I get this question many times. What is a toner, do I really need one and what the heck for? I have been an avid toner user for years and my method has changed quite a bit. When I was beginning to take care of my skin as a teenager the toners out there were geared for acne and oily skin types. They were were meant to strip the skin of oil. After we found out that is not a great way to treat the skin many people just stopped using them all together. The newer generation of toners have been created for the opposite purpose, to re-balance and hydrate. So let's start with the basics.
Why use a toner?
One of the main reasons we "tone" is to re-balance the skin after cleansing. It helps to restore some of the natural balance or the pH in the skin that a cleanser can sometimes remove. Many of the toners on the market have a water base with different cleansing and hydrating properties helping to replenish and prep your skin for the next step-treat! When the skin is nice and hydrated the treatment product next will penetrate deeper into the skin, getting the most benefit for that product.
What types of toners are there and what should I use for my skin type?
The toners on the market now range for all skin types, from oily skin types having more of an astringent toning effect to the drier skin types can focus on hydrating and protection. There are natural ingredients to help keep oily skin under control and helping kill bacteria without over dying the skin. Avoiding a product with alcohol is important, this can strip the skin and make the skin produce even more sebum (oil) in the skin and cause breakouts. Dry and sensitive skin should use gentle botanicals and hydrating ingredients to help restore moisture and calm the skin. Using a toner with antioxidants help protect the skin from the elements as well.
How do I use it?
Most toners can simply be applied to a cotton pad and swiped all over the face, neck and décolleté. Some toners such as my REPAIR toner, can be sprayed directly onto the skin. For people who prefer to use cotton you can spray it on to a cotton pad and then apply. Hydrating toners like this can be used not only following the cleansing process but throughout the day. When you are outside to protect from free radical damage, when you are stuck on an airplane and need a boost of hydration or if you want to spray over your makeup to set it.
I hope this helps answer some questions about what and why we use a toner in the first place. There are so many benefits to using one and every single skin type can benefit from daily use. I'd love to hear from you, do you use a toner and why?