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Toners and Serums: The Most Underrated Steps in Your Skincare Routine

Performing all the steps in a well-thought-out and effective skincare routine day in and day out can seem like a time-consuming chore. And it might be tempting to skip a few steps here and there, thinking maybe they’re not all that important.

Depending on your skin type, you might even feel like you don’t need certain products at all. I know because I’ve been there. And sometimes, we can get by alright without them. But in the long run, we know our complexion probably would be much better off if we stuck with the whole routine.

Washing our face and moisturizing are the most basic steps people don't tend to skip. I find the two products that most often get tossed from the line-up are the toner and the serum. I mean, do we really need them? Or are they just extras that don’t serve any grand purpose?

Some people might think this is the case simply because they don’t know the benefits these two products provide. So it might be time to learn a little more about them and what you might miss out on if you leave them out. Keep reading to learn more about what toning and using a serum can do for your skin, how they differ, and why you don’t want to write them off as unnecessary.


What does face toner do?

A toner is a liquid product you apply after cleansing your face. It might seem like an unnecessary step, but toning can have a significant impact on the health and appearance of your complexion. There are many different types of toners, and they can have a variety of purposes (they usually have more than one of these effects):

  1. Restore healthy pH (between 4.5 and 5.5)
  2. Further cleanse skin
  3. Slough off dead skin cells
  4. Hydrate
  5. Tighten pores
  6. Help control oil
  7. Calm redness
  8. Refresh skin

A toner’s purpose depends on the ingredients. Some toners are made with super gentle ingredients, but some contain alcohol, witch hazel, or chemicals like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or other alpha-hydroxy acids. While these ingredients are often touted for their benefits, they can also be irritating to people with sensitive skin or cause the skin to dry out.

Overall, a good toner will refresh your skin, soothe it, and prepare it to better absorb the ingredients in your serum or moisturizer. It’s a win-win-win!

Our approach to toner is the same as with all our products. We only use all-natural, organic ingredients to create gentle formulas that are safe and effective, and our Lavender Toner is no exception. We create it using only the lavender plant and water, using a process that produces a hydrosol.

What is a hydrosol toner?

Hydrosols are also referred to as floral water, essential water, or herbal water. They’re made by distilling the parts of a plant using water or steam. This process produces the oil-soluble parts (these are the essential oils) and the water-soluble part, which is the hydrosol. Hydrosol contains tiny droplets of essential oil. However, they’re much more gentle than essential oils because of their high water content. So you can enjoy the essential oil's benefits without diluting it with carrier oil to avoid irritation. (Hydrosols are not made by simply diluting essential oils, just fyi.)

Hydrosols can be made with a variety of herbs. Depending on which herb is used, they can have different benefits. Hydrosols are good for all skin types since no harsh ingredients are added.

Our hydrosol toner is made using organic and wildcrafted Lavandula Officinalis and has no other ingredients. It’s excellent for balancing your skin’s pH, tightening and reducing the appearance of pores, and calming redness, chafing, and irritated skin.

How do I use toner?

Toners come in either spray form or a pourable bottle. Hydrosols like ours are typically in spray bottles. You can spray it directly on your face or dab it on a cotton pad to lightly wipe or brush over your face.

Immediately after washing your face, apply your toner by spritz or a cotton pad (while it’s still damp). Then, let your face dry thoroughly before applying the next step in your routine (which we’ll get to next).


What does a serum do?

A serum is a thicker, highly concentrated, usually oil-based product with a specific purpose. It contains many active plant-based ingredients that target a particular issue or skin type. As a result, serums act more like a treatment than anything else.

A serum’s primary purpose is to deliver potent botanicals and nutrients to the skin. This step can provide many benefits for dry skin, aging skin, sensitive skin, or acne-prone skin, depending on the type of serum and what’s in it. Always check the ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin, because serums are packed full of many active plant oils and extracts. As always, use one with an all-natural, non-irritating formula. (You might want to do a spot test to be sure it won’t cause a reaction.)

Do I need to use a serum?

Serum might seem like a skippable step, but it’s an excellent addition to a holistic skincare routine that will infuse your skin with nutrients in ways a moisturizer can’t. Serums provide nourishment for skin cells and can help correct skin problems, but they don’t have the same emollient properties as a moisturizer. Think of a serum more like a treatment for your specific skin type than just another way of hydrating.

Using a serum will give your skin a radiant glow and prevent it from looking dull, rough, and depleted.

Who can benefit from using a serum?

There are serums for all types of skin, so it’s best to find one that specifically addresses your type.

Nurture My Body’s Reparative Serum is perfect for mature skin. It’s formulated with rosehips to reduce signs of aging like scars and fine lines, and lemon oil to clarify, slough off dead skin cells, and kill bacteria.

Our Acne Clarifying serum is ideal for purifying pores if you have oily or breakout-prone skin. It contains herbs with toning and astringent properties, such as calendula, dandelion, and grapefruit. It also uses tea tree oil to fight bacteria that cause blemishes.

Apply your serum after your toner and before using moisturizer to maximize the benefits of each.

Do I need moisturizer if I use a serum?

Yes, you still need moisturizer if you use a serum because serums aren’t made for the purpose of moisturizing your skin. While they might contain oils, their primary goal is to deliver nutrients deep into your skin. So you will need moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated all day.

Hopefully, this in-depth comparison of toner and serum clears up any confusion about the benefits of the two most underestimated steps in skin care routines. Including each of these steps not only helps fix specific issues your skin faces but they also increase the effectiveness of the other products in the routine. So it’s a double whammy! By maximizing these effects, you can have the radiant, glowing skin you deserve.

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