Toner, Explained: How it Works + Why You Need it in Your Skincare

Toner, Explained: How it Works + Why You Need it in Your Skincare

Posted by Melon & Starfish on 13th Jul 2021

Do you tone your skin? Toning is a step many people are tempted to omit, simply because they aren’t sure what toner does. If this is you, not to worry. Once you better understand the amazing benefits of toner, you’ll never be tempted to skip this skincare step again.

Toner is the second step of your skincare routine and should happen ideally, right after washing your face, and before applying any essences or serums. In the world of Korean skincare, It is essentially the step that enhances the skincare regime you already practice.

The basic idea is that toner gets whatever your face wash did not, completing the cleansing process. The truth is that cleansers are great for removing most of the gunk from your face, but sometimes they don't get everything. Following cleansing, it is not abnormal for stuff to be left behind - makeup sitting in nooks and crannies, pollution, chlorine and minerals from your tap water, even traces of cleanser can still be clinging to the skin. But not to worry. That's why we have toner!

The other important function of a toner is to help restore the skin's pH balance. Following cleansing, it's not unusual for our skin's pH to be out of whack. Your skin is meant to be a little naturally acidic, but in the process of cleansing our skin of excess oil and debris, the washing process can also disrupt that natural protective barrier. Toner is what helps balance things out again, allowing the rest of our products to work better as well.

You can use toner day and night, but at least once a day is ideal, right after cleansing and before you apply other products.

It's important to note that toners can come in a number of different formats from cleansing pads to spritzes and mists. To truly effectively cleanse the skin, we recommend getting a cotton round damp with toner and then swiping the entire face with your cotton round.

If your toner is hydrating, you have a couple of additional options. You could spritz directly onto the face and wipe off the excess with a cotton round, or simply mist for an extra boost of skin hydration. Hydrating toners can even be used as a dual-purpose spray for setting makeup.

On top of everything we've already discussed, it's important to understand that different toners are able to do different things. This is critical to choosing the right one. So many people make the mistake of grabbing a strong astringent toner geared at targeting breakouts, but many of those products are too harsh and can actually aggravate your skin by over-drying it. Luckily, there are many other options.

Toners can be balancing, yes. But did you know they can also be hydrating? Some of our favorite toners contain hyaluronic acid, which helps bind water to your skin. This is beneficial for all skin types. Along with hydrating, toners can be soothing with ingredients like aloe or rose. Or exfoliating with ingredients like lactic or glycolic acid. If you are acneic, a balancing toner is good, but you can also incorporate something that is antibacterial and astringent.

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