Let’s talk face toners. Or, more precisely about how to choose face toners for your skin type. The one skincare product that some of us have that love-hate relationship with. Toners used to get a bad rap because of the alcohol content in them.
However, that’s not the case anymore since modern toners are formulated in a much gentler way. That said, you still have to figure out how to choose face toners especially if you are new to the skincare game. In that case, welcome!
Why do I need to use toners in the first place?
Excellent question! First of all, we at THESKINVERSE believe in the power of toners and hope you are one of us too. If not, we hope by the end of this post you will become one. Whether it is for dry or oily skin, the way you choose face toners might be a turning point in your skincare journey.
Here are three main reasons why you need to add face toners to your skincare routine:
Toners balance the pH levels of the skin
For this one, we need to dive into a little skin science session. Your skin’s pH (Potential Hydrogen) level simply refers to its acid level. Now, don’t freak out because of the word acid here. The skin needs this acidity to fight harmful free radicals and other microbes. As a general rule, the pH scale ranges from 7 to 14, with 7 being considered neutral. The International Journal of Cosmetic Science reports that the ideal pH level is just below 5.
The skin’s pH level is around 4.7. This is why when you use products like soap, for example, they tend to dry out the skin because they have higher pH levels that disrupt the functions of the skin. Thus, enter toners. Their formulas include a pH level close to 5, which is ideal for balancing out the skin’s acid level.
Toners provide deeper cleansing
If you are into double-cleansing, you know the drill. After cleansing your face with your go-to cleanser, applying toner on your face will get rid of all the makeup residue, dirt, and bacteria that are built up on your face during the day. This is particularly important for acne-prone, oily skin that needs deep cleansing.
Using toners will prep the skin
After cleaning, removing all the residue, improving the skin tone, and balancing skin’s acid level, your skin is ready for the next steps. This is one of the main goals of a good toner, it acts as a canvas that you can lay other skincare products on. So, the products that you use later will be absorbed better.
Tips to choose face toners for your skin type
The world of face toners is vast really. There are different types of toners like water-based, glycol-based, and so on. Avoid using alcohol-based toners especially if you have sensitive skin. If you are confused as to which toner to use for your skin type, don’t worry, we got you.
Here are 3 essential tips on how to choose face toners for your skin type.
If you have oily skin:
Every skin produces some oil, however, in the case of oily skin it is an excess amount. And every toner regulates the amount of oil produced on the skin. Look for:
- Toners with BHAs such as salicylic acid, AHAs like glycolic acid;
- Toners with lightweight formulas that will hydrate the skin;
- Toners that are rich in antioxidants, ceramides, and niacinamide
Read more about niacinamide here: The Complete Guide To Vitamin B3 For Skin
The goal here is to control excess oil while keeping the skin hydrated.
If you have dry skin:
Dry skin needs hydration constantly, so when it comes to how to choose face toners for dry skin, no exceptions here. You should strictly avoid alcohol-based toners that will dry your skin even more.
So, look for:
- Toners with hydrating agents like hyaluronic acid, Vitamin E, and amino acids
- Fragrance-free, alcohol-free, mild toners
- Toners with an AHA like lactic acid, and again, hydrating ingredients like aloe, rosewater, glycerin
If you have mature skin:
It is a must for mature skin to use ingredients that stimulate collagen and elastin production. Antioxidants are key to fighting the signs of aging. It has been proven that glycolic acid can reverse the photoaging process and improve collagen production. Look for:
- Toners with glycolic acid that will increase collagen synthesis;
- Vitamin C enriched toners that will fight discoloration and dark spots;
- Toners with moisturizing agents such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, Sodium PSA, CoQ10 will make the skin plumper and firmer
Most early signs of aging are caused by constant exposure to harmful UV lights by the sun. So, it is a must to wear sunscreen every day. Honestly, we cannot stress this enough.
If you have sensitive skin:
If you have sensitive skin, the number one priority for you should be choosing toners that won’t irritate the skin. That’s why you should opt for toners that are gentle and non-irritating. It should also include skin-calming and skin-soothing ingredients. Just like with dry skin, harsh agents like alcohol should be avoided. Remember, providing hydration for sensitive skin is equally important.
So, choose face toners like these:
- Toners with calming ingredients like centella asiatica, chamomile extract, calendula if you experience redness, irritation;
- Products with soothing ingredients like panthenol, hyaluronic acid for moisture boost;
- Toners with peptides and fatty acids (ceramides for instance) that will strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier
If you have combination skin:
Dealing with combination skin can feel like a constant uphill battle. Your best bet here is using balancing ingredients. Meaning, you have to use both oil-controlling and hydrating ingredients. The best course of action:
- Alcohol-free toners with refreshing ingredients like lavender, aloe vera, jasmine water;
- Toners with gentle acids like lactic acid, salicylic acid to control oily areas;
- Choose face toners packed with antioxidants and moisture-promoting skincare agents – hyaluronic acid, ceramides.
How should I apply toners to my face?
Now that we have figured out how to choose face toners, let’s talk about how you should use them.
You can use a face toner day and night, setting up the routine is completely up to you. If your skin is dry or irritated, you might consider using it once a day.
Generally, people use cotton pads by soaking them with toner and applying them that way. However, that shouldn’t be the case for everyone. You can also just add a few drops to your palms and gently press the products into your face. Don’t forget the neck area, that area needs extra attention just like your face.
Are there any side effects of using face toners on skin?
Just like with any skincare product, the overuse of using toners can definitely take its toll on your skin. This is especially true for toners with AHAs or BHAs that can be irritating on the skin if used excessively. Side effects of using face toners on the skin can manifest themselves as redness, tightness, and increased dry areas. These are textbook signs of overuse.
If you are not sure as to what AHA/BHA is? No need to worry! Check our beginner’s guide to chemical exfoliation.
If you experience any of these things mentioned above, stop using the toner asap and try to look for more suitable products. If you have dry or sensitive skin, choose face toners that will soothe the skin. When it comes to acne-prone skin, if you still experience some breakouts after using the toner, chances are the ingredients in that product are not suitable for you.
So, make sure you choose face toners that are specifically made for acne-prone skin. Sometimes breakouts can happen as a result of skin purging – when new products cause the skin to break out, or peel. I know these seem like a big mix of possible reasons, but it should definitely be one of those.
If none of these reasons seem logical to you, or you just don’t see any improvement after using the right product, as a last resort, talk to your dermatologist. Maybe there is some allergic reaction or some dietary reasons that you don’t know about. Talking to a professional before you choose face toners might definitely help.
The bottom line
I guess we can all agree that toners are an essential part of every skincare routine. Toners act like a gateway among the products that target different skin concerns. That’s why when you choose face toners, you basically affect the ultimate result of your skincare routine.
No matter your skin type, cleansing, toning, and moisturizing are fundamental to maintaining healthy skin. Even though people are divided when it comes to the necessity of toners, I for one believe that it can be important for certain skin types like oily, sensitive skin. Basically, choose face toners that agree with your skin and make your skin look and feel better.
Knowing your way around how to choose face toners for your skin can definitely up your skincare game and help you avoid any possible side effects.