For too many of us toner tends to be an overlooked step in our skincare routine. We wash and moisturize and call it a day, but are we maybe forgetting some other step? Yes, yes we are. A nice natural toner can compliment your beauty regimen by introducing beneficial ingredients that hydrate and protect the skin. Toners often include humectants that draw in moisture, and exfoliants that slough off dead cells and clear out clogged pores. They can also help balance your skin’s pH levels. And if it’s been a while since you covered acids and bases in science class, we’ll dig in a little deeper into that one in just a moment. (And don’t worry, no pop quizzes).
If you’re already in the habit of the standard cleanse, tone, and moisturize routine and really just want to try some new products, there are many options out there and several considerations to keep in mind. Do you have oily or dry skin? Do you want to go the DIY route, or rely on an established beauty brand? If your skin feels flaky, rough, or tight then you’re most likely suffering from some dryness and require skincare that keeps you consistently hydrated and helps by healing the damage done over several years.
The right toner will address these symptoms by bringing an initial dose of hydration along with the aforementioned exfoliating agents. This prepares the skin for optimal absorption of the ingredients that comes with that third step of moisturizers and serums. The wrong toner would be one that contains harmful alcohols that suck out the natural oils to such an extent that it starts to erode the surface of your skin and actually ends up doing the opposite of what you want. Just like in all areas of life, the key is to strike a balance. You don’t want overly dry or oily. The goal is smooth, supple, hydrated skin, and the way you get there depends on your daily habits, including everything from exercise and diet to skincare and sleep.
So let’s take a look at the role that a good natural toner can play in your plan to defeat that dry skin and find fun DIY recipes along the way.
1. Cool as a cucumber and awesome as aloe
Cucumber can soothe irritated skin and do a dunk on dryness. You’ve enjoyed it on salads and used slices over your eyes to decompress, so is it any wonder it works in a toner too? Even the most sensitive skin types can handle cucumber, and the same can be said for Aloe vera. The latter can alleviate some symptoms of that dry skin of yours with its anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe vera is a humectant, which means it’s a moisturizing agent that binds water to the skin, slowing down the evaporation of this moisture. This can help quell irritation that results from dryness. The key to mixing these two together for a top quality toner is to make sure you prepare the cucumber properly and have a liquid form of Aloe vera.
After you’ve peeled the cucumber and chopped it up, put the pieces in a pan and cover with distilled water. Heat on low for a few minutes and then let that cucumber cool. Blend and strain it into your toner container – preferably a glass one. Then, just add in a few drops of that Aloe vera and shake it. Now you can use it after any time you cleanse to cool and refresh your face. Follow up with a calming skin cream to seal in that moisture.
2. Tea time for your skin
Chamomile is the go-to choice for a calming, soothing tea and it’s time to extend those health benefits to your face! Chamomile contains flavonoids, which fight free-radicals that cause damage to the skin. So when the sun, pollutants, and other environmental factors wreak havoc, this herb helps heal some of the harm done. Chamomile works well with sensitive skin and can reduce some of the redness that comes with dryness and irritation.
Rosewater also has a calming effect on the skin, and is anti-inflammatory and antioxidative. Similar to chamomile in that way, it does its best to deal with all the times you’ve treated your skin less than ideally. When you combine rosewater and chamomile in one wondrous toner recipe you get a perfectly clean and calming concoction to soothe and prepare your skin to take in the full benefits of your favorite moisturizer.
Simply prepare a cup of chamomile tea as you normally do, and after removing the bag, pour in one cup of rosewater, which you can purchase premade. If you want to make your own, you can add one cup of rose petals to two cups of water and boil for 20 minutes. Then remove petals, combine with chamomile tea, and let cool. You can add a preservative like glycerin or a few drops of any essential oils you deem…essential. If not, just be sure to keep it clean, closed tight, and stored in a cool place, as is the case with most do-it-yourself skincare products.
3. Rice water works wonders, we think
Water that has had rice soaking or cooked in it, AKA rice water, has a long history of being used to strengthen hair and to clean and calm the skin. There’s not always science to back up all the claims, but the anecdotal evidence and long tradition of women touting their rice water toner does lend it some street cred. Many people claim that the topical application of such a toner soothes certain conditions like dryness or even eczema, though again, the verdict is still out as far as thorough scientific studies.
Rice water is thought to share some of the same vitamins and minerals that are present in rice itself, such as amino acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants. These are all known to be beneficial for skin. If you want to take the word of one particular Youtuber, she says rice water toner helps her minimize the look of pores as it reduces redness and softens skin. She also shares how it’s important to first rinse off the rice to make sure you ditch any dirt and impurities, and then leave the rice soaking in the hot water for at least 30 minutes. The final step is just pouring the rice water (sans rice) into a bottle and then using it up within the week.
It definitely seems worth giving it a go, and chances are you have some rice around. Check out the video for the how-to on this toner, as well as some other toner recipes for different types of skin.
4. E is for excellent
At some point in your life you may have poked one of those vitamin E pills with a pin and squeezed out the oil to apply it to a particularly dry area of skin. If so, you probably noticed an improvement the next day. Vitamin E oil has quite the reputation for healing and softening skin. It’s because as an emollient, the oil sinks into the skin and binds broken cells back together, which makes the surface more smooth. It also has occlusive properties, meaning it even has the ability to lock in moisture. In other words, it’s great for your skin, and when combined with a couple other ingredients, makes a great toner.
To try this toner recipe, just start with a small glass bottle that has Aloe vera and rosewater in it and shake it up well. Add one capsule of vitamin E or about one teaspoon of vitamin E oil if you are pouring it from a container. Add a couple drops of lemon essential oil and shake it once again. Come on, come one, shake shake it. And then shake it before each use. You should feel your skin slightly more supple with continued usage over time. (Though as with all these DIY recipes, you should be sure to make fresh batches often). If you have extra vitamin E oil on your fingers at any point as you’re putting this toner together, just press it gently into your skin for a little surprise of smoothness and hydration.
5. Almost too-tasty for a toner
Mixing mint and honey together might make your mouth water, but try to stay focused. We’re talking toner here. Of course, you could always make a tea twin for your toner, and enjoy both at the same time (#twinning!). Honey is a humectant that works against dryness by drawing moisture to the epidermis. This helps skin maintain a more clear and dewy look.
Honey has antibacterial properties and is pH balanced in a way that promotes healing. Oh, and since we said we’d explain this a little more in depth, pH stands for potential hydrogen. It’s a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is, and it matters because the skin’s acid mantle maintains the moisture and protects skin against allergens, bacteria, and other potential pollutants in the environment. So on the scale of very acidic (0) to very alkaline (14), your skin should naturally stay a bit more acidic at around 4-7. This can be affected by skincare products and other external factors like UV rays from the sun. If you’re prone to dry skin, it may be a bit too alkaline. Due to the floral sources that help create honey, it has a more acidic score, which means it works well to maintain healthy pH levels and counter dryness.
But getting back to this sweet smelling toner, the mint also adds some skin-friendly benefits of its own. Since mint contains salicylic acid which helps slough off dead skin cells, it actually encourages the skin cell regeneration process. In addition, it’s anti-inflammatory.
All you need to do to make the toner is boil some water, add a couple mint leaves, and leave in for 20 minutes. Then take out the leaves, add a tablespoon of honey and mix well before transferring to your toner bottle. You can use it once a day to give your skin a soothing yet refreshing feel. Don’t forget to toss it at the end of a week, though, since most DIY projects are susceptible to bacteria after too much time.
Some toners seem to suck your skin drier than a super thirsty vampire. A lot of the toners used in the past contained astringents and the types of alcohol that make skin tighten up and lose natural oils. If you dealt with any acne, you may have even soaked a cotton ball in alcohol, said a prayer to the patron saint of skin, and held it against your face awaiting a miracle. More than likely it made it worse, but now you learned the lesson or maybe your skin type or needs have changed. Any which way, the moral of the story is you want to avoid toners containing alcohols that are harmful to your skin (like steryl or isopropyl alcohol). All of the above DIY options don’t contain alcohol, but they do require a little time and preparation, so there’s no need to go that route if you’re just not feeling it.
If you have dry or dull skin that could use a lift, you’re actually in luck. Viviane Woodard’s Enriched Toner is an alcohol-free option formulated to soothe and heal dry skin with its natural alpine herbs and other moisturizing agents. As a humectant, sodium lactate is one such ingredient that will help bring hydration into the epidermis so it can restore the skin’s smooth surface texture. It’s safe enough to use around the eyes, so say adieu to any excess makeup that didn’t come all the way off with your cleanser. The Enriched Toner also functions to normalize the skin’s pH levels and prepares the pores to receive even more moisture when you move onto that next step.
And in case you were wondering, Viviane Woodard has you covered there as well. The Enriched Water Based Moisturizer is a match made in skincare heaven (which is probably where the patron saints of skin reside!). It penetrates deeply to deliver hydration and nutrients where it’s needed.
And though it probably goes without saying, if you don’t have dry skin, there are other toner options available from Viviane Woodard. You can find something to fit your normal skin type (look for Clean Finish) or if you’re more oily, then opt for the Balancing Toner. Whatever you do, just don’t skip this critical step in your skincare routine.
For over 60 years, Viviane Woodard has represented “The Purity of Skincare”. We are the leading beauty brand for water-based skin care products and promote the importance of good skin hydration. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for skin care tips, product discounts and more.