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.
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 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! Is a toner absolutely necessary? Not really, however with that being said, I still believe everyone should be using a toner.
What Exactly Does A Toner Do?
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 and skin damage.
A toner is applied after cleansing. It penetrates your skin deeply with moisture, and it preps your face for the next step in your skincare routine. It 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 after cleansing and the moisture from a toner makes skincare products absorb more readily into skin.
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 and you can apply your other skincare products after. This Allows 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.
Types Of Toners To Look For
Just like a moisturizer that’s targeted towards uneven skin tone, dark circles, and fine lines, toners are targeted towards your specific skin needs. When picking a toner, look for one that has a formula suited for your specific skin type and concerns.
Dry Skin: Toners can add an extra level of hydration and help to rebalance the skins pH levels. Look for a toner that contains Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic acid works by binding moisture to the skin to keep skin hydrated throughout the day. Glycerin is also another moisturizing humectant ingredient. Avoid toners that have high amounts of alcohol in them.
Dark Marks: . In general, it's best to stick to one that doesn't have an alcohol base and that is full of antioxidants to help skin heal those dark marks faster.
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, chamomile, or aloe Vera. If your skin is extremely sensitive, fragrance free options may be good to look for as well.
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. The acids work to exfoliate the skin, unclogging the pore and removing any built up pore clogging bacteria like dead skin, dirt and pollution. Toners that contains skin brightening ingredients like Vitamin C are also a good option if you are dealing with post acne marks leftover from acne breakouts.
Large Pores: While we can’t make pores 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. Try to use a toner that has a gentle formula or limit use to a couple times a week so you don't end up sensitizing your skin with too much exfoliation.