Toner? Nah, no thanks. I’m good.
This is mildly embarrassing but I used to believe that the squeaky-clean feeling after washing my face meant that my skin was perfectly cleansed and good to go. That also meant that I regarded toning my skin as an additional cleansing step that is pretty unnecessary. Come on. A girl needs her beauty sleep. Nobody has time for that. None of my friends tone their face, anyway.
Boy, was I wrong. You guys should have seen the incredibly shocked look that Jan shot me when I first hopped into bed without putting on any skincare; like I just sprouted a third nose or something-it was that bad. I was then most unceremoniously frogmarched to the dresser where I received a pretty illuminating, albeit unwilling, lesson on the importance of toner in my skincare routine. Or lack thereof.
1. TONING YOUR SKIN IS PRETTY DAMN IMPORTANT.
I couldn’t shout it loud enough. Yes, a toner helps with the removal of any residual gunk that may still be present on your face after cleansing. Ultimately: a toner works to reset the pH balance of your skin, and is the foundation of your skincare routine. It nourishes and preps your skin with a quick hit hydration. Think of our skin as a dry and brittle sponge. Slathering a thick layer of moisturiser on the very top pretty much guarantees that it merely stays there, unmoving. However, the same layer of moisturiser will penetrate better to the deeper layers once it is moist. We all know that the key to beautiful, healthy skin starts with hydration. (if you didn’t, that’s okay, now you do,)
2. YOU GOTTA TONE YOUR SKIN AFTER YOU WASH IT.
Since toners work to prep your skin to better absorb your skincare products, it’s best to apply your toner after you’ve thoroughly cleansed and exfoliated your face. Warm your palms up by rubbing your palms together before sprinkling some toner on it. Gently press your palms to your face and tap the product in with your fingertips. You could take your time to massage it in, but remember! Gently does it.
Many people prefer applying it with a cotton pad but I find that I go through the bottle twice as fast… more product gets absorbed by the cotton pad than my skin.
3. THERE IS A TONER FOR EVERY SKIN CONCERN.
Notice that I said ‘skin concern’, not ‘skin type’. Our skin changes with the seasons (yes, even in sunny Singapore). One day it could be oilier than an oil slick, but the next day you may find dry patches all over your face. That also means that your products should address what your skin needs. I think I own about 4 bottles of toners now, with a couple more on the way…oh dear.
If you’ve got oily skin…
First understand (and also accept) that your skin is oily because of overactive sebum producing glands. Your main goal is not to remove that oil! What you should be doing instead, is to get to the root of the problem. Your skin is dehydrated and those glands are overcompensating by producing more sebum. Tap in some toner that contains salicylic acids (also known as BHA, or beta hydroxy acids) or witch hazel. They help to sweep away the excess sebum without compromising on hydration. The Benton BHA Aloe Skin Toner works like a charm! I whip this out when the weather gets a little too hot.
If you’ve got the combination of dry/oily + sensitive skin,
I feel you. I fall under this skin type. My skin was pretty dehydrated in the past and I could never find any western products that truly worked for me. I would either be allergic, or it just wouldn’t deliver the punch of hydration I was promised. Sometimes it goes the other way and my skin starts producing more oil instead (weird, right.) Toners that are free from skin irritants (acids, fragrances) are what you should be looking out for in order to deliver that dose of hydration effectively. The Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner is my holy grail. This toner contains no water, but is instead full of nourishing extracts from traditional Korean herbs. I’m finishing up my third bottle and it is so, so amazing for my skin. I’ve never understood what ‘chok-chok’ skin could be like until i tried the 7 skin routine with it. More on that here.
If you’ve got mature skin, or if you’re looking out for something that has anti aging/plumping effects,
Look out for toners that contain hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acids and antioxidants. You’re looking at toners which target intense hydration and improves elasticity. Thank You Farmer Miracle Age Repair Toner fits the bill perfectly. Plus they’re a joy to look at! Makes me look forward to my morning skincare routine a little more.
If you’ve got normal skin,
You’ve won the skin lottery! Leegeehaam’s Hyal B5 Toner works best for normal to combination skin. It is good to know that your skin is pretty accepting of most, if not all products which also means that all of the toners mentioned above will work well for your skin. Just remember, hydrated skin is beautiful skin.
Just a few final points to note!
My mother doles out fantastic life advice. Many years ago she told me that “there are no shortcuts that can give you the miracles that you want.” Man, she’s right. I’ve come to realise that this is so true. Buying one expensive miracle product probably can’t give you the beautiful skin that you’re looking for. But being consistent, dedicating time and effort to your skincare will put you a few steps in the right direction.
Also, you are what you eat. What we put in our body is so important. If your diet is pretty much coffee, tea (without water) and Mcdonald’s then I think it’s probably time for a change. Dehydration comes from deep within and it shows on our skin.
Finally, our skin is unique. What works for 99.9% of the population may not work for you, so take the time to test and experiment with different products. Good things come to those who work for it. Keep an open mind and well… you might like what you find.
Lots of love!