Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner - review


If you read this blog, you'll know that I only started using toners relatively recently. Prior to that I couldn't see the point of them - until I used a good one.

What I love about toners is that they leave your face feeling fresh and tight (in a good way), and they also remove that last bit of makeup and grime - the bit that never seems to get removed, no matter how well you cleanse your skin.

While this toner does remove the gunk well, it's not the best I've used and it certainly doesn't reduce pore size!

Neutrogena claims/product details:
  • Visibly reduces the appearance of pores and refines skin to be clear, smooth and more even toned
  • Alpha and Beta Hydroxy formula that's dermatologist tested to deliver visible results
  • Sweeps away dead surface skin and refines rough, uneven patches
  • Penetrates deep into pores so they appear smaller and less visible
  • Skin is left feeling soft, smooth and refreshed
  • Won't overdry skin
  • Non-comedogenic (won't clog pores)
  • Dermatologist tested
  • RRP $14.99 AUD for 250ml, but do shop around


According to Paula's Choice (which gives the toner one star), this product lists alcohol as the second ingredient and also contains witch hazel. Both ingredients can irritate skin, and this toner is apparently even more irritating than usual because it also contains peppermint and eucalyptus. On top of that, Neutrogena tests on animals - which I didn't realise - so I won't be buying any more of the brand's products!

I bought this toner because it was on special and I was low in the toner department, so it seemed like a good deal at the time because I've had a reasonably good experience with Neutrogena's products and I thought I would like it.

I don't hate it, but it certainly doesn't refine my pores and I can tell that it contains irritating ingredients. While I haven't had a bad reaction to it, I've seen that many reviewers have, so I would be careful of this product if you have sensitive skin.

While my skin can be dry and sensitive, it's not too bad at the moment so this product isn't causing problems, but I can imagine that it might if my skin were a bit off, because it does have a tightening effect (not in a good way) and it feels like it strips the skin.

It has an astringent smell that I don't really like but can live with. It's definitely good at removing dirt and makeup from my face, but I feel like it's removing half my face too. For this reason I'm only using it once a day (rather than twice) and am alternating it with another, more gentle toner because I feel like my skin can't handle more frequent use.

On the claims: it doesn't reduce the appearance of my pores; it's drying; and while I do think it sweeps away dead surface skin, I feel like it sweeps away more than that and leaves my skin feeling stripped. It has also stung my face a few times, so when it's done this I've put it aside for a few days until my skin's less sensitive (maybe I shouldn't use it after I've exfoliated - I think that may be reason for the stinging).

In sum, I wouldn't buy this again for a number of reasons - one of those being that Neutrogena isn't cruelty free. I also don't love how this toner makes my face feel, and I think plenty of low-cost toners exist that clean/tone well without stripping the skin.

Low marks from me.

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