| Amy Robson
Hello and happy returns to Decipher the INCI, our blog quest to demystify each and every Q+A product INCI! And so you know we know what we're talking about, I had Faye, our Assistant Development Chemist, provide her expertise on the subject.
We're starting to build up a deciphered skin routine now, with our Peppermint Daily Cleanser, Caffeine Eye Serum and Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum all covered in previous months... Now to the toner! And if you're new to us, you can also check out our top tips for deciphering an INCI on-the-go here.
But first, the INCI...
Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xylitol, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Extract, Betaine, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid.
Aqua (Water). We're four for four on water! Because a toner is so light and quick to absorb, water makes the perfect gentle base.
Niacinamide. Otherwise known as Vitamin B3, Niacinamide is an essential vitamin that we need for healthy bodily function, but can't produce on our own. Your diet provides plenty, but for a focus on skin health this ingredient is amazing. It is loved by many skin types, with benefits that target concerns from oily, to dry, to sensitive. We have an entire blog on the benefits on Niacinamide here, but to summarise it's the ideal ingredient for rebalancing skin, reducing the severity and formation of blemishes, and helping with skin elasticity!
Sodium Hyaluronate. One of Q+A's absolute faves and what makes our toner so hydrating, Hyaluronic Acid! This technical term refers to how we're using the sodium salt of Hyaluronic Acid, which makes it much easier to absorb into your skin cells without losing any benefits. As a humectant, it draws moisture down into your skin cells from the atmosphere or your skin surface, to help hydrate from within. It has a say over when the moisture is released from those cells too, meaning you'll feel your skin is softer and more hydrated for longer.
Xylitol. A great ingredient, and an alternative to X-ray or Xylophone next time you're reciting a phonetic alphabet or playing scrabble. Derived from sugar, Xylitol is a natural hydrator, which helps to strengthen your skin's natural barrier. It's there to keep your complexion protected against TEWL, or trans epidermal water loss, and irritating pollutants in the atmosphere.
Glycerin. Glycerin is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the atmosphere into your skin, allowing for your skin cells to release that moisture when your skin needs a boost. Hello, long term hydration!
Betaine. Such an amazing ingredient we have an entire blog dedicated to it, Betaine protects your skin cells from stress by controlling the balance of water in your cells. Because of this, it is known as an Osmoprotectant (if you want to sound fancy with the correct term). Just like Glycerin, Betaine can help keep your skin looking healthy and moisturised long term, as well as providing an immediate effect, and strengthening your skin barrier to keep irritants and pollution at arms length.
Aloe Barbadenis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice. I'm sure you've heard of this one before! Aloe Vera is a natural goodie with lots of lovely benefits for the skin, including calming irritation, soothing discomfort, and providing moisture. This helps it to make the Niacinamide Daily Toner such a great product for stressed out skin, and dry and sensitive skin looking for some love. The Aloe Vera we use is a concentrate, not the gel you might be picturing from bad sunburn remedies, that is as thin as water, meaning it doesn't affect the viscosity of the product.
PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides. PEG stands for polyethylene glycol, which has been derived from Caprylic and Capric acids, and the 6 refers to its molecular weight. The smaller the number, the better it can be absorbed by your skin, and help other ingredients do the same. For reference, you can go up to PEG 180,000, although you might not see a PEG over 40 in cosmetic applications. All in all, still very small!
This ingredient, alongside helping to solubilise other parts of the formula, has a mild cleansing ability (to help remove any leftover irritants from your skin after cleansing!), and is an emollient, meaning it softens and smooths the skin for a nicer texture and feel.
Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Extract, Lonicrea Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Extract. These floral ingredients are like two peas in a pod, you're unlikely to see them on their own. As multifunctionals, they condition the skin for a super soft feel, and help to boost the preservative system at work in this toner.
Citric Acid. Although we often have a negative association with the word 'acid', they can be great ingredients when used smartly. Just look at Hyaluronic Acid! Citric Acid, on the other hand, is used in small amounts to balance the pH of a formula, keeping it within a range of about 4.5-7, close to our skin's pH of around 5. Being on the slightly more acidic side, allows optimal sebum production. Products with a higher pH, like a generic soap, strip your skin of its natural oils and can leave you feeling very dry. No thanks!
Potassium Sorbate. Sorbic Acid, from which Potassium Sorbate is derived, is a common preservative in food and drink (hello wine!) for its neutral taste. But we love it in skincare too! This is the first time seeing the ingredient on this blog because it works so well with Aloe Vera, and we consider them an unbreakable pair!
Sodium Benzoate. This one we have seen before, however! Sodium Benzoate targets bacteria and fungi, and makes it impossible for them to spoil products. Cleverly, the ingredient infiltrates these nasties by absorbing into the cells, and lowering its internal pH, effectively neutralising the threat.
So now you know a little more about our bestselling Niacinamide Daily Toner! I'm thinking we should complete our basic routine with a moisturiser next time? Let me know if there's an INCI you're dying to know more about.
All the best,
eCommerce coordinator at Q+A and decipherer of INCIs