One of my favorite (and most anticipated) skincare launches last year was the toner from January Labs. The founder of the brand, January Olds, is such an inspirational and beautiful person, I'm grateful I've had the chance to chat with her a couple of times. Her skincare products are some of my staples, I can't live without her Revitalizing Day Cream (review here). There are no unnecessary bells and whistles in this line, just high performance, well-designed and clean skincare.
January Labs Daily Brightening Tonic
The Daily Brightening Tonic is gentle resurfacing and hydrating toner, comes in clear 150ml (~5 fluid oz) plastic bottle, retailing for £26/€29.30/$35.7. The toner is intended for daily use after cleansing and pre-moisturizing. In EU I shop for January Labs on Cult Beauty*.
Water, Aloe, Lactic Acid, Lemon Peel Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Apple Fruit Extract, Witch Hazel, Organic sugar, Black Tea Leaf Extract, Oat Kernel Extract, Sodium PCA, Organic Chamomile Extract, Glycerin, Clary Extract
I love toners and essences, but with most of them the first ingredient you pay for is either water or aloe juice. I'm glad the price of Daily Brightening Tonic is reasonable, since water/aloe based toners never should break the bank. Also, don't you enjoy the short INCI list? To me there are no ingredients that raise particular concerns, even acne prone skin types can enjoy this toner in my opinion. In the case if you're particularly sensitive to fruit/citrus extracts, patch test first. Naturally, I always advice using sunscreen during the day but especially when using skincare with exfoliating ingredients.
The 3rd ingredient, lactic acid, is one of the most popular alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) in skincare, which are chemical exfoliants and not to be confused with abrasive scrubs. Lactic acid gently exfoliates the uppermost layer of the skin by loosening up the bonds of dead skin cells, revealing more refined and smooth skin. Using an AHA exfoliant is excellent if you suffer from dullness, texture or sun damage. Lactic acid is also gentler compared to glycolic acid because of its larger molecular size. In smaller concentrations of topical lactic acid ~2% and up work well as a natural humectant, pulling moisture from the air and hold it in the skin. Larger amounts of 5%-10% with pH 3~4 are considered ideal for skincare products meant to exfoliate.
The rest of the ingredients are a blend of calming aloe, moisturizing glycerin and sodium PCA with skin-conditioning plant extracts as oat kernel and black tea leaf extract. I don't know the amount of lactic acid or organic sugar in the Daily Brightening Tonic, but I would imagine it's sufficient as the product is advertised being a gentle resurfacing toner. I imagine this toner would suit for a variety of skin types, even sensitive due to its soothing properties.
Using the Daily Brightening Tonic
I pour a small coin-size amount of the tonic on a thin cotton pad and swipe on my face and neck in the mornings. If I'm not using any actives I repeat the same routine in the evenings before layering with my essence, serum, oil etc. I would prefer to pour the liquid straight on my palm and dab on my face like I do with essences, but the opening is fairly large and I end up pouring way too much. This is the only major con I can think of. Otherwise the packaging is simple, chic and does its job.
I don't find any tingling while using the Daily Brightening Tonic, but personally I don't believe that tingling equals working. If you have skin like leather and want to use more hard core chemical chemical exfoliants I'd recommend checking out Bravura, Biologique Recherche or Paula's Choice. They're potentially more quickly effective, but also harsher in nature. Personally I like using more gentle daily toner, so I'm not over exfoliating and can continue using my evening Retinol or a retinol alternative when needed.
The Daily Brightening Tonic improves the appearance of skin over time with instantly alleviating any feeling of tightness you may experience after cleansing. I feel my complexion has been bright and balanced since I started using the Daily Brightening Tonic. The tonic alone isn't hydrating enough for my super dry skin, but oilier types might omit other hydrating toners/essences.
The January Labs Daily Brightening Tonic is an excellent daily toner I very much enjoy, it's something I look for each morning. It keeps my skin looking good and healthy without irritation or flakiness and I feel I can use my other actives (such as retinol) in the evening. If I need quick results to address some bumpy/texturized skin I'll take out the "big guns" aka Biologique Recherche's P50, but it's far more abrasive than January Labs. If you're looking for a gentle humectant with a glow boost, the Daily Brightening Tonic is worth testing out.
*The test product was paid with my own money, but I've received some PR samples from the brand. My thoughts are honest & my own!