Life is busy! We have a lot on our minds and a lot on our plates these days. Who wants to put forth any more effort than what is absolutely essential to get the job done? That mindset, though, will likely land you in hot water more often than not, and that’s particularly true when it comes to your skin.
In an effort to simplify your routine and simplify your life, you may be tempted to cut out skin care steps that you don’t necessarily see an immediate benefit to. Just because no one’s given you a good reason to use toner regularly, doesn’t mean the benefits aren’t there.
Allow us to clear the air on what a toner is meant to do for your skin.
Skin Care Basics
Effective skin care involves multiple levels of action: cleansing, correcting, hydrating, and protecting. Each of these are essential to a healthy, long-term glow, but there is no one-stop shop that provides an all-in-one product. That’s why your regimen must include multiple steps. Each component in an individual product line has been formulated to complement the other pieces perfectly, working synergistically (mutually advantageous to each other). Piecing together different products from different lines (companies or product subsets within a company) may not offer you the benefits that you’re looking for.
Taking advantage of these synergies is the hallmark of the best beauty product lines. It takes years of scientific research to find the right blend and balance of ingredients that will work together to offer you optimal benefits.
A good skin care regimen doesn’t have to be difficult. It just needs to incorporate steps that accomplish the above goals of cleansing, correcting, hydrating, and protecting, while giving your skin the health benefits you seek.
What Is a Toner Supposed to Do?
According to Los Angeles skincare specialist, Mila Moursi, “A toner’s function is to complete the cleansing of your skin – removing the dust, pollution, and impurities that can still be lingering after washing with a cleanser, as cleansers usually contain ingredients such as oil, which can leave a film on your face.”
Toners do their best work for people with oily or acne-prone skin, or for people who want extra cleansing after wearing makeup or other heavy skin products like sunscreen. By applying a small amount of toner to a soft cotton ball or pad and gently blotting and wiping your face, it will remove oil and give your face the appearance of smaller pores.
When you’re on the go but don’t have the ability to wash and rinse, a toner can be used to remove dirt and oil, leaving your skin feeling revitalized.
In days gone by, toners “used to contain high concentrations of alcohol to help remove oil from the skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. Most toners now have more astringent properties, and many of them are alcohol-free. They’re available to help address almost every skin concern, not just acne and oily skin.
That’s a toner in its most basic form, but that’s not all toners could or should do for you.
- It can restore your skin’s pH balance after cleansing. Soap is generally alkaline. Our skin is naturally acidic. That means it has to work overtime to get back to its normal pH level after cleansing (which may result in extra oil). By using a toner, it can help to restore this balance quickly.
- A toner can help to close pores and tighten the layers between cells, which reduces the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin. It can even protect and remove chlorine and minerals found in tap water that can set the balance of your skin out of whack.
- Some toners like MDSUN Revitalizing Toner are meant to act as an extra moisturizing component. They contain ingredients that make them humectants, helping to bind moisture to the skin.
- Toners work as a primer for the rest of your skin care routine, setting the stage and paving the way before you apply your serums and moisturizers.
What Is a Toner
That’s a really good question! Toners look and act a lot like water, but they definitely are not water. Toners often contain ingredients like acids, glycerin, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories.
It is a liquid that penetrates quickly into your skin, delivering a quick hit of hydration. It also helps to remove some dead skin cells off of the surface, resulting in plump, glowy skin.
Use it both day and night immediately after cleansing and exfoliating, and before applying a serum and moisturizer. “Most molecules penetrate the skin better when it’s wet, so applying active ingredients immediately after cleansing delivers better results,” explains New York dermatologist, Arielle Kauvar.