Q.I noticed that you recommend Neal’s Yard Rosewater, but it contains alcohol. Does this not make it drying to the skin?
 A.First up:  this has a new name – Rehydrating Rose Toner – but is the same formulation as it ever was.  However, you’re right to question this – and you’d think it would be drying, wouldn’t you?  But because the small quantity of alcohol in the product – which is there basically in place of a preservative – is balanced by aloe vera (naturally moisturising and soothing) and glycerine (a humectant), we don’t find that it has a drying effect at all, even on sensitive and thirsty skins.

We are not generally fans of toners, but regular readers will know that when we do use something to ‘freshen’ our faces, it’s this product, which is pretty affordable – and has that wonderful rose scent that so many of our readers just l-o-v-e.  Alternatively, you might like to try the Pukka Herbs Rosewater Spray…?  You can spritz it directly onto the face, or onto a cotton pad, then swipe over the face…  This is a ‘true’ rosewater, with nothing added and nothing taken away.  (And has earned rave praise from a neighbour of Sarah’s who has redness problems.)

•  Neal’s Yard Rehydrating Rose Toner, £15.50 for 200 ml at www.nealsyardremedies.combuy here

•  Pukka Herbs Organic Rose Water Spray, £11.45 for 100 ml at www.victoriahealth.com; buy here


Q.Do I need to tone after cleansing? I am 73 years old and have always looked after my skin, but have not toned before – and now I have been told to do this before using a serum…

 A.No, no, no!  This is the second time this edition we’ve opted to bang on about toner.  As you say, you’ve always looked after your skin – and hurrah for that.  If you’ve survived this long without toner, you can certainly manage without one now!  There’s no particular reason to use a toner before a serum, provided you’re cleansing properly.  Toners are probably useful for lazy cleansers, as they remove any last traces – but if you use a muslin cloth, or rinse your face and then pat it dry after cleansing, they’re superfluous.  If you really, really feel you want to try a toner, we recommend rosewater – Neal’s Yard Remedies Rosewater is a classic favourite.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Rosewater, £9.30 for 100 ml at www.thehealthandbeautyshop.co.uk; buy here