A skin toner is like a war hero that many refuse to acknowledge. Whereas this formidable skincare soldier is one that does a lot, others like the skin moisturizer takes the credit.
So we’ll be singing the praises of this amazing product that has helped a lot of people all over the world. In the process, we’ll guide you to understand several important things about a skin toner. You’ll know what it is, when to use it, benefits, types and which to get based on your skin type. It is still a buying guide, not a ballad.
What is a Skin Toner?
A skin toner has a watery kind of appearance but do not be deceived by this simple look. It is used to get rid of dirt from your skin and surplus oil while improving your skin’s texture. It also balances your skin’s pH level and can exfoliate as well as hydrate the skin. The extent of its additional functions is based on the kind of ingredients contained in it.
In the past skin toners were fully laced with alcohol and had stinging effects when applied. They drew out moisture from the skin with the use of either witch hazel or alcohol. An example of this older generation of skin toners is an astringent.
However advanced formulation of the new generation of skin toners has eliminated this. They posses little or no alcohol so you can enjoy all the benefits without the negative side. They are packed with antioxidants and ingredients that give rather than take from the skin.
When to Use a Skin Toner
Your skin toner is used after applying your cleanser but before you apply your moisturizer or serum. It gets rid of the stuffs that stubbornly refused to be removed by your cleanser. It then serves as the setup layer before your other skincare products are applied.
What Does a Skin Toner do for Your Skin?
What benefits does your skin enjoy when you apply a good skin toner? Let’s find out together below.
Balances the pH level of the skin
Our skin naturally has a protective layer called an acid mantle that serves as a barrier against bacteria and germs. It also keeps our skin well moisturized. This acid mantle cannot perform at optimal level if the pH level isn’t balanced. And one of the few skincare products that address this is the skin toner. Ergo, a skin toner is no push over on the battle ground of important skincare products.
Reduces pores emergence
A good skin toner will not only clear your pores but will also make them almost invisible. This will prevent further acne breakouts, irritations and what not that affect our skin.
Protects your entire body
Those pesky breakouts and surplus oil that manifest on our skin are dealt with when one applies a skin toner. It does not matter where they appear a skin toner will terminate it. Hasta lavista acne!
Hydrates your skin
A skin toner also serves the function of keeping your skin hydrated so that the acid mantle can function optimally.
Rids your skin of dirt your cleanser missed
We mentioned this earlier that your skin toner will get rid of those dirt or makeup your cleanser missed.
Types of Skin Toner
We have three major types of skin toner. The difference between them is actually in their alcohol content which we’ll discuss below.
Their alcohol content is the highest of the three with a volume that ranges between 20 to 60 percent. They also contain antiseptic ingredients. They are majorly designed for helping acne skin by causing it to dry out. It can cause severe issues if used by one with oil skin for a prolonged time. As much as we do NOT recommend the use of alcoholic ingredients whatsoever, some severe areas require such extra measures.
Furthermore, certain ingredients are regarded as astringents. This is because they all fall into the category of ingredients that have the same kind of drying effects. Examples include distilled vinegar, rubbing alcohol (alcohol generally), calamine lotion, witch hazel and silver nitrates.
Warning: Use an astringent cautiously or do NOT at all. Their drying effects can be very severe for certain skins.
This kind of skin toners has less alcohol content than astringents. The alcoholic volume is up to 20 percent. They also contain hydrating ingredients as well. One with sensitive skin can still use this albeit with serious caution. However, we do not fully endorse the use of this.
Skin tonics are laced with nourishing ingredients that make the skin look supple, fresh and smooth. These ingredients include antioxidants and plant extracts. They are actually great in reducing the size of skin pores and also dealing with acne.
This is one we recommend without any reservation in our minds. Why is that so? This is because this kind of skin toner contains the least amount of alcohol. There are different ranges of its alcoholic content; you’ll find it from 0-10%. Keep this in mind, the lower the alcoholic level the better that’s if it must contain it at all.
They serve the purpose of a skin toner such as removing dirt, defending the skin’s barrier and balance pH levels. And even more without the negative effects the first two types might cause due to the alcohol content.
One might still ask, “Which of these types should I buy?” Let’s answer that for you.
First of all, be reminded that when you go shopping for that skin toner only one thing distinguishes them majorly. And that is their alcohol content or level. Next thing to be reminded about is alcohol is bad for you. Just like it is harmful when you take in alcoholic drinks, so it is when you apply it upon your skin. The less of it on you the better off you are.That tad-bit of information should help you a great deal.
What Skin Toner Should You Use Based on Your Skin Type?
Normally a skin toner can be a great plus to any skin type. However, due to the ingredients or the effects of a skin toner it is important we make the following recommendations.
The skin toner (make that skin toners) that you’ll opt for should be one that does not contain harsh ingredients. This will prevent drying out your skin more than required or even adding more oil to already oily parts.
One ingredient you could make full use of is lactic acid. It possesses hydrating properties and does not make the skin thin out in the process.
Two skin toners would be required to readily combat the two different skin types you posses. To combat oily skin areas, apply toners that posses calming ingredients like tea oil. Other ingredients that will help a combination skin include vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
Go for a product that contains a good number of vitamins containing ingredients. This will cause the skin to be well protected since its barrier gets strengthened by the addition of these vitamins. The skin’s texture also gets enhanced in the process. Ingredients you can trust your skin with are glycerin, sea whip, beta glucans and white tea extract.
Avoid skin toners that contain irritants as well as harsh ingredients. These are not good for you due to the skin’s sensitivity. By all means avoid alcohols and acids such as salicylic acid and paraben.
The idea behind skin toners designed for skins that are oily is to reduce the production of sebum. (It is the natural oil produced by the skin). A good skin toner achieves this by doing two things. First, it cleans the pores and tightens it. Then it prevents impurities from getting into it.
Go for a product that its ingredients are oil-free. Examples are sodium PCA, sodium hyaluronate and alpha hydroxy acids. Keep your eyes on the lookout for a skin toner with salicylic acid. This is important because these ingredients can get rid of the surplus oil without causing your skin to dry out.
Avoid skin toners that contain huge alcohol content. Others to avoid include sodium, mineral oil, petrolatum and ammonium lauryl sulfate.
For one with an acne-prone skin, you’ll do well to avoid alcohol and pick a skin toner with alpha hdroxy acid. Alpha hydroxy acid has the ability to give your skin a glowing look without breaking or causing it to look. You could also add in salicylic acid for good measure but be sure to look at its concentration level.
Stay away from skin toners that contain the following harsh ingredients. Some of these can dry out your skin so bad you’ll think a leech was sucking on you. Examples of such include alcohol (which is no surprise), benzoyl peroxide and retinoids.
Other ingredients not needed by your dry skin are sodium, mineral oil, petrolatum and ammonium lauryl sulfate. Instead of those kind of harsh ingredients, go for those that posses calming and hydrating properties. Good examples are chamomile, rose water, rose hips seed oil, glycolipids, glycolic acid, dimethicone, jojoba oil, peptides.
Your toner can also have amino acids contained in it. The presence of amino acids will hydrate as well as nourish your dry skin. You can also add in fermented yeast for good measure.Choose a skin toner that is majorly water-based NOT oily of any sort.
We recommend you go for a skin toner with hydrating and antioxidizing ingredients. Examples of ingredients include rose water, glycerin, sodium PCA, hyaluronic acid, lecithin.
For those with skins that lack a glowing appearance look for skin toners with exfoliators that are natural not synthetic. Also stay away from alcohol containing toners.
Ingredients to Avoid
As much as we would like to believe the skin toner commercials on TV and the promises, we just can’t. This is because we’ve come to realize the sad truth. Not all these products have been duly tested and proven and are some flawed in their ingredient combination.
That’s why we stand as the guides leading you to the Eldorado of safe and effective skin toners. As your true guides we advice you avoid the aisle of unsafe skin toners that contain these ingredients below.
What do we mean by skin irritating ingredients? Well they are simply ingredients that have ability to irritate the skin. They also work negatively (unknown to a lot of people) against those ingredients that are actually helpful.
One of these ingredients is alcohol; be it denatured or SD alcohol. When we listed the types of skin toners nearly all of them contained alcohol yet we strongly advise against alcohol use. This is because alcohol use in the long run will have a negative effect on your skin. It could lead to drying out, cracking etc. If you must employ the use of a skin toner that contains alcohol, then it must as a last resort to tackle severe cases.
Other examples of such skin irritating ingredients include witch hazel, menthol and so on.
This kind of ingredient does nothing than just serve as eau de cologne. Oh we forgot; they also serve as one of the causes of negative skin reactions. (That’s if you count that as an important reason why you are ready to part with your money). Examples of such ingredients are citrus fruits, rosewater, essential oils, etc.
Good Ingredients Your Skin Toner Should Contain
Your skin toner ought to contain certain ingredients since they are actually responsible for the amazing effects on our skins.
Aloe vera, chamomile and vitamin E brings about a soothing effect to the skin and also adds a bit of moisture as well.
Salicylic acid is a great exfoliator and also boosts both collagen and cell production. This ingredient is great for those with acne skin.
This ingredient brings about the production of new cells.
Tips on Applying your Skin Toner
- Use your skin toner immediately after applying your skin cleanser. (A minute and NOT less). This enhances the effectiveness of the skin toner to fully penetrate the skin.
- Include your skin toner application in your skincare routine during the day and at night.
- You can put your skin toner in your refrigerator every night. This will give it a cooler feel on your skin when applied the following morning.
- Do NOT apply an alcohol laced skin toner after using a soap packed cleanser. This can peel important nutrients from off your skin. This is quite common to those with sensitive skin but NOT exclusive to them alone.
Has this buying guide been helpful? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.