine pores and leave skin refreshed and radiant. The lid chosen by Sanctuary to dispense the product is a little tricky to use. It's a large button, split into two. When you press one half of the button, the other half raises. You then tip the product up to dispense the toner. This is a little difficult because the toner tends to spill everywhere but you do get used to it eventually.
Sanctuary's instructions say to dampen a cotton pad with toner and gently wipe over the face and neck.
I used the toner following cleansing. It was very easy to use and dried almost immediately. My problem with many toners is they leave a sticky residue on the face after use. This was not the case with this toner, it sank in straight away and left me feeling refreshed and clean. The toner smells of roses which is lovely. The scent was just the right strength in my opinion, not too strong.
I have been very impressed with the product. My skin appears brighter, and this was the effect from the very first time I used the product. Before using the product, I used to moisturise twice a day but now I don't feel like I need to as my face feels soft and hydrated after using the toner alone.
I would recommend this toner to anyone, it really is fantastic. Boots seem to have a constant 3-for-2 offer running on Sanctuary products so you really can get yourself a bargain. Go for it!
Sanctuary Instant Hydrating Toner - 200ml, £5.87.
I have tried a few products from this brand before and was very pleased with most of them. It isn't a brand I'd go out of my way to buy but every now and again I seem to purchase something from the range for whatever reason. This time I had one of those Boots £5 facial skincare vouchers they give out sometimes when you spend over £5 in store.
As anyone who regularly shops at Boots will know the vouchers are only valid for certain ranges of certain brands and they are usually expensive anti-ageing creams that cost at least £15 - olay regenerist, loreal revitalift and the like. Great if you need/use/want to try these creams, pointless if you don't.
There are usually 2-3 products that can be purchased that are a lot cheaper (under £10, so under £5 with the voucher), they sell out very quickly though and Boots don't really bother to get any more in stock until the offer has run out.
This toner was one of them, it costs £5.87 so was 87p with the voucher - bargain!
Before this product I hadn't used a toner since I was 14, I'd tried them but couldn't see the point of them as they didn't seem to do anything but I can never resist a bargain so thought I might as well give it a try, and I'm very glad I did!
The product comes in quite a plain white bottle with blue and silver writing, when I first got it it took me a minute to figure out how to open it as you push half of the lid down and the other half pops up and looks like a pump dispenser so I tried to pump the product out, it was only after pushing each part up and down for a few minutes and wondering if the lid was broken that I realised you tipped it up to get the stuff out!
To apply the product you dampen a cotton wool pad with it and gently wipe over your face, it claims to remove all traces of cleanser and to refresh and tone your pores.
I used my usual cleanser then applied the product as directed, and was really suprised at how it made my skin feel...
It was instantly cooling and very refreshing and after a couple of minutes my skin felt extremely soft and smooth to the touch, my skin didn't even feel like it needed moisturiser which it usually does after just cleansing. It also has a lovely delicate scent of roses making it feel even nicer to apply.
The only problem I have with this product is that it is very easy for the lid to come open so if you drop it or something it will obviously end up all over the floor.
I am very impressed with the product especially after the price I got it for, it has now officially converted me and I will definitely be using toner from now on. Maybe not always this one as I like to try new things and go for bargains when they are on but I would definitely consider it.
I don't really know what was going through my mind when I bought this product. I had a Boots skincare voucher which entitled me to £5 off The Sanctuary skincare range, but did not particularly need any new products. Still, I found myself browsing the range of products, nothing unusual in this, I suppose, except that months ago I had used The Sanctuary's facial wash, and it left my skin so awful and dried out, I swore never again. So, I don't know how I found myself purchasing a bottle of their 'Instant Hydrating Toner' but I did.
The toner comes in a white bottle with blue and silver writing. It's fairly plain, but quite nice packaging. The main problem for me, comes with the dispenser. When you remove the frosted plastic lid, you will see that this to dispense the toner, there is a rather unusual contraption. It's quite hard to describe, but the top of the neck of the bottle is split into two. When you push one side down, the other side pops up, revealing a little slot on the side from which the toner comes out. It might look quite clever, but I have found it to be a nightmare! Obviously you need to apply the liquid to cotton wool, but even if you cover the slot with a pad of cotton wool, it tends to dribble out and I've ended up with more of this on the carpet than on my face!
Once you do manage to get the toner onto the cotton wool, you simply wipe over your face. The toner contains rosewater, and therefore has a lovely sweet, gentle, rose scent to it. It feels quite cooling on the skin, and thankfully did not make my skin feel dry or tight after use.
The main reason I wanted to use a toner in the first place, was that I have fairly enlarged pores around my nose, and I wanted to minimize them. I have now been using this product for around three weeks, and I have seen some improvement there, which I must admit, I am fairly surprised about. They have not shrunk completely, but there is definitely a difference, which I'm pleased about.
It also gets rid of any leftover cleanser or make-up as well as leaving my skin feeling soft and refreshed.
The toner costs £5.95 from Boots.
Overall, I have been quite impressed with this. Given my previous experiences with The Sanctuary;'s cleanser, I wasn't expecting much from this, so I'm pleased to say that I have noticed a difference to enlarged pores and my skin is feeling a little softer than usual. If I get another £5 off coupon, I will definitely consider buying this again.
An instantly refreshing and softening toner fragranced with essential oil of Rose / Gently removes all traces of cleanser to leave your skin feeling really clean, soft and hydrarted with noticeably toned pores / Contains organic Linden Blossom and Cornflower to help soothe your skin / Your skin is refreshed, feels velvety soft and glowing /