Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner - review


Ach, it's been one of those nights for me. My son was up at 10.30pm for a feed and it took me a while to go to sleep after that, then he was up again at 2.30am so I've been awake since then because that's what chronic insomnia does. Twelve years on and I still can't shake it.

Ironically it was a much better night where my son's concerned - for the last couple of weeks he's been up almost hourly - and it's always a kick in the teeth when your baby sleeps better for once and you don't. Surely one of life's great cruelties.

Moving on. You may have heard me mention that I've got a bunch of work on at the moment, and I did come down at 3am to do some before deciding it wasn't going to happen and instead lying down on the couch like a zombie. At 5am I got up again, only to sit here editing photos because it's really all I'm good for at the moment.

But the work has to be done, so let's start the ball rolling with this little post. I'm hoping it might sharpen my brain a bit so I can tackle the hard stuff. Maybe. 

So, this toner. I bought it from Mecca a while back because I needed to boost an order to get free shipping, and I was also running low on toner so it wasn't a bad idea to grab one.

The good news is that the product's fine so it wasn't a waste of money, but the bad news is that I much prefer the toner I recently used from Darphin (reviewed here), which only costs a little more than this one, and it also doesn't hold a candle to my favourite budget toner from Nivea (reviewed here), which is significantly cheaper - especially if you can grab it on special (which you usually can). More on that below.

Mario Badescu claims/product details:
  • Our mildest toner for the most sensitive and dry skin
  • Aloe vera formula soothes irritation and removes pore-clogging debris from the skin's surface
  • Alcohol free and vegan
  • RRP $22 AUD for 236ml


This isn't a bad product but I don't love it and I really think you can do better, even in this price range.

It's a standard fluid toner that's very green in colour and it doesn't have a strong scent. I agree that it's gentle so it should suit sensitive skin, and it doesn't strip or irritate like some toners can. So if you have super sensitive skin that's prone to redness and doesn't react well to many toners, this might be a good pick.

Now this product retails for $22 AUD and you get 236ml of product, while the aforementioned Darphin toner retails for $30 AUD and you get 200ml (damn, the Darphin one was a bit cheaper when I bought it!). So in theory the Mario Badescu product is better value because it costs less and you get more product, but in practice I'm getting through it much faster and it will last me at least a month less, possibly more.

Why? The design of the bottle. The Darphin bottle has a tiny hole at the top so you can really control how much product you dispense, but this one has Mario Badescu's classic 'flip-up' nozzle, which is easy to use but is also rather wide so I usually dispense more product than I need to. 

Sure, you could try to be really careful and concentrate every time you use it, but the reality for a lot of us - whether we're squeezing in a multi-step skincare routine before work, before going out or while we're looking after kids - is that you just don't have the time or concentration to spare on doing things delicately. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would say that.

Indeed, even when I have the time and inclination to tilt my bottle oh-so-carefully, gravity's a bitch. The whole liquid-tilted-through-wide-chute thing gets the better of me something chronic. Radiohead was right. Gravity really does always win.

The product itself. Look, it's fine - but I don't get any enjoyment from using it. Honestly, it's just like putting water on a makeup pad and I don't think the product tones that well, nor does it do a great job of removing the last layer of gunk from my face. It doesn't feel that soothing or cooling when applied either. It's just 'meh' to me and that's not what I want from my skincare. I want to enjoy my ritual, and since I can do that for a fiver with the Nivea toner mentioned above, I won't be returning to this one.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad product and you could certainly do a lot worse, but it's not Mario Badescu's best and I'm looking forward to finishing it. 

Thank you gravity.

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