Toner and Why It’s a Game Changer

By Grace Davis

What’s standing between you and clear skin? It could be as simple as the addition of one product to your skincare routine: Toner. Toner has been my ride or die since the start of my skincare régime - purely because a good friend of mine started using it and suggested that I do the same. As a teen slathering toner all over my zit-covered face with a cotton ball, I couldn’t help but wonder, “is this really necessary?” Here’s the short answer: Yes. Toners are frequently misunderstood and are equal parts essential and confusing. Let’s put a stop to the confusion once and for all - here's exactly why you should be toning your skin daily.

Restores your skin's natural pH balance.

"Toners are specifically designed to= restore pH balance to the skin," says Joanna Vargas, founder of Joanna Vargas Salon andSkincare Collection. Our skin is naturally acidic, typically with a pH balance of between five and six (on a cale from 0 to14). That balance can get out of whack after cleansing due to the basic nature of soap. When this happens, your skin needs to work overtime to return to its normal levels (and that may result in increased oil production), but using a toner can help restore this balance quickly without any extra effort from your skin

Shrinks pores.

Toners are known to remove excess oil, which is what clogs pores and causes blackheads in the first place. "If you have acne or oil-prone skin, look for a toner that contains  glycolic acid or salicylic acid, as it will cut down on oil and shine," advises Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skin Care. Applying a small amount of toner to a soft cotton ball or pad and gently blotting or wiping your face will remove oil and give the appearance of smaller pores. 

Adds a layer of protection.

Toners can help close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing, which reduces the penetration of contaminants into the skin. It can even protect and remove chlorine and minerals present in tap water.

Refreshes the skin quickly.

Toner can also be used in lieu of washing your skin when it's oily or dirty. It will leave your skin revitalized even when you're on the go. "Toners were originally devised as an extra cleansing step to remove dirt and impurities from makeup and environmental pollution," explains Dr. Donna Bilu Martin, a Miami-based dermatologist and consultant to Clark's Botanicals. Nowadays, toners can be a quick substitute for a full routine when you’re pressed for time but still need some skincare.

What's in a good toner?

With so many different products on the market, it can be hard to know what’s a ‘good’ toner and what’s a ‘bad’ toner. Mila Moursi, the Los Angeles skincare specialist, reveals the truth about toners. “I’d look for rosewater—for its hydrating, clarifying, and energizing properties—or chamomile, which is wonderful for calming and soothing the skin. Or both! Alcohol is usually found in astringent toners for oily skin. Their function is to dry out the skin and be especially anti-bacterial—but you don’t want to use those excessively because it will over-dry the skin. Alcohol isn't bad for your skin, but it just depends on the percentage.”

How should a toner be used?

Mila Moursi continues to explain, “After using a cleanser with warm water and a washcloth, splash your face with cold water. Then, saturating two cotton pads, use toner on your face, neck, and [neckline] at night to complete the cleansing of the skin, and in the morning to remove sebum produced during the night and to balance your skin's pH. Finish by applying your treatment products and/or cream.” 

So the next time you ask yourself, “Should I use toner?” know that it’s a skincare step you do not want to miss out on. With so many options, you’re sure to find one that suits you and your skin!

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1 comment

Wow!!! So much I didn’t know about a simple product. I’m definitely going to start adding it into my skin-care routine!!

Maeve July 16, 2019

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