Hall of Fame · Skincare

Hall of Fame: Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant

Along with Hydraluron and The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil, this Aveda toner gets a place in my Hall of Fame.


I have been harping on about acid/exfoliating toners for ages – along with Clarins Oils, I believe they are responsible for sorting out my oily, spotty, unmanageable skin. This toner by Aveda is just the most beautiful product.

What is it?

This product is a chemical exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants are (in my opinion) a lot more gentle on the skin than manual scrub exfoliants. As you know, I do still use the REN and/or Benefit ‘scrubby’ exfoliaters about once a week on my chin/t-zone, but apart from that all of my exfoliation comes from chemicals/acids. The exfoliating properties in these types of products come from fruit acids, salicylic or glycolic acids. The acid in the Aveda exfoliant is a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) which is naturally found in plants – hence being used by Aveda – ‘The art and science of pure flower and plant essences’. In skincare (although it has many other uses), this acid is used to treat dandruff, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and hyper-pigmentation; I use it for acne (and keeping it away nowadays) and the scaring as a result of acne, as well as general exfoliation and skin brightening.

AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) like glycolic and lactic acids; for most skins except very sensitive.

BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) like salicylic acid; better on spotty, oily and sensitive types. This is the Aveda one.

What does it actually do? 

This toner refines the skin surface – removing dead skin cells, dirt, impurities (as a normal scrubby exfoliater would). From my experience (and things work differently for different people): it smooths the skin surface; reduces the number, size and scaring of the cystic acne I get; takes down redness around my nose/mouth; preps the skin perfectly for serum and moisturiser; doesn’t dry out skin at all. It also contains Witch Hazel, which is included for the antibacterial uses – that is why I think this is responsible for clearing up/reducing my spots as the skin isn’t as congested and pores are clearer.

Why do I love it?

The thing I love most about this product is that it is SO gentle. I use lots of other acid based products (Clarins Exfoliating Toner, First Aid Beauty Radiance pads, Mario Badescu Glycolic Toner, Pixi Glow Tonic) but this is such a subtle but effective toner that it is my all time favourite – hence the HofF entry. It doesn’t sting or tingle (it is normal for acid toners to do that if your skin isn’t used to it, so don’t panic), it smells lovely and fresh, it doesn’t feel abrasive or harsh at all, my pores have got smaller (especially on my nose and chin) and I definitely notice the difference when I stop using it!

How do you use it? 

Bearing in mind that I use acids a lot on my skin and it is used to it, I use this every day in the morning, after cleansing and before hydrating toner spritz. I sometimes use it in the evening too (or I’ll use one of the other ones I just listed above). This product is called a daily exfoliater, so it is gentle enough to use daily. I personally wouldn’t use the First Aid Beauty pads or the Clarins Exfoliating Toner every day as they are too harsh – maybe 2/3 times a week in the evening only.

So, I soak a cotton pad with the toner and swipe over the face – not over eyes directly, but under them. Then turn the pad over and use the other side too. Follow with a hydrating spritz toner (TBS Vitamin E or Tropic Vitamin Toner).

If you are using a chemical exfoliant you should also be using SPF during the day – something like Benefit Dream Screen or Clinique City Block. In the winter, I personally get my SPF from makeup or my daily moisturiser – when it comes to March/April time I’ll go back to using a full on SPF 30 or 50 on top of my moisturiser (My favourite is the Zelens SPF30 but that is pricey so I ration that!).

So, do I think you should buy the Aveda exfoliant? Yes.  

You can get the Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant here – this is where I buy mine from:


It currently has money off so is only £15.30 instead of £18.00 with free delivery. I’ve stocked up! This bottle has lasted me a good 8 months – using it daily and sometimes twice a day. I’m afraid I simple haven’t found a budget, decent acid toner… This is a cheap as you can get them.

If you’re just starting out with skincare and acid toners, you only need one – don’t bother going and buying the Aveda, Pixi, Clarins and REN. I would literally start with one toner (Aveda, REN or Pixi would be the gentlest IMO), see what happens, see if your skin likes it and then branch out to slightly more powerful ones (Clarins, FAB pads). Not all skin likes topical acids like AHA’s and BHA’s – so see what your skin thinks before paying a fortune for loads of different ones. Sometimes skins prefer different acids to others . Aveda is salicylic based, whereas the REN toner contains AHA’s including Glycolic and Lactic Acid.

Similar products:

Burt’s Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Toner (http://www.feelunique.com/p/Burts-Bees-Anti-Blemish-Solutions-Clarifying-Toner-145ml) which is £11.49. This is aimed at spotty skin so I wouldn’t use if you have dry skin. This is the most similar to the Aveda one – containing salicylic acid and witch hazel. 

REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner (http://www.renskincare.com/uk/clarimatte-clarifying-toner.html) which is £13.00, so cheaper than the Aveda one. This one contains lactic acid and glycolic acid – AHA based. I personally don’t like it as much. I didn’t repurchase the REN one, but I’m on bottle number three of the Aveda one – I think a repurchase is recommendation enough.

Pixi Glow Tonic (http://www.pixibeauty.co.uk/glow-tonic) which is £18.00. This is Glycolic based, so an AHA, but it does contain witch hazel too. It is aimed more at normal skin, not necessariity acne prone, but I love this and used it when I had awful spots. Like many others, it also contains soothing aloe vera too.

Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion Number 1 (http://www.clinique.co.uk/product/1573/15500/3–step/Step-2-Exfoliate/Clarifying-Lotion-Mild) which is £16.50, although shop around because this is always on offer somewhere. This is the ONLY Clinqiue toner I will EVER use – the others are like paint stripper. Clinique’s 3 step system doesn’t work (I’ve spent a small fortune on it over the years and it is just total rubbish). This product however, is just like the other toners above – ignore the fact that it says for very dry skin – it is an excellent acid toner for all skins, including oily. It contains just the right amount of acids salicylic acid and witch hazel – exactly the same stuff as Aveda and Burts Bees.

Well done, Aveda – welcome to the Hall of Fame!

(Back to basics skin care routine order will be coming soon as I’ve had so many questions about it – Sophie, this one is for you!)




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