Updated: Sep 24
The average consume may not be fully cognizant or appreciate the versatility of toners. Most beauty buffs may be familiar with its touted uses and benefits, but there are many individuals out there unsure or unaware of its varied and multifarious functions. Many consumers confuse post-modern day toners with the toners of the past millennium, which were formulated with high concentration of alcohol. As a result, they were drying and abrasive. Today, toners are formulated to help achieve a healthy complexion. They contain much less alcohol—or none at all—and tout more than just astringent qualities. In fact, thanks to K-beauty, toners are making a true comeback, hydration being the key purpose and first step in an essential beauty routine.
So, what’s the main ingredient? Water. But it contains more than that; depending on the formulation, it contains antioxidants, acids, chamomile, gentle acids, glycerin, and myriad anti-inflammatories. It basically is a liquid that penetrates the skin, delivering a boost of hydration as well as a quick exfoliant that removes some dead skins off the skin’s surface. Toners basically functions as a necessary stepping stool, prepping the skin for the next step and increasing the efficacy of serums, moisturizers, and other products.
Imagine you have a wall that needs painting—you can’t just paint. You need to clean, buff, remove nicks, and then use primer to fill in those tiny gaps. Only then can you begin painting. Similarly, cleansing is the first step: it removes the vast majority of impurities from the skin’s surface. And then toners help prep the pores for the ‘primer’. Skin needs to be hydrated, brought back to its natural acidic state. Toners help achieve that as well.
Toners are generally used right after cleansing. Molecules penetrate far better when the skin is damp, so toning should follow soon after lathering and clearing away the day's dirt. Some toners can be used with a cotton pad and others can be gently spread and patted across the skin. There are different methods, but all are pretty efficient.
Not all toners are the same!!
Consumers should purchase a toner based on their particular skin concern. For instance, acne-prone or oily skin can be treated with a salicylic acid-based toner. The same goes for sensitive skin: look for particular ‘active botanicals’ or healing chamomile. Pore-refining toners help treat large pores. If you suffer from a dull complexion, toners made with papaya extract could help alleviate that concern. Inflamed skin can benefit from calming rose water. Plenty of toners even target mature skin. Dry skin can be treated with deep hydrators, such as fermented yeast.
The overall effect of toner on your skin will be quite evident; you will glow.
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner