You’ve scrubbed your face with a dedicated facial cleanser – that’s all you have to do, right?
You still need to use a facial toner if you want to be sure that you’ve cleaned out all the gunk and oil from your skin’s pores.
Despite toner’s effectiveness, lots of people wonder why toner can’t just be replaced with the gentler, easier to use cleanser they already know and love. Furthermore, some people find toner products to be harsh for overly drying on their skin. What does toner do for your skin, they wonder, and is it really necessary in a holistic skincare routine?
Let’s answer these questions and more.
What Is Toner, Really?
A toner is a skincare product designed to penetrate deep into your skin’s pores, and cleanse, rebalance, and revitalize your skin over time. Toners are astringent products, meaning that they neutralize many of the oils and bacteria present deep within the skin’s pores.
But, toners are still very necessary pieces of a holistic skincare routine. When used correctly, they can provide even cleaner skin than what you’d get if you just used a regular cleanser and moisturizer. Toner also doesn’t necessarily have to create irritation or skin dryness. Users who experience these side effects normally forget to apply moisturizer or make another mistake along their skincare routine.
What Does Toner Do?
The best way to think of toner is as a specialized soap that can deep clean into your pores and get rid of the gunk and dirt your pores accumulate each day. Let’s break down all of its benefits one by one.
A toner product, when rubbed into your skin and absorbed over a few seconds or minutes, can penetrate deep into your pores and neutralize excessive sebum, a type of oil produced by your skin to help with moisturization and pH balance.
It also clears away dirt, debris, and some types of dead skin cells (although exfoliation is your best bet for getting rid of dead skin cells specifically).
Isn’t That the Same Thing That a Cleanser Does?
Not exactly. Facial cleansers, while important products on their own, are not powerful or penetrating enough to really get deep into your pores and perform the same deep cleanse that toner products can. They’re gentle cleaning solutions for your face that are formulated to not remove most facial oil.
Facial cleansers are best thought of as surface-level cleaning products while toners dig way down deep to get rid of the stuff that the cleansers leave behind.
You have to use both cleansers and toners in conjunction to truly get rid of gunk and dirt from your pores. Use them with an exfoliation product every once in a while to truly rejuvenate your skin and bring fresh, healthy skin cells and open pores to the surface.
Toner also restores your skin to some extent. By this, we mean that toner can refine the appearance of some of the rough patches on your skin and decrease the severity of certain blemishes or darkened spots.
While it’s not a facial skincare serum by itself, using a toner in conjunction with moisturizers and serums will go a long way toward tackling the appearance of blemishes and skin impurities that are otherwise too stubborn to go away by themselves.
Even better, toner is responsible for rebalancing your skin’s pH level. Your skin’s pH level should naturally be slightly acidic – this prevents some types of dirt and bacteria from sinking into your skin and causing trouble.
But over time, your skin’s pH level can become unbalanced if it produces too much sebum or because of other factors. When your skin becomes too acidic or basic, it eventually breaks out in acne, accrues blemishes, dries out more frequently, or suffers other irritating conditions.
By using toner, you essentially “restart” your skin’s oil and pH levels and rebalance your skin to its original state. This, in turn, allows you to use moisturizers and face serums to their greatest extent – after being cleansed with toner, your skin is at the perfect state to receive the vitamins and minerals many face serums can provide.
Boosts Color and Tone
Lastly, excellent toner products can improve your skin tone over time. They do this specifically by clearing away much of the deeply-ingrained dirt and debris that can cause skin blemishes and impurities in the first place.
Furthermore, by cleaning out your pores and bringing fresh skin cells to the surface, your skin will showcase newer, brighter skin cells. Even the act of rubbing toner in your skin can stimulate blood flow, which leaves your skin looking rosier and healthier than before. This has ancillary benefits, too – more blood flow means your skin cells get more vitamins and nutrients from your body.
As you can see, toner can do a lot for your skin when used correctly!
What Ingredients Are Used with Toner Products?
Here are just a few examples!
- Vitamin C: this is a concentrated antioxidant that can provide tons of benefits by itself. Vitamin C is vital for your immune system, and for helping your skin with many of the common signs of aging, like hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.
- Burdock Root: this natural ingredient contains many other antioxidants that can help with free radical molecular damage, which is responsible for many blemishes and other skin conditions.
- Shiitake and Reishi mushrooms: these ingredients can stop your cells from breaking down too quickly, allowing you to enjoy healthy, younger-looking skin for longer. It also adds a bit of light exfoliation to your toner routine, plus can reduce skin puffiness and boost brightness.
- White Willow Bark Salicin: this compound can reduce the appearance of acne, exfoliate, and can even purify the skin to some extent.
- High-Potency Rose Concentrate: this ingredient is used in every Suki Skincare toner product, as it's made from an extra potent and vitamin-packed organic botanical source. This concentrate can rebalance your skin’s pH levels and help to create a radiant skin tone that lasts for days on end.
Ultimately, you always want to target toner products that use natural ingredients instead of synthetic chemicals. Suki Skincare’s Concentrated Clarifying Toner has most of these ingredients – check it out if you don’t have a great toner bottle already!
Can Your Skin Really Benefit from Toner?
In fact, everyone’s skin can benefit from adding some toner to a daily skincare routine. Toner is not just usable by those with tough or oily skin. Even folks with sensitive skin can use toner without side effects, provided they use that toner product alongside other lotions to offset its deep cleansing properties.
What to Use With a Toner Product
You never want to use toner alone, regardless of your skin type. Here’s what you should use toner products with for the best results.
You should always start out your skincare routine with a good cleanser. A cleanser essentially "preps" your skin for the toner that comes afterward by removing surface-level dirt and debris and opening up your pores so they can receive the toner compound in a few minutes.
A cleanser should be washed away with water before applying toner.
A moisturizer should be used after applying toner to your face. Moisturizers are important since they restore some of the moisture that your toner will remove as part of its deep cleansing action.
Furthermore, many excellent moisturizer products have ingredients like hyaluronic acid that can prevent your skin from losing moisture throughout the day, even in a dry climate or during the winter months.
As an added bonus, plenty of moisturizers will soothe and refresh the skin – this is a key benefit for those with sensitive skin that might feel raw or dry after using a toner. Check out Suki Skincare’s Balancing Day Lotion as the perfect example!
We’d also recommend combining your toner and moisturizer with a facial serum. Like toners, serums are specialized products that can provide benefits to your facial skin, but only if your pores are in a position to adequately absorb the vitamins and nutrients they contain.
After being deeply cleansed by a toner, your pores are in a perfect state to receive key vitamins and nutrients. Those nutrients will be absorbed faster and more readily than it would otherwise. Use a serum to round out your facial skincare routine.
All in all, toner can do a lot for your skin if you use it properly, and don't forget to use a moisturizer afterward. Toners have a bit of a reputation for being harsh on the skin, sometimes seen as an irritant that isn't worthwhile compared to a regular cleanser.
But, in truth, toners provide real, tangible benefits that can't be replaced by cleansers or other facial skincare products. Be sure to include a toner in your natural skincare routine if you want to achieve the best skin possible!