I absolutely love toner. It’s a super easy way to give my face a quick cleaning and refreshing, especially after a walk on a hot summer day. Despite the leakage risks, I always travel with it—a small bottle makes for a nice, refreshing break on long flights. Unfortunately, it can also make for a lemongrass scented soggy mess if something gets bumped the wrong way. Hence, dry toner tablets!

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Now, these tablets are loaded with all kinds of good things. The cucumber peel extract acts as the astringent, as well as having anti-inflammatory properties and being loaded with vitamins and minerals. Green tea has lots of anti-oxidants, and vitamin C, bee pollen, and honey are just all-around great for the skin. Baking soda gives these tablets a bit of a fizz when they get wet, thanks to the acidity of the vitamin C.

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I have a confession to make—these failed to stay tablets the first time. After I took the time to carefully form about a hundred little tablets, they quickly puffed into little piles of dust, like a dried out sand castle.

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So, I thought about the differences between something like a bath bomb, which sticks together when you spritz it with water, and my toner, err, powder, which definitely did not. The difference is that bath bombs are made mostly from water soluble ingredients, like Epsom salts and citric acid. So, when they get a bit damp, they start to dissolve into one another, and as they dry, they fuse together, like a sugar cube. The majority of the ingredients in this toner powder weren’t water soluble, so the tablets went the way of a sandcastle on a hot day.

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Time for a fix! Loading the toner with sugar didn’t seem like a good idea unless I wanted to be chased by bees all day long, so salt it was. Salt is naturally antibacterial, boosts circulation, and helps soften the skin, so it seemed like a good addition. I halved the recipe with salt, and blitzed it all together in my coffee grinder to ensure the mixture was evenly textured.

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A funny thing happened when I added the water—instead of getting a slightly damp powder, I got a dough, like play dough. Huh. Cool. With that texture you’ve got two different options for forming your tablets—you can pinch off sections and roll them into little balls, or you call roll them out into long worms, and use a knife to trim off little snippets. Your choice!

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Toner Tablets

1 tbsp cucumber extract
1 tsp bee pollen
¼ tsp vitamin C
½ tsp honey powder
1 tsp green tea extract
2 tbsp table salt

5 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops liquid bee propolis

Water, as needed

Blitz all the dry ingredients together into a fine powder. Add the essential oils and propolis, and blend.

Then, slowly add water, drop by drop, blending as you go, until you have a dough. Chances are there will be too much for the coffee grinder to handle, so you’ll have to scoop everything out and knead in the rest of the water until you have a play dough texture. Be careful with the water, it’s easy to add too much and end up with a sticky, gooey mess.

You can shape the tablets one of two ways; pinch off small pieces and roll them into little balls, or roll out little worms and trim off little bits.

Lay everything out on sheets of wax paper and let the tablets dry.

To use, place a tablet in the bottom of a cup or small jar with a bit of water (maybe 10–15mL, 2–3tsp). Let dissolve, swirling to encourage things along. Swab across your face with a re-useable cotton pad or washcloth when it’s all dissolved.

You may find one tablet makes too much toner (or that your toner is too concentrated), in which case you can just pick out the tablet after enough has dissolved, let the tablet dry out again, and use the rest of it later. Or, if you know you’ll be staying in one place for a while, you could just make a bit more and have it pre-made for the next few days.

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