What Does a Toner Do?

What Does a Toner Do?

There aren’t many skincare products that have such a long history as toners with evidence of these scented waters being used in everyday skincare routines dating back to the 1700s. Previously more commonly known as lotions and tonics with old formulas containing high levels of alcohol. These can often lead to the skin becoming irritated and suffering from severe dryness, luckily for us, with modern technology and the discovery of chemical exfoliants toners have increased in the variety available to try. For those of you who prefer the original formulas you don’t need to worry as they are still as loved and popular as ever before.

Now we have finished with the skincare history lesson, we are going to look into the toners available for you today and determine what is actually does for the skin and whether or not it should be the latest addition to your skincare regime.

What is a toner?

To put it in a simple way, toners may look the same as water, but are in fact formulated to contain a rich cocktail of skin benefiting acids, glycerin, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to name just a few. When used after cleansing they are able penetrate the top layers of the surface and give the skin a boost in hydration, remove the build-up of dead skin cells. You will find that a toner can bring the skin back to its natural acidic state which often suffers from regular imbalance after using skincare products that are too alkaline. Your pores are cleared and the overall look and feel of the skin is hydrated, glowing and plumped. With the skin surface fully functioning and moisturised any other products you apply afterwards will absorb quickly into the skin and you will find them to be more effective.

There is no denying that many of us still carry with us the misconception of toners and their true purpose. This is probably a result of using those infamous, stinging anti-blemish toners that had a huge amount of popularity during the 90s. This then lead to toners being considered as too astringent, extremely drying and an unnecessary step in your skincare routine. This was the general thought of many of us until toners making their way back onto our dressing tables in the most recent years thanks to the boom in K-beauty trend. Now there is a toner for everyone that addresses all manner of skin concerns and best part is almost all of them are alcohol-free, the question now is- are they truly necessary to include in your skincare routine? Let’s find out more!

Are toners really necessary?

Everyone would benefit from adding toners to their skincare routine, even if there are no specific skin concern they are wanting to address, but it wouldn’t be classed as a necessary step. Here are the main benefits of toners and how they can improve the skin.

Skincare benefits of toners

  • Minimizes the appearance of pores keeping the skin clean and smooth
  • Soothes the skin and restores balance to the pH levels
  • Provides protection from exposure to free radical damage
  • Helps to rid the skin of any remaining traces of makeup and impurities
  • Allows the skin to retain moisture and help products applied on top to absorb effectively into the lower layers of the skin

As you can see from the list of benefits using a toner would be a great addition to any routine. With the formulations of toners containing active levels of powerhouse skin ingredients (such as glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and glycerin) almost every skin concern are targeted and the overall health and appearance of the complexion becomes balanced, healthy and feeling comfortable. Deciding on whether you should add toner to your routine is totally up to you and how you perform your skincare routine.

What happens if you use toner every day?

This depends mostly on your skin type, but many experts suggest that the ideal usage for toner should be during your morning and evening routines. Having said this, using a toner twice a day should happen once you have established that it is the right product for you and your skin, this is easily done with a 24-hour patch test on the inside of the forearm. If you find the toner results with you experiencing dryness and irritation you should avoid using it completely or discontinue using it straight away.

How to use toner depending on your skin type

Oily skin- Twice a day during your morning and evening routines after cleansing the skin.

Blemish-prone skin- Twice a day in the morning and evening, avoid using it too much as this can strip the skin resulting in more blemishes

Dry skin- Once a day during the evening routine after you have double cleansed and before applying a nourishing skin serum

Combination skin- Twice a day if the formula doesn’t contain skin ingredients that will be too harsh for the dry areas of the face

Sensitive skin- Consult your GP or a dermatologist to help find the best toner for you that won’t cause skin irritation

That has hopefully cleared up how often you should use a toner, remember to keep in mind the formulation and the active ingredients it contains as this can also help you decide on how often you can apply it. Toners containing high levels of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid for example would benefit the skin most of all by aiding hydration and locking moisture into the skin.

Do you wash toner off?

There is absolutely no need to wash off your toner, if anything, you are preventing it from being able to perform properly if you don’t allow it to absorb into the skin. Picture toners to be similar to an astringent or micellar water that should remain on the skin and not washed off. Formulas containing chemical exfoliants, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid or lactic acid need to remain on the skin to slough away dead skin cells and maintaining balance to the natural pH levels and general health of the skin.

Can I leave toner on my face overnight?

It is perfectly fine to leave toner on the skin overnight, once the rest of your skincare routine is finished you will find all the other ingredients found in your serums, face oils and moisturisers will absorb rapidly thanks to the toner and deliver a boost in hydration and other skin benefits to improve the entire complexion. If you find there is a burning or irritated feeling to the skin come the morning however it is probably best to avoid using a toner in the evening.

So hopefully today you have a better understanding of what toners do for the skin and how it can work in your routine. If you are wondering how the chemical exfoliants in the formulas work check out our blog post about chemical exfoliants and their skincare benefits in our blog post.


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