Just the word, toner makes me think back to the good ole days of teen acne. I tried every pre soaked cotton round and squeeze bottle on the market that would undoubtedly contain some sort of over drying alcohol or astringent. I distinctly remember it’s stinging and the smell of alcohol burning the inside of my nostrils. For a long time I dismissed toners as too over-drying for my sensitive (yet oily) skin, which would ultimately lead to a lack luster complexion and additional irritation.
Luckily, toners are nothing like they used to be. While they used to contain high amounts of alcohol and overly astringent ingredients, many toners are now created without alcohol and to fit almost every skin need. They are no longer targeted exclusively towards oily or acne prone skin, instead toners have branched out to include sensitive and even dry skin! With that being said, I believe everyone should be using a toner no questions asked.
what exactly is a toner?
Not every toner is created equally. That being said, depending on the toner in question it’s going to contain several different ingredients. Typically it will contain an acid for exfoliation, anti-inflammatory agents for calming sensitive skin, or even antioxidants to fight against aging. Toner may look like water but it does way way more than our friend h2o.
Toner is a second cleansing step, it penetrates your skin deeply with moisture, and it preps your face for the next step in your skincare routine. In makeup-terms, toner is basically a primer for the rest of your skincare, serums, oils, moisturizers, etc. Toners work to balance the skins pH and bring it back to its natural acidic state.
how to use a toner
You should use a toner directly after cleansing, during both your morning and night time skincare routine. It’s important to use a toner immediately after cleansing when your skin is still slightly wet. This helps the toner to absorb deeper into the skin, allowing your oil, serum, and moisturizer to deliver better, faster results.
The application of a toner is completely up to you! Some people prefer to use a cotton round while others apply it directly to their hands and pat it gently into the skin.
Just like a moisturizer that’s targeted towards uneven skin tone, dark circles, and fine lines, toners are targeted towards your specific skin needs.
Dry Skin: If you thought dry skin and toners don’t go together, well you’d be wrong. Toners can add an extra level of hydration and help to rebalance the skins pH levels. One of the most popular hydrating toners is this Packed with hyaluronic acid, rosewater, and rose flower oil, this toner is a great option for deep hydration. Hyaluronic acid works by binding moisture to the skin so that the rosewater, rose flower oil, and Angelica leaf are able to penetrate deeper.
Sensitive Skin: If you struggle with toners burning or not providing enough hydration- you just haven’t met the right one yet. If you have sensitive skin look for toners that are alcohol free and contain skin calming ingredients such as rosewater or aloe Vera. is a great option! It’s free of any irritating chemicals and contains ingredients like aloe which help to soothe the skin and immediately calm any redness.
Oily/Acne Prone Skin: Before you go ahead and start slapping straight up rubbing alcohol on your skin (we’ve all done it) give a toner with salicylic acid or witch hazel a try. These ingredients penetrate deeply to unclog pores and sweep away excess dirt and oil. Consider this that contains both glycolic and salicylic acid. The acids work to exfoliate the skin, unclogging the pore and removing any built up pore clogging bacteria (like dead skin, dirt, ya know). .
Pores: Don’t we all just want invisible photoshopped pores? Well while we can’t make them completely disappear, we can definitely make them less visible by using an aha acid like glycolic or lactic acid to sweep away dead skin cells and dissolve the accumulated bacteria inside the pore. Glycolic is the smallest, and therefor most penetrable and absorbed of all the acids, so it typically yields the most dramatic results.
Give a whirl, if you can find it at your local target that is. This insanely popular toner is constantly sold out and can be quiet hard to track down, so if you see it you better grab it! It contains glycolic acid, aloe Vera, and gingseng- perfect for exfoliation and yet still remaining gentle to the skin.
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Kali Kushner, known as the Instagram alias myfacestory, is a natural beauty advocate in the greater Cincinnati area who is passionate about using organic skincare and holistic remedies to heal acne from the inside out. Her dedication lies in her own chronic acne struggles as she continues to restore herself while helping those around her.