Botanical Strawberry & Rose Toner

Rose, strawberry and hibiscus extracts are the star ingredients of this pretty pink toner – proof that you can create a lovely botanical product without essential oils. This toner is best suited for dry and/or mature skin. The glycerine content makes this toner very hydrating, which is perfect for my severely dry skin. The colour also hints to the powerful plant properties infused within.

Pictured above: Strawberry glycerite just before straining.

Anthocyanins are active plant compounds which give hibiscus, strawberry and rose petals (among other plants) their red/purple pigment, and they are considered to have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – even when applied topically [1]. However, they don’t tolerate heat well, so we’re going to make this pretty pink toner using a cold process method.


The foundation of this recipe simply combines three types of extracts – a water distillate, glycerite and infusion. So you can be creative and develop your own botanical toner by combining any of these three types of extracts. You can substitute the rose hydrosol for any hydrosol or even plain distilled water. You can substitute the strawberry glycerite for any glycerite, or even plain glycerine. You can substitute the hibiscus infusion for any botanical infusion, or leave it out completely and simply replace with more rose water. Obviously, if you substitute you will have a completely different product to this recipe, which may not be pink or rich in anthocyanins.

Just remember to preserve your product with any water-soluble, broad-spectrum preservative, and pH correct to match the preservative’s requirements (and your skin’s pH). That is non-negotiable, unless you will be using the entire product on the same day for a full-body spa treatment.

You can reduce the amount of glycerine to suit your preferences, and then increase the rose water so that the recipe still balances to 100g. I don’t recommend increasing the glycerine content, because your skin will likely feel sticky.

Cost & Shelf Life

Cost price: R86.63 per 100g toner, based on the retail prices of ingredients at the time of writing in 2022. This is cheaper than the average price of buying natural/ organic equivalents.
Lasted me about: 2 weeks using every morning and night on my face, neck and décolletage.
Shelf life: 3 months if stored away from direct sunlight, and made with sterilised equipment & packaging.


Time to make extracts: This recipe requires you to make the extracts first, instead of just mixing ready-made ingredients. You have to make the strawberry extract first, which requires 5-7 days plus extra patience while straining it through filter paper. You’ll need another 15 minutes for the hibiscus infusion too. It’s worth it, I promise.

Cherry on Top

  • Strawberry glycerite smells phenomenal! It will make your day.
  • Plant-based & vegan recipe.
  • Hydrating relief for dry skin that you can feel immediately.
  • Makeup application is so much smoother after using this toner first.
  • Boost your skin’s health and radiance with active anthocyanins.

Ingredient Information

  • Rose hydrosol: is rich in antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce skin redness, irritation and puffiness. Read the ingredients to make sure that it’s natural though, because many “rose waters” are just water mixed with synthetic rose fragrance among other things. Look for distilled rose water (which is a true hydrosol), or at least water that is mixed with real rose essential oil. (buy here)
  • Hibiscus: has been nicknamed “nature’s botox” because it contains natural alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), vitamin C and antioxidants. Hibiscus helps to maintain our skin’s elastin, supports collagen production and protects against free radicals. (buy here)
  • Geogard Ultra: is a synthetic preservative composed of gluconolactone and sodium benzoate in powder form. It is ECOCERT, NATRUE and SOIL association approved for use in natural and organic products. (buy here)
  • Glycerine: moisturises the skin and retains moisture in the skin by acting as a protective barrier that locks in moisture. In this recipe, it is also used as the solvent to make a type of botanical extract called a glycerite. (buy here)
  • Strawberries: are rich in antioxidants (including anthocyanins), as well as Vitamin C which is known to brighten skin and reduce inflammation.
  • Sodium hydroxide: is a strong alkaline that is commonly used in soap-making. It is also known as lye, caustic soda or NaOH. A tiny amount of diluted NaOH (25%) is commonly used to correct the pH of cosmetics upwards when it tests too low for human skin (buy here). Read more about it on Faithful to Nature’s Ingredient Library.

Recommended Retail Option

If you don’t want to make it yourself, then you can consider buying Suki Suki Rose Hydrating Facial Mist . Based on the ingredient list alone, this is the closest natural product to my recipe in South Africa. It contains rose hydrosol, glycerine and hibiscus. Instead of strawberry extract, this product uses papaya extract. The reviews are positive.

Did you follow this recipe exactly, or did you make some creative substitutions? Let me know in the comments below.


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