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This New Toner Is Your At-Home Aqua Peel Facial

The product development process at Glow Recipe starts in one of a few ways, but most of the time it’s inspired by you: our customers. We see and pay attention to every email, comment, and DM you send us. And the one thing you’ve been asking about for ages now? Toner! 

That’s why we’re glowing with excitement to introduce you to the newest addition to our watermelon family. Meet the Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner! As with the rest of our Watermelon Glow line, this toner is made with real nourishing and hydrating watermelon extract — but there are a few new ingredients that we can’t wait to share with you.


This toner fuses hydrating extracts with exfoliating acids and naturally-derived ingredients, which together help create a glowing, smooth, and pore-tight complexion – all of which is inspired by the highly popular Aqua Peel facial. This pore-perfecting express treatment is a favorite in Korea because of the way it clarifies and intensity hydrates skin all at the same time. It’s a favorite of our co-founders, Sarah and Christine, when they visit Korea, and so the concept of creating an at-home aqua facial was born.


The hydration in this toner comes in the form of our signature watermelon extract, which in this formula we mixed with cactus water. Imagine how cacti survive for weeks or months in arid deserts without a drop of water. Naturally, they’re amazing at retaining hydration, which is why we wanted to infuse pure cactus extract in this toner! This ingredient is also what gives the Pore-Tight Toner its unique stretchy and bouncy texture — which is unlike any toner we’ve seen before. In addition to retaining hydration well, the prickly pear cactus that we use in this formula is brimming with electrolytes, vitamins, and antioxidants, which help to protect your skin from environmental damage and collagen breakdown. 

Next up is another ingredient you’ve been waiting for: beta-hydroxy acid, or BHA. BHA is an oil-soluble exfoliating acid, meaning it can penetrate clogged pores that get blocked with sebum, dead skin cells, makeup, and other gunk to help clear them out — and keep them clear with continued use. We paired BHA with polyhydroxy acid, or PHA, in this formula for a one-two exfoliating punch. PHA is a relative of alpha hydroxy acid that’s often less sensitizing. It also has humectant properties, so as it gently works at the surface it also actively works to hydrate the skin. It removes dead skin cells from skin’s surface, which prevents them from clogging pores in the first place.

When we were developing this toner, we realized that combining these two types of exfoliators would be the best way to keep pores tight – for when pores get clogged, that’s when they become more visible and prone to inflammation. The BHA in our Pore-Tight Toner is a naturally-derived version that comes from willow bark extract, a natural source of salicylic acid, and betaine salicylate, which is made from sugarcane, birch, and the royal azalea tree. Together, these pore actives make up 6% of this innovative formula.

Watermelon, cactus, and exfoliating acids may be the stars of this toner, but this formula would be nothing without its supporting cast of ingredients:

  • Tea tree extract, which has antimicrobial properties, can help calm inflammation, and help soothe acne and sensitive skin
  • Hyaluronic acid, a holy-grail hydrator that holds up to 1000x its weight in water, makes up 6% of this formula
  • Cucumber extract, rich in vitamin C and caffeic acid to help reduce inflammation and hydrate


The Pore-Tight Toner is the perfect balance between smoothing, refining and hydrating. And while it’s part of the ever-growing Watermelon Glow family, it has a unique, fresh scent that’s a little bit different from its melon predecessors. We like to describe it as herbal with a fruity finish and just a hint of fresh cucumber. It’s cooling, soothing, and refreshing – everything you could ever want in a toner.


We wanted to make our first targeted pore treatment in liquid form for a couple of reasons. When this formula is applied to freshly cleansed skin, it has the ability to penetrate and treat pores super effectively. This boost of clarifying hydration also preps your skin for the steps to follow, and can help the rest of your skin-care routine work even better. To use it, just apply it to clean, damp skin just after cleansing by patting it in with your hands, or you can pat it into skin with a reusable cotton round. It’s gentle enough to be used every single day as part of both your day and night routines. But as with all products that include exfoliants, it’s super important to wear SPF and reapply every two hours. 

Are you excited to try our new toner? Let us know in the comments below! 


Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner


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