The three main steps in a basic daily skin care regimen are cleanse, tone, and moisturize. However, many people skip the toning step completely. If they are crunched for time, or have a tight skin care budget, toner is the product people are most likely to not purchase or use.
So why is toning even part of the daily regimen if people don’t think they need to do it? Are aestheticians and skin care product manufacturers just recommending toner as something extra? Is it just a marketing ploy? Does toner provide any actual benefits to the skin?
What is toner?
Toners are liquids that are used after cleansing. They are usually applied using cotton balls or pads but can also be sometimes be sprayed directly onto the face. They go by many names: toner, astringent, freshener, energizer, preparation, etc., but they are all virtually the same thing. The main difference used to be how much alcohol the product contained (fresheners contained the least, toners had a little more, and astringents had the most), but many companies are now using alcohol-free formulations, and are adding therapeutic ingredients. Most skin care professionals just refer to them all as toner, so that is what I will do here.
What does toner actually do?
There are several reasons to use toner after you cleanse.
- Most cleansers, even the highest quality ones, can leave a residue or film on the skin even if you think you did a good job washing it off. This residue can interfere with the ability of your treatment products and moisturizers to penetrate into the skin. It can also lead to build-up, which can cause dullness or clogged pores. Other products, like some exfoliators and masks, also leave a residue that cannot be easily removed by water alone. Toners remove that residue, and in turn, prepare the skin for further product application.
- Toners help further cleanse the skin. Sometimes cleansers can miss areas of the face, especially if you are removing makeup. Toners will remove any debris missed by a cleanser, and (depending on the ingredients) can also clean deeper into the pores.
- Sometimes cleansers, even pH balanced ones, can disrupt the skin’s natural pH if they are used too roughly. A toner can help restore the skin’s natural pH, which helps keep the skin’s barrier layer intact.
- Toners help treat specific skin conditions by containing targeted ingredients.
The answer is YES; if you want to really get the maximum results from your regimen.
What are your thoughts about toner? Tell me in the comments below!