HOW AND WHY TO USE TONER – LET’S BREAK IT DOWN
Toners are a necessary and healthy part of a skincare program. But what does a toner do and why do you need it?
WHAT IS A TONER AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
Toners are water-based skincare products. In a three-step beauty routine where 1. Cleanse, 2. Tone, and 3. Moisturize, it’s the second step. Not all toners are created equal and they can be formulated for different skin types, so read labels carefully. They usually contain a water component such as distilled water, hydrosol, or Aloe Vera, and various beneficial extracts and antioxidants.
The primary intention of a toner should be to hydrate the skin, buffer pH levels, and set the stage for moisturizer or serum. Toners can serve other purposes such as provide additional cleansing, constrict pores, control oil production, reduce inflammation and protect from environmental stress.
HOW AND WHEN DO I USE A TONER?
Apply toner by misting onto face or applying with a cotton pad after cleansing. Toners prime the skin for the next step in a skincare routine – the moisturizer or serum. Toners can be used twice daily, morning and night. Follow with a moisturizer based on your skin type.
BUT I’VE HEARD THAT TONERS ARE HARMFUL BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN ALCOHOL
Toners that contain alcohol (or astringents, more about that in a minute) – we’re talking about evaporative solvents like ethanol or isopropyl, can be dehydrating or drying to the skin. Products that contain alcohol as part of their formula are targeted for oily or acne prone skin. The goal is to decrease surface oil and dry up the infection. While this can be a good strategy for a spot treatment, alcohol in general skincare can be damaging, drying, increase redness in sensitive skin, enlarge pores, increase greasiness if overused and strip the skin.
It comes down to knowing your skin, reading labels to avoid any undesirable ingredients, and if using toners that contain alcohol – use sparingly and/or as a spot treatment.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TONER AND AN ASTRINGENT?
It all boils down to ingredients. Typically, astringents contain alcohol to mitigate oil production or dry up acne prone skin. As mentioned, this can strip the skin and should be used with caution. However, some toners contain alcohol too, so be diligent about reading labels.
Toners that do not contain alcohol can have astringent qualities because of other ingredients. For example, our Juniper Berry Toning Mist is intentionally formulated for oily and acne prone skin with the inclusion of juniper berry and cedarwood essential oils, both of which have natural astringent and antiseptic properties. Our Juniper Berry Toner is a great alternative for those wanting to treat oily skin without the help of alcohol.
ARE HYDROSOLS THE SAME AS TONERS?
Hydrosols are the pure, natural waters that are produced during the steam or hydro distillation of plant materials such as flowers, leaves, needles and twigs, resins, roots, seeds, and woods. There is only one ingredient in a true hydrosol: 100% distillate (hydrosol). In and of themselves, hydrosols make excellent natural toners (and body sprays!). Used alone they are naturally acidic, help balance the pH of the skin, soothe, refresh and hydrate.
Toners are most often comprised of several ingredients. Hydrosols can be included as an ingredient in a toner as part of the water component.
HOW DO I PICK THE BEST TONER FOR MY SKIN?
Skincare is a personal choice. And as we grow older our skincare needs change. When selecting a toner consider your individual needs and choose one with ingredients based on your skin type.
We offer toners formulated to 4 different skin types: sensitive, dry/mature/, combination, and oil/acne prone. We do not use alcohol or fragrances in any of our toners.
Keep calm and spritz on friends,
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