NARS Hydrating Freshening Lotion Review, Photos

It’s a Toner, Not a Lotion (Part 2): NARS Hydrating Freshening Lotion

NARS Hydrating Freshening Lotion ($36.00 for 6.7 fl. oz.) is a water-based toner with a gel-like consistency designed to hydrate skin as well as gently exfoliate it.

When I was at NARS a few months ago, the artist was telling me about this magical toner that was really great for acne-prone skin. I was a bit skeptical, but every so often, an artist manages to convince me to buy something I had no intentions of getting, so that’s how I wound up with NARS’ Hydrating Freshening Lotion. Like the Clarins’ Super Restorative Wake-Up Lotion, “Lotion” means toner. It’s easy to use: just pump once onto a cotton pad and then use it on your face to remove any dirt and build-up.

One of the reasons I bought this was to help hydrate and exfoliate dry patches prior to applying foundation. It actually does seem to help hydrate and remove some of the flakiness on my dry patches and keeps the skin looking natural and radiant. This also helps to make sure I’ve gotten every last bit of dirt, makeup, and cleanser off of my face before I apply my moisturizer. (Seriously, the amount of gunk this product removes reminds me of the blackhead strips by Biore!)

Though a bit pricey, one bottle should last you a few months, if not more, depending on how often and how much you use per application. I find need about two pumps for face and neck on a cotton pad per application, so I expect to finish my bottle in the next month or so. I do believe Shiseido (which owns NARS) also makes a similar product, so if you’re a Shiseido fan, you may want to look in their line.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation:  NARS’ skincare is underrated, in my opinion, because they really do have a solid line of skincare products that have never done me wrong–including the Hydrating Freshening Lotion!

Availability: Nordstrom

About the Reviewer


Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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My skin is on the dehydrated side and I find that when I do use a toner my skin feels more moisturized and supple. It also helps clean off left over makeup and dirt residue that my cleanser missed. Whenever I use toner before a moisturizer, my skin feels softer and more hydrated more so then when I just use my moisturizer. I haven’t found one I truly like yet and would stick with, I will check this out next time I am by a Nars counter.

sounds interesting even though i like my budget olay products i consider kiehls cleanser a splurge for me so this toner would be like a big purchase item. it’s kind of ironic especially since i have sensitve ezcema skin that i don’t buy anything too fancy – simpler and fragrance free all the better. but you make it sound like it wouldn’t offend my skin especially if i don’t use it nightly. i tend to have dry patchy parts of my face and with winter around the corner this may be a good thing for me. Thanks for product review!

So, in between what products would you use this??? I tend to cleanse my face and then apply a topical cream for acne, then a moisturizing sunscreen, and then foundation. Could this be part of a daily routine?
Im curious about this product, because occasionally my skin gets dry, most likely because of the acne cream.

Thanks for this post!


So, I use this mostly at night or whenever I take off my makeup… I remove makeup/cleanse my skin, apply the toner to a cotton pad and use it on my face, and then I apply any topicals/serums (so your topical acne cream). After waiting about 10 minutes, then daily moisturizer, another 10 minutes wait, and foundation.

Use a really rich night cream OR use it when you are just sitting around the house in the evening. It’ll help hydrate your skin while you sleep 🙂

So I’ve been thinking about adding in a toner to my night routine and I was thinking about this one after reading your review, but I just checked the ingredients and I see that there’s alcohol in it? I thought that alcohol wasn’t a good ingredient for the skin?

That’s what I thought at first, too, but after using it for weeks before finding that out, I was hooked on how great it worked for me. Usually, toners with alcohol leave me feeling dry and stripped, but I didn’t have those issues with this one.


I only JUST saw this post, so a bit late to the game with it! I really want to try this, but I’m not sure where it should fit into a routine. Is it more suited for day or night? Also, I use the Clinique 3-Step program twice a day (morning and night), where you cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize. At night right before I do the 3-step I also use makeup remover. Would this replace any of these, or go in between any of the steps, or right after?

Thanks, Christine!

Either! It’s a toner, so you can essentially use it after you cleanse – you can do it AM & PM or one or the other. I would use it as your last step before you put any serum/moisturizer on!

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