Toners! The other day my boyfriend asked me what a toner is, and it made me realize that despite the fact that I have been using toners for years and consider them a normal part of a skincare routine, they’re not really in the “mainstream” routine of wash, dry, moisturize. Until a few years ago, I didn’t even know what a toner was.
So, to put it simply, a skin toner is an astringent solution you add to your skin to tighten pores (though pores can’t technically be tightened– but they can look tighter), and reduce oiliness of the skin.
They’re meant to be used after cleansing, and they help to restore and repair the condition of your skin after– potentially harshly– washing it. Toners are also a great way to remove the excess makeup that your face wash missed!
Your toner shouldn’t be so strong that it strips or stings your skin, and many commercial toners are actually harsh astringents. As with anything else, I’d suggest that you do your best to stick to gentle, natural ingredients that are proven to benefit your skin type.
Rose water softens skin and reduces puffiness. If you suffer from puffy eyes in the morning or your skin becomes easily inflamed, rose water can help to reduce the appearance of these ailments. The p
Witch hazel clears blemishes and tightens the skin— helping to reduce moisture loss. Many commercial toners advertise witch hazel, but these same toners often include high amounts of alcohol– which can be very harsh and drying to your skin! I personally use this.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps restore the natural pH balance of your skin. Between containing malic acid (a natural exfoliant) and its natural anti-bacterial properties, it’s great at keeping skin clear, clean, and healthy. Make sure to dilute your ACV, because it can be too harsh on some skin types!
Your skin naturally produces ceramides, but as you get older, this production slows, and you’ll see your skin begin to wrinkle and sag. Laboratory research reveals some improvement to skin’s moisture barrier function when lipids, including ceramides are applied directly to skin. Basically, ceramides will help your skin retain moisture, without increasing oil production and causing acne. In my opinion, this is the best ceramide (niacinamide) toner.
Glycerin contains natural sugars, meaning it has the potential increase bacterial populations causing acne. However, its texture actually provides a barrier to bacteria, and as a bonus, it acts as a humectant, keeping moisture from escaping the skin.
Green tea has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that repair skin damage and reduce redness. Bonus: antioxidants are also a proven anti-aging ingredient!
Calendula has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it suitable for sensitive or inflamed skin. Calendula is a natural astringent. It causes skin to contract when it is put on it, and that, in turn, minimizes pores and gives the skin a smoother texture. Found in the best selling Kiehls Calendula toner– a commercial brand I trust!