There are various skin care product types out there with various use cases. And if you are new to the world of skincare, it can become quite confusing when it comes to knowing when to use which product type.
Well, one of the most popular skincare product types for the face is a “toner” and most people do not know its use nor do they know when to use a toner during their skincare routine. This is why in this post, we will tell you all you need to know about toners, when to apply toner to the face, and how to use them.
So, if this is what you came for, then let’s dive right into it:
See Related: 16 Best Toners For Every Skin Type To Buy In 2022
What Is A Toner?
A toner is a liquid that is easily absorbed into the skin and has a refreshing effect on your face. Its main purpose is to wipe off any residue dirt, bacteria, and oil that wasn’t cleared during facial cleansing. In addition, toners suppress the visibility of pores on your face or skin, as well as, balance the skin’s pH, keeping the skin moisturized.
Why Should You Use A Toner On Your Face?
Well, the main reason toners were made was to correct the skin’s pH after the application of facial cleaners. However, over the past years, cleansers have been improved to not only cleanse the surface of the skin.
But to ensure that the skin’s pH doesn’t become unbalanced. This improvement made toners almost obsolete in most people’s skincare routines; however, manufacturers of toners had to up their game, and they evolved toners to offer a wide variety of benefits as stated above.
One major benefit toners offer these days is that it keeps the skin moisturized. Often most cleansers tend to strip the skin of its natural oils and moisture; however, toners restore the skin’s moisture while deep cleaning your pores and getting rid of any residue dirt left during cleansing.
In summary, below are the top 6 benefits of toners:
- They are refreshing and provide a calming sensation
- They keep the skin moisturized
- Prepares the skin for other facial routines
- They tighten the skin temporarily
- It serves as an extra cleansing step or as an exfoliant
Evening the skin’s porosity to minimize breakouts or minimize the appearance of pores.
Types Of Toners:
Not all toners are created equal. Depending on your skin’s condition and type, certain toners might be more effective to help you achieve the desired result. There are two types of toners on the market:
- Hydrating toners
- Exfoliating toners
Let’s take a look at each of them:
i. Hydrating Toners:
These toners go deep into your pores to balance the pH of the skin, resulting in hydrated skin. These toners are great for damping the face and conditioning your skin for makeup or other skin care routines.
Often these toners come in a spray mist bottle where you spray the content of the bottle on your face. Some also come in a normal bottle, and all you have to do is to pour a little portion of the toner onto a cotton ball and then apply it to your face.
Who is this for?
These types of toners are recommended for people with normal, combination, and dry skin types who just want a toner that can help them get rid of excess dirt, and oils while keeping their skin moisturized and refreshed.
ii. Exfoliating/Astringent Toners:
Another type of toner you might see on shelves or in online stores is an exfoliating toner. This type of toner is more potent than a hydrating toner and it is used to wipe out dead cells on the face or skin and can aid in the treatment of skin conditions such as acne and dark spots.
The potency of the exfoliating property of these types of toners is derived from either enzymes from certain fruits such as passion fruit, banana, guava, pineapple, or papaya.
Alternatively, synthetic chemicals or acids such as beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), polyhydroxy acid(PHAs), or Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)–which is organic and can be found in AHA serums— can be added to the toner to give it its exfoliating property/effect.
Exfoliating toners are great for treating acne by unclogging pores and minimizing dark spots.
That being said, when choosing a toner with a synthetic acid, you want to ensure that you choose one that fits your skin condition. For example:
Toners with BHAs are good for:
- Unclogging pores
- Treating recurring acne
- Smoothing fine lines
- Minimizing dark spots
Toners with AHA are ideal for:
- Treating hyperpigmentation
- Improving skin texture
- Brightening skin
Toners with PHAs are ideal for:
- People with highly sensitive skin
- Smoothen skin
- Skin hydration
- Exfoliating the skin
- Anti-aging benefits
Who is this for?
Exfoliating toners are ideal for people with acne-prone skin or oily skin who want more than just the hydrating and refreshing effect of a normal hydrating toner.
When and How Do I Apply A Toner To My Face?
Finally, we are at the main issue of the day, which is, when do you apply toners and how do you apply toners? From the beginning of this post, you might have guessed when you should use a toner. However, if you couldn’t figure it out, that’s completely fine since we will make that clear soon.
Ideally, toners are the second step of your facial routine, right after you use your cleanser. However, if you will be exfoliating, then a toner will be your third step.
But generally, toners are the second step after using a facial cleanser and before you apply your serum or water based moisturizer. That being said, some people, after using their toner as their second or third step, go the extra mile to use hydrating toners– the ones in spray bottles– as their makeup setting spray as well.
It is recommended that you use a toner twice a day; for your morning and even facial routines. However, if your toner has a prescription on how it should be used, ensure to follow the prescription.
Below are three different ways you can apply a toner. P.S these methods do not include toners that can be misted.
i. Using Cotton Pad/Cotton Ball
This is the most ideal and recommended way to use toner. Cotton pads are soft, gentle to the skin, and absorb the toner without it escaping.
Below are the steps to take when using a cotton pad:
- To apply your toner using a cotton pad, simply put a few droplets of the toner (about two to three drops) onto the pad.
- Using the center of your forehead as a gauge, use an imaginary line to dive your face vertically into two equal parts.
- With one part, start from the center of the face and wipe outward from the top (your forehead) down to the bottom (your chin or neck).
- Repeat this process for the other part of the face; however, use a different pad or you can turn the cotton pad over to use the other end.
- To do this more efficiently, you can use two cotton pads. Cotton balls are great if you are using a natural exfoliating toner.
ii. Using Your Hands
You can use your hands to apply toners to your face. However, we do not recommend using your hand due to a couple of reasons:
- The fast-absorbing property of toners, they can get absorbed into your hands.
- Some toners are less viscous causing some percentage of the toner to easily escape in-between your fingers. So, you can use your palm; however, it feels a bit weird.
- Your hands may be dirty and contain some bacteria, countering the effect of the toner.
- The roughness of your palm may disturb the skin
Therefore, if you will be using your hands to apply the toner, ensure that your hands are clean and also, ensure that your palms are soft. However, if you have a toner that is as vicious as a body lotion, then you can use your hands.
However, the benefit of using your hands is that it saves you the cost of having to purchase cotton pads. Also, the warmness of the hands makes it easy for the face to absorb the toner efficiently.
Using your hands, especially your palm can be great if you are using a hydrating toner that doesn’t come in a spray bottle. This is because if you use an exfoliating toner on your hand, it will end up getting absorbed into your hands, and then exfoliating the hands, leaving your hands dry.
iii. Toner Face Mask
Another way to apply toners to your face is to use a DIY face mask. This method works great if your face gets dry after masking since it will help deeply hydrate your skin. To use this method, simply add a few droplets of the toner onto the sheet mask until it completely unfolds, and then simply place it over your face for 10 to 20 minutes, and then remove it.
If you do not have a sheet mask, you can add a few droplets of the toner to a rectangular cotton pad and then place it over the area of your face where that needs to be hydrated.
Ingredients To Look Out For When Buying A Toner:
There are tons of ingredients used to make a toner; however, there are certain ingredients to be on the lookout for when purchasing a toner, especially if you have specific skin needs.
Ingredients To Avoid When Buying A Toner:
a. Artificial Fragrance
Ensure to avoid purchasing toners with artificial fragrances in them. Artificial fragrances are often used to cover up the smell of toxic and harmful substances which can cause a wide range of skin issues such as irritation, eczema, headaches, and even asthma. So, we highly recommend you look out for those.
“Fragrance can be an irritant leading to redness, itchy skin, and sometimes hives.” – Dr.Diane Madfes, Dermatologist
So, how do you detect artificial fragrances in a toner? Well, it’s quite simple, when you notice that the manufacturer uses the word “fragrances” then it is usually an indication that they are using artificial fragrances. Usually “fragrance” is an umbrella term that manufacturers use to cover up a wide range of artificial fragrances–usually up to 40 synthetic fragrances.
That being said, it is recommended that you either purchase a fragrance-free or an unscented toner. Fragrance-free toners have no fragrances added; however, they may be scented due to the natural aroma from their natural composite ingredients, usually due to the plants or herbs used. Unscented toners, on the other hand, do not have any fragrance added, and also, they do not have scent or aroma.
If you have oily skin one ingredient you want to look out for when purchasing a skin toner is alcohol. Alcohol can cause your skin to easily dry out, and over time, it could damage the skin barrier, causing inflammation and other skin issues.
So, individuals with normal skin types do not have to worry about alcohol-based toners; however, if you do have sensitive skin or acne-prone skin, we highly recommend you avoid any alcohol-based toner since there is a wide range of alcohol-free toners on the market.
A study revealed that the application of alcohol-based skin care products on damaged skin can cause toxic effects and skin irritation.
The final ingredient to watch out for when purchasing your toner is parabens. Numerous studies suggest that paraben not only damages the skin but can have an adverse effect on the body.
One study showed that parabens can accelerate the rate at which UV light damages the skin, making you susceptible to cancer. Another study revealed that parabens may cause allergic reactions.
Therefore, we highly recommend that you always check the back of the toner to ensure that they do not contain any of these ingredients.
Toners can be beneficial to your skincare routine; however, you need to ensure that you are getting the toner that is right for your skin type and skin condition. You must apply toners the right way, that is, as recommended in this post for maximum effect and great-looking skin.
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