Whether you’re new to toners or used to the habit but don’t really know why you’re doing it, start here. In a nutshell, toner is the in-between skincare routine step that should be used after cleansing and before applying serum and moisturizer. A toner’s job is to refresh your complexion and prepare it for the next skincare steps. Okay, it does more than that.
What does toner do to my skin?
Toners have manifold benefits, being the perfect addition to your skincare arsenal and the right way to infuse your skin with some more actives. By their nature, toners balance the skin’s pH after cleansing — as long as it skips alcohol. If your toner is infused with probiotics, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin, it helps the skin get back its delicate pH (between 5-6), ensuring a healthy skin barrier. A toner filled with AHAs, such as glycolic acid, can help prevent ingrown hairs, hindering pimples’ apparition, while promoting smooth skin and even tone. Another key role of the toner is to add a layer of protection, reducing the chances of impurities getting into the skin.
Not only do toners support the protective barrier thanks to the nutrients they’re infused with, but some are spiked with antioxidants, too, for a strong defense against free radical damage. Plus, toners leave skin damp, which is way more permeable, allowing actives to penetrate better. So what you layer after toner sinks deeper into the tissue layers, providing a burst of moisture.
Toner for your skin type
Like the rest of your skincare arsenal, the toner should also address your skin type. For instance, if your skin is mature, opt for toners infused with retinol, or glycolic acid to help soften wrinkles, humectants to plump skin, and ceramides and peptides to increase firmness and elasticity. Toners enhanced with salicylic acid, tea tree oil, or witch hazel do best for oily and acne-prone skin. Or, for dry skin, look for toners that contain moisturizing agents, such as aloe vera, glycerin, botanical oils, and squalane to prevent further moisture loss.