Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Facial toners have been around for a long time – but have you ever used a toner? They were around when I was a teenager and even before that – you know, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. (Kidding. This year’s birthday was a milestone so it feels like watching the car’s odometer roll over.) Even though I bought skin toner, I must admit that I rarely used it. I had some vague notion that it was drying, and I was a strange teenager because I had dry skin (and yes, there were other things that made me a strange teenager, too.) Until recently I never knew what toner really was or what it could do for my skin. Turns out, toner can do a lot!
Once you know all the benefits of using toner, how to choose one that’s right for your skin, and how to use it, you’ll be on the road to better skin. And that’s a worthy goal, isn’t it?
Here are some things that toner can do for you:
▪ Provide extra and deeper cleansing when heavy makeup or sunscreen is being removed;
▪ Quickly balances the pH of skin after cleansing with soap, which is more alkaline;
▪ Refreshes and cools overheated skin after being in the sun or exercising;
▪ Can serve as a light cleanse instead of washing;
▪ Helps to close pores and protect the skin from contaminants in the environment;
▪ Tightens and shrinks pores for a smoother looking complexion;
▪ Maximizes the effectiveness of facial serums and moisturizers.
Choosing a toner is mostly about what type of skin you have, with considerations given to possible allergens and personal preference. Here are some recommended toners to use according to skin type:
▪ Dry or Mature Skin – rose water (also called rose hydrosol), freshly steeped and cooled green tea or chamomile tea;
▪ Normal Skin – apple cider vinegar diluted to 1 part ACV to 3 parts distilled water; substitute rice vinegar for ACV, or make an herbal infused vinegar by steeping a few spoonfuls of dried mint, rosemary, or lavender in one cup of vinegar at room temp for 6 to 7 days; freshly brewed, cooled peppermint tea, or aloe vera juice combined with peppermint tea in equal parts; rose water and other floral waters such as lavender, peppermint, patchouli, and many more;
▪ Oily Skin – witch hazel (only use the type that’s made without alcohol); a mixture of 1 part aloe vera juice and 2 parts kombucha; rose water and other floral waters, especially those that have astringent qualities.
All of the above toners should be either made and mixed just prior to using (with the exception of the infused vinegar) – or – refrigerated and used within 3 or 4 days.
To use, take a cotton ball or cosmetic square and saturate it with the toner. Spread it on your face with light, upward stokes, then allow to air dry.
A note about commercially made facial toners: there are some very good ones out there. Check the ingredient label and look for a toner that doesn't contain alcohol or fragrance because both are potential irritants and alcohol is extremely drying. Since fragrance is the #1 cause of skin irritation, synthetic fragrance is a big problem for many people.
So now I know – and now you know, too – that facial toners should be a major weapon in your arsenal of beauty products. The next step in my DIY Spa Facial is the facial mask. Get ready for some unconventional and high performance ideas for masks coming your way!