You know what’s awkward as a skincare blogger? When you hate a product that is epic, holy grail status in the skincare community.
Yeah that’s an awkward review to write.
Luckily this review won’t be all bad! Oh, we’ll have product drama, burning skin, break outs and a hero to save the day! It’s time for another skincare showdown!
Round 1: Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner — Original
I’m really excited to be finally writing this blog because it has been about 4 months in the making! But let’s start from the beginning:
Klairs Supple Preparation toner is pretty dang famous. I would easily bet that the Supple Preparation Facial Toner is Klairs’ most popular product. This product is also pretty darn hyped up. Let’s be honest here — a lot of us skincare enthusiasts and bloggers alike can get a little too excited about some things. I have seen many proclaim this toner to have diminished pore sizes, plump skin up from 0-100 in one layer, or make your face glow so bright you don’t need lights at night.
It’s a toner.
But all the hype aside, I knew I wanted to try the Supple Preparation Toner. I purchased the Original toner and got to testing! I did hesitate for a moment — should I purchase the Original or the newly released Unscented version? Ultimately, I decided that I wasn’t too sensitive to scents so the Original would be just fine for me.
I was excited to get started, so no patch testing for me; I just went straight for it. I must admit, I was surprised to find it was a thicker toner, even more so than the cult classic Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion.
Supple Preparation Toner spreads across the face easily and sinks in quickly. Because it’s a thicker consistency, it’s not necessary to use a cotton pad with this; your hands will do just fine.
This smells … weird. I am not a huge fan of the smell of the Original Supple Preparation Facial Toner. I would describe it as a mix of a light floral, baby powder kind of smell with a strong under current of plastic.
The very first time I applied this to my face I felt … a sensation. It wasn’t full on burning or stinging, but something was happening. Something not right. It wasn’t uncomfortable, so I just sort of got on with my routine and didn’t think about it too much.
The second time, it did the same thing. And the third, fourth and fifth … it always has this weird sensation.
After about a week I noticed I was getting these tiny whiteheads in odd places on my face like my upper lip area. So out this toner went.
But I was confused. Was it the Klairs toner that caused the whiteheads? Isn’t this supposed to be like a magical unicorn toner?
So I gave my skin about two weeks to heal and decided to try again. I’m a thorough tester, and I knew I was going to get to the bottom of this mystery. I decided to apply the toner to the right side of my face only to be 100% sure if this toner was causing my little whitehead breakout.
After about 4 days, the little whiteheads showed their face, but only on the right side of mine.
It was a bummer to find this toner was not for me. I was confused why so many people seemed to love it, so I decided to do some research.
Half Time: Essential Oils in Skincare
So I did some Nancy Drew sleuthing (Googling) and I started to look at the ingredients of both the Original Supple Preparation Toner and the Unscented version.
Now, this is a toner so there really aren’t a ton of notable ingredients. We’ve got your standard hyaluronic acid, which is an excellent hydrator. We’ve also got aloe, and what seems to be in every Korean skincare product these days, centella. This also contains licorice root extract which was probably the most interesting ingredient present.
But nothing popped out at me as being a potential trigger, except for one thing:
Essential oils. This was the only difference between the Original and Unscented version.
So I did some more Nancy Drew-ing (Google) and I found out that essential oils can be quite sensitizing to a portion of the population. I also found out that many people are pro-essential oils and many people are anti-essential oils. It’s a pretty controversial topic that is best saved for another post.
What I do know is that the essential oils present in the Original Supple Preparation Toner are there for scent purposes only. The oils do not have any skincare purpose beyond attempting to mask that plastic smell.
The other thing I learned was that not all essential oils are sensitizing, which makes sense because I know I’ve used products with essential oils before. Often times it is just one oil in a blend or a certain compound in an individual oil that can cause sensitivity in some people.
It is also important to consider the delivery method of the essential oil. Toners can penetrate deeper into the skin than thicker products, like say a cream. So essential oils in watery products are more likely to cause problems because of how deeply they can penetrate the skin, whereas essential oils in a cream are less likely (though still possible) to cause a reaction.
Round 2: Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner — Unscented
So I was pretty bummed to learn all this about essential oils and how my face hates them. I knew I wanted to test out the Unscented version so that I could have a more thorough and complete review.
It was around this time that I was fortunate enough to connect with Wishtrend, one of the biggest authorized e-retailers of Klairs. I told them that I was in the process of reviewing the Supple Preparation Toner, but that I had a bad reaction to it and would be trying the Unscented toner at some point to be able to finish the review. Well, the folks at Wishtrend were very generous to gift me the Unscented version so that I would be able to write this blog and create my YouTube review.
So full receipts: I purchased the Original toner myself; the Unscented was gifted. However, this blog post and my YouTube video are in no way sponsored by Wishtrend.
So I started in with the Unscented Supple Preparation Toner with hesitation. I only applied this to one half of my face (I learned my lesson). The very first time I used it I was surprised — no burning or tingling!
After about a week of using this on one side of my face, I saw no weird whiteheads and never experienced any sensitized feeling.
I quickly graduated to using this on my entire face and haven’t looked back since.
The Unscented toner is slightly thinner than the Original version, but is still a thicker toner. This one just smells of straight up plastic. Honestly, it was weird at first, but I really don’t mind it now and it doesn’t linger at all, so it’s all good. I do realize that Klairs must have added the essential oils to the original toner purely to mask the odd smell.
Now that I had gotten over the hump of the essential oils, I could focus in on the benefits of the toner itself. I liked the thicker consistency, especially now that my skin is transitioning to the colder weather. This toner has a good balance between water and oil that makes it excellent for combo and dry skin types.
But I didn’t notice that my pores shrunk or that my skincare layers sunk in better, or any of the amazing benefits that some people have received with this toner. In my eyes this is a staple toner for dry weather and a nice hydrator. I don’t know that I expect my toners to do much more than that.
So this is a good, solid toner, maybe even a repurchase, but I wouldn’t say it was a holy grail.
The Unscented version is definitely worth a try, especially if you are looking for a toner that has a little more heft to it.
If you have sensitive skin, a weak moisture barrier, acne prone skin, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis or damaged skin, please buy the Unscented version.
Buy Original Toner on Amazon*
Buy Original Toner on Wishtrend*
Buy Unscented Toner on Amazon*
Buy Unscented Toner on Wishtrend*
*indicates use of affiliate links that provide a small commission that help run this blog