Skin toner is one of the most underutilized beauty products available for skincare. It may be that many people do not know precisely what it does for their skin. Or they may simply think facial toner is not all that important, but it is pretty vital.
Sometimes, they tend to ask questions like: what is toner for face?
This article will cover a few things to help give you a better idea of what is toner and what it does for your skin.
What Is Skin Toner?
Skin toner is a specialized beauty product that you use in your 3-step skincare routine. It is used after the cleanser and before you apply your moisturizer.
Toner helps to remove excess oil, refine your pores, and regulates the skin’s basic pH levels. Moreover, toners also help provide an extra layer of protection for the skin by closing up “gaps” in the pores. This helps shield the skin from pollutants, free radicals, and harmful particles in the environment.
While it is easy to forget or skip this skincare step—don’t. Your skin needs the extra effort to remove any remaining dirt, grime, oils, cleanser, and makeup.
Your pores will be cleaner and healthier, reducing breakouts and excessive oil build-up in your pores.
How Does Toner Work on the Skin?
Most people only have a vague idea about what is a toner for face?
Toner is usually a water-based liquid that works to absorb the icky stuff off your face. But, it is also slightly acidic to restore the natural pH of your skin.
The skin is naturally at a pH of 4.7 to 5,75. However, it is usually affected by all of the things we put on our faces, many of which have some alkalinity.
If you use any kind of cleanser on your face, use a toner afterward to return the skin to homeostasis (its natural state.)
Note that many toners claim to “shrink” your pores, but they actually cannot change the structure of your pores.
Your pores will appear smaller because the toners clear away dead skin cells and other buildups that sit in the pore opening. This may make the pore appear larger or more noticeable.
In this way, pores are “refined” but not technically smaller. Pore size is a matter of genetics. Dirt and grime, however, can be removed and improve how your pores look.
How Do You Use a Toner?
As you now know what is skin toner and how does it work, it’s time to move onto how to use them.
Toners are liquids and usually applied in one of two ways:
- First, pour a bit of the skin toner on an all-natural cotton ball or soft facial cloth. Then, gently apply the product to the skin in small wiping motions, avoiding the delicate eye area.
- Using a spray-on toner, spritz the toner onto your face (with your eyes closed) and allow the product to dry naturally.
You do not need to rinse toners from your skin. Instead, use your toner twice daily (morning and night) as part of a healthy skincare routine to keep your skin clean and radiant.
Are all facial Toners the Same?
No, they are not. Previously, toners were more astringent in nature and much more harsh on the skin. In addition, they were more alcohol-based and made the skin burn with irritation. Finally, the over-stripping of oils causes the skin to create more oil and have more breakouts.
Therefore, there was more need for the product, starting a vicious cycle of compromised health for the skin.
Some of the older products may fall in this category. Because of this historical perception of toners, some consumers may be wary of using them on their skin.
Today’s facial toner products have come a long way in terms of quality. For example, some botanicals can have a natural astringent quality which is much healthier for the skin than alcohol-based astringents. As a result, they are now the basis of modern skincare toners.
The carrier liquid and other ingredients all make up the quality of a “good” or “bad” facial toner. Also, while some are excellent toners, they may be too harsh for your particular skin type.
Therefore, make sure to get a toner that suits your skin and doesn’t burn or leave your face with redness and inflammation.
What Are Some Good Ingredients in a Toner?
- Witch hazel is a natural soother for the skin that has antiseptic properties. It naturally reduces redness, inflammation, and acne
- Antioxidants help to protect the skin from free radicals in the environment
- Botanical ingredients like rosehip oil and cucumber help to soothe the skin and cool irritation
- Aloe vera brightens the skin and helps to reduce acne
- Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the skin and is in toners as a softening and hydrating ingredient
- Green tea helps to fight acne
- Niacinamide brightens skin and improves texture
- Peptides help to stimulate collagen production
What Ingredients Should You Avoid?
Alcohol is used in many skin care products because it is an astringent, is antimicrobial, and antibacterial. Moreover, it also helps as a drying agent for other skincare or makeup ingredients.
But as a toner, it may be more concentrated and therefore be too harsh as a toner. Nevertheless, it is a cheaper ingredient to use, so you will often see it as the base for bargain-priced skincare toners.
Look for ingredients like:
- Denatured alcohol
- Ethyl alcohol
- Benzyl alcohol
- Isopropyl alcohol
Can I Make My Skin Toner?
Yes, you can make your own toner! Mother Earth News has an excellent Pine Needle Skin Toner recipe that is super-easy to make and a wonderful winter toner for your skin. (Here’s the recipe.)
In the spring and summer months, a lovely DIY Rose Toner made with Rosewater is a friendly treatment for the skin.
Tip: Make sure you create a fresh batch of any DIY facial toners or other skincare products. There are no chemical additives in natural DIY recipes, so it is better to make smaller batches and store them in a clean container in a dry and dark cabinet.
Benefits of Using a Skin Toner
There’s much more to using a skin toner than just skin cleansing.
Let’s take a look at the significant advantages of toner.
A toner gives your skin a double cleanse. However, not many people are aware that facial toner has secondary cleansing properties too.
The toners clean any makeup leftovers that a regular cleanser might miss. Moreover, by a deep clean, they eliminate excess oil and grimes that may amass during the night or day.
Smooth Skin and Fair Complexion
Although toners work to clean the skin deeply, it isn’t their only job. By teaming up with the nutrients in the skin, they help restore damaged skin. This gives them an upper hand on the conventional cleansers because a cleanser removes those nutrients when applied.
Hence, you get smoother and more lively skin. Also, a toner with all essential ingredients can reduce issues such as skin redness which is not easy to get rid of.
Having a pH of 4.7, skin is usually acidic. So when you use a product that has a widely different pH than the skin, the skin functions get disturbed. Eventually, it may also lead to more severe issues such as skin redness, dryness, and irritation.
As soaps and cleansers are generally alkaline, they are more likely to disrupt the pH. But, a skin toner can effectively balance these pH interruptions of the skin quickly.
What Are Some Good Facial Toners to Buy?
Branding and price for your facial toners are less important than the ingredients list. Some super cheap toners from the drug store are just as effective as the expensive brands.
Having said that, a few toners sail to the top of the list as far as popularity and ratings:
- Best Products rates Thayers Witch Hazel Toner with Lavender as the number one best overall skin toner. In addition, it’s super-affordable at around 10 bucks on Amazon.
- Byrdie.com gives Best Overall to Laneige Essential Power Skin Toner for Normal to Dry Skin.
- Allure.com sings the praises of Mamonde Rose Water Toner.
- However, good Housekeeping gives Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner the top spot.
Regardless of your skin type, make sure the toner you are buying is recommended for your kind of skin and your skin’s needs. This is especially true for people with sensitive skin or allergies.
How to Choose a Toner?
Mostly, you will find three types of toners in the market including:
- Water-based formula
Ideally, opting for water-based toners can reduce the risk of skin irritation as they lack alcohol, fragrance, or witch hazel.
However, you must select a skin toner according to your skin type.
Oily Skin Type
Typically, all the toners have oil cohabiting properties. However, if you have oily skin, using a mattifying toner can impart optimum results. This is because it has glycolic and salicylic acid, which are suitable for exfoliation.
Moreover, if you want to minimize the appearance of pores on the skin, go for toners that contain niacinamide.
Acne-Prone Skin Type
A gentle and lightweight toner is the best choice for acne-riddled or blemish-prone skin kind. You should not even look at an alcohol-based formula as it can increase chances for further skin irritation and degradation.
Try and use a toner with an alpha hydroxy acid. It is a compound beneficial in removing dead skin cells and reducing oil that can clog pores.
Dry Skin Type
Dry skin reacts better to toners that include humectants. Mostly, humectants are present in lotions and cleansers. They work by attracting water molecules and hydrating the skin resultantly.
Moreover, the dry-skin type individuals should also keep away from alcohol-based toners as they may further worsen the dry condition.
Ideally, if your skin is also dry, you must look for a toner with ingredients such as;
- Hyaluronic acid
- Vitamin E
Anti-oxidants have a pretty important role in fighting the signs of aging. For instance, Vitamin E and C effectively protect your skin from harsh environmental damage. Also, they may repair some of the damaged skin.
Therefore, you will get a more vibrant, clean, and glowing skin tone and texture. Moreover, added ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid can hydrate the skin, whereas glycolic acid exfoliates and triggers collagen production.
A toner may be the powerful secret weapon that may be missing from your daily skincare routine. As with any beauty care product, test the product on the inner skin on your elbow to clear it for any sensitivities before you put it on your face.
When you find the right facial toner for your skin and work it into your skincare routine, it will become the most refreshing part of your beauty regimen!