Understanding the different types of skincare products on the market and which ones suit your skin best is intimidating. The basics, like cleansers, moisturizers, and SPF, are easy to understand and tend to be gentle on the skin. But when you get into facial toner territory, things can feel a bit overwhelming. This article will be your 101 guide on what you need to know to take the fear out of facial toners.
What Exactly Is a Toner?
To jump right in, facial toners are a type of skincare product with a liquid, water-like consistency designed to play a few different roles. Ever since they rose to popularity during the 90s, their overall goals have been the same: remove dirt, prime, and soothe. However, the original formulations of that era contained quite a bit of alcohol, which is why they have a bad reputation for being harsh and drying. Thankfully, today’s formulations are much gentler, with different additives to help tackle different skincare needs. Nowadays, you can find a toner for any skin type, which we’ll get into later.
What Do Toners Do?
Toners are designed to remove excess dirt, oil, makeup, and other impurities that your cleanser leaves behind. That’s right—your cleanser isn’t perfect! Modern toners also give your skin a direct boost of active ingredients while prepping it for the next step in your routine.
We can divide facial toners into three main categories: astringent toners, hydrating toners, and acid toners. The main ingredient in astringent toners is typically alcohol or other ingredients to cleanse and remove excess oil from the skin. Hydrating toners usually have a high water content to help improve and aid water retention. Acid toners typically contain AHAs such as glycolic or lactic acid to act as a chemical exfoliant to help reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Toner?
In general, the main benefit of toners is the removal of leftover impurities, but that’s not all there is to it! Toners also help restore moisture and support your skin’s natural protective barrier by providing it with the hydration it needs to stay strong. Depending on what type of toner you choose and the active ingredients it contains, your toner can help you target specific skin concerns, such as oily or overly dry skin.
Toner Dos and Don’ts
You should apply your toner sometime between washing your face and applying your moisturizer. If you use any serums in your routine, apply your toner beforehand. If you apply your toner after your serums, the serums won’t penetrate as deeply as they would if you prepped with a toner. Also, you’re essentially wiping off all the nutrients and active ingredients your serum provides.
Applying toner is very simple, and you have a few options. You can put your toner in a spray bottle to spritz it on or soak a cotton pad and wipe in an upward motion. If you want to use your hands, just make sure they’re clean, pour out a few drops, and gently pat the toner onto your face and neck. Once you’re done, leave it to dry for a few minutes before moving on to the next step of your routine.
Toner for Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, your overall goal is to remove that excess oil and replace it with balanced hydration. That means you’re looking for an astringent toner that typically contains AHAs such as glycolic, lactic, or citric acid. You can also use toners with ingredients such as witch hazel or BHAs like salicylic acid. These ingredients penetrate deep into your pores, right to your sebaceous glands, removing the excess oil, dead skin, and dirt.. Ideally, you want to stay away from toners that use ingredients like coconut or mineral oil, as these are used to treat dry skin and can cause more oil buildup.
Toner for Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, you should be on the lookout for ingredients that provide moisture and/or help water rise to the surface of your skin for hydration. In this case, your toner should have ingredients such as glycerin, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera. All of these ingredients can provide your skin with the moisture and hydration it craves. However, you’ll want to avoid toners that contain higher levels of alcohol, as they can strip what little oil your skin has to keep moisturized.
Toner for Sensitive Skin
Those with sensitive skin need a toner that removes impurities and provides all the benefits of a toner without harsh ingredients. Ingredients such as chamomile, aloe vera, and rose water are all very gentle on the skin. People with sensitive skin can use hyaluronic acid in their toner, but for some, that ingredient is still too harsh, so always patch test first.
While a toner may make your skin tingle, it should never sting, cause any pain, or make your skin feel tight. If you have sensitive skin, you should also avoid alcohol as an ingredient, and you should steer clear of fragrances, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol.
Do I Need a Toner in My Skincare Routine?
All skin types can benefit from using a toner; it’s just a matter of finding the right one. That being said, not everyone needs or wants a toner, which is perfectly fine. You can still achieve clearer, healthy skin without it.
Ultimately, what you need to know about facial toners—and the biggest lesson to take from this article—is that beauty products are not as mystifying as beauty gurus and skincare fanatics make them seem. As long as you patch test and slowly introduce new products into your routine, you’ll be able to tell if a product is right for you. Not every trend, ingredient, or product is a good fit in your routine, and that’s okay!
If you’re interested in trying a facial toner, Essential Wholesale & Labs sells organic facial toners with outstanding ingredients like organic white willow bark, rosemary leaf extract, and Omega-3s. Our passion is helping you look and feel your best.