Updated: 6/21/17. People generally won’t use a toner as part of their daily skin care routine because they are unclear of the purpose. They see it as an added step that’s simply unnecessary. However, as a skin care expert and esthetician, I’m here to tell you that toners are very important. I can even frequently tell when a client doesn’t use one by the appearance of his/her skin. If you’re someone who wants to take the best care of their skin (and if you’re reading this post and a regular reader of my blog, I’m sure this is you!) here’s five reasons why you really should be using one in your routine.
1. When left damp on the skin, they give your skin a drink of moisture before applying serum or moisturizer. As long as you’re leaving them damp on the skin before immediately applying your next product, toners give an instant boost of hydration to thirsty cells. But make sure to only use an alcohol-free toner. Toners that contain alcohol are extremely drying to the skin and should never be used.
2. They remove drying chlorines and minerals found in tap water. Chlorine, salts, minerals and chemicals are put into tap water to make it safe for drinking and bathing, but they can be very dehydrating to the skin. All that cloudy white stuff that you have to clean off your glass shower doors? Yep, that’s what’s being left behind on your skin after cleansing. Consider a toner as the rinse cycle after using your facial cleanser.
3. They balance the PH in the skin. If you use a bar of soap or foaming face wash that is too strong and drying out the skin due to a high pH, a toner will help counteract the dryness that occurs.
But hopefully you’re not washing with a cleanser that leaves your skin feeling tight and dry. Only use gentle, low-foaming, sulfate free cleansers. Read: Five Things to Know About Cleansers
4. They can enhance the results of your skin care program. Depending on the ingredients used in the formulation, it can contain active ingredients to help calm, control oil, stimulate blood circulation, destroy acne-causing bacteria, provide anti-oxidant benefits and more. Also, recent research confirms that moist skin is actually TEN TIMES more permeable than dry skin. So this means that leaving your skin damp with toner and applying your serum or moisturizer immediately after will allow the active ingredients in those products to penetrate deeper. This, in turn, gives you even better results.
5. They support your skin’s natural protective barrier. By supplying the skin with essential hydration and nutrients, you repair the skin’s protective barrier to create the ultimate healthy balance for the skin. This then makes the skin less sensitive and more resistant to environmental damage.
Skin cells are like fish and need water to live so be sure to use a toner immediately after cleansing. To wipe it over the skin and leave it damp, it does not take much time at all (15-20 seconds!) so don’t think of it as another unnecessary, time-consuming step. Your skin needs as much hydration as possible for it to be in its healthiest state so it can look and feel its best.
See my collection of alcohol-free toners.
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