A toner is a wash or lotion that cleanses and closes up pores, giving your skin a smooth look.
As a wash, it looks thin and watery. Its main purpose is to restore the skin’s natural balance.
When a toner comes in the form of a lotion, it is usually alcohol-free. It is very good as a skin-hydrating formula.
A toner is used usually at the end of skin-cleansing routine. This means you use it after you have washed your skin. With consistent use, it enhances appearance to leave your skin always looking ‘spa’ standard.
Categories of Toners
Before you go to buy this important skincare product, you need to know that there are different types of toners.
These types of toners are strong, and contain about 18% alcohol, humectants and water. Skin tonics are well tolerated by every skin type because they usually cleanse deep into the skin. Water from Orange flower is a type of tonic toner.
Skin Bracers or Fresheners
These mild toners are gentle on skin and the humectant content work on the outer layers to ensure skin stays moisturized all day. Skin fresheners contain little alcohol and glycerin.
Skin bracers are good if skin feels dehydrated, tight from dryness or generally dull in appearance. You may want to use sparingly or not at all if the skin tends toward being sensitive. The reason is it contains fragrance, which sometimes gives sensitive skin a burning feeling.
It is great for normal skin. Rosewater is a good example of skin freshener.
The alcohol content in astringents can get up to 59%, making it the strongest of all types of toners. It could also contain humectants, water and some antiseptic ingredients which can easily cause skin irritation.
With long term use, astringents can lead to skin damage because they clean out lipids the skin needs to protect itself.
Ingredients such as menthol, witch hazel and alcohol are examples of astringents.
Two Key Factors to Consider Before Choosing Your Toner
If you are intending to buy a toner soon, you need to keep in mind these two important factors:
i. For it to be effective, it must be compatible with the type of your skin.
ii. It works more effectively with certain ingredients.
Helpful Ingredients in a Toner for Different Skin Types
Some ingredients in toners work well with every skin type while others don’t. So let us take a look at the different skin types and the best ingredients for each one:
Oily To Combination Skin
If your skin is oily to combination, you ought to be careful what toner you choose. This is because it could completely dry out the oily areas. This strips it of the ability to renew its cells and stay healthy. More than this, over-drying of the skin could cause it to produce oil in excess, in attempt to keep the skin hydrated.
A good toner should assist the skin to repair and reproduce its cells in a natural manner.
It is therefore good to look out for a toner which exfoliates. A good exfoliating toner should contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid. In addition, it should also have amino acids. These ingredients remove any unwanted skin from the surface and leave you with healthy and clean skin.
If you notice your skin is oilier on your forehead, chin and nose but feels dryer around the jaws and cheekbones then you have combination skin type.
So look out for a toner which can help maintain the natural balance for both skin types on your face.
In addition to those mentioned above, watch out for these ingredients when you choose a toner:
Aloe vera is a good natural moisturizer that is great for oily to combination skin types. The mineral-rich gel that comes from aloe can keep your skin’s moisture.
That’s not all. When aloe is used as part of the aftershave routine, it speeds up the healing process of wounds from shaving.
Gibberellins and auxins found in aloes work as anti-inflammatory ingredients and promote healing. They also facilitate cells growth with little scarring.
In addition to this, aloe soothes skin from itching, inflammation, blistering and redness caused by irritants. When used effectively, aloes can heal eczema, acne and psoriasis.
Furthermore, it gets rid of those thin lines that come with aging. It also boosts skin elasticity, firmness and keeps it moisturized all day with vitamins A and E, beta carotene and antioxidants.
Buying a toner with rose extracts in it is recommended. This is because this ingredient soothes irritated and inflamed skin. It also heals eczema, acne and other dermatology problems.
This is not all. Rose is a deep cleanser that penetrates to pull out dirt and impurities soap cannot reach.
Since your skin is sensitive, a toner with chamomile is the one for you. Good for every type of skin, its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties promote healing. It is also ideal for deep cleansing.
Chamomile reverses the effects of aging on the skin, keeping it younger-looking for much longer. It also gives the skin a natural even glow.
Cucumbers are soothing in nature. Therefore any toner you buy that contains cucumber will work well against inflammation. As an antioxidant, it gently and naturally exfoliates, leaving skin looking and feeling amazing.
This chemical is naturally created by the body to reverse early aging signs. As one grows older, its production is reduced. Therefore, if you notice those fine lines appearing, you may want to consider a toner with hyaluronic acid.
It’s been proven to reduce age lines up to ten years.
Your best option may be to buy different toners for each season. Get one for hot weather and another for the winter season. The skin easily produces oil during heat, so go for a toner which is oil-free and refreshes with natural soothing ingredients.
During cold weather, a toner which hydrates and moisturizes is ideal. Choose one that uses essential oils like jojoba, rose and the others listed above.
Oily and Acne-prone Skin
If your skin is oily and you have constant break outs, you may want to consider a toner that controls oil. However, it should not be too drying because whenever your skin feels very dry, it works to produce more oil, thereby leading to acne.
If your skin is acne-prone and oily, regular exfoliation is compulsory to give it a healthy balance. Therefore, you may want to get a toner with exfoliating properties.
Just as with oily to combination skin, your toner should contain glycolic, amino and salicylic acids. These active exfoliants scrub away dead cells without causing an imbalance in the skin’s natural pH. Your skin will be left feeling (and looking) clean, fresh and healthy.
Then look out for these ingredients. They contain astringents and strong antibacterial properties to keep skin’s pH balanced. They also stop the production of excess oil on the skin:
It tightens the pores as it tones. While doing this, it deep-cleanses, removing bacteria, dirt and excess oil.
Witch hazel works on the skin as an astringent and it is great for combination to oily skin.
It moisturizes areas that are prone to dryness while working gently on the sensitive areas. It also keeps the skin’s texture firm and supple.
Green tea is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. They help manage redness and any irritation thereby making acne better.
If your skin is mostly normal, use toners that contain co-enzyme Q1 and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients are strong antioxidants that moisturize the skin, leaving it soft and supple.
The ingredients listed above stop bacteria that cause acne from forming. They gently absorb oil and give you a brighter complexion. Astringent properties in the toner you choose will fight blemishes.
Another thing to consider is pre-cleansing your skin. Because of a lot of build-up of impurities during the day, it is a good idea to wash them away before going through your regular cleansing.
Pre-cleansing cleans deep into the skin, leaving it feeling and looking healthy. Then follow it up with a toner.
Dry and Mature Skin
If your skin feels dry, choose a toner which moisturizes and hydrates. Ingredients in a toner like glycolipids, jojoba oil, rose-seed oil and peptides are great for restoring the skin’s moisture.
Toners are now formulated with ingredients that lock in moisture and enhance hydration of the skin.
You must also stay away from toners that contain astringents like witch hazel and menthol. These ingredients rub harshly on the skin, leading to irritating conditions.
For sensitive skins, do not use products that have alcohol (such as isopropyl, ethanol, denatured and SD 40), sodium, petrolatum and mineral oil.
Any of the ingredients mentioned above can lead to this condition redness and extreme dryness.
Toners with essential oils that soothe and hydrate should contain the following:
This natural plant moisturizes skin but doesn’t leave it with that greasy feel. Its healing properties rejuvenate the skin, renewing its youthfulness.
That’s not all. Aloe vera is also good for treating any breakouts on the face. Skin grows healthy with little or no scarring.
In addition to this, aloe vera reduces itching and blistering on the skin, which may be caused by irritation. Its soothing properties also help calm inflammation.
This is an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antibacterial extract. It can be a good alternative treatment from active ingredients that may damage the skin. It heals, relieves irritation and soothes itching skin.
This ingredient is an antiseptic so is great for deep cleansing.
Chamomile is very good for every skin type, including sensitive skin and breakout-prone skin. It is also a great antibacterial and anti-fungal antiseptic that heals the skin when used regularly.
Chamomile fights irritants that promote aging to the skin and naturally brightens the skin, enhancing the natural glow of your skin while it renews its cells.
Rose is anti-inflammatory and helps soothe skin against irritation, itching and redness. It deep-cleanses, getting to the impurities under the skin.
Since your skin has begun to mature, soothing aloes moisturize without causing breakouts. Vitamin C is also great because it fights free radicals and slows aging.
If your skin is dry do not apply toner with alcohol. It dries the skin further, giving it an aged and wrinkled appearance.
A great toner for skin dryness is one that contains moisturizers, emollients and glycerin. Essential oils also work great to minimize dryness on the skin. This is because they smoothen and soften the skin’s texture.
Algae benefit the skin because they are great detoxifying agents.
In addition, generally stay away from toners that have fragrance. They have labels like ‘refreshers’ or ‘eau de cologne’.
Benefits of Using a Toner
i. It enhances and maintains healthy and clear skin.
ii. Restores skin’s natural pH balance thereby sustaining skin’s health.
iii. During hot months, toners keep the skin cleansed and prevent clogging which can lead to acne.
iv. It is an effective treatment against all forms of acne.
v. A toner washes away whatever soap and cleaners leave behind.
vi. It shrinks pores and give skin a much smoother and softer appearance.
vii. A toner is usually used all over the body. And it gives the same care as you would expect on your face.
viii. Additionally, it restores the skin’s natural balance thereby keeping it moisturized.
Tips for Making Your Toner More Effective
i. Use toners after washing your skin.
ii. Use your toner at night, right before you moisturize. However, if you notice that your skin feels dry, use it only 3 times a week.
iii. Skin tends to adapt to certain chemicals after some time. Find two different brands of toner that suits you and inter-use them from time to time.
iv. If your skin tends to dryness or is sensitive, avoid toners that contain fragrance and alcohol. Mild, moisturizing toners with alternatives to active ingredients like alcohol and witch hazel will keep your skin soothed and refreshed.
v. Keep your toner on. No need to wash it off. Give a few seconds for your skin to absorb it then apply moisturizer.
vi. If you notice your skin roughens easily and is acne-prone, cleanse with honey. Pat the honey on skin and wash it off after some minutes. Thoroughly rinse then apply toner.
For better effectiveness and reduced reactions, choose a toner which does not have ingredients that easily irritate.