Lyes and Lathers’ Willow Bark Tea Tree Oil Toning Spray

I love getting to review Lyes and Lathers’ products, because they’re effective and made in small batches locally (to me). While it’s fun to write about other brands, I’m hardly the only blogger writing about Glossier; being able to feature brands you might not have heard about otherwise is a privilege. This toner spray is perfect for me because I often skip toner because I don’t want to waste a cotton ball applying the non-spray variety. The way some people use those, you could clothe an army and probably save gallons of water (cotton needs a lot to grow).


I’ve had the same silly gold toner from Estee Lauder for years because I’m too lazy to apply it most days. I would categorize this spray as a clarifying toner, meaning it cleans and exfoliates skin. I wouldn’t recommend it to those who have very sensitive or dry skin, since it wouldn’t address your concerns, but if you have oily or combination skin, or if you are worried about rough skin or oily pores, this will help.

This spray clarifies and exfoliates the skin, chemically. Before you cry “why I’ll never use chemicals!” I mean as opposed to physical (rubbing) exfoliation. Also, don’t be a chemophobe.

To use it, just spray onto your face. It’s meant to be a light veil rather than something that dampens the skin, so I hold mine a little closer than an arm’s length away from my face so it lightly grazes my skin. I also use it just once a day; I have combination skin, so I try to balance exfoliation with moisture. I use it at night after cleansing and before my Luna oil. I do this at night mostly so I can do my exfoliation while I’m sleeping and not exposed to the sun (some exfoliants make the skin photosensitive).

One of the primary ingredients in this spray is white willow bark, aka salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is one of the primary components of making acytlsalicylic acid, or aspirin, so while I would not recommend drinking this, if you were stuck in the woods, willow bark tea would help with your wilderness headaches.It’s also the primary ingredient in Kaopectate and the reason it displays anti-inflammatory properties.Salicylic acid is also on the WHO’s Model List of Essential Medicines, a compilation of the most effective and safe medicines.

Salicylic acid is also one of the most reliable chemical exfoliants because it is both gentle and effective. It is one of the most frequently used chemicals to remove the top layer of skin, especially in cases of warts, pimples, dandruff, and other skin problems. It’s a beta-hydroxy acid (as opposed to alpha-hydroxy acid), which refers to the shape of the molecule. In skincare, beta-hydroxy acid, or BHA, is shorthand for salicylic acid, since it’s the most common example of BHA structure.

The other primary ingredient of this spray is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial agent, so this should immensely help acne-prone skin as bacteria is one of the primary causes of pesky pimples. It’s also an antioxidant and a skin soothing agent; however, as with most plant-based oils, it does have some components that could cause irritation when used in concentrations too high, like 100% tea tree oil. A concentration of 2%-10% is recommended in most skincare, and though I don’t know the concentration of this toner, I know that the smell would be MUCH stronger if it had a high concentration of tea tree oil.

I have noticed that this sometimes feels like a tingle on my face if I apply it right after cleansing. My skin is at its most sensitive at this time, after I’ve stripped the last of my moisturizer and natural oil off of it, so I’m not bothered by this. It goes away almost immediately, and I’ve never noticed redness or rough skin after applying it.

Overall, though I can’t point to any one product, my skin has been just glowing recently, and this is a key part of my skincare routine. As I said before, it’s the first toner that I actually use regularly. It’s incredibly cost-effective for this poor graduate student, and unlike some of the toners I’ve used in the past, I can actually tell the difference between days I use it and days I don’t. They don’t currently have it on their website, but you can catch them at the next HBG Flea or contact them on their website to ask to make an order!

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