Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner Review
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
+ Extremely soothing, reduces facial redness
+ Dramatically decreases acne
+ 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
– 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.
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)
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