Sunday, January 24, 2016

What is a toner and why use one?

What is a toner? 

Toner (also called freshener, astringent, clarifying lotion, etc.) is a water-based liquid designed to superficially hydrate and lower the pH of the skin. Almost all product lines have toners. Read further to find out why you want to use toner, how to use one, and what to watch out for.

Why use a toner? 

Toners are an important yet misunderstood step in your daily program. You may have heard they are the second step in cleansing: “Wipe your face with a cotton ball soaked in toner and look at all the dirt it picks up.” What that really means is you didn’t get your skin clean, so it’s back to Step 1: Cleansing for you. Cleansers cleanse, toners tone or prepare the skin. Toners are not cleansers. 

Technically, toners reacidify the epidermis and prepare the skin for moisturizer. To reacidify means to replace the skin’s naturally low (acidic) pH, which is disrupted somewhat even with gentle cleansers. Epidermis is just another word for your outer, dead skin, the skin you can touch. So toners help replace the natural acidic state of your skin. Toners are primarily water, so they also superficially hydrate the outer skin. After cleansing and toning, you are ready for Step 3: Moisturizing, discussed in several blog posts.

Some of you may be using toners thinking you are tightening or even shrinking your pores. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is physiologically impossible to shrink the pores. Toners that have alcohol or other drying agents in them cause your skin to swell slightly, giving you the feeling of tightening. But actually these drying agents (especially alcohol) will strip the skin and eventually cause dehydration—making your skin feel dry. Toners prepare the skin for moisturizing, they do not alter the structure of the skin.

What a toner is not. A toner is not a product that should strip your skin. A toner is not a product that should contain alcohol (the bad kind).

For more details, see: