At some point you’ve probably asked yourself: What is toner, anyway?
You might not know where it’s supposed to fit into your skincare routine, or whether you really need it at all. Well, we’re here to tell you that you do! No skincare routine is complete without toner. We’re breaking it down for you, giving you everything you need to know about how toner works and how to use it.
Why use a toner?
Toners, as the name suggests, tone the skin. They often contain an astringent ingredient that closes the pores and gives your skin that tightening sensation. A well formulated toner will also rebalance your skin’s natural pH, give it a hit of hydration, and have a calming effect to reduce redness.
Cleansers awaken the pores, helping to provide the deep cleanse your skin needs, but after that you want to close the pores back up. This is where your toner comes in. Toner also helps to remove residue left behind after cleansing. It helps soften skin, locks in moisture, and helps the skin absorb other products, like serums and creams. It also has a cooling and lightly antiseptic effect, which makes it great to use as an aftershave, or as an enlivening facial spritz on a hot summer day.
What’s in a toner?
You’ll find that toners share common ingredients. Many used to contain alcohol, but a growing number have been formulated to be alcohol-free and less drying. To achieve the desired astringency, they’ll use other ingredients, such as witch hazel extract.
Two common types of ingredients you’ll see are:
Floral Waters / Hydrosols (botanical extraction using steam distillation)
Many flowers have qualities that make them perfect for skincare. They’re often extra hydrating, rich in antioxidants and have a soothing effect on the skin. Rose water, for instance, strengthens and regenerates skin cells, while reducing inflammation. Lavender has a similar soothing quality, as well as antibacterial properties that help prevent acne bacteria. Geranium oil helps the skin heal and evens out skin tone by reducing visible blemishes.
Humectants hold hydration in the skin. Aloe, glycerine, honey, and maple syrup are all examples of natural humectants, though you’re most likely to find aloe and glycerine in a list of toner ingredients. Initially humectant ingredients can feel tacky on the skin, but they absorb quickly, leaving your skin refreshed and moisturized longer.
Where does a toner fit into your skincare routine?
Okay, now for the practical piece. How and when do you use toner?
Any time you cleanse your face, you should be following it with toner. You can spritz it directly onto the skin, or spray it onto a cotton or reusable makeup pad to wipe it over your face. If you like, you can do both! Use a makeup pad to let your toner remove any unwanted residue, then give your skin a direct spritz for an extra hit of hydration.
A few other ways you can use toner:
To set your makeup
During the day when you need to refresh your skin / cool down
Spritzed into your palm with your face serum to thin the serum to help it absorb better
- Spritzed evenly over face prior to moisturizing
Which toner is right for me?
Here are just a few of the toners we have available in store:
- Province Apothecary Invigorating & Balancing Toner
- Three Ships Calm Lavender Hydrosol Toner
- Wildcraft Clarify Toner w Bergamot & Rose
- Wildcraft Balance Toner w Geranium & Orange Blossom
- Dot & Lil Rose Water Toner
- Ursa Major 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic
- Kismet Day Dreamer Relaxing Lavender Mist Spray
- Kismet Wild One Restoring Palo Santo & Pine Mist Spray
The best way to find a toner that works for you, is to figure out what your skin needs and make sure the toner supports those needs. So if your skin is really dry, make sure your toner is extra moisturizing with lots of humectant properties. If you’re prone to redness, look for ingredients that will soothe and calm, like aloe and floral waters.
And, of course, you can always ask us! Pop by shop or give us a call, and we’ll be happy to help you find a toner you love to best fit into your personal skincare routine.