Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner

Product:  Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner (formerly Alpha Hydrox Toner Astringent).  Will this glycolic acid infused toner help your pores to disappear?

Overall Rating = 3+ stars3.5 Stars – Very Good

Cost: $8.52 for 6 oz. ($1.42 per fluid ounce)  Price Category: Inexpensive

Sold By: NeotericCosmetics; Wal-mart

Container: Plastic bottle with nice flip cap, outer carton.

Discussion:  Before I get into the product review, this product is a toner, which contains SD alcohol.  There is so much controversy surrounding this ingredient in cosmetics.  I have researched this ingredient extensively.  SD alcohol is Specially Denatured Ethanol.  Ethanol is, quite simply, the alcohol that you drink.  SD alcohol has denatonium benzoate added to it to make it bitter so that no one will be tempted to drink the cosmetic products.  Alcohol can be drying to people with very dry skin and it can be irritating to someone with hypersensitive skin.  On the flip side, SD alcohol can actually aid in the absorption of other ingredients to the skin and just because it is in a product, is not a bad thing.  The alcohol can act as an effective delivery agent.  I say try it and listen to your body.  If your skin doesn’t like something, it will probably tell you.  (Just don’t try a new product before a big event.)

Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner is an astringent intended to be used once or twice a day, after cleansing, and prior to the application of any other products.  Always apply your products following cleansing in the order from the most watery consistency to the thickest consistency.  If you have never used an alpha hydroxy acid product before, you may want to start with every other day and eventually build up to twice a day.  Alpha hydroxy acids can cause irritation to sensitive or delicate skin.  Also, this product contains a small amount of menthol.  If you are sensitive to menthol, this is not the best product for you.

Description:  Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner was formerly known as Alpha Hydrox Toner Astringent.  Nothing has changed except the bottle and the name.  This product is intended for consistent, oily, or consistent/oily combination skin.  As you will see if you continue reading, I use this product on my dry sensitive skin, but I use it a different way.  This is not intended for use around the eye area.  Please don’t get this in or near your eyes as it will burn terribly.

Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner contains alpha hydroxy acid in the form of a glycolic acid derived from fruit.  This is a fragrance-free product.  This is also PH balanced.  Alpha hydroxy acids aid the skin with exfoliation and cell turnover.  This is a chemical exfoliant, as opposed to a physical exfoliant such as a scrub or microdermabrasion.  This toner is intended to be used following cleansing and leave it on.  Due to my skin being dry, I rinse it off.

Company Claims:

“Gently removes excess oil, remaining make-up and residue leaving skin feeling fresh, clean and clear.
– Refines and tightens pores
– Balances natural oils
– Improves texture”.

Morning Review:  Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner is a thin blue liquid as thin as water.  To me it has a strong alcohol scent.  My male tester described the scent as a combination of alcohol and plastic.  The scent is due to the ingredients, is not offensive, and dissipates quickly.  The toner feels refreshing and cooling to the skin.  The alcohol in it does make my eyes water for a few seconds until it evaporates.

I have very dry skin.  Even though this product is intended for consistent to oily skin, I use this.  I really like how well it cleans and I find that it is not too drying to my skin provided I rinse it off.  Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner leaves my face feeling very clean.  It does not make my skin feel itchy or irritated.  As this toner contains beneficial glycolic acid, please do not rinse it off unless you need to.  Because my pores are so small after using this, makeup goes on beautifully.

I do have a complaint about this product and that is the fact that it is blue.  I wish manufacturers would completely stop the practice of adding artificial color to skin care products.  I’m taking off one star due to the blue dye.

Please Note:  If you have Rosacea, please check with your dermatologist before using this or any AHA product.

Please Also Note:  Alpha hydroxy acids can make your skin more susceptible to burning when you are exposed to the sun.  Please wear a sunscreen with a high SPF on top of this product to avoid burning.

Evening Review:  Provided I rinse this off, my skin does not get dry or tight and stays hydrated and smooth all day.  If I don’t rinse it off, this toner is a little too drying for my skin.  Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner effectively removes all traces of makeup after cleansing and I do not need to use any wipes if I use this toner.  Once again, please don’t use this near your eyes.  You will need a separate eye makeup remover.

Overall Review:  Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner is an excellent toner in terms of removing all traces of makeup and closing the pores.  I don’t get the added benefit of the glycolic acid because I have to rinse it off.  I have to take a point off though because I also don’t want artificial dyes or colorants on my skin if they don’t need to be there.  I also prefer alcohol-free toners for my dry skin, but sadly, the alcohol-free products don’t clean nearly as well.  Also, it is controversial for a toner to contain menthol when so many people are sensitive it.  Even with my hypersensitive skin I am not sensitive to menthol and I find the cooling effect to be refreshing.  Only you can determine if this will work for you.

Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner is suitable for women and men with all skin types provided it does not have a drying effect on your skin and you aren’t sensitive to menthol.  My male tester who has dry skin said this toner did not make his skin feel dry at all like most toners do.  He thought his face felt very clean, soft, and hydrated after using this toner.

Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner is suitable for the following skin types:

  • All ethnicities;
  • All ages;
  • All sexes;
  • Oily;
  • Dry (only if you rinse it off);
  • Sensitive (not if sensitive to menthol);
  • Consistent.

Please see the Help page to determine your skin type.


Morning Rating = 3 stars4 Stars for Effectiveness – 1 Star for Blue Dye = 3 Stars;

Evening Rating = 4 stars4 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 3 stars3 Stars (also due to blue dye);

Value Rating  = 4 stars4 Stars;

Overall Rating = 3+ stars3.5 Stars, Very Good.

Would Buy Again?  Yes (I have been using this for many years.)

(Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Alpha Hydrox Toner Astringent Former Product

Alpha Hydrox Toner Astringent Former Product

Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner Current Product Front

Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner Current Product Front

Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner Current Product Back

Alpha Skin Care Clarifying Toner Current Product Back

Ingredients: Water, SD Alcohol 40, Witch Hazel Distillate, Propylene Glycol, Glycolic Acid, Chamomile Extract, Panthenol, Menthol, Ammonium Hydroxide, Imidazolidinyl Urea, FD&C Blue #1.

Formulated Without:  Artificial Fragrance, Parabens.