Have you ever found yourself in the skincare aisle, wondering if you should add a facial toner to your skin care routine?
A face toner can be THE missing piece that will take your skincare up a notch. But only if you know what you are looking for.
With specific skin concerns and different skin types, choosing an over-hyped product might do more harm than good.
The right facial toner will soothe and balance your skin while prepping it for the optimum absorption of your favorite moisturizer. Toner that is not suitable for your skin type, may cause burning, irritation, or even strip your skin of moisture.
Read along to learn all about choosing the right toner according to your skin type, and find out what are the most important face toner benefits.
What Is A Face Toner?
Toners are basically water-based skincare products, used after cleansing. Initially, facial toners were crafted with the intent to clean excess oils and restore the skin’s ph balance.
However, modern-day facial toners contain soothing, anti-aging, and replenishing properties, which can benefit the skin in many ways if rightly suited to your skin type.
What Does Face Toner Do?
Here’s what the toner does to your skin:
1. Helps Remove Excess Oil And Makeup
A facial toner removes excess oil and impurities that may be lingering on your skin after cleansing. This helps remove dead skin cells and shrink pores, revealing clean and fresh skin.
It is particularly beneficial for people who avoid cleansers in the morning. However, remember to start with a clean face.
Similar in the evening, especially if you have sunscreen or makeup on, you’ll need to wash your face before applying toner.
2. Offers Extra Hydration
A toner can give you a boost of extra hydration, restoring the skin barrier that might be disrupted after using the cleanser. A hydrating toner can keep your skin from feeling too tight or dry.
3. Nourishes Your Skin After Cleansing
Facial toners contain soothing agents that can help soothe irritated skin while balancing your skin’s pH.
Using a toner with natural ingredients can leave your skin refreshed while fighting off inflammation and signs of aging.
4. Primes Skin For Subsequent Products
Using the right toner can augment the effects of subsequent skincare products. When you apply a toner, it preps your skin to soak up the goodness of the upcoming moisturizer (or serum).
5. Offers Ingredient-Based Effects
Based on the active ingredients, your facial toner can unclog pores, even out the tone, keep acne under control, gently exfoliate skin’s surface, balance skin’s pH, and get rid of excess sebum and stubborn dirt while brightening the complexion.
Face Toner Benefits
You’re still not convinced about adding toner to your skincare regimen? Here are the benefits of using a toner1.
1. Removes Impurities
Toners can perform the double cleanse which is raved about on all skin forums.
Toners remove excess oils, dead skin cells, and excess dirt which build up throughout the day. Use water-based toners without alcohol to avoid messing up the skin’s barrier.
2. Minimizes The Appearance Of Pores
A toner can minimize the appearance of pores as it helps remove oil and blackheads, hence shrinking the pores.
Toners with witch hazel, a mild astringent, can rejuvenate skin by temporarily tightening it, yielding an even skin tone.
3. Replenishes Your Skin
The best toner is the one that replenishes your skin without drying it out.
The gentle formulations available today are enriched with nourishing antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, green tea, etc which yield healthy skin with their anti-aging ingredients.
Effective toners can remove redness associated with inflammatory changes and result in removing dullness, yielding an even complexion and supple skin.
4. Optimizes Skin’s pH Balance
Our skin is acidic with a pH of less than 5. The alkaline nature of soap and cleanser can throw it off balance but this is where a good toner can help in optimizing the pH.
Need I say more about the goodness that comes with using a toner?
5. Goodbye Oily Skin
Some toners can reduce excess oils and sebum without stripping away too much moisture. You just need to choose the right ingredients.
Toners with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can make your skin oiliness a thing of the past. Salicylic acid (one of the BHAs) reduces oil production and acne while mattifying the skin.
Witch hazel evens your skin tone, and controls excess oil production, while unclogging pores. Being a mild astringent, it can tighten the skin temporarily.
However, make sure to avoid alcohol-based toners to avoid irritating your skin.
6. Keeps Acne At Bay
If you have acne-prone skin, look for toners with ingredients like tea tree oil, AHA and BHA.
Tea tree oil toner has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, so it is quite effective in fighting bacterial infection while reducing blemishes.
Toners with glycolic acid or salicylic acid will remove the dead skin while reducing oil that can clog pores.
7. Enhances Other Skincare Products.
Applying a toner will result in perfectly prepped skin, ready to absorb all the wonderful and powerful ingredients from your next skincare product(s). Reap the benefits of product application post-toning, since it allows them to penetrate deeper.
For example: If you apply hyaluronic acid toner on your damp skin after cleansing, it will potentiate the effect of upcoming moisturizers or creams, because it helps the product penetrate deeper.
8. Provides Gentle Exfoliation
Exfoliating toners will purify the skin while smoothening it by refining the rough patches.
Toners with salicylic acid or glycolic acid reveal smooth skin by chemically exfoliating buildup. However, they are not suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.
Be mindful if other products have the same ingredient since you do not want to damage your skin with excessive exfoliation.
9. Soothes Your Skin
Soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and rose water reduce inflammation, hence if you have acne-prone skin or ultra-sensitive and dry skin, using a soothing toner can really help in calming your skin.
By the way, if you’re struggling with sensitive or reactive skin, you need to be extra careful when choosing a toner. Avoid products that contain alcohol, fragrance and nasty synthetic chemicals that can lead to irritation. And just in case: here is my ranking of the best K-beauty toners for sensitive skin.
10. Hydration For The Win
A hydrating toner can work wonders for your dry skin if incorporated into a daily routine.
With the moisturizing ingredients present in hydrating toners such as aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, rose water, glycerin, and other humectants, your skin will benefit from the added boost of moisture from the toner.
Are Facial Toners Necessary?Despite seeming like an extra step in your skincare routine as touted by some skin experts, a facial toner might be just the extra TLC your skin needs. If you’re looking into adding an affordable toner to your beauty routine, just make sure you choose the perfect toner for your skin type and use it consistently2.
When Should I Use Facial Toner?You should use a facial toner if:
- Your skin is oily.
- Your face appears dull with an uneven tone.
- You have dry skin that yearns for a hydrating product.
- You have acne.
- You need an elixir that calms and brightens your skin.
How Do You Use A Toner?
- Always start off with a cleansed face.
- With clean hands, apply toner on a cotton pad and swipe it on your face, neck, and chest (remember to avoid area near your mouth and eyes!).
- You can also opt for toner spray or simply sprinkle toner on your hands and pat gently on your face.
- Always follow with serum, moisturizer or cream.
Do You Wash Toner Off?
No, you don’t wash toner off. A toner should be allowed to absorb and sink into the skin to reap its benefits.
How Often Should You Use Toner?
Ideally, a toner should be used once a day, preferably in the morning skincare routine.
Is It Good To Use Toner On Your Face Everyday?
If it is a mild toner, you can use it up to twice daily. However, if you have sensitive or dry skin, or you chose exfoliating toner, use it sparingly. It all depends on your skin type and the type of toner you choose3.
What Should I Look For In My Facial Toner?
It all pans down to your skin type and skin concerns when deciding on a facial toner. The right facial toner with the right ingredients will amp up your skincare routine like a pro. However, it is best to avoid toners with alcohol as it can irritate sensitive skin.
Ingredients In Face Toners To Look For
Here is the good stuff you should look for in your facial toner4:
- Rose Water: It soothes the skin while restoring balance.
- Aloe Vera: This acts as a hydration bomb, along with calming the skin.
- Witch Hazel: It tightens pores, reduces acne, and keeps oil production in control.
- Green Tea: This is an excellent choice for everyone as it is rich in antioxidants.
- Vitamin C: Bursting with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, a toner with Vitamin C will yield clear, healthy, and fresh skin.
- Tea Tree Oil: With its antimicrobial characteristics, tea tree oil is a better remedy for acne than medications.
- Chamomile: This is perfect for individuals with sensitive skin types to address redness and irritation.
- Hyaluronic Acid: This magical moisturizing ingredient lives up to its clout. It maximizes the effect of moisturizer, making it a beauty-cult favorite.
- Humectants: Glycerin, Vitamin E, and rose water add a hit of hydration, rejuvenating your skin while combating dryness.
- Exfoliative Toners: Toners with alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids can remove excess dirt and dead cells, unclog pores, and reveal smooth skin with an even tone.
Ingredients To Avoid
It is best to steer clear of harsh chemicals such as:
- Alcohol: A basic component of toners back in the day, alcohol can dry the skin gravely, causing irritation and inflammatory changes.
- Phthalates & Parabens: Used as low-cost preservatives to increase shelf life, these toxins are not your ideal skincare products.
- Fragrance: Watch out for fragrance, perfume, or parfum in the ingredients. These are associated with skin allergies, dermatitis, etc.
- Too Many Exfoliants: If you are already using an exfoliant, it is best to avoid an exfoliating toner since it can dry out the skin.
- Some Essential Oils: Not all of essential oils are recommended especially if your skin is sensitive and prone to irritations or allergic reaction. One of oils you should avoid is for example menthol – it can irritate your skin.
How To Choose The Right Facial Toner For Your Skin
Remember that depending on your skin type (as well as skin concerns), you need to look for different toning products5.
Acne-Prone Or Oily Skin
Opt for exfoliative toners that include alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) to reduce oil while removing buildup. Salicylic acid (one of BHAs) can also improve hyperpigmentation.
Invest in toners with humectants e.g glycerin, rose water, aloe vera, etc. for optimal hydration.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, green tea, and hyaluronic acid can reverse the signs of aging.
Natural ingredients like rose water, jojoba oil, vitamin E and aloe vera are good options that work without irritating the skin.
Natural exfoliants like lactic acid and papaya extracts can remove dead cells to reveal your bright and purified skin.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.
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