It’s the ever-forgotten, not-quite-sure-if-it’s-necessary step in your skincare regimen.
But honestly, toner gets a bad rap. There are lots of options promising all sorts of results, and – at the end of the day – it feels like water in your hands and your not quite sure of the difference it’s making.
Here’s what you need to know about toner and what it does for your skin.
First off, what is toner and how do you use it?
Typically, toner is a water-based formula that contains active ingredients designed to address specific issues - maybe chamomile or rose water for increasing hydration and enhancing radiation.
Toner is touted to assist in cleansing because it clears the dirt, debris and pollution from the skin that cleanser can fail to remove. It also helps tighten pores - with less grime staying stuck within them - as well as increase skin resilience and boost overall health.
"Not only does it remove debris like oil and traces of makeup, but it soothes, repairs, and smooths the skin’s surface - diminishing blemishes and minimising signs of redness and inflammation," dermatologist Joel Schlessinger told Women's Health.
Toner is best applied in the mornings and evenings directly after cleansing. Serums and moisturisers can be applied after the toner is dried to the skin.
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What type of toner is best for each skin type.
Toners are designed to regulate the pH (or acidity) of the skin, which keeps the skin's level of oiliness at a healthy level and dehydration at an optimum low.
One factor to be aware of when it comes to choosing the correct toner for your skin type, though, is the degree of alcohol content.
Some toners are alcohol-based and, while these are effective in drying out acne-prone and congested skin, they can lead to dehydration if used too frequently. As such, many specialists suggest using alcohol-free formulas to reap the cleansing, pore-tightening and oil-regulating benefits of toners, without the dehydration.