I get asked a lot about a toner on my Instagram—whether it’s on how to use it, the skincare benefits and most commonly asked, what is a toner?
Well, here goes… What is a toner?
Toners are products that have a water-like consistency. Since its inception, toners have been meant to remove the leftover makeup, dirt, grime, oil after cleansing. However, due to its previously high levels of alcohol concentration, toners became pegged as being very harsh and drying (And I’d definitely agree with that statement). These days, toners are way more gentle, effective and their formulas now contain active ingredients that soothe, brighten and have anti-ageing benefits.
What does it do? How does it work?
Toners are a beneficial agent when it comes to cleansing and treating the skin. They can both ensure that the texture and complexion of your skin is clean while also giving it an extra dose of active ingredients. Because of its ingredients and formulations, toners help to close up any spaces and gaps within the skin cells… Which in the long run reduces the risk of dirt and other impurities making their way into the tiniest of pores.
Speaking of pores, some toners also help reduce the pore size (not completely shrink or close them) but they definitely do help in exfoliating and balance the pH level of the skin which in turn helps your other skincare products (serums, moisturisers etc) penetrate deeper into the skin.
But do you really need a toner?
Well, each to his own. But what I will tell you is that if you notice your skin lacking in nourishment and a certain “inner glow”, a toner may what you need for healthy-looking skin.
How does one incorporate it into their routine?
Okay, now here’s the important part… Since there are so many different skin types with each skin needing a particular toner, we’ll narrow it down to 3 basic ones:
- For dry skin: Use toners that are hydrating.
Look for ingredients that have alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or lactic acids—they are chemical exfoliants but super gentle ones that helps to slough away all the dead skin layers, tighten the pores and remove the
excess sebum and bacteria.For combination skin: Choose a mild and soothing toner that contains glycolic acid—it’s an exfoliating acid that’s super gentle on your skin type.
That being said, today you get a variety formulations with your toner… You have water-based toners, milk-based toners, clarifying toners, brightening toner, roll-on toners and lots more!
Once you’ve figured out your skin type and texture you want to achieve, you need to know the kind of environment you’re in, the amount of sun exposure you get on a daily basis, and the other products you incorporate into your day and/or night time routine. Here’s when to apply the toner:
- For oily or acne-prone skin: tone twice a day (once in the morning and once at night)
- For combination or sensitive skin: It’s bests to tone once a day in the beginning. And if you do happen to see a shiny nose by the evening, then you know that you need to tone at night. But again, start off with once a day and slowly see how your skin reacts to toning twice.
PSA: If you have eczema or pits and hormonal/cystic acne, it’s best to consult a dermatologist and expert before you try using a toner. Additionally, if you notice your skin getting extremely dry or irritated and itchy, or simply red after you use your toner, just stop using it for a while and see if the cause of reaction was the problem.
A toner should definitely be a step in your daily skincare routine. It ensures that your pores remain tight, your skin stays hydrated and the buildup of dirt, oil and all the grime is cleaned away, helping your other products penetrate deeper and better.
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