Meghan’s Liquid Diet

No, not that liquid diet. I know I couldn’t make it through  a day on a liquid diet! But my skin loves liquids. And as far as liquids in skincare go, toners and essences have made their way into my heart and have kept my skin clear, soft, and hydrated. Here are some of my favorites.


Toner is a rather blanket term, I’ve found. But toners should be the final step in the cleansing part of your routine. Ideally, you’d use a cleanser on your face (at night, or additionally in the morning, if that works for you) and follow up with a toner. Some toners contain acids and are intended to help keep skin clear, while others contain hydrating agents meant to keep skin soft and hydrated. Here are some that work well for my dry but acne-prone skin! I should note that I think all of these are appropriate for sensitive skin (except the last one).


Caudalie VinoPerfect Concentrated Brightening Essence

$42 USD/$50 CAD

Don’t be confused by this one’s name—treat this like a toner. It has a watery consistency, but that doesn’t mean it’s not potent! I like shaking a little bit of this into my hand and patting and pressing it into my skin. This contains glycolic acid, which helps whisk away dead skin cells, as well as peony extracts which help brighten the complexion! Make sure you follow up with an SPF.


Caudalie Moisturizing Toning Lotion

$28 USD/$34 CAD

Sometimes, I’ll immediately follow up with this toner to bring in some hydration! Again, I’ll put a pump of this into my hands and apply to my face, although a cotton pad is a more typical way to apply this. I like its subtle scent and how soft my face feels after applying it!


Thayers Witch Hazel Alcohol Free Toner Lavender

$10 USD

Sometimes, I want to use a toner that will keep spots at bay, but I don’t want to go all in on the acids. Cue this beautiful, beautiful liquid. I had so much fun with the coconut scented one this summer, and I’m using the lavender one as we approach fall! This product has a major following, and I get it: it’s softening but also gently clarifying. And it’s on your drugstore’s shelf! Easy peasy.


Folium Medica Skin Matrix

$52 USD

I love Folium Medica for its sensual and earthy scents, and unique formula experiences. Enter Skin Matrix. If you want to go there, this will take you there. I pour some of this on a cotton pad and swipe it on my face. The scent doesn’t disappoint, and it transforms my face. I can’t say I entirely understand how this magic works, but I know it has something to do with methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which makes my skin glow.


Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

$29 USD

This is a cult favorite, and with good reason. It’s a potent BHA liquid that I apply with a cotton pad nearly every night. It’s kept my skin super clear—it whisks away spots, potential spots, dead skin cells, and blackheads like they’re nothing—all while being kind and gentle to sensitive skin. I’ve found that I can only use this once a day, in the evening, and when my AM toner was gentle. This one gets a lot of work done for being such a simple consistency!


Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment

$39 USD

This one completely surprised me. I don’t use Tarte makeup, so I didn’t know what to think about this. Turns out, this is considered a dupe for the very luxe and very expensive Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. This toner is true to its name—it definitely tingles when you apply it, and while ideal for oily skin or dry skin (like me!), I have heard it may be a little too harsh for sensitive skin. Also, like the Paula’s Choice, I only use this one in the evenings, when I’ve used a gentler toner in the morning.


I think essences are apt for fall and winter—they’re a slim and effective way to pack in some moisture within a routine! I use an essence immediately after I use a toner. Whereas a toner is your final step in the cleansing phase of you routine, an essence should be the first step in the moisturizing phase of your routine. Essences are a lot of fun because of their slick and sticky texture. The best way to apply them is to pat them into the skin.


May Coop Raw Sauce

$43 USD

This was my first foray into essences. I picked this up a month or two before my wedding, and it was exceptional. I patted it into my skin each morning and the result was immediately softened skin. Over time, I found that my skin was softer while using this product. I think that this essence, like other essences I’ve encountered, has its most potent effects on the day you apply it. Also, the scent is sweet and intoxicating!


Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean

$39 USD

My current fall essence! I’m really enjoying this, and I can feel its effects all day long. My face feels softer and smoother immediately after applying, applying makeup is a breeze, my makeup has longer staying-power, and my face feels fresh and bright even after a long day! This is a product that can be beneficial to my dry-skin comrades out there.