Indie Friday: A review of Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

08 August, 2014

Indie Friday: A review of Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner

Bought It

There are a lot of things I love about indie beauty products, but one of the biggest pluses is that they tend to be extremely affordable. Case in point: Silk Naturals' 8% AHA Toner, which is humbly priced at $8.95 for 4 oz/120ml. I've done a lot of searching for AHA products on the internet over the past few months, and this is probably the cheapest AHA toner I've come across, so I decided to give it a whirl. I've been using it regularly for 2+ months now so it's about time I wrote a review, eh?

Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner

In case you've never heard of them before, Silk Naturals is a well-established indie company that started all the way back in 2006. They're based in New York state and sell a wide variety of products: Makeup, skincare, haircare etc. They're also PETA Certified cruelty free.

AHAs (or Alpha Hydroxy Acids) are a form of chemical exfoliant. They help increase cell turnover and are actually decent water-binders too, making them an excellent ingredient choice for people suffering from dry skin. More specifically, this toner contains 8% lactic acid, which is supposedly one of the gentler AHAs out there. Personally I've never had problems tolerating glycolic acid (another common one), but it's worth mentioning in case anyone out there reading does.

Ingredients: Distilled Water, Aloe Vera juice, Lactic Acid, Gluconoactone and Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Bicarbonate

A very short list. Before you get your pitchforks out about the baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate), I think there's only a tiny amount in there as a pH adjuster. The final pH of this product listed on the Silk Naturals page is 3.5, and when I tested it myself on home pH strips it registered as somewhere between 3.5 and 4. (Hard to get 100% accurate with those strips). Either way it's at a low enough pH to exfoliate. The texture is sort of watery, like you would expect most toners to be.

How I use it: Before I started using tretinoin, I was using this at night right before Paula's Choice BHA liquid (or sometimes on its own). I apply it with my fingers as a lot of the product tends to get lost if I use a cotton pad. I then wait about half an hour for the acids to neutralize before applying my other skincare goop. Since I've been using tretinoin I moved that process to the morning, sometimes skipping days so I don't overexfoliate my skin. It's important to mention that AHAs can increase sun sensitivity, even if you use them at night, so it's important to follow up with sunscreen so your face doesn't burn off. True story.

Overall effects: I find that my skin texture is generally softer, smoother, and brighter when I use this regularly. In my opinion it doesn't have as potent of an effect as the aforementioned Paula's Choice liquid, but that by itself can make my skin feel kind of dry, so I feel like this does a nice job to balance things out.

Other observations: Sometimes when I apply this toner I feel a very slight tingly/stinging sensation, especially if I do it before my face is completely dry. If you're used to using AHA treatments this probably won't surprise you at all, but I suppose it can be a bit alarming if you've never experienced it before. Also, I ain't gonna lie, this stuff smells like cat pee. Really like cat pee. I've tried a few AHA body lotions that had a faint cat wee-esque scent so I don't it's a problem that's unique to this product, but I can't say that I love the scent. It does fade after a couple of minutes though, for whatever that's worth.

Overall I would definitely recommend this product, and I can overlook the slightly unpleasant scent given how unbelievably cheap it is. Four ounces may not sound like a lot for a bottle of toner, but a little goes a long way and the product only has a shelf-life of six months anyway, so to me it feels juuuuuuuust right.

What do you think of Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner? Do you have any favorites from this brand or other AHA treatments you'd recommend?


  1. I gag from that ammonia stink of cat pee, sometimes I make my boyfriend scoop the litter cuz I just can't do it. Thanks for the warning, though. The Alpha Hydrox 10% stuff I use has no smell and does the job; the little closed comedones I had on my chin are just about gone.

  2. You would probably not enjoy this then. I haven't tried Alpha Hydrox facial care yet, but I have a couple of their AHA body lotions and they don't smell pee-esque at all. Good work, Alpha Hydrox!

  3. oh man cat pee brings back so bad memories of living with my inlaws and their cat pissing on our bathroom rug over and over. The smell was TERRIBLE! Aside from that, I don't quite get what toner does for your skin. I've never used it before so I don't know a lot of it in general.

  4. Well there are different types of toners so it really depends: Some are astringent (like Witch Hazel), some moisturize, some balance the pH of your skin after cleansing, some soften the skin, some aid the absorption of your other moisturizers, some exfoliate (like this one does). Or a combination of those things. Generally speaking I would consider toner to be an optional step, but if you're looking to target specific issues (like dryness or evening out redness/skin texture) they can be helpful. But anyway, I don't think there's anyone who has fond memories of cat pee! Thankfully the unpleasant scent of this toner is pretty mild.

  5. ah I see, thanks for the info!