Skin care can be a baffling ordeal at best: from face washes, scrubs, moisturizers, toners, astringents, peels, masks, and everything in between, choosing the right products can become a daunting task. The key to developing a skin care routine is to become familiar with each product type, and determining if it is right for you. Toners are one of the most confusing aspects of skin care, so let’s take a minute to uncover the enigma that is facial toner.
Generally, toners work to cleanse, moisturize and improve texture of skin. So essentially, it’s a bit of an all-in-one! Toners can work to lightly cleanse, typically removing a light layer of dirt and oil, depending on the combination of ingredients and alcohol content (however, don’t rely on a toner as your only method of cleaning your face). Toners decrease the appearance of pores and tighten skin, improving your skin’s overall look and feel.
Not everyone requires a toner - some of us require more steps in our routine than others. If your skin is excessively oily, an astringent toner would be perfect for you. Astringents have the highest alcohol content, which remove the greatest amount of oil and work the hardest to lessen the appearance of pores. The more oil you desire to have removed from your skin, the higher alcohol content you will need.
If you have drier skin, a freshening toner would be right for you. A bit of natural oil is necessary to protecting your skin’s natural moisture barrier, so you don’t want to over dry your skin by using an astringent toner containing too much alcohol. Refreshers tend to contain lighter ingredients, such as tea tree oil, aloe vera and other essential oils. Bottom line: the higher the level of oil on your skin, the higher level of alcohol you may want in your toner.
Typically a toner is used after washing your face with your chosen facial cleanser. Dry your face with a clean towel, and apply toner to your face using a cotton ball, cotton pad, or tissue. It is generally recommended to not apply your toner using your hands, unless you’re using a creamy, lotion-based toner. Hit the oiliest spots first, namely your T-zone (forehead and nose), then swipe along cheeks and chin. Avoid eyes, and other drier, more delicate areas of your face. Finish with your favorite facial moisturizer to restore your moisture barrier.