Do we really need the toner? Will our face look different without it? Is it something marketers tout as necessary just so they can cash in on our innocence? Are we spending too much on face toners online?
That’s a lot of questions, but we understand that you have the same inquiries, too. So, we asked expert aestheticians about the relevance of a face toner in our lives. These are what we found out:
What does a toner do?
A toner should not be confused with astringent. The latter is only a subtype of toner. The other subtypes are hydrating toners, cleansing toners, calming toners, and pH balancing toner.
According to beauty experts, a toner to your skincare is like a primer to your makeup. Primer is the actual foundation of your face paint and not the liquid or powder we call “foundation.” Like primers, toners hold the rest of your skin care products. They help by preparing your face for whatever creams or humectants you will apply next. To illustrate, think of water and a sponge. A dry sponge would not work its wonders properly because it’s dry. But if you give it a bit of hydration using water, it can absorb soap or detergent nicely and now cleanse the dirty surface.
Toners contain plant extracts and essential oils that address different skin problems. Some toners also include acids, antioxidants, glycerin, anti-inflammatories, and alcohol.
What happens when you cleanse?
Facial cleansing is the process when you remove dirt and excess oil from your face. It also removes makeup, sweat, bacteria, and other pollutants that your face encountered during the day. A cleanser is either surfactant-based or solvent-based. The former is the stronger solution that gets rid of unwanted dirt and sebum. However, it also gets removes the natural lipids that protect the skin on your face.
The latter is the milder version. It dissolves oil and dirt while trying to maintain the skin’s moisture barrier. The problem with solvent-based cleansers, though, is that it leaves oil and dirt residue.
Given this fact, you should choose the right toner that complements not just your skin type but also the type of facial wash or cleanser you are using. If you have the surfactant-based, get a hydrating toner; otherwise, choose a cleansing one. You may also get one that removes the oil and dirt residue the cleanser could not eliminate.
Why is moisturizer not enough?
Moisturizers also hydrate your skin. So, if we would refer to the sponge analogy, it seems that a moisturizer could also hydrate the skin for it to be ready for the rest of your skincare routine. However, as the previous section noted, a downside of cleansing is that it can either strip off the skin’s natural lipids or not remove excess oil and dirt completely.
That said, a toner is necessary before applying moisturizer. Choosing the right toner can bring back your skin’s natural oil by balancing the pH level or getting rid of the sebum and dirt residue. Once it’s done, your face will be ready to take in the moisturizer.
What the experts are trying to tell us is that our skincare regimen can get by without a toner, but like a sponge without enough hydration, it would not be able to work its magic. It’s incomplete.