Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner Review


Now that my cystic outbreaks are under control (fingers crossed, knock on wood), whiteheads, PIE, and PIH are the biggest issues with my skin. Although AHAs won’t do anything for PIE, they address the other two, maybe better than anything else.

Since I am already using a BHA, I opted for lactic acid over glycolic acid because it is gentler. Silk Naturals is very popular over at the skincareaddiction threads and it’s cheap.

silk naturals aha toner


Directly from the Silk Naturals website for a cool $9! I also picked up a few lippies because they have quite a number of cheap MAC dupes. Sultry is my favorite!


Blue bottle. Looks a bit like my favorite beer but made of plastic instead of glass and not filled with, you know, beer.

silk naturals aha toner

The toner liquid itself looks like water and feels like water but does not smell like water. Holy hell it smells terrible! Definitely resembles vinegar and car tires, or as someone else described, grass with a hint of urine. The smell does disappear seconds after application, but this stuff does not a spa-like experience make. I’ve heard the Cosrx AHA smells bad too. Do all AHAs smell bad? And if so why don’t BHAs suffer from the same problem?


So here’s where I’m torn.

The good? It works! It brings my closed comedones to a head and then gets rid of them quickly. It’s pretty amazing, actually, how much it speeds up the the lifecycle of my face acne. My PIH also seems to be fading faster than before, although I regrettably did not take progress photos to confirm (TBH I thought about taking progress photos, but when dealing with breakouts, my instinct is to avoid having any photos of my face taken).

The bad? It’s a bit harsh. I don’t think I would have any problems with this toner if I weren’t also using a BHA. In the past, I have used glycolic acid, which is stronger than lactic acid, daily without issue. Back then, however, I was not using a BHA.

When I first introduced this toner into my routine, I scaled down my BHA usage from daily to every other day. On my days without BHA, I would use this AHA. After 10 days or so of that, thinking my skin would be ready for more, I went back to using my BHA daily. After a few days of this, my skin was tighter, flakier, and much more sensitive than usual. I realized I needed to scale down my hydroxy acid usage, and started using this AHA toner only once a week. With the current state of my skin, I have to prioritize BHAs. This is  because although this AHA toner speeds up the life cycle of my acne, BHAs seem better at reducing the frequency and severity of new acne. I do think this toner is a good product, I am just a bit saddened I can’t use it as much as I would like.

silk naturals aha toner ingredients

The ingredients list for this toner are nice and short, with no cosdna acne triggers or irritants, and consists simply of:

Distilled Water, Aloe Vera Juice, lactic acid, gluconoactone, Sodium Benzoate

Lactic acid, mentioned earlier, is the AHA in question. This toner has a pH of 3.5 per Silk Naturals. Like salicylic acid and glycolic acid, lactic acid needs to be at a certain pH to exfoliate. With lactic acid, you want a pH around 3.86. 3.86 is the pKa of lactic acid, which means at this pH 50% of the lactic acid molecules will be in their free acid form, which is the form required to get through your skin.

In addition to exfoliation, lactic acid is also a known humectant humectant used to treat dry skin, even at a higher pH. For this reason, lactic (and glycolic) acid is frequently recommended for people with dry skin.


Pros: cheap, effective AHA and exfoliator

Cons: smell, may be too harsh if used with a BHA

Texture 5/5
Effectiveness 4/5
Fragrance 0/5
Price 5/5
Repurchase? No, not until I’m comfortable scaling down my BHA usage

6 thoughts on “Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner Review

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