And no, we’re not talking about some seriously discounted gin. Dickinson’s alcohol-free Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner with Rosewater definitely isn’t flashy, but that’s because it doesn’t need to waste breath on marketing when it works so well. It’s one of those almost medicinal-looking products that you can trust even more, because unlike creams in glittering platinum jars, people across the country wouldn’t keep it in their bathroom unless it truly got the job done.
If you’re not familiar with the ingredient, witch hazel is a toner made from the bark, leaves, and twigs of the witch hazel plant. The liquid sweeps off impurities à la micellar water, but goes an extra step by refining pores via witch hazel’s astringent properties. This version comes with added rosewater, hyaluronic acid, and Vitamin E, meaning that it hydrates at the same time (and smells like an English garden, especially if you’re as travel-starved as we are). And if you’re still searching for an answer to that age-old question, “What does toner even do?,” in this case, it evens your skin tone and tightens your pores to the point of imperceptibility.
Walmart reviewers are effusive about the unassuming bottle. One writes that it makes their face feel smooth, shrinks their pores, and decreases breakouts on top of diminishing scars, all without the burning sensation that’s often part of the toner equation. Another points out that it moisturizes and lessens the appearance of fine lines, while the hyaluronic gets to work on plumping their skin.
Others say it’s the only toner that doesn’t dry out their skin or leave it feeling tight, while another enthusiastically writes about the satisfaction of dragging a witch hazel-soaked cotton ball across their skin only to see it turn brown with dirt and oil (one of those things that’s so gross, but feels so good. See also: pore vacuums and blackhead videos).
In our experience, the pore-tightening effects can’t be overemphasized. It seems a bit wild that a swipe of witch hazel can make such a significant difference, but one use of the toner left us staring at our MIA pores in amazement. It’s not fussy, pricey, or frivolous, and according to the University of Michigan, it can even tackle skin irritation and eczema. And given that the $6 bottle comes out to 38 cents an ounce, there’s no sense in passing this toner up.
To buy: $6; walmart.com.