Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner was my first big girl skin purchase and I used it throughout my time in university. I knew I needed a toner but was not quite sure why? And because Neutrogena was the most accessible skincare brand I used the alcohol-free toner.
However, because of the dominance of the American beauty industry, most toners were alcohol-laden ended up causing more harm than good. So people who in the know stayed away.
It is a water-based product that contains beneficial ingredients like tea tree, rose and salicylic acid. The main function of a toner is to prime your skin for the application of your other products. They are usually rapidly penetrating, provide hydration with light exfoliating properties.
Fast forward to 2019, I am still obsessed with skincare but, understand what a toner is and why it is a key part of any skincare regimen. With the recent explosion of Korean skincare on the global stage, toners are back in style. So let’s dive in to discuss what exactly a toner is, how to use it, some of the benefits and which work best for the different skin types.
What is a toner?
What does a toner do?
Its primary function is to restore your skins acid balance so that it absorbs your skincare products easily. Using a toner is especially important if you have oily, acne-prone skin or wear heavy makeup because it removes any residue from your skin after cleansing. I cannot tell you how many times even after double cleansing I find some residue of dirt on my skin when I er and there is still some dirt on the cotton pad. A toner is essentially is a primer for your skincare.
How to use a toner?
The best time to use a toner is a few minutes after cleansing when your skin is damp, not wet to allow the active ingredients to penetrate your skin. It re-balances and resets your skin’s pH to its acidic state since most cleansers tend to be alkaline. I apply toners to my face in 2 ways.
- First is to saturate a cotton pad (not a cotton ball you don’t want to waste your products) and apply directly to your skin moving horizontally across your face
- The second is by spritzing the toner directly onto your face. Here you don’t have the added benefit of it acting as an exfoliant or mini cleanse.
- The third is what I refer to as the ”Korean
” ,you pour some toner onto your clean hands and tap it into your skin. I am not a fan of this method because of the likelihood of wastage. However you have the added benefit of your hands looking younger and or your my palms flake slightly if the product contains an exfoliating agent like glycolic or salicylic acid
Benefits of using a toner.
Re-balances the pH of the skin
One of the most important functions of a toner is to restore your skin’s pH. The natural pH of skin is slightly acidic but cleansing and makeup alter your skin’s pH. When your skin has a balanced pH it is less prone to either excessive dryness, oiliness or blemishes giving it a smoother appearance.
Reduces the appearance of pores
I am sure at this point we all know pores cannot reduce in size, right? What a toner does is helps to reduce the appearance of your pores. Large facial pores allow more dirt and oil enter your skin which can cause clogged pores and blemishes. Because toners clean and tighten pore it makes your skin look smoother since less oils can settle into the skin giving a smoother look.
Removes excess oil and reduces acne
Toners are well known for removing excess oils that clog pores and cause blackheads hence the skin balancing effect. Because they can remove excess oils and dead skin cells, toners reduce the number of blemishes and acne. However, if you have acne or oil-prone skin toner with glycolic or salicylic acid work best
Provides Hydration and Nourishment to skin
Hydrating toners can provide a moisture boost to your skin which helps maintain elasticity, and smoothness gives you a more youthful appearance. Hydrated skin shows fewer signs of ageing and the toner also serves as a base for the application of other products. Some facial toners may provide nutrients that keep your skin healthy and balanced.
Hydrating toners are especially useful when you travel by air because the cabin air is extremely drying to your skin. For easy application use a toner with a spritz or spray nozzle.
Primes your skin for the rest of your routine
Dry skin does not allow proper penetration of your serums or treatments. Without a toner, they remain on the surface of your skin without penetrating so are ineffective.
Which toner is best for you?
The type of toner you use should be based on your skin type and what your skin currently needs. If you have oily, dry or even hyperpigmented skin there is a t
If you are unsure of your skin type check out this post and quiz
Use a toner with salicylic acid and or zinc. Salicylic acid is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and can control oil production without drying out skin while zinc helps with acne flare-ups.
Here look for toners that say they are hydrating and contain aloe vera or hyaluronic acid
For sensitive skin look for a toner with “skin-calming botanicals”, it is important that toners for sensitive skin do not have fragrances or essential oils which can cause allergies for sensitive skin. Ingredients that are beneficial for sensitive skin tend to contain moisturizing ingredients like glycerine and antioxidants like vitamin C.
Personally, since I have oily skin my go-to toners are the Clarins exfoliating toner and Pixi Glow tonic which I love. What has been your experience with toners? Do you use them or find them to be one step too much in your routine? Let me know in the comments and tag a friend who needs to know thisFollow me on social media