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Facial Toner: What Is It and How Does It Revive Your Skin?

Toners may seem like just an extra tedious step in your skincare routine, but if you’re not using one, you might be missing out. Adding a toner to your routine after cleansing can help revive your complexion in many ways you might not know about. But toners aren’t all the same, and you’ll need to find one that’s kind to your skin and not full of harsh ingredients. This article will give you all the info you need to find the right toner and soak up all the benefits of using one.

What is a toner?

The word ‘toner’ can be confusing and have many different meanings. The meaning has even evolved over time, making it even more confusing. First off, what does ‘tone’ refer to anyway? We usually think of skin tone as color. But in this context, tone refers more to the overall look and feel of your skin. In other words, characteristics like brightness, texture and firmness. A toner is meant to improve all these attributes and keep skin looking young and fresh.

But facial toners can still have a wide variety of ingredients and purposes. They can even have different names! Flower essence, floral water, hydrosol, toner…they’re all different words for similar products. But the main difference between toning products is the ingredients.

Which type of toner should I use?

When you look for a toner for your skin, the first place to look is the ingredients. You’ll notice they’re not all created equal, and lots of them are made with overly harsh ingredients, or even dangerous ones, that could end up hurting more than helping you.

Here are some of the toner ingredients to avoid:

Alcohol – Alcohol comes in various forms. The ones we’re referring to here are SD alcohol, isopropyl alcohol and denatured alcohol. These have a drying effect on your skin and will strip it of its natural oils, weaken the skin’s protective barrier, and disrupt the microbiome. Even oily skin is better off without alcohol.

Salicylic acid – Salicylic acid is touted as an exfoliator and is mainly used to treat oily and acne-prone skin. The problem is that it can irritate the skin and strip too much oil from it, leaving it dry and red, stinging or itchy.

Phthalates – These are synthetic chemicals found in many personal products known to be endocrine disruptors, which affect the function of hormones in your body and can cause serious health problems. If a product is labeled “phthalate-free,” be sure it doesn’t have “fragrances” as an ingredient because these may contain hidden phthalates.

Benzoyl peroxide – This is used primarily for blemished skin but can also be quite harsh on your skin. It can cause a reaction and aggravate any existing skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis.

Fragrance – Fragrance is a vague term for a variety of unidentified ingredients that could cause skin irritation and more severe health problems.

To choose a toner, you want to first eliminate products with these ingredients and look for an all-natural, toxin-free toner. Then, you can pick one that is best for your skin type.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you can try products that have witch hazel as a natural astringent in your toner. Tea tree oil, citrus oils and other astringent herbs like green tea work well to remove excess oil too.

For dry skin, look for ingredients that have ultra-hydrating properties like aloe vera, rose, oat, and lavender. Sensitive skin types should try toners with lavender, chamomile, oat and calendula.

Some toners are good for all skin types. You'll need to read the labels, and you might have to try some out to see which ones work best for you. Our own Lavender Toner is a gentle, nontoxic formula that is perfect for every skin type, especially easily irritated skin.

What are the benefits of a toner?

1. Hydrates skin

Because toners are water-based, they provide the necessary moisture your skin needs. When you apply a toner after cleansing, your skin is better prepped for your moisturizer, which then seals in the water molecules and phytonutrients from your toner.

2. Calms, soothes skin

As long as you're using an all-natural toner without the harsh ingredients listed above, your toner should be soothing to your skin. If you are highly sensitive, you should only use a toner a few times a week instead of every day. Always pay attention to how your skin reacts to the product you’re using.

3. Balances pH

Often the cleanser we use can cause our skin to become slightly alkaline, making it feel tight and dry. Part of a toner’s job is to balance the pH and return it to its normal, slightly acidic state, eliminating any tight feeling. Proper pH is also vital for your skin's natural flora to thrive.

4. Helps cleanse skin

 Using a toner after cleansing can help remove any excess oil and dirt that might be left over. It helps ensure your skin is clear of oil, dead skin cells and built-up makeup residue to help you avoid blemishes, dryness, or a dull-looking complexion.

Some toners are sold in spray bottles (like ours!), but you can also apply them using a cotton ball or pad.

5. Shrinks pores

Toner helps clear out your pores of oil and debris, allowing them to close and become less visible. This makes your face look smoother and healthier.

If you aren’t using one already, it might be time to consider a toner as a simple way to boost the health of your largest organ. It’s an extra step that you won’t mind taking once you see the results it can bring. There are a variety of herbal ingredients in toners that can help correct your skin issues, whether you are acne-prone, dry or sensitive. Try it! You might love the way a toner makes your face glow!

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