Review: Naobay HydraPlus Face Toner
I’d seen this brand mentioned in several Spanish beauty blogs, but I’d never tried any of their products until I chanced upon them in a beauty chain retailer in my town; it so happened that I had facial tonic in my shopping list and Naobay HydraPlus Face Toner seemed nice and was affordable (4.95€ for 6.75 fl.oz.)
For those not familiar with Naobay, this is an eco-friendly Spanish brand of cosmetics located in Valencia: their products are cruelty-free and ECOCERT-certified, formulated exclusively with ingredients derived from natural sources, some of which come from organic farming, and they adhere to a policy of responsible and sustainable packaging.
These are no doubt all very positive things, but being the superficial shopper I am, I’ll say that first among the things that caught my eye from this brand were the sleek wooden elements in their packaging: these are made out of scraps sourced from FSC-certified furniture manufacturers in their area, according to the brand’s site. I was even tempted to buy one of their moisturizers just because I thought the wood cylinder it came in was so divine (I tried it on my hand and it was quite rich and smooth), but luckily I remembered my fussy combo skin and left with only what I needed.
Naobay HydraPlus Face Toner: first impressions
Besides the nice packaging, I liked the pared-down INCI list… I know this doesn’t necessarily indicate a better product in itself, but in general, this tends to be a plus for me more often than not.
Besides, the INCI list also caught my eye: second in the list is aloe vera juice, which is known to have hydrating, antiseptic and redness-reducing properties. Also, I just like aloe very much: for as long as I can remember there’s always been a aloe plant in my house, or else it doesn’t feel like a proper home.
Strictly speaking, the thing to do to really take advantage of aloe-y goodness would be to cut a leaf and apply the gel straight on the skin, as my mother taught me… but I hate the smell. I can barely stand it when I’ve had to slap it on a burned hand, so putting it anywhere near my nose is a no-go, no matter how beneficial it is.
So I’m glad to to have cosmetic options to use it this way, perhaps less effective (some say) as it is processed and mixed with other ingredients, but much less repugnant. There’s no point in having a great ingredient at hand that you seldom use because you can’t stand it, as opposed to a lesser alternative you use often.
Not too far behind is marshmallow root extract, which I also like because of it’s soothing and skin-softening properties… note, however, that it may cause allergies in some cases; my understanding is that this is fairly rare, but still, try, try everything before committing. Also, a little lower appears clary sage extract, which is astringent… yep, I like.
Okay, I’m now sounding like your average bio-cheerleader, which I promise I’m not… I like many cosmetics with a natural concept, and would like them even more if they didn’t come so often with a side of mystic preachiness and superiority pretensions, as well as slogans and claims that all too often have a tenuous hold on reality.
Still, I like running into products like these and find that they do work. Going back to the product, this formula includes, like all, several ingredients I wouldn’t add to soup, but when used sensibly do a great job to help condition and maintain the skin barrier, as well as preserve the product properly; it also includes fragrances… note in case you’re not one for fragrance in your formulas, however mild they are.
According to CosDNA, some of these ingredients like benzyl alcohol and scents could be problematic, but considering that these are in the second half of the ingredient list, I’m not worried. Anyway, my understanding is that the proportion of benzyl alcohol cannot be over 1% for personal care products formulated in the EU (source), and in any case time and learning have softened my anti-alcohol stance.
But anyway, enough yammering…
The product is a light, colorless liquid with a very mild and inoffensive scent, which fades almost upon application.
It feels nice and fresh when applied, doesn’t leave an unpleasant sticky residue that some tonics for dry or sensitive skin leave; note that this tonic belongs to Naobay’s HydraPlus line for drier skins. My skin isn’t dry, but that’s fine, since I’m not a fan of many tonics for oily/combo skin – except sometimes in the summer – because they’re often too astringent. This tonic is supposed to be humectant, but doesn’t really feel like much on my skin, which to me is a plus.
I’m not much for facial tonics, or at least I don’t have much faith in their benefits for the skin beyond that of cleansing: I just use them to clean any lingering residue after washing before moving on with my nighttime routine. All I ask is that they do so without aggravating my skin, which has suffered enough already, the poor thing.
For this purpose, this tonic is nice to use, and has done its job well without causing any issues in the weeks I’ve been using it (I incorporated it in my routine around late October). It doesn’t dry out my skin, doesn’t leave a sticky feel, nor stings my eyes (super important for my eye-makeup addicted self).
Would I buy this again? Yes, for sure: besides being a good product, it’s inexpensive and fairly easy to find in my area; sometimes I just want to pick up what I need on the way home, rather than ordering online as it’s often the case with smaller brands.
As for cons, I haven’t found one that would keep me from repurchasing. Naturally users with plant and/or fragrance allergies should be careful of some of the ingredients. In my case, I’ve found the formula itself to work well with my skin.
My rating for this product: 4.5 points.
1 point: No! Never again, not even if you gave it to me. Not even if you paid me to wear it.
2 points: I didn’t finish the container and it’s very unlikely I’d buy this again. It might work for you, but it does nothing for me.
3 points: Meh. I’ll use up my jar/tube, but I don’t think I’d buy again. It might work for you, but it doesn’t do much for me.
4 points: I like it. It’s nice and does its job. I might buy this again, if I find nothing I like better.
5 points: I love it! It does its job very well, I find it a pleasure to use, and it’s earned its place in my beauty routine.