Tone It Down

For as long as I can remember my face routine has been to cleanse, exfoliate, tone and moisturise… but no, there is a shake up in the works… Do I actually need to be using a toner?

As of late, there has been plentiful conversation around the relevance of the humble toner with a lot of magazines, prominent dermatologists, and even cosmetic sales persons deeming the product unnecessary.

A lot of women it seems have no idea what a toner is? What it does? Why and how is it different to a cleanser? And off course, if I add an extra step in my routine what results will I see?

Since this is something that I’m personally very interested in, let me get to the bottom of these common misconceptions and answer all your questions and see if we truly should give the old toner the flick.

What is toner and what’s its purpose?

The purpose of a toner is to solidify the cleansing process of your skin. It is an additional step in removing dust, pollution, oxidants and impurities that can still be left behind after using a cleanser. Toners were originally utilised to restore the ph balance of your skin after cleansing – It is thought today that because of the advancement in cleansers that a toner is no longer necessary.

What in a toner?

Toner is mostly water based liquid, containing a range of ingredients that are essential for the restore and repair of the skins surface. Depending on the type of toner for example a cleansing toner or gentle cleanser they may include Ingredients such as antioxidants like amino acids from fruit, glycolic acid, fatty acids, thermal spring water, ceramide and humectants for moisture.

What can a toner do for your skin?

Well this is all dependant on your skin type, let’s start with:

Blemish prone and oily skin: Growing up through my adolescence, I never experienced serious acne and scrapped through high school lucky enough to never have overly blemished or oily skin and I truly believe this was thanks to a toner.

The toner can remove oil that blog pores and remove dirt and the incredible alchemy of toxins in the environment that we expose ourselves to on a daily basis. It helps to balance out that production of oil thus decreasing the amount of pimples and blackheads that can riddle your skin should you have a natural pre disposition toward oily skin.

Dry or sensitive skin: Those with dry or sensitive skin are usually hesitant to try a toner for the fear that the toner will in fact irritate the skin, increase redness and dry out the skin even further. Well that may be the case if you are using a toner that contains alcohol and a mixture of harsh chemicals such as menthol that just aren’t meant to be used on dry or easily irritated skin.

Get your hands on a toner for sensitive skin, perhaps something all natural or organic and guaranteed you will save yourself a world of pain, you will see less redness reduces flaking, less production of oil in the t-zone and you will feel your skin less irritated, soothed and more manageable. Don’t give up just because you try one toner and find it doesn’t work, try a few different formulations – If you find that you’re seeing no results then it’s time to tune out the toner.

Toners for Combination Skin: This just so happens to be me right now – some days I’m dry and flaky other times I have a super oily forehead and nose, let’s just put it down to hormones shall we?

I do however find that using a toner once daily does help stabilise my skin, I feel that sometimes after cleansing that my skin actually feels dry and tight – after I apply the toner I feel my skin has more of an even skin tone and defiantly less redness all over.

I also never feel like the toner is responsible for drying out my skin in fact I find it to be quite balancing and seriously effective in reducing pimples and blemished caused by the oil or make up frequenting my skin. I also find it does wonders for the pores around my nose – they are significantly reduced in size and the pink/reddishness is almost not existent.

What are my recommendations?

Well I’m not an expert but after much research, conversations with the girls in the office and 22 years of personal experience here is my top 3 favourite toners and exactly why I’ve chosen them.

1. CHANEL LOTION DOUCEUR GENTLE HYDRATING TONER

This is one of my favourites that I’ve been using for a while now and to be completely honest, it’s done wonders for my skin. Formulated to suit dry / combination skin it’s gentle on your face and is so effective in cleaning the skin whilst leaving it fresh, immaculately clean and irresistibly velvety.

2. DICKSON’S WITCH HAZEL

A type of plant native to North America and parts of Asia, the bark and leaves are used to naturally reduce acne, blisters, insect bitches, poison ivy, inflammation and the list goes on.

Witch hazel however is most commonly used in skin care products due to its supreme anti oxidant power, Astringent (the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues qualities are extremely effective at killing off bacteria that lives in the pores of the skin thus reducing cellular damage and furthermore prevent the sign of aging.

There are multiple brands selling witch hazel toners but my favourite is by Dickson’s – super handy when you’re on a budget, coming in at under Ten dollars, I think it’s one of the best around. It’s all naturally formulated so you know you aren’t putting any harsh chemicals into your skin.

3. SUKIN HYDRATING FACIAL MIST TONER

This two in one mist-toner is alcohol free and has a combination of chamomile and rosewater designed to sooth tone and cool skin. Sukin is certified organic so you aren’t getting the harshness off chemicals, plus it’s a mist as well making it perfect for a quick refresher after a long day in the air conditioned office, warm days or long haul plane trips.

I would recommend this toner for sensitive skin in particular however it would offer benefits and be effective on all skin types.

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