“A face toner…isn’t that an overkill?”“I already have a cleanser, why would I need a face toner as well?”
The above expressions are common among those who don’t fully understand the importance of a complete skincare routine. If you have ever asked any of these questions, you’re about to find out why you need a face toner. You’ll also discover how to get the one best suited for you.
A toner is a liquid with thin, watery properties capable of hydrating and returning the skin’s normal pH balance. It also cleanses and removes substances that weren’t removed after cleansing. Most toners are usually alcohol-free but contain anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.
A face toner removes those substances and particles your face wash and face cleanser couldn’t. Such substances include excess oil, makeup, cleanser residue, impurities, dead skin cells and so on. Basically, a face toner rids your face of anything that might cause skin issues.
A face toner can be used either in the morning or at night. However, it is recommended to use it before going to bed.
This is because it rids your skin of all impurities accumulated during the day and protects your skin as you sleep. When the weather is hot, a face toner helps in addressing issues that arises due to sweat, dirt and sunblock.
A face toner is used after a cleanser but ahead of a moisturizer or serum. When used before your makeup, your face toner serves as a sort of canvas for your facial artistic design (makeup).
It was initially designed for oily skins that needed to be dried a bit. It also helps in combating skins that are prone to acne.
One of the conventional uses of a face toner is restoring the skin’s pH level to its neutral balance after cleansing.
Why Is Your pH Level Important to your Skin?
The skin’s pH level is about 4.5 – 5.5 which is basically acidic. The skin’s barrier known as acid mantle protects your skin from bacteria, germs and infections.
However, if the skin’ pH level rises above 6.5, the acid mantle is weakened. At this point, your skin becomes susceptible to all forms of infections, germs and bacteria. This is one of the reasons you must tone your face because your beauty depends on it.
An Astringent Is NOT a Toner
It is important we point out that an astringent is NOT a toner. The fact that a lot of people refer to it as one doesn’t make it one.
An astringent is created with the purpose of making the skin’s pores tight and removing surplus oil from the skin. This product is solely for those with oily skin that have large pores.
The downside of this is that they possess alcohol and other ingredients like witch hazel. These ingredients affect the skin’s acid mantle and causes pH imbalance.
A lot of people refer to astringents as toners as stated earlier. Yet, the effect of an astringent on the skin is opposite that which a toner does. The high concentration of alcohol in astringents makes them a hazard to the skin. While a toner seeks to hydrate the skin, an astringent dries it up. So make sure you’re getting a toner and NOT an astringent.
Benefits of a Face Toner
Removes oil traces
Your face toner should be able to remove oil and all its traces from your skin. As much as cleansers serve this purpose, they cannot completely remove oil traces. A face toner, on the other hand, completes the job your cleanser began.
Serves as a skin guard
Despite being mainly for your face, it can be used for your full body. When we say full body, it does not imply that you rub it like you would a skin cream.
Rather, you can apply it to specific body parts that need to be rid of excess oil. Areas like your neck, shoulders, chest and back are the most likely areas you can apply your toner.
Reduces the skin’s size spores
The pores on the skin is cleansed and constricted when a face toner is applied. This prevents oil and dirt from seeping into the skin. Skin irritations, infections and acne are dealt with as a result of this function.
Restores the skin’s neutral pH level
When your skin’s pH level begins to increase, a face toner can restore it to its neutral level. If we don’t use a toner, our skin naturally tries to restore the balance but ends up producing more oil.
Adds required nutrients to the skin
After cleansing, your skin becomes fragile. What you apply to it at that point could strengthen or damage it. Applying a face toner right after cleansing introduces amino acids and antioxidants that protect the skin at that critical condition.
A face toner enables moisture stick to the skin. This is when the toner you are using functions as a humectant.
Functions as an exfoliator
Exfoliation is the process that causes the skin’s dead cells to be discarded and substituted with new skin cells. Your toner does this effectively as it removes impurities; as well as those dead cells. And it still nourishes the skin with ingredients required to stimulate new cell growth.
Stops ingrown hairs
Through the help of glycolic acids and other such ingredients, ingrown hairs are stopped when one uses a face toner.
Encourages the absorption of ingredients
The use of a face toner on your skin after cleansing and before any other product application is very advantageous. Most products require a moist skin in order for them to enter into the skin to be effective. When you apply a face toner, this moist environment is created.
Having understood the importance of a face toner, let’s find out how we can choose one.
Face Toner for Skin Types
Basically every skincare product is manufactured to address one skin-issue or the other. Therefore, whatever you will use on your skin is dependent on its type.
Dry skin type
How do you identify whether your skin is the dry type? The major characteristics of a dry skin are the tendency to peel, crack, be itchy, looking red and be irritated.Generally, it is always looking dry and flaky with less obvious pores.
Oily skin type
To determine if you possess this kind of skin type check for surplus oil produced from your skin. Even if you just wiped your face, your skin will still contain an oily look after few minutes. Bigger pores are major characteristics of an oily skin type.
Combination skin type
This is a combination of dry and oily skin together. It is easy to detect by checking your t-zone part on your face. If you have a combination skin type, your chin, forehead and nose will have an oily skin characteristic. Then the other facial parts will possess a dry skin type characteristic.
Sensitive skin type
This skin type can be easily identified by redness, burning sensations and itchiness. These characteristics are due to this skin being easily irritated. This irritation could be as a result of alcohol intake, hot water, human touch, and even skincare products.
Now that you know you’ve discovered which skin type you possess, it’s time to pick a face toner. You need to match the skin type to an appropriate face toner.
Hydrating face toner
This sort of face toner works perfectly for those with a dry type of skin. Due to the traditional use of toners in the past, those with dry skin may shy away from them.
However, there are face toners that hydrate and moisturize your skin; which is obviously what your dry skin lacks.
Be on the lookout for products containing glycolic acid, glycolipids, dimethicone, rose hips seed oil, peptides and jojoba oil.
Also, aloe vera and vitamin E are essential ingredients that help in hydrating your dry skin.Stay away from products containing petrolatum, sodium, alcohol (denatured, SD 40, isopropyl, ethanol), ammonium lauryl sulfateand mineral oil.
Refreshing face toner
Possession of a skin type that is oily requires that your major concern would be to manage the surplus oil.
Therefore, a face toner that will refresh and be mild on your skin should be your choice. Avoid those products that are full of alcohol. They will cause your skin to dry out and your skin will produce more oil to combat the dryness.
Go for products with oil-free content, Alpha-hydroxy acids, sodium PCA, and sodium hyaluronate.Avoid products with petrolatum, mineral oil, alcohol (denatured, SD 40, isopropyl, ethanol), ammonium lauryl sulfate.
Two types of face toner
For one who has a combination of two skin types, you need two types of face toner. Your choice will be dependent on the seasons.An oil-free content face toner should be used in the summer.
Basically a refreshing face toner will save you. Likewise when it is cold during winter period, you need a toner that moisturizes your skin. Meaning you’ll find another savior in a hydrating face toner.
Gentle face toner
For one with sensitive skin, the recommended face toner would be a gentle one. Irritants such as alcohol, parabens and acids such as salicylic acid should not be part of your product’s ingredients.
Opt for products with anti-inflammatory ingredients and antioxidants. Ingredients like glycerin, tea extract, sea whip, and beta glucans should be chosen. Aloe vera and chamomile which are ingredients derived from plants decreases redness and inflammation of the skin.
Steer clear of products with alcohol (SD 40, denatured, isopropyl, ethanol), fragrances, ammonium or sodium lauryl sulfate, and dyes. If you have the mature type of skin, look for face toners that have hydrating and antioxidant ingredients. A few of them are sodium PCA, glycerin, rose water, lecithin, hyaluronic acid etc.
Pointers for Purchasing a Face Toner
1. Read the ingredients
In this guide so far we’ve listed certain ingredients that aren’t suitable for your skin. So make use of that information and read up the ingredients of the product. When you see those ingredients not suitable for your skin, avoid them.
2. Keep away from fragrances
Fragrances most times cause irritations to the skin. So it is important to keep away from them. They are listed in the ingredients table as “clarifiers”, “fresheners” or “parfums”. Citrus fruits and rose water are an example of such fragrances.
3. Do NOT go for products with astringents
Avoid astringents such as menthol, witch hazel, calamine lotion and alcohol. They reduce the normal oil level of the skin and cause irritations. This is for all skin types.
4. Always remember the 24-hour patch test
Before you finally apply any face toner, ensure you carry out the 24-hour patch test. Apply a sample to a part of your skin and observe within 24 hours if there’s any irritation. If there’s none, then you can go ahead and use it.
5. Do NOT buy from a drug store
It is advisable that you go to a beauty store when you want to purchase a face toner. Toners found in drug stores are usually laced with astringents, which won’t do your face any good.
6. Don’t do cheap
Do not put your skin at risk just because of an amazing bargain or discount sale. When buying your face toner, do NOT decide to just buy anything. The fact it is cheap doesn’t make it a great buy.
Nevertheless, an expensive face toner does NOT represent quality. Yet, toners of high quality most times are pricier than the lesser quality toners.
How to Apply a Face Toner
- After applying your cleanser, wash your face with warm water.
- Splatter cold water on your face prior to applying the face toner.
- Pick two cotton balls or pads and saturate it with your face toner.
- Apply it all over your face. You could also use it for your neck and décolletage.
- Use other beauty products as you desire immediately the toner is dry.
NOTE: To get the best out of your toner, it is advisable to use it not less than a minute after you cleanse.
A face toner is not optional, rather it’s a necessary part of your skincare routine. Now you know this, and how to buy one that will fit your skin. The next logical thing to do is get one for you.
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