Since coming back to New York, I’ve filled my time volunteering with stylists for prefall presentations which I have been doing since moving here for school. Not only is it what I love to do, but it also gives me a chance to play with new products and test it out on different skin types. A dirty secret I’m going to tell you is that a lot of models, particularly the younger, successful ones who are always on jobs – just do not have time to properly clean their face! We simply do not have sufficient time to lead them to a washing area to cleanse and wash their face properly but we also don’t want a dull, tired complexion or even worse, day old makeup! A ‘cheat’ we’ve done in the past was to apply Bioderma Crealine solution to cotton pads, this process doesn’t need any water and leaves the face as a clean slate. But as I’ve started transitioning into natural beauty routines, a few stylists I’ve worked with have tasked me with finding a “clean” Bioderma. So I started looking around for something water-less that removes gunk and leaves skin clean.
Enter Arcona’s Cranberry Toner, described as a 3-in-1 product that Cleanses, Tones, and Hydrates. I had used this product before but didn’t repurchase it simply because I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate it into my routine, it wasn’t the best cleanser, nor the best toner, and I wouldn’t exactly describe it as a moisturizer. It’s funny how a product you wouldn’t buy again that doesn’t seem to have a specific purpose turns into a holy grail item when the right occasion and need comes along.
Arcona’s Cranberry Toner is a relatively clean product that has a cult following in Los Angeles, they’re known for natural formulations that avoid a lot of chemicals, but purists might want to give each product a close read on the ingredients list to see what they’re fine with and what are deal breakers. The ingredients list for the Cranberry Toner is:
Agua (Distilled Water), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Rice Milk, Sodium Lactate, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract, Vitis Vinifera, (Grape) Seed Extract D-alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citric Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Essential Oils.
So the majority of the formula is good and clean, however Sodium Lactate which is the 4th ingredient does rank a little high for my comfort on EWG’s list, at a solid 4 although data is limited. There is also Benzyl Alcohol which isn’t the most gentle type of alcohol, and I’m not sure if it is grain extracted but it is really low on the list so I don’t mind. I also wish they would reveal the Essential Oils, but as this product is heavily scented, I think they do it more to protect their scent combination rather than be sneaky about “bad” essential oils.
The product is a delicious cranberry-pink and when you shake it (since the liquid does separate if left alone), it mixes into a beautiful swirl which I attribute to the Rice Milk. The product comes out in a pump top, just be a little on the cautious side as it does dispense more than you need for one cotton ball. The scent is strong, but despite Witch Hazel being pretty abundant, the distinctive scent is masked perhaps by the Cranberry and Essential Oils that leave this scented like a fresh cranberry.
All you need is to wet one cotton ball to apply to the entire face. It isn’t the greatest makeup remover (try a cleansing oil beforehand for this, such as Vapour Organics Cleansing Oil, reviewed here), but if you’re just trying to ‘clean’ up a face that hasn’t been washed in the morning or one that is a little oily, this is perfect. It really gets the dirt and oils out without leaving skin red. It leaves a thin film which I don’t mind because I think that helps moisturize the skin. Most of the models I put this on commented how quick and easy the process was and how quickly their skin felt refreshed.
One quick note, do not apply too much or rub too hard: it does foam slightly if you do that which creates a need for water which is what we’re trying to avoid. I’ve only had one model experience some redness with the formula out of maybe 30 so I feel like it should be pretty suitable for sensitive skin. For the normal girl or guy who isn’t going through multiple castings and shows in a single day, I don’t think this is the best product for your lifestyle. However if you’re self-described as a “lazy beauty”- someone who typically doesn’t wash your face in the morning or you crash in your bed rather than wash your face at night after coming home with a face full of makeup – this is an improvement and is a good first step for being good to your skin.
Available from Arcona for $32, here