You Asked: What does Toner do?

Posted on March 28, 2018

Welcome to Red Scout’s newest series titled You Asked – where we find questions that are commonly asked by you and with our expert opinions, do our best to provide you with the answers. First up we have the topic of Toner. Surely everyone has heard of this super skincare product, but many people are often unaware of its use and benefits. You could call toner the forgotten step of the skincare routine. That’s where we come in, to help you understand more about Toner. Keep reading to find out more.

Woman applying toner from the bottle onto a cotton pad on her hand.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

So, what is Toner, anyway?

No cleansing routine is complete without the use of a toner. Most toners are water-based liquids that are composed of active ingredients including plant extracts and essential oils that are tailored to aid a variety of different skin types. Toners are not only hydrating, calming and soothing for the skin, but they can also help in the form of restoring the skins pH balance, shrinking pores along with being moisturising and refreshing.

Reflection of woman looking into a mirror applying toner to her face in the bathroom.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

What ingredients are in a good Toner?

LA Skincare specialist Mila Moursi told Into the Gloss to search for ingredients like rose water – for its hydrating, clarifying and energizing properties. Chamomile is another ingredient to look out for as its great for calming and soothing the skin. Calming and anti-inflammatory ingredients are perfect for sensitive skin. If you have acne prone skin, you can benefit from ingredients frim alpha hydroxyl acids (salicylic, glycolic) to exfoliate. Antioxidising toners contain vitamin C and witch hazel. Moisturising toners contain aloe and vitamin E. And if you’re looking for an anti-aging toner, try toners containing ingredients such as retinoid.

Those of you who have oily skin, try toners that contain alcohol. The purpose of this function is to remove excess oils from the skin and be especially anti-bacterial. Toners with alcohol should make the skin less shiny and give it a matte appearance. Be careful about using this toner excessively. Remember that alcohol isn’t bad for your skin, it just depends on the percentage used. Some agree that alcoholic toners fell out of favour with many people and they were labelled as being outdated.

Alcohol or No Alcohol?

So, you might be asking yourself, alcohol or no alcohol? Which one do I need? According to experts, there are three things you don’t want to associate with your skin: dryness, build up and dullness. But, if you’re using an alcohol-based toner, there’s a chance you could be hurting your skin more than you are helping it. Alcohol-free toners are still capable of delivering clarifying and matiffying properties in a gentle manner. Most dermatologists agree that alcohol-based toners are too drying, even for those with oily complexions.

Smoothing rose water toner displayed beautifully next to a rose and pile of cotton pads.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

How do I use Toner?

After cleansing with warm water, splash your face with cold water. Cotton pads are a toners best friend, so make sure you have some cotton pads on hand at all times! Saturate two cotton pads with the toner and gently stroke it on your face, neck and décolletage. At night, this step completes the cleansing of the skin and in the morning, it aids to remove sebum produced during the night and to balance your skin’s pH levels.

Blonde woman applying toner to a cotton pad.
Image Credit:

Do I need a Toner?

The question on everyone’s lips is, do I actually need to use a toner? Many beauty experts believe that you in fact don’t require the use of toner because they are meant to remove all remaining traces of oil, makeup, dirt and debris on the face, and a good cleanser should already be doing all of this. However, with that said, the toners of today are not your mother’s toners of decades ago. They are much more gentle, full of antioxidants and skin brighteners – making even the driest skin look vibrant.

Just because someone told you, you should be using toner, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask why! Now you know a lot more about the toning step in your skincare routine. So, the next time you re-evaluate your skincare routine, think of adding the toner step to your routine.


 By Mikayla Tabone.

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