What does a Toner do and which toner is right for your skin type?

The benefits of using a Facial Toner | How to choose the right toner

A toner is a skincare product designed to balance the skin's pH, remove residual impurities, and prepare the skin for the following products in your skincare routine.

Facial toners come in various formulations , some have a thick, milky consistencies, whilst others have a light water-based formulas.

When using the right toner, they can be beneficial to all skin types and can address a range of skin concerns.

The Benefits of using a Facial Toner:

Depending on your skin type and concerns, here are the key benefits of including facial toners into your skincare routine:

Balances pH Levels: 

The skin naturally has a slightly acidic pH around 4.7 to 5.75, which acts as a natural defence against harmful microbes and supports the skin barrier function. Facial toners help balance the pH levels of your skin, preventing it from becoming too oily or too dry. This is essential for maintaining healthy skin. The average person with oily skin tends to have a pH around 4 to 5.2, whereas dryer skin lies above 5.5.

Preps the skin for skincare routine: 

Applying toner before other skincare products can enhance their absorption. It preps the skin by removing barriers and allowing subsequent products to penetrate more effectively.

Minimises pores:

Many toners catered to oily or combination skin types contain ingredients with astringent properties that can help minimise the appearance of pores, giving your skin a smoother and more refined look.

Cleanses leftover residue:

Toners can effectively remove any remaining traces of makeup, oil, or dirt after cleansing, ensuring your skin is thoroughly clean before applying treatments and moisturisers.

Hydrates the skin:

Toners that are formulated for dry skin contain hydrating ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid, providing an extra layer of moisture to your skin.

Soothes the skin and reduces Inflammation:

Toners with soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as chamomile or aloe vera, can help calm irritated skin and reduce redness often associated with dry and sensitive skin types.

Regulates excess oil production:

For individuals with oily and acne-prone skin, toners can help control excess oil production, keeping the skin matte and less prone to breakouts.

Gently exfoliates the skin:

Certain toners contain gentle exfoliating agents like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), promoting cell turnover to reveal fresh, more radiant skin. Toners that contain chemical exfoliants can benefit a range of skin types and concerns, tackling concerns such as roughly or bumpy skin texture, blackheads, clogged pores, dullness, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.

How do I know which toner to use?

When searching for a toner, you want to consider two key factors; your skin type and your skin concerns, to ensure that your supporting your skin's needs.

This will help you decide the type of formulation you want to look for in a facial toner.

Here is a simple guide to finding the best toner for your skin:

For Dry Skin:

If you have dry skin, choose a facial toner that contains humectants, these are active skincare ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, that attract and retain moisture within the skin to keep it hydrated. Toners with ingredients like ceramides are also beneficial to dryer skin types because they help to strengthen your skin's barrier, preventing further moisture loss, whilst reducing common characteristics of dry skin including flakiness, dryness, irritation, and redness.

We recommend Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Purifying Toner due to its hydrating and soothing formula, enriched with ceramides and botanical extracts that help replenish moisture, strengthen the skin barrier, and promote a calm and balanced complexion.

For Oily and Combination Skin:

When choosing a toner for oily or combination skin, opt for formulations containing ingredients such as salicylic acid, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, which help control excess oil, prevent breakouts, minimise pores, provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and maintain hydration without causing additional greasiness. A purifying and refreshing facial toner containing these ingredients can improve oily skin types, promoting a clearer and less shiny complexion.

The Bioderma Sebium Lotion is designed for combination/oily skin types as it effectively tightens pores, rebalances pH, regulates sebum production with ingredients like Glycerin, Zinc, and Capryloyl glycine, and limits blemishes, providing lasting deep rebalancing for even sensitive skin.

For Sensitive Skin:

When it comes to sensitive skin, a toner can benefit sensitive skin by providing a gentle and soothing formulation, helping to hydrate, balance pH levels, and prepare the skin for further skincare products without causing irritation or compromising the skin's delicate barrier. Search for soothing and repairing ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide to make the skin feel comfortable.

We recommend Avene Gentle Toning Lotion, specifically formulated for dry to sensitive skin, enriched with natural silicates that create a protective film, safeguarding the skin's natural barrier against external aggressions, and featuring Avène Thermal Spring Water for soothing properties, leaving the skin feeling supple and soft.

For Lack of Radiance, Dullness, and Hyperpigmentation:

A toner with chemical exfoliants like AHAs including glycolic acid are beneficial for lack of radiance and dullness as it exfoliates the skin's surface, promoting cell turnover, and revealing a brighter complexion by removing dead skin cells and encouraging the renewal of fresh, radiant skin. Additionally, AHA's like glycolic acid in a toner help address hyperpigmentation by fading dark spots and promoting more even skin tone through their exfoliating and skin-renewing abilities.

REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic stands out as one of the best toner for concerns like lack of radiance, dullness, and hyperpigmentation. It exfoliates, promotes cell turnover, and visibly brightens the skin for a renewed and even-toned complexion within 7 days! If you have sensitive skin, you can dilute this formula by mixing a few drops of it with water onto a cotton pad.

What should you use first: toner or moisturiser?

The correct order to apply facial toners is by applying it to the skin after cleansing, and once dry, follow up with your serum or moisturiser. A toner should be the first skincare product you apply to your skin after cleansing. This allows the toner to balance your skin's pH, and prepare your skin for the following skincare products in your regime. 

By Rhysa Phommachanh BA (hons) Specialist Hair and Media Make-Up