Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sun damage: Licorice and Salicylic Acid Toner

Continuing with the lightening theme and the experimental theme, I'm going to add licorice extract to my already tried and proven toner formula. 

See my last post here for the lowdown on licorice extract and what it does for your skin. I already know my toner recipe works really well for clogged pores, so if my pores start getting clogged again, I'll know the licorice extract is the culprit. 

 I'm including a link to Dabney Rose Hydrosols in this recipe. She distills her own hydrosols! I haven't tried her stuff yet, but it looks great. I love the fact that she makes everything in small batches. I want to try her Green Clay hydrosol! How do you distill green clay? I don't understand! But I like it!


And here's the new recipe with the licorice extract:

To make 2 ounces (12 teaspoons) of toner with 3-5% salicylic acid and 6-7% licorice extract:


In a glass bowl or PET plastic bottle, mix together


1/2 teaspoon of salicylic acid powder

1 1/2 teaspoons of alcohol

Stir or shake until the powder dissolves. 

Add 10 teaspoons of your water. 
Add one or two drops of Triethanolamine to raise the pH. 
Add your licorice extract.
Shake it up.

Don't worry if your toner separates. You can add a few drops of alcohol, or you can just leave it. I shake it up before I use it, and the fact that it separates seems to have no impact on the way it works.

To use: Wet a cotton ball with the toner and apply to a clean, slightly damp face. You can put moisturizer on right afterwards (without necessarily waiting for it to dry). Use in the am and pm.
Right cheek, 5 pm, July 5, 2012

Left cheek, 5 pm, July 5, 2012

I started using this on July 18 in the am. It is slightly tingly as soon as I put it on, but that subsides within a few minutes. So far so good. I'm posting pictures of my skin again, so maybe we can see a difference after a few weeks!


  1. Do you use ph strips to test the ph balance of your finished products ?

    1. Hi Paws! I do use pH strips. They're not as accurate as a meter, but for my own personal use, they're fine. And they're cheap!

  2. I am interested in trying this. However, I do not like the smell of black licorice (too spicy smelling). Does the final product have a faint smell or is it strong?

    1. Hi Marie! The licorice extract smells so faint it might as well not even have a scent at all. You probably won't smell a thing.

  3. Hi! I am considering using this recipe but planning on adding Green tea extract, kojic acid, and citric acid. Since I am adding other extract such as that, should I use some kind of preserver too?

    Also, specifically what type of alcohol did you use to dissolve the salicylic acid since isoprohyl rubbing alcohol used to clean wounds found at Target seems so harsh for everyday use.


    1. Hi Tuutuu! The citric acid functions as a preservative, so you won't need to add another one. To be safe, store your finished product in the fridge.

      I used isopropyl rubbing alcohol from Walgreen's. It's never been an issue for me, and I have extremely sensitive skin. The amount you're putting on your face each day is very minimal.

  4. I have loads of "age spots" on my formerly freckled skin, too. I've used retin a and hydroquinine in the past with some success, but not since I started trying to go natural. I would love to try this!! I saw dried licorice root at my local health food store. I wonder if I could use that to make "tea" and substitute that for the water in the original toner recipe? Would that be effective?

    1. Hi Laura! I've heard that the tea works well, and it would make sense to use it for the water portion of the toner recipe. I can't vouch for its pore-clogging effects, though, unfortunately. I have a lot of age spots and freckles, too, and I made my last batch of toner using the licorice extract, as described above. I love it. If you click on the link in the post, it will take you to where you can buy some. It's cheap and good. If you DO try the tea, let me know how it works out for you!