The Honua Hawaiian Beauty Water claims to gently exfoliate the skin for a luminous, fresh complexion and tighter looking pores.
This toner is made in a botanical water base of coconut and rose. Highest in concentration is nutrient rich Organic Coconut Water, the liquid/juice found inside the coconut or pressed from the fruit. Approximately 95% comprises water, the remaining 5% made up of moisturising sugars and nourishing amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Rose Hydrosol comes from the steam distillation of rose petals. It exhibits soothing, cooling and anti-inflammatory properties, ideal for sensitive skin or that suffering acne, redness and irritation. Astringent behaviour helps to tighten pores and reduce their appearance.
Hibiscus Flower is packed with antioxidants including Vitamins C and E, Anthocyanins and Polyphenols that provide a strong defense against free radicals as well as helping prevent spots and freckles. Able to assist with collagen production and boost skin elasticity, its anti-ageing prowess has earned it the nickname “Botox Plant”. A high mucilage content (a gelatinous substance that contains protein and polysaccharides) makes it a great moisturizer too. Hibiscus also contains gentle acids that have a slight exfoliating effect on the skin. Natural AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) help to purify by breaking down dead skin and increasing cell turnover as well assisting to control acne breakouts. Hawaiian sugarcane, also known as Kō is another natural AHA which helps to fight acne, reduce blemishes, prevent ageing and retain hydration. Together with Hibiscus, they contribute approximately 11-12% AHA concentration to the formula.
Willow Bark is a source of Salicylic Acid, a BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) and natural exfoliant, represented at 1%. It is able to cleanse pores and shed dead cells, in doing so, stimulating new cells to form which over time helps to alleviate the appearance of discolouration, acne scars and fine lines. Finally rounding up the exfoliants are Papaya Enzymes which contribute to skin lightening, wound healing and restoration of uneven tone through whitening, antibacterial and exfoliation effects.
Witch Hazel has excellent anti-inflammatory effects on skin conditions and is also antimicrobial, soothing irritations caused by viruses and bacteria. Where traditional witch hazel toners tend to contain alcohols that result in a drying effect, witch hazel extract displays contrary properties as it is effective at locking moisture into the skin.
Remaining ingredients deliver a safe and gentle product preservation.
Cocos Nucifera (Organic Coconut) Water, Rosa Damascena (Organic Rose) Hydrosol, Hibiscus Sabdariffa, Hamamelis (Organic Witch Hazel), Kō/Sucrose (Hawaiian Sugar Cane), Salix Alba (Willow Bark), Carica Papaya Enzymes, *Coconut Derived Glycerin, *Lactobacillus Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, *Sodium Anisate.
*New Green Beauty Approved Preservative System
Cleverly packaged, the beauty water comes in a frosted glass bottle with a twist-lock pump dispenser. The outer package is a clever die cut made from recyclable and compostable material. It folds into a box which features product information.
Apply 1-2 pumps onto a cotton round and gently wipe across the entire face and décolleté.
The Honua Hawaiian Beauty Water has a detectable natural scent.
The Honua Hawaiian Beauty Water comes in two sizes, the 60ml is USD$24 while the 120ml volume is USD$42 (correct at time of posting).
The toner must be used within 12 months of opening.
As this is my first encounter with this brand, I wanted to provide some information about their operation and philosophy. Founded in 2015 by Kapua Browning, an esthetician with experience at treating various skin conditions, this family business exploits the power of native Hawaiian healing plants to passionately deliver skincare that is both gentle and effective. Environmentally minded, the company uses recyclable and compostable packaging.
Honua also supports local farming communities, environmental causes and education, donating a portion of proceeds to replenish native plants, clean our oceans and teach the importance of Hawaiian culture. Many of the ingredients used are organic or wildcrafted, formulas preserved naturally and safely. Impressive thus far, let’s now consider the specifics of the product under review.
Firstly the packaging is beautiful. The glass bottle is attractive in design and highly functional. The pump action keeps it hygienic and protected from unnecessary air exposure, the frosted glass finish implying it’s not light sensitive, although since no strong, harsh preservatives are at work to lengthen shelf life, Honua recommend keeping their products stored in a cool, dark place. I keep mine in a drawer. There is nothing added to enhance product smell, but the water retains a natural scent that fades promptly after application. The smell has a clear yet subtle and not overly sweet rose aroma (from the hydrosol) with a hint of fruity freshness. Although coconut water is the most concentrated ingredient, I personally don’t identify that with my nose. The smell is definitely pleasant. The coral pink colour is pretty and likewise natural, contributed by the hibiscus flower. As it is naturally imparted, it can vary in depth of pink and orange hues between batches.
The price of USD$42 (around AUD$60) for 120ml bottle is a little expensive but the hand crafted, high quality, minimalist formulations and distribution of a percentage of profits to reputable causes should also be taken into account when deciding whether it’s worth spending a little more to support this brand. Furthermore, a 120ml bottle should last at least 3 months depending on how often and how heavily you apply it.
The Hawaiian Beauty Water comprises a short, cruelty free, vegan formula of only 10 ingredients, all deemed CosDNA and EWG safe, three acting as a preservation system. The botanical water base is refreshing and ensures this acid toner doesn’t strip the skin, rather, also provides a good level of hydration to keep the skin barrier intact. Skin feels soft and moisturised following application so I’m not quickly reaching for replenishment from a hydrating step afterwards. In fact, I like to let this sink into my skin for a few minutes before proceeding with the rest of my routine. There isn’t any residue left behind either and a fast dry down ensures no tackiness or stickiness.
I apply it with a cotton round as I do all my acid toners. Although the instructions suggest 2-3 pumps, this will vary depending on the absorption of your applicator. However, I find I need at least 3-4 even with the thinnest of cotton pads. I have been using this consistently for a month now. As my skin is accustomed to even stronger acids, after a short patch test, I started using this most nights, 3-5 times a week. I never experienced any tingling although those new to acids may. This is nothing of concern, rather, a reflection of the product pH which in this case I measured at around 4.0 (the strips I’m using only measure from 4.5 so this is an estimate based on the shade patterns). It’s the first layer of my routine after cleansing, always followed by a hydrating toner (just because that’s what I do, not because I need it) and serums. Although it feels extremely gentle on the skin, it’s also potent, confirmed by a fairly high (AHA 11-12%, BHA 1%) acid concentration. It’s certainly suitable for all skin types (obviously excluding those allergic to any of the ingredients), although those new to acids would be wise to start slow (1-2 times a week) and definitely patch test first.
The experience and product quality certainly exceeded my expectations. But how did it change my skin? Well, definitely for the better. Firstly, it’s probably the most hydrating acid toner I have used. My skin feels so comfortable after I apply it with no sign of dryness or tightness. The coconut water and rose hydrosol base assures that. The exfoliants are all gentle and natural, provided by hibiscus, willow bark, sugarcane and papaya enzymes as stated previously. In combination, they also deliver some antioxidant and anti-ageing benefits so it would appear this formulation maximises all the good things and eliminates all the bad with all ingredients being EWG green.
My skin feels noticeably smoother and softer after using this consistently in my night routine. The most obvious improvement for me is that a few stubborn sebaceous filaments on my outer nostrils (the oil glands that can – and in my case do – look like flat blackheads) have been minimised, giving my pores around this problem area clarity and tightness. Although there were only a few black looking pores on my nose, these stubborn little spots have been something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. This is the first product to make any impact, so I am delighted!
The exfoliation effect also ensures that my face looks fresh. I can’t definitively say that this product has made my skin brighter than it was before since I was already using an effective acid toner, but it has definitely at least maintained that level of brightness to give my complexion a fresh appearance. So this toner absolutely fulfils its claims effectively and safely.
Sometimes a brand comes along out of seemingly nowhere and impresses. Honua is such a brand. I am so excited to try more from their range as their formulations are superior and this, my first product, has proven very effective and comfortable. Add to that an ethical, cruelty free approach to skincare and you’re on a winner! I would totally recommend this product.
|CosDNA and EWG confirmed safe||Limited availability in Australia|
|Suitable for all skin types||Expensive|
|Hygienic and attractive|
|High quality formulation|
|Gentle yet effective|
|Visibly tightens pores|
|Helps keep skin fresh and bright|
Cocos Nucifera Water INCI Decoder
Rose Hydrosol Benefits, Tips & How to Use The Miracle of Essential Oils
Hibiscus for Skin, the Natural Firming Plant Annemarie Skin Care
Hibiscus Paula’s Choice Skincare Ingredient Dictionary
The ‘Botox’ Plant: Hibiscus benefits for beautiful skin The Green People Community
Kō: Hawaiian Sugarcane Becky Speere
Willow Bark Extract Truth In Aging
7 benefits of Papaya for skin: Know from Dermatologist Dr Surbhi, MD Skin
Witch Hazel – Skin’s Friend or Foe? Truth In Aging
Please read in context with my disclaimer.
This product was provided to me free of charge by Honua. This post only includes my honest opinion and experience of this product and is in no way influenced by Honua, any of its representatives or any other third party.