A toner is a water-based liquid with a consistency like vinegar that contains active ingredients to help address specific issues. “Not only does it remove debris like oil and traces of makeup, but it soothes, repairs, and smooths the skin’s surface—diminishing blemishes and minimizing signs of redness and inflammation”. Since the product itself is meant to absorb and control all of the dirt and oil clogged deeply into our pores, toner is only necessary for those with greasy or acne-prone skin, right? Wrong. Today’s toners are high quality and made with many of the same ingredients you might find in your other skin-care products. Some of the best toners for acne-prone skin contain exfoliating ingredients like amino fruit acids or glycolic acid, while toners made for sensitive skin types are made with soothing thermal spring water.
After cleansing your skin, pour two to three drops onto a cotton pad—this works best because it doesn’t absorb too much of the liquid and easily transfers product to your face. Make sure you get enough product on the cotton pad so that it feels damp but not too wet so that you’re wasting the liquid. Smooth a small amount across your face, neck, and décolletage, adding enough pressure to reach deep into your pores but not too much force so as to pull at the skin.
While it’s true that overuse of toners can cause your pores to overproduce oil—a natural defense mechanism when your glands feel too stripped of moisture—it’s safe to apply both morning and night, especially if you’re oily. Use it directly after you cleanse your face, before any serums and treatment products, as a second defense against that dirt and grease. If your skin is on the drier side, stick to using toner just at night. By doing so, you’ll be removing any pore-clogging impurities that will further saturate your skin during your eight hours of snooze time and instead help your skin in its nightly renewal process.
The bottom line: The next time you’re wondering whether or not you really need to add another step to your skin-care routine, remember not to tune out toner. It eliminates dirt, grease, and grime to help clear your complexion and make the rest of your products work better.