By Hannah Wardle
While other essential skincare routine steps are pretty self-explanatory - cleanser to clean the skin, and moisturiser to moisturise - there remains some confusion about the role of skin toner. It is the mysterious middle step that can often be overlooked. Is toner really a necessary part of your routine? And what exactly does it do for your skin?
What Are The Benefits Of Using Face Toner?
Toners for the face refresh the skin after cleansing and remove any excess dirt, oil, makeup or cleanser. This ensures that no acne-causing bacteria or oil is trapped in when you apply serum/moisturiser. Toners also have a range of unique skin benefits such as:
Balancing Skin’s pH Level
However, many cleansers and cosmetic products are alkaline, with a pH level of 8 or above, and these can impact the pH balance of your skin when used regularly. Air pollution can also contribute to this, and even the water used to wash your face can reduce skin’s natural acidity - Europe’s tap water most commonly sits at an alkaline 8 on the pH scale.
If you are regularly using cosmetics and cleansers on your skin, it is important to use toner, which typically has an acidic pH level, in order to counteract their effect on your skin. Higher skin pH levels can lead to redness, irritation and acne, so using a toner can help you avoid these troubles by bringing the skin’s pH back down to an acidic level.
Moisturising the Skin
Even before applying oils, serums or moisturising creams to the skin, toner can help draw moisture to the skin. This is because many toners contain Humectants, which are moisturising agents that work by attracting water from deeper layers of the skin to its top layer. Some humectants commonly found in toners are Glycerin (which we use in our refreshing Organic Rosewater & Glycerin Toner!), Panthenol, and Hyaluronic, Salicylic and Glycolic Acids.
When used on the skin, humectants such as these enhance the performance of any moisturising products used directly afterwards, as they magnetise the moisture from these products to the skin. Toner isn’t just an important step on its own - it can help you to get the most out of the products you use afterwards!
Reducing Pore Appearance
The appearance of large pores is associated with hyperactive sebaceous glands - this is when the pores produce and excrete excess amounts of sebum, leading to oily skin and an increase in the size/appearance of pores. Excess oil can lead to acne and conditions like sebaceous hyperplasia, so reducing the size of large pores can be beneficial for skin’s health and appearance.
A recent 2020 study on patients with acne vulgaris showed the topical use of skin toner to result in a significant reduction in pore size. Toners do this by removing excess dirt and debris from pores and ‘unclogging’ them, which makes them appear smaller on the skin’s surface. By reducing the size of the skin’s pores, toner can improve the smoothness and texture of the skin, as well as limiting the chances of oil over-production and any resulting skin conditions.
How To Use Skin Toner
Toner should be applied to clean skin after cleansing thoroughly, before applying any moisturising creams/oils or serums. Apply toner to a clean reusable cotton pad and wipe gently over the face, or mist over the face from a spray bottle (keeping eyes closed to avoid product entering the eyes!). Follow with moisturiser to hydrate the skin and make the most of toner’s moisturising abilities!
Using a facial toner is important to re-balance your skin’s pH levels, reduce the appearance of pores and help moisturise the skin!
Do you use a facial toner in your skincare routine?