A toner is a fluid / liquid used as part of a skincare routine. Normally, this step is done after cleansing. Pour some toner onto a cotton pad and then gently wipe it all over your face and this usually leaves a fresh clean feeling after.
Toners are also known as clarifiers, astringents, fresheners and tonics. It’s often claimed that they tighten or close up pores; which doesn’t really make sense when you think carefully about it. If that were true, then those of us who use skincare religiously should have no pores left to close.
What toners do however is:
- remove the last traces of makeup after you’ve cleansed your face.
- soothe the skin.
- If one has very oily skin, they can be the only moisturizing item that you need to use.
- A well-formulated toner contains beneficial ingredients for the skin.
The tingling sensation that one feels after applying a toner is often a sign that it contains alcohol. Alcohol dries the skin and does more harm than good in the long run. Usually alcohol leaves a feeling of tightness on the skin, and that’s probably where the idea of ‘pore-tightening benefits’ of toners come from.
What toners to use?
The choice of toners is dependent upon one’s skin type. However, I believe that we should all avoid toners that contain alcohol, even if you have very oily skin.
If you have dry and sensitive skin, you definitely should steer clear of toners that contain alcohol and irritants.
Ingredients that can irritate the skin are:
- Alcohol: If the ingredient list includes ‘sd alcohol xx’, ‘ethanol’ or isopropyl alcohol’
- Others: Acetone (nail polish remover), citrus, camphor, mint, peppermint, menthol, fragrance and witch hazel
Ingredient list from “The Beauty Bible” by Paula Begoun