This Is How (and When) You Should Be Applying Toner
Have you ever finished applying toner to your face and paused, wondering, what exactly it’s doing for your skin? Or, what the right way and time to apply toner is? Sometimes we forget to ask these questions before trying a product, so in an effort to help you get the most out of your product, we’re breaking down exactly how and when to apply toner for best results.
What Is Toner?
Today’s toners actually serve many purposes, from hydrating and soothing the skin, balancing out pH levels post-cleansing, removing excess oils and even fighting acne.
Think of a toner as an extra step in your cleansing routine to ensure all traces of dirt and impurities are effectively washed away, while also ensuring your skin’s pH balance is in check. “If the pH balance in a product is too alkaline, the product can be over-drying and cause the skin irritation, as well as little protection against bacteria growth, so breakouts may occur,” says Dr. Dendy Engelman, board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant. “If the product is too acidic, it could potentially strip away natural oils and cause disruption to the lipid barrier of the skin.” With the help of a pH-balancing toner, you can help keep your skin protected against over-drying.
When Should You Apply Toner?
The best time to apply a toner is immediately after using a face wash, both morning and night. Because some face washes and cleansers can be harsh and strip the skin, following with a balancing toner can help soothe your skin while removing any lingering cleanser residue, dirt and makeup. If you’re short on time, stick to toning in the evening after wearing a day’s worth of makeup and exposing your skin to environmental aggressors.
How Do You Apply Toner?
How you apply toner is just as important as the product you pick. Right after cleansing, soak a cotton pad in the toner of your choice (or for an eco-friendly option, use your fingers) and sweep the formula across your facial contours. Depending on how effective your cleansing session was, you may need to use multiple cotton pads. You’ll know you’re done when the cotton pad comes away from your face looking clean.
Depending on your skin type and concerns, there’s a toner that can work best for you. Whether you need a mattifying toner or a hydrating one, we rounded up our favorite picks for every skin concern below.
Made with calendula flowers that are known for their soothing properties and great burdock root to reduce oil, this effective toner can help gently cleanse and soothe the skin without the use of alcohol or harsh drying agents.
Gently exfoliate and unclog pores with this acne-fighting toner. Salicylic and glycolic acids work together to help remove excess dirt and dead skin cells while smoothing the skin leaving you feeling clean and refreshed.
Alcohol-, phthalate-, paraben- and gluten-free, this pH balancing toner is specifically designed for sensitive skin. Rose water and aloe vera soothe and deeply hydrate while witch hazel reduces inflammation and tightens pores.
Transform dry, dull skin into a radiant, soft complexion with this toner that’s formulated with Vichy volcanic water which contains 15 minerals and antioxidants to enhance and strengthen the skin’s barrier.
Calm stressed out skin by swiping this alcohol-free toner across your face. Algae extract intensely hydrates even the driest skin and grape seed extract provides antioxidant benefits so your skin feels replenished, supple and soft.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn