A basic skincare routine typically follows the order of cleansing, treat, moisturize and protect. So where does toner fit? For some, a toner is viewed as part of the “cleanse” step because toner helps to remove traces of dirt and makeup that the facial cleanser may have left behind.
But a quick perusal of your local drugstore or favorite beauty retailer will reveal that toners, today, do more than just remove excess grime. In fact, many toners teeter into the category of “treat,” “moisturize” and “protect” because, they contain ingredients that address common skincare issues, are formulated with humectants that bind moisture to the skin, and assist in reducing the penetration of environmental impurities into the skin.
Do You Need A Toner?
While toner can benefit skin in many ways, the “toner step” typically occurs after cleansing. While it’s debatable as to whether or not toner is a CRUCIAL step after cleansing, we do know that there are some definite benefits to incorporating a toner into the skincare routine.
Oily and acne prone skin types can benefit from the pH balancing effects of toner. Our skin is naturally acidic (at about a 5 or 6….on a scale of 0-14), and depending on what you use as a face wash (and your water supply), the pH balance can get a bit out of whack after cleansing. If skin stays unbalanced it can go into overdrive and overproduce oil, which can lead to a break out. The right toner can help return skin to a healthy pH level.
Toners Can Go Beyond The Basics
Depending on your skin type and skin care concern, a toner can help to add a first-level layer of support. For example, Toner formulations with beta and alpha hydroxy acids work well at exfoliating acne-prone skin. A VitaminC enriched toner can improve overall skin brightness and clarity. Moisturizing toners with Aloe and Vitamin E help to deliver hydration to thirsty skin. Anti-inflammatory ingredients like rose, aloe vera or chamomile to help calm stressed skin.
In a nutshell, a toner isn’t mission critical for every skin, but incorporating a toner can help to elevate an already solid skincare routine.