A toner is a cosmetic skin care product that is used as a cleanser to further clear out any impurities collected on the skin and still lingering after the first round of cleaning.
But what is actually in a toner?
“Most toners are water-based liquids composed of specific active ingredients including plant extracts and essential oils, tailored to address a variety of skin types. Mainly there are hydrating toners, calming and soothing toners, and astringent toners. We have a pH Balancing Toner and a Cleansing Toner.” Mila Moursi
“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 décolletage 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.” Today.com
According to Wikipedia, there are three main types: Bracers or fresheners, Tonics, and Astringents. These are in order of strength with the last being the strongest.
1. Bracers or fresheners
“they contain water and a humectant such as glycerine, and little if any alcohol (0–10%). Humectants help to keep the moisture in the upper layers of the epidermis by preventing it from evaporating.” Wikipedia
These are so gentle, they are mainly used for normal skin. Sensitive, however, or oily needs a stronger toner.
They “contain a small quantity of alcohol (up to 20%), water and a humectant ingredient.” Wikipedia
These are stronger and can be used for all skin types depending on severity. For oily type, they may not be strong enough to battle the elements. However, some may recommend them more as they are not too harsh.
They “contain a high proportion of alcohol (20–60%), antiseptic ingredients, water, and a humectant ingredient. These can be irritating and damaging to the skin as they can remove excess protective lipids as well as denature proteins in the skin when a high percentage of alcohol is used.” Wikipedia
These are the strongest types of toners. However, they are best for excessively oily skin because they work to battle acne and reduce oil production. However, it is indeed detrimental to the dry or normal skin as it strips away the essential oils produced.
Using a toner is a definite way to ameliorate your skincare routine. It is designed to clean and diminish pores. This is especially good for oily skin which needs extra care to maintain. The oiliness is a result of excess natural oil produced sebaceous glands.
While good in the long run as it prevents wrinkles and thus slows down aging, in the short run it can be an inconvenience. This is because being oily, it collects dirt and dust from the environment and is susceptible to acne and breakouts.
“toners are not necessary, but they can be a great adjunct to a skincare regimen for those that need help with oily skin or markedly clogged pores. My main use for toners are in my acne patients.” Dr. Zalka
In fact, instead of using extra makeup to cover up blemishes, a toner would do better as it works to remove the dirt, heavy products (make-up, sunscreen) and airing out pores.
Toners are used after cleansing to remove any remaining dirt or impurities from the skin. It is like double cleansing! They also remove the remnants of the face wash in the first step, so it’s like triple cleaning! And what’s better for an oily face that being triple clean?
After cleansing with a toner, the pores are closed, minimizing the perforation of pollutants in the environment such as dirt and grime.
It also protects against the chlorine and minerals found in tap water that can act to dehydrate the skin. While these elements help to dry out the excess oily, they leave it vulnerable and too dry. Toners help counteract that effect.
They instantly boost the skin’s hydration, keeping it soft and supple. As such, it prepares it for the next part of your skincare routine.
4. PH balance
The PH balance of our skin is naturally between 5-6 of a scale of 0-14. Using soap and cleansers causes an imbalance of that PH level and that’s where toner comes in. Although it works itself to restore this balance, a toner aids it in the effort, making it faster. This is especially important for oily skin whose balance is already out
5. Ingrown hairs
Ingrown hairs happen to everyone. However, people with oily skin may be more susceptible to clogged pores, forcing the hair to grow inwards and not letting it out. Brands which have glycolic acid or any other alpha hydroxy acid work to preemptively attack these ingrown hairs. If you have had them, you understand just how painful they can be. The right toner offers the right solution.
They hydrate and moisturize the skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple and as refreshed as if it just drank a cold coca-cola on a hot day. Who doesn’t want to feel that way?
Its use depends on the individual. For example, a person with very dry sensitive skin need only use it once a day in the evening. However, those with oily skin are encouraged to use it both in the morning and in the evening after cleansing with a face wash or foam cleanser. Also, use after heavy exercise or exposure to excessive dirt and grime.