Cleanser -- check. Exfoliant -- check. Moisturizer -- check. Toner – do I really need it?
While toner can be an important part of a skin care routine, it tends to be the most confusing aspect of the regimen. And that's because its uses aren't always well understood. Some believe it's just helpful to those with oily skin. Others suspect it moisturizes. Many think it's only needed by people with large pores.
The reality is that different toners have different applications. One toner might complement dry skin, while another is best for oily skin. The key is to look for a product formulated for your particular skin type.
If you're still wondering whether toner, which can sometimes include astringents and fresheners, is something that could benefit your skin, this article is here to help. Check out the following pages to learn more about the many uses of toner.
A Pick-Me-Up for the Face
Whether it's genetics or just a lack of sleep, many people wake up with puffy faces --particularly around the eyes. And, toward the end of the day, skin can take on a dull look. The solution to both of these problems can be a type of toner known as a freshener.
Fresheners tighten the skin using ingredients like caffeine and green tea, which can produce a constricting effect. As a result, puffiness is reduced and tone is brightened naturally. Because fresheners tend to be heavy on natural ingredients, they're great for sensitive skin. And since they usually don't contain alcohol, they can be used by people with dry skin as well.
Toners aren't just for perking up skin, some can also correct imbalances. Check out the next page to read about another amazing use of these skin care products.
An Adjustment for pH Balance
Believe it or not, a normal amount of sweat and oil is good for your skin. And when you cleanse your face, you can strip these essentials away, changing your skin's pH balance. When your pH balance is thrown off, your skin actually becomes more prone to oiliness. Fortunately for most people, the skin readjusts itself within a few hours and gets back to its desired balance.
So where does toner come in? Well, if you're someone with normal to dry skin, you probably don't need toner for this purpose at all. In fact, if the toner has alcohol (which many toners that are marketed as astringents do) it can make your skin too dry. However, if your skin is very oily, you might want to consider applying toner to your face after washing it so that you can keep excessive oiliness at bay.
Even though people with oily skin can benefit from astringents, some toners are designed to help those with dry skin. Keep reading to find out more.
A Moisturizing Treatment
On the previous page we talked about the advantages of toner for people with oily skin. Those with dry skin can use toner too -- just not the same kind of formulation.
If your skin is dull and has a tendency to flake, the last thing you want is to make it more dehydrated. So if your face is on the dry side, the first rule of thumb is choosing a toner without alcohol in it. Even if a toner claims to moisturize, double-check this claim against the ingredients listed on the label.
Also remember that a toner doesn't take the place of a moisturizer. If you find a product with hydrating ingredients, that's great; but the toner does have other jobs to do. So be sure to follow it up with a moisturizing cream or lotion.
Toners are famous for this next use. Learn more on the following page.
A Pore Shrinker
You might be wondering why you need your pores to be smaller. If this is your primary thought, congratulations -- you probably already have small pores. If your pores are large, chances are you're already very aware of the situation. Usually, it's people with dry skin who have small pores and those with oily skin who have large pores. And while anyone can benefit from smaller pores, it's particular advantageous to those with skin on the oily side.
Achieving this goal has two advantages. First, from an aesthetic standpoint, skin with smaller pores has a more desirable look. Second, shrinking pores can make skin healthier. This is because large pores let in more oil, dirt and environmental toxins.
Click on the next page for our final toner use.
A Component of a Well-Rounded Skin Care
Since toner has many useful applications, it's a great element to add to your skin care routine. Here are some keys to ensuring it works in harmony with your other grooming products:
- Buy a toner formulated for your specific skin type -- normal, oily, dry, combination or sensitive.
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser before applying toner.
- After patting your skin dry with a clean towel, apply toner to a cotton ball or facial tissue.
- Swipe the toner across your t-zone (your forehead and nose) where your skin is likely to be most oily, and then tackle any other oily areas of your face.
- If you're using an alcohol-based astringent avoid applying it to any dry or flaky areas of the skin. If you're using a moisturizing toner, you can rub it over your entire face.
- Once the toner on your skin has dried, you can then apply a moisturizing cream or lotion.
If you're looking for more skin care advice, check out the additional information we have on the next page.
- The Beauty Brains. "The Truth About Skin Toners." July 30, 2008. (July 21, 2009). http://thebeautybrains.com/2008/07/30/whats-the-difference-between-skin-toners-and-astringents/
- Cote, Ryan. "How to Use an Astringent Skin Toner." Free Library. 2007. (July 21, 2009). http://www.thefreelibrary.com/How+to+Use+An+Astringent+Skin+Toner+in+Your+Skin+Care+Routine-a01073795102
- Jenkins, John. "How to Use an Astringent Skin Toner in Your Skin Care Routine." Ezine Articles. Nov. 15, 2006. (July 21, 2009). http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Use-an-Astringent-Skin-Toner-in-Your-Skin-Care-Routine&id=360826
- Kaylor, Annalise. "How to Tone Your Skin." Suite 101. Jan. 17, 2008. (July 21, 2009). http://skin-nail-care.suite101.com/article.cfm/toning_your_skin
- Madison School District. "Staph Skin Infections Fact Sheet." (July 21, 2009). https://www.madison.k12.al.us/departments/healthservices/Documents/STAPH%20SKIN%20INFECTIONS%20FACT%20SHEET.pdf
- Makeup Diva. "What is a toner, what does it do and when should I use it?" (July 21, 2009). http://www.makeupdiva.com/what-is-a-toner-what-does-it-do-and-when-should-i-use-it-what-are-some-of-your-favorites/
- Smart Skin Care. "Basic steps of facial skin care routine: Toning." (July 21, 2009). http://www.smartskincare.com/skincarebasics/basictoning.html
- WiseGeek. "What is Skin Toner?" (July 21, 2009). http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-skin-toner.htm