Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner review

Stop the press! I bought a toner. Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner, to be exact. It’s not something I do often. I don’t care about toners. My skin can do without them (and so can your skin). But I DO care – A LOT – about salicylic acid. My oily t-zone NEEDS it to get rid of the blackheads that love to set up camp there. Whether it’s in exfoliant, moisturiser or toner form, it matters not. So, this time, toner is it. Am I regretting it? Here’s everything you need to know about this toner and whether it deserves a place in your skincare routine:

Key Ingredients In Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner: What Makes It Work?


Salicylic Acid is the BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) in the name. It’s an exfoliant that does triple duty:

  • Exfoliant: It dissolves the “glue” that holds skin cells together, so they can slough off and reveal the brighter and smoother skin underneath.
  • Pore unclogger: It gets inside the pores and removes all the excess oil, dead cells and other crap that’s clogging them up and giving you breakouts.
  • Skin soother: It has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe redness and irritations.

Because it goes where no one other exfoliant goes – deep into the pores – salicylic acid helps treats blackheads, whiteheads and pimples AND keeps them from coming back.  No crap in the pores = no breakouts.

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner only has 0.5% salicylic acid. That’s lower than I usually go for so I wasn’t sure how well it would perform. Luckily, salicylic acid didn’t disappoint. Even at 0.5% it did the exfoliating job well – and, at such a low dose, it’s much gentler for sensitive skin, too.

Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is The Key To Spot-Free Skin


Asian toners tend to be way more hydrating than Western toners and Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner is no exception. This stuff is loaded with sodium hyaluronate, a form of hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water.

Here’s how it works: sodium hyaluronate attracts all that water from the air and locks it into your skin. This new infusion of moisture makes your skin softer to the touch, plumps it up so any fine lines and wrinkles look smaller and gives it a dewy glow.

FYI, sodium hyaluronate isn’t the only skincare hero to do this. Glycerin and butylene glycol do the same thing – on a smaller scale. And yep, this toner has both. 😉

Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine


Yep, this is snail mucin. And nope, it’s not sticky and slimy when you put it on your face. Phew! Snail slime is one of the most moisturising substances I’ve ever tried in my life. It makes your skin SO soft and smooth. No wonder the Koreans love it so much.

Snail mucin became a skincare sensation when the Koreans learned snail farmers’ wounds healed faster. So they decided it must help acne heal faster too. Makes sense, right? Maybe so. But science hasn’t proven that yet. Still, I have friends who suffer from acne and they swear that when they use products with snail mucin, their skin does heal faster.

Make of that what you will. Personally, if I had acne, I wouldn’t rely on snail mucin to heal it. But if it happened to be in a product with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or another acne fighter, why not? If it turns out it works, awesome! If not, no harm done.

Related: Why The Heck Is There Snail Slime In My Skincare?

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that absorbs excess oil, treats blackheads, and banishes acne? Download your FREE “Best Skincare Routine For Oily Skin” to get started (it includes product recommendations and right application order):

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water: Super hydrating, it has a sprinkle of soothing properties to calm down redness and irritations.
  • Aqua(Water): The main solvent in the product, it helps to dissolve other ingredients in the formula.
  • Butylene Glycol: A humectant that draws moisture from the air into your skin to make it softer and plumper. Plus, it enhances the penetration of active ingredients.
  • Glycerin: One of the most common humectants used in skincare, it draws moisture from the air into your skin. Once there, the extra moisture plumps up your skin and gives it a dewy glow.
  • 1,2-Hexanediol: A synthetic preservative with moisture binding properties.
  • Beta-Glucan: A moisturiser that deeply hydrates skin and makes it softer and smoother.
  • Polyglutamic Acid: Another humectant that increases the levels of hydration in your skin. It can hold up 5 times more water than hyaluronic acid (and that holds up 1000 times its weight in water!). Super hydrating!
  • Aspalathus Linearis Extract: A natural source of aspalathin, an antioxidant that fights free radicals.
  • Portulaca Oleracea Extract: A plant extract loaded with antioxidants Vitamins A, C, and E, that help you fight premature wrinkles. It also has soothing properties.
  • Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract: Another plant extract loaded with wrinkle-fighting antioxidants.
  • Althaea Rosea Root Extract: It enhances the texture of skincare products and has soothing properties.
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract: An extracted derived from the leaf of the aloe vera, it has hydrating and soothing properties.
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice: Made mostly of water, it also has soothing and antioxidant properties to reduce redness and irritation.
  • Arginine: A hydrating amino acid.
  • Pentylene Glycol: A hydrating humectant with mild preservative-like properties.
  • Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract: It produces a numbing sensation that can irritate skin, but has no benefits whatsoever.
  • Pulsatilla Koreana Extract: It has antimicrobial and preservative properties.
  • Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract: A natural preservative that kills gram-positive bacteria.
  • Polysorbate 20: It has emulsifying properties that help the oily and watery parts of a formula from separating.
  • Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer: It enhances the texture of skincare products.
  • Xanthan Gum: It thickens the texture of skincare products.


The texture of this toner is so lightweight – just slightly thicker than water – and absorbs immediately into my skin without leaving a greasy residue behind.


It’s fragrance-free. I like it because fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredients in skincare products. By leaving it out, Benton made this toner gentler on the skin, including sensitive skin.

How To Use It

It’s an exfoliating toner, so you need to use it as an exfoliant, not a toner. What does it mean? Don’t use it every day, twice a day, like you would with any other toner. Instead, use it every night after cleansing.


The toner comes in a dark green bottle with a pump applicator that makes it easy to use. The bottle also looks kind of cute. A little cheap, but cute.

Performance & Personal Opinion

I use Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner on my t-zone straight after cleansing. The first thing I’ve noticed is how hydrating it is. Since I’ve moved to London, my skin is on the dry side so it needs all the moisture it can get. But there’s nothing greasy or occlusive about it. Oily skin will love the extra moisture just as much.

It also gives my skin a lovely glow. But what I truly wanted was a toner that helped me get rid of blackheads. Does it deliver? Yes. It does the job more slowly than other salicylic acid products I’ve tried (The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, for example) but that’s to be expected. Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner has only a sprinkle of salicylic acid compared to them.

Personally, I won’t repurchase this when I’ve finished my bottle. My skin can take a higher dose of salicylic acid, so why make the healing process slower? But if you have sensitive skin that gets irritated easily or are already using powerful prescription actives like tretinoin and want to keep your exfoliation game as gentle as possible so as not to overwhelm your skin, this’ll do the job fine.

benton aloe bha skin toner

How Does Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner Compare To The Other Benton Toners?

Benton offers at least another half a dozen toners… how do you pick the one for you? I’m doing some mini reviews below to help you decide which one is right for you and how they compare to this one. Let’s get started:

  • Benton Cacao Moist and Mild Toner ($16.00): It uses every part of the cacao plant to moisturise skin. It’s mostly a marketing gimmick though. It’s hydrating enough, but there’s nothing special about it. Available at Yes Style.
  • Benton Deep Green Tea Toner ($16.00): The best Benton toner for anti-aging, it contains every green tea extract you can think of to fight premature wrinkle and UV-induced inflammation. Plus, a big dollop of hyaluronic acid to hydrates skin. Available at Yes Style.
  • Benton Fermentation Galactomyces 99 Skin Toner ($27.00): A very simple formula with soothing probiotics to calm down irritation. Unfortunately, it also has a couple of fragrant extracts that can irritate skin. I don’t recommend it.
  • Benton Heartleaf Toner ($15.00): An anti-aging toner loaded with antioxidants to prevent premature aging. Lavender extract may irritate sensitive skin, but if your skin is cool with that, it’s a lovely formula. Available at Yes Style.
  • Benton Let’s Carrot Oil Mist Toner ($25.00): Loaded with natural oils that can add extra moisture for softer and smoother skin. But it has a sprinkle of fragrant extracts that may irritate sensitive skin. Available at SokoGlam.
  • Benton Snail Bee High Content Skin Toner ($20.00): One of my fave toners, it has niacinamide to hydrate, soothe, and brighten skin. Plus, this toner is loaded with antioxidants with soothing properties to slow down premature aging too. Available at Soko Glam, Stylevana, and Yes Style.
  • Benton Snail Bee Ultimate Toner ($25.00): Loaded with probiotics and niacinamide, this toner deeply hydrates and soothes skin. But it can’t firm skin. Available at Soko Glam, Stylevana and Yes Style.

What I Like About Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

  • Lightweight, fast-absorbing texture
  • Fragrance-free
  • Slightly hydrating
  • Exfoliates skin
  • Gives my skin a lovely glow
  • Practical packaging

What I DON’T Like About Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

  • It has little Salicylic Acid, so it exfoliates skin slowly. If you’re using it for acne, it’ll take a while to see results

Who Should Use This?

Sensitive, acne-prone skin. If your skin can take higher doses of salicylic acid, you don’t need this.

Does Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner Live Up To Its Claims?

Daily Exfoliation Care: The maximum amount of BHA in Korea & slightly acidic pH. Reduces irritation concerns for daily use. True.
Moisturizing Nourishing Care: Aloe ingredients, Snail Secretion Filtrate supplies moisture and nutrition to the skin. True.
Skin Soothing Care: Aloe ingredients & botanical extracts help soothe irritated skin. True.

Price & Availability

$19.00/£18.00 at Sokoglam, Stylevana, and Yes Style

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

If you’re looking for the gentlest BHA exfoliant for your sensitive skin, this is a good option to consider.

Dupes & Alternatives

  • Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant ($29.50): A 1% Salicylic Acid exfoliant loaded with soothing ingredients even sensitive skin can well tolerate. It helps reduce acne and blackheads. Available at Cult Beauty, Paula’s Choice, Sephora, and SpaceNK.


Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Aqua(Water), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Snail Secretion Filtrate, Beta-Glucan, Polyglutamic Acid, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Salicylic Acid, Althaea Rosea Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Arginine, Pentylene Glycol, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Polysorbate 20, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum