** This post was written by Fiona. She no longer blogs for Swatch And Learn. However, Mary still continues to blog and will be happy to reply to your comment. **
Let me start off by saying I’m not a licensed beautician or dermatologist. I’m just someone who has always wondered: is toner really necessary? Unfortunately, I don’t have a straight-forward answer, but I do have some information I’d like to share with you.
What is the purpose of a toner?
- Removes traces of makeup your cleanser leaves behind.
- Removes residue from your cleanser.
- Balances your skin’s pH.
- Prepares your skin for moisturizer.
- Infuses skin with vitamins.
- Helps your skin feel fresh.
If you’re using a toner for reasons 1 and 2 only, then STOP. You have discovered a way to save money – and that is to just stop buying toners. If your cleanser is leaving behind traces of makeup, dirt and residue, wouldn’t it make sense to just get a better cleanser?
Purposes 3 and 4 are more complicated. Your cleanser is a soap (basic), and your skin’s normal pH level is around 5.5 (acidic). After cleansing, it is advised (by the Beauty Gods) that you return your skin to its natural pH level. But how do you tell if a toner is really helping you do that? Well, you can revisit your high school’s science lab for litmus paper, or you do a little experiment.
For a week, I cleansed my face like I normally do. Then I used a toner on the left side only. I followed that by applying a night cream on both sides of my face. The result? The left side of my face looked more even with less visible pores. Also, my moisturizer absorbed quicker, leaving my skin less sticky.
This was just my personal experience, and I urge you to try it yourself. If you see no difference, then you’ve just answered the question of whether toner is necessary for you.
If you want to try a toner, here are a couple of tips I leave you with:
- Go for something gentle and avoid astringents. Astringents and toners are not the same thing. Astringents are alcohol-based and are harsher on the skin, stripping it of its natural moisture (this can create even more pH imbalance, causing more break-outs). Toners are usually water-based.
Opt for a toner with vitamins and glycerin. If you’re going to be adding an extra step to your skincare routine, you might as well be infusing your skin with goodies (purpose 5).
Whether skin needs toner or not isn’t as clear cut as whether it needs moisturizer. I think you should always do what feels good to you. Even if you’re simply using a toner for purpose 6, go for it! You are the expert here when it comes to your skin.
Where do you stand on the toner debate? Let me know if this was helpful or not.