Facial toner
Facial toner

While the face toner has been around for a long, long time, many novel and promising sounding creams and serums seem to have taken its place. Once deemed essential in the world of skin care, the face toner hasn’t received much love of late. Is this skin care product even necessary at all?

Face Toner? It Depends

Without coming across as wishy washy, the best answer is that it depends! Toners have traditionally been applied after cleansing for two reasons. First, to remove any residual dirt on the face after washing and second, to pH balance the skin (whether that is even necessary is questionable and the topic for another post). Face toners of old commonly contained high concentrations of alcohol and had an astringent effect – meaning they tightened pores and reduced sebum levels, but were often still too harsh for dry or sensitive skin types. Today’s toners are water-based products that can contain a range of ingredients to hydrate, protect, soothe, brighten, remove excess oil or reduce breakouts. Toners today may contain:

  • Glycerin to moisturize
  • Hyaluronic acid to increase hydration
  • Antioxidants to protect
  • Bisabolol to calm
  • Alpha and beta hydroxy acids to exfoliate and reduce blemishes
  • Retinoids to boost collagen

Along with a host of other effective ingredients.

Toners can be applied to cotton pads and then to the face or they may be spritzed directly onto the face. They should be applied after cleansing and although they can be useful for all skin types, individuals with oily or blemished skin tend to benefit the most. Most skin care professionals agree though, that it is wise to avoid toners that are alcohol-based as they are too drying, even for those of us with oily complexions.

So the next time, you ask yourself “Do I need a face toner?” consider that while they aren’t essential in your skin care routine, that they can make for a very good supporting act.