Skin & Tonics : A Skincare Blog

Skincare guides & product reviews for beauty enthusiasts & ingredient connoisseurs

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner Review

EDIT 

(06/23/2015): The natural preservative system used for this product is not stable in extreme temperatures. I highly recommend against ordering and having this product shipped overseas in extreme temperatures, particularly during summer months. There have been consumer reports of spoilage of  this other products in this line due to the sole reliance on the natural preservatives used.  

I probably should have called this post, “A Love Letter to Benton,” and you’re about to understand why. Back in April, I had a series of cystic breakouts as a result of the Rodial Bee Venom Moisturizer I was testing. I stopped using that moisturizer, and the breakout immediately lessened in severity – meaning, my cystic acne spots mostly gave way to slightly less cystic acne spots. Then I started testing a different skincare line (which I’ll reveal when I finally review it), which caused my acne to flare up again with a vengeance. I stopped using those products as well, and went back to my baseline routine. This made my rash of acne less angry, but it didn’t make it go away. In fact, I was still getting new pimples.

This is what my face looked like the day I started using the Benton skincare line.

June 15th – This is what my face looked like the day I started using the Benton skincare line.

My baseline routine had never let me down before – I usually see my skin start to clear within a couple of weeks when I use those products. This whole fiasco is particularly alarming because I use a prescription retinoid every night. At the very least, I expected my Tretinoin to clear things up. My current working theory is that my sensitivity to Cetearyl Alcohol (and other fatty alcohols) somehow kicked into high gear throughout my product testing debacle. I cut out the Cerave moisturizer (which contains Cetearyl Alcohol) just in case my theory was true, and began using only pure Baobob (night) and Passion Fruit (day) oils as my moisturizers. This did help, but the problem was still there.

Desperate for an end to my acne, which, while not disfiguring, was certainly disheartening, I needed to try something new. After some research, I decided to try some products from a small Korean skincare company called Benton. Benton only has a handful of products in its catalog, all of which have extremely impressive ingredient lists. With this knowledge, and a little a bit of hope, I jumped face first into the Benton line.

Benton Alie Propolos BHA Snail Bee High Content Essence Serum Toner

Today I’ll be talking about the Aloe BHA Skin Toner ($17). Normally I would wait at least 4 weeks before reviewing a skincare product. However, the results after the first 14 days of using the Benton line were so dramatic that I couldn’t wait to show everyone. You’ll see what I mean when you get to the before and after photos.

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

What is it?

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner is a Korean toner, meaning it’s designed to be moisturizing, as opposed to Western toners, which are designed to be astringent. This toner is designed for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and promises to treat acne, and help prevent skin damage due to irritants and stress.

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

Ingredients:
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water (58%), Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Snail Secretion Filtrate, Salicylic Acid (0.5%), Beta-Glucan, Althaea Rosea Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Polyglutamic Acid, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Cross Polymer.

This ingredient list won me over immediately. It’s comprised almost entirely of skincare actives, the only exception being the Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Cross Polymer, which is a thickening/stabilizing agent. Not only is this list almost entirely actives, but the actives are a really good ones! Here’s a quick look at the ingredients I was most excited about, along with my explanation of each one:

Aloe Barbadensis – Aloe is a classic skincare ingredient for very good reason. It contains antioxidant properties with Vitamins A, C, and E, fatty acids, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, as well as naturally occurring salicylic acid. It’s fantastic at treating acne, redness, and dryness, among other things. There’s actually a great summary from the Indian Journal of Dermatology about all the amazing things Aloe does – it’s definitely worth a read.

Salicylic Acid – Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that is often used as an acne treatment. It is a naturally occurring ingredient, usually derived from willow bark, but also occurs in other sources, such as Aloe. It’s antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and an exfoliant. Salicylic Acid has been shown in multiple studies to improve skin barrier function and collagen production. It’s best used in concentrations from 0.5% – 2%.

Beta-Glucan – Beta-Glucan is comprised of sugars derived from the cell walls of fungi, yeasts, lichens, or other plants. It’s used in medicine to boost the body’s immune system in cases where normal immune defenses are weakened by conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, chemotherapy, or emotional stress. Topically, it’s used to treat dermatitis, eczema, wrinkles, wounds, and burns. It’s anti-inflammatory and promotes collagen production.

Snail Secretion Filtrate – Snail mucin might sound icky to some, but it actually contains a lot of exciting, skin-friendly ingredients such as antioxidants, proteins, elastin, and glycolic acids. It’s also antimicrobial, and in addition to being shown to effectively promote wound healing in a couple of in-vitro studies, there was a newer study released in April of this year that showed snail secretion to be effective when it comes to repairing photodamage. It’s especially helpful for acne, overall skin tone, and reducing acne scarring. (Study: Effects of snail secretion filtrate on photoaged skin)

Betaine – Humectant and anti-irritant. In fact, some studies have shown it to be less irritating than pure water! Betaine protects against cellular dehydration that can sometimes occur when cells absorb substances though osmosis.

When I ran this list through COSDNA, there were no irritants or acne triggers in this formula. In fact, all the ingredients ranked 0 in both the irritant and acne trigger category, which is a rare find!

Performance

Application
I use Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner immediately after cleansing. I spray 2-3 spritzes onto my face while it’s still wet, then pat it into my skin. The consistency is slightly thicker than water, but nowhere near this thickness of a gel. This toner absorbs quickly – within a minute or two, at most.

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

Packaging
The toner comes in a plastic spray bottle not unlike a travel bottle you might find at the drug store. It’s a cheap container, which I’m mostly fine with, except that the spray nozzle on this bottle is brutal! It often takes a couple of pumps before the product comes out, and when it does, there is so much coming out at once that it feels like I’m being sprayed in the face with a water hose.

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

This spray nozzle is just a step away from being a firehouse.

Smell
There really isn’t a smell to speak of. I guess I can sort of smell something vaguely plant like if I really put my nose up to it and concentrate, but for all intents and purposes, I’d say this toner is completely unscented.

Results
This toner has been a spectacular way to introduce a gentle BHA product into my routine. It provides some hydration, and it feels soothing on contact. The toner absorbs quickly and though it does provide moisture, there is absolutely nothing greasy about this formula. I have naturally dry skin, but I think Benton Aloe BHA Toner would also perform beautifully on oily skin.

Used in conjunction with the Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel and the Snail Bee High Content Essence, I’ve noticed a brighter skin tone, a complete disappearance of facial redness, and most importantly, an insanely dramatic decrease in acne. As in, my acne is almost completely gone after only 2 weeks, and I’m already beginning to see some of my post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation fade.

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

I was a little apprehensive about using a BHA because I’m a regular retinoid user. There are some theories stating that mixing BHA and retinol will cancel each other out. However, there is also plenty of research to the contrary, which states that not only will they not cancel each other out, but also that each will enhance the efficacy of the other. This is a really great article that explains how this works: The Truth About Using Retinol with AHA, BHA, & Vitamin C

The biggest risk associated with mixing BHA and retinol is that it can cause irritation. I’ve definitely experienced some irritation as a result of mixing the two in the past. However, the formula for this toner is so gentle, there hasn’t been a single instance of irritation for me.

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner is my new HG toner, without question. I do wish the spray nozzle on the bottle wasn’t abusive, but the product itself is so amazing, I am happy to overlook it!

Pros:
+ Hydrating
+ Extremely soothing, reduces facial redness
+ Dramatically decreases acne
+ Brightens
+ Non-irritating
+ Plays well with other skincare actives
+ No irritants or acne triggres
+ Very high quality ingredients list – no fillers
+ Suitable for sensitive skin, dry skin, oily skin

Cons:
– The spray nozzle could use some work.

Skin & Tonics Rating:

Performance: 5/5 – This product is soothing, effectively (yet gently) treats acne, brightens, works well with all skin types

Quality: 4/5 – Perfect ingredient list! The only flaw is the spray nozzle on the bottle, which dispenses product somewhat unreliably

Value: 5/5 – I would pay a lot of money for this product, but thankfully, it’s only around $17 including shipping.

Overall: 4.7/5

Where to Buy

This product is not sold in the US, so you’ll have to order it from South Korea. I purchased mine for $17 with free shipping at I Am Love Shop on eBay and was very happy with my experience. My order arrived at my door in North Carolina in about 10 days.

Benton Aloe BHA Toner is also available from the following Skin & Tonics approved sellers:

W2Beauty ($17 + free shipping, get a $5 voucher by entering my sponsor code at sign-up: 025605)
RubyRubyShop
(eBay seller, $17 + free shipping )
BringBringShop (eBay seller, $17 + free shipping )
Tester Korea ( $13 + $7 shipping)

This post contains affiliate links. Shopping these links help support this site! Full disclosure.

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45 comments onBenton Aloe BHA Skin Toner Review

  1. “It often takes a couple of pumps before the product comes out, and when it does, there is so much being sprayed at once that it almost reminds me of being sprayed in the face with a water hose.”

    Not gonna lie, I giggled. A lot.

    • Kerry

      I forgive you, Sharyn. You would laugh even harder if you could see it happening. There is so much wincing and grunting involved!

  2. I’m so sold on this toner! I’ve been looking for one for ages now and I’ll be putting this in my wishlist for my next haul! This is supposed to be use right after you wash your face and before serum/moisturiser right?

    • Kerry

      Girl, do it! You won’t be sorry! I also highly recommend the Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel and the Snail Bee High Content Essence, which I’ll be reviewing this week as well.

      And yes, you got it right – this toner goes on after cleansing, before serum and moisturizer.

  3. Hi,
    I love you blog, expecially asian beauty products… I used the Benton Snail essence and mask as well, reasonable price, no irritation and my skin actually goes from crazy to calmed….never happened before T__T .Just a quick question, do you use the toner together with the essences or just by itself??? Thanks heaps :))

    • Kerry

      Hey Lam! Absolutely! I use the toner with the essence and the Aloe Propolis Gel every morning and night. I also use the mask a couple of times a week. They all work beautifully together!

  4. I’m so glad you found something that worked!!! I have been working on my skincare routine and I’m not quite there yet. The Garnier BB got me a few months ago and I’m still recovering.

    • Kerry

      Thank you! Me too! It really sucks when product manages to leave such lasting damage. I hope your skin heals soon. And thanks for the warning about the Garnier BB Cream!

  5. Sounds very promising. I definitely found that Etude House’s AC Clinic Intense line (with Salicylic Acid) and Mizon’s Snail Recovery Gel (with Snail Secretion Filtrate) have been the best to treat breakouts for me, so it stands to reason that putting both ingredients together would = awesome. Lol.

    • Kerry

      Which products do you like from the Etude House AC Clinic Intense line? I have tried the Mizon Snail Recovery Gel and really liked it!

  6. Love reading your blog! I’ve heard the salicylic acid has an optimum performance of a pH around 3-3.5(ish?) Is this true? And, if so, Do you know the pH of this product?

    • Kerry

      Yes, you are absolutely right! Salicylic Acid should between a ph of 3-4. Sadly, I don’t have any pH strips around at the moment. The steam from my shower somehow made its way into the container they were in and ruined them. I’m going to order more soon and promise to update the post with pH information when I do. Thanks for the great question!

      • Have you managed to get more pH strips yet? I’d be interested to know the pH of these Benton products!

        Love your blog btw. Keep being awesome!

        • Gee

          Hi,

          I come up with a ph of between 5 – 6 for this product, too high to function as an exfoliating toner (from what I have read).

          As a cystic-acne-since-puberty and Accutane veteran and I amazed at how successful a low ph routine has been. Paula’s choice BHA toner and P50 w have changed everything.

          How should I incorporate this toner whilst remaining low ph? Or am I being overly cautious?

          Thank you so much,

          Gee.

  7. Yeeeeees. I’ve been eyeing this for a while now, and from that seller, to boot. I find Salicylic Acid to be very effective, and the rest of the ingredients are icing on the face cake. ME WANT.

    • Kerry

      I LOL’d hard at “icing on the face cake!” Hahahaha! Yes, you definitely want this. I hope you get it, because I would really love to read your review of it!

  8. Hey Kerry! So, I love your blog–very informative and visual. I usually don’t purchase suggestions from beauty blogs as I have pretty sensitive skin, but I was kind of taken with your reviews of the Benton line. I bought all three you reviewed. I didn’t buy the steam cream, though I did get a sample and thought it was great. I had a small breakout the night I applied it, and the next day it was pretty much gone, so I think that stuff is potent to say the least. I had varying reviews for the toner, snail essence and aloe propolis.

    A bit of background on my skin: dry with a bit of t-zone oiliness. Most oils make me break out. Also makeup, which is why I stopped wearing foundation.

    But back to the Benton line…I started using just the toner for a couple of days and loved it. No problems there. Then I incorporated the Snail Essence and I didn’t see a change in the few breakouts I had. Then I started using the aloe propolis and while my breakouts did not get worse, they also did not get better. They were pretty much stagnant. This has been a fairly consistent problem of mine: having pretty mild breakouts, but just not being able to get rid of them.

    Anyways, I kept on using it even though I wasn’t exactly in love with the snail essence and aloe propolis. While I like the ingredients and the fact that it doesn’t have a fragrance, it’s very sticky. Also, I’m low maintenance. It was hard enough for me to start using sunscreen every day as an extra step, so taking off my makeup, cleansing my skin and applying these three products seemed like an arduous task! (But really, not that big of a deal).

    So, I stopped using the snail essence and aloe propolis after a few weeks, but continued to use the toner. (By the way, I use a cleansing oil to take off my makeup and Cerave-the moisturizing kind) And the results were that my skin became much clearer. Usually I have at least one or two small pimples, but for the last month my face has been pretty much clear, and when I have gotten a blemish it’s seemed to clear up a lot faster.

    So while I did not absolutely love all three products, I’m sold on the toner and will be continuing to buy it. And the other products didn’t go to waste. My friend has frequent breakouts so I asked her if she wanted to try them out since I know it worked for you. She reportedly loves the consistency and says it has helped (she has oily skin by the way). Everyone is different!

    Hope this helps anyone out who may be considering any of them.

    • Kerry

      Hey Nicole! I can’t express how happy I am that you took the time to write such a detailed post about your experience! 😀 I’m sure anyone considering taking the plunge will find your feedback helpful. I’m so glad your acne has cleared up!

  9. Hi Kerry! I’m THIS close to purchasing the toner, but my main concern is this: not only is my skin acne prone, it is also really oily and very blackhead prone. Do you think it will help my skin too? I’m torn between this product and a more pore-aimed one..
    I’m so impressed with your before and after pictures, by the way, it’s so awesome that you found something that really works for you! I might buy it for my bestie too, she has really stubborn acne and semi-dry skin hehe!

    • Kerry

      I do think this toner would work well for oily skin, though it definitely doesn’t have the same oil-drying effect that a more witch-hazelly toner might have. I do think it would give you great long term results though, and it definitely won’t make you oily!

  10. Hey Kerry. I just wanted you to know that I’ve been using the Benton toner and essence for 6 months already. I opened the toner cap to check the smell and instead of having no smell, there was a floral fragrance coming from it. Comparing it with my almost done bottle, there was a noticeable difference. Feeling a bit unsure, I checked the ingredients label and found out they completely changed the order of it! I don’t know if this will change anything to the effectiveness of the toner. Btw, I purchased both bottles from the same seller, roseroseshop or rubyruby on ebay.

  11. Kerry

    Whoa! You know, I have heard from another reader that there may have also been some recent changes to the SnailBee Essence. I stocked up on all my Benton products in multiples several months ago, so everything I have is still the old formula. I’m interested to see how the new formulations perform. Please let me know what you think of the new version! And if you find yourself bored and/or snowed in, feel free to share the ingredient list on the new version with us. I am so curious!

  12. Hi there!

    I’m a new reader to your blog! Literally spent a whole day reading your reviews and such. At the moment, I’m having a bad breakout on top of the dark scars I’ve had from the breakout before.. In your reviews for the Missha Aqua Renew line, you said it helped with your scarring but you obviously love Benton’s line. I was wondering which line I should start with for the best results? I know it differs with everyone, but was wondering what you would suggest. I have combo, sensitive, acne-prone skin.

    • Kerry

      Hey Madeline! I personally don’t think you could go wrong with either line, but my personal preference leans toward Benton, especially if you’re sensitive. 🙂

  13. Hey Kerry,

    http://cosmetic-love.com/benton-aloe-bha-skin-toner-200ml.html The reviewer “Audy” plagiarized your review. I think at least one of her other reviews are copied from another blogger…and at least one is a product description copied from a different product (which is really weird…)

    • Kerry

      Thank you so much for letting me know, Diana! I’ve emailed Cosmetic Love to request its removal. I really wish people wouldn’t do that! Not too long ago I had to contact someone because they had copy-pasted a review of mine for an eBay item description!

    • Kerry

      Hey Diana! I thought I’d give you a quick update. Cosmetic Love was awesome and took the review down pretty quickly, and apologized for it (even though they clearly weren’t at fault). Thanks again for letting me know about it!

  14. Very interesting review! I wish to purchase this Toner but can’t find a store in Seoul for the life of me. Do you happen to know where I can buy Benton products in person?

    • Kerry

      Hey Lauren! Right now, Benton is only available online. I hope they get some shelf-space in a store soon – I get this question a lot! 😀

  15. Hi Kerry, my brother showed me blog. I’m having severe breakouts. You mentioned the Benton products but I didn’t see any cleansing products. Can you tell me what products you use to wash your face? I’m ordering the Benton products as well . Thank you.

  16. Hi Kerry, I’ve stumble upon your blog by accident a while ago and now hooked. I’m sitting on the fence at the moment of I should buy the benton bha toner. Im from Australia and currently using the neutrogena grapefruit cleaner which has salicylic acid in it for my acne like pimples. Can I use the benton toner with my current cleaner? or do I need to look for a new cleanser if I purchased the benton toner? I hope you can help me

  17. Lina

    Hi Kerry,

    First thing, I love your blog! I’m acne-prone since forever, but I’m so glad to have found your blog! Really quick question, I brought the toner as your review sounds amazing, however, recently I read your review about acid toners. How would you compare this Benton toner with an acid toner for acne?
    http://skinandtonics.com/the-importance-of-fatty-acids-ph-moisture-barrier-how-i-eliminated-my-acne-decreased-my-skin-sensitivity/
    Thanks!

  18. Patricia

    Hi!

    They sell it Canada for 15.99 via the website laalaa.ca. They do offer a great service. The shipping is 20 for the US.

  19. Aion

    Hi! I’m new here and I have to say, how much I love your blog! It is superb:D I love font of this blog, your reviews,your rating,just love it 😀 I’ ve been reading your bloog for quite a long time but I always say to myself that I dont’ have the time to comment properly ,but hell I’will write some things quickly and talk bigger next time. I’ve read in the comment section that something changed in the formula and it is true and since you are officialy one of my favorite bloggers,here is the site to new ingredients list
    : http://cosmetic-love.com/benton-aloe-bha-skin-toner-200ml.html
    Hope this is helpful =))

  20. elizabeth

    Thanks Kerry. But my question is if you use the P50 immediately after cleansing , then when do you use the benton aloe toner?

  21. Hajar

    This one is going directly on top of my wishlist along with pure heals propolis ampoule ^^ have you tried that one (pure heals propolis ampoule)? or heard of it anywhere?
    what do you think of it?
    i’m pretty sure you’ll love it I fell in love with its ingredient list but I haven’t tried it yet, I’ve read many positive reviews about it
    Ps: thank you so so much for these detailed reviews, I’ve been reading them for over a year and I’m still in love 😀

  22. Khuyen

    Hi! I’ve known abt your blog long time ago from many beauty blogger in Vietnam. Nice to meet you 🙂 Could you do me a favour? I read your review abt BHA toner, and in there, I saw you were written that you have sensitivity with cetearyl alcohol (fatty alcohol). Seem to be I have sensitivity like you: when I apply sunscreen/ moisture (those include cetearyl alcohol), I get irritation at least 5 min. I don’t know if I get irritation with exactly cetearyl alcohol? Could you tell me how can you find that you have sensitivity with cetearyl alcohol?
    Thank you very much. If my English isn’t good, please don’t laugh at me 😉

  23. Mai

    Hi Kerry,

    I’ve noticed that here you apply your toner without a cotton pad and then let it be absorbed in your skin. What differentiates the application of this from the application of your acid toner in your “evening skin care routine” post where you share that you apply with a cotton pad at night? I’ve noticed that other bloggers also sometimes use one or the other and that using a cotton pad helps remove dirt/sebum from your face. When would you use just your hands instead of a cotton pad? Does it depend on the type of toner you’re applying? Thanks so much!

  24. […] in one. I can say that my acne has improved significantly because of this product. Here is a more in–depth review on […]

  25. Sam

    I really want to buy this but I’m not too sure of doing so because of your edit. Will you recommend to order this product despite the fact that it might not be stable while shipping?

  26. Cary McCarty

    There are no preservatives in that product. I would not use it.

  27. Cary McCarty

    No Preservatives? Risky huh?

  28. I know this is a very old post, but I was wondering: this is a BHA toner, does that mean that it’s exfoliating (next to being toning and moisturising)? I’ve been looking for a more affordable exfoliating toner for a while, and this seems like a good option. Or do you by any chance know better (affordable) options?