Toners have come a long way since we were first introduced to them. The astringent, alcohol-heavy and terribly drying toners of decades past have been superseded by new modern-day formulations that are the ultimate prep point for skincare.
Toners are often misunderstood products that are commonly overlooked or confused with essences, but they can yield great results and are a great addition to most regimes to deliver an extra dose of hydration, boost brightness, soothe inflammation and clarify the complexion.
So what, exactly, does toner do?
With a water-like consistency, toner is designed to hydrate, remove impurities, rebalance and prepare the skin for the rest of the products in your routine. Best used immediately after cleansing on still-damp skin for optimal penetration, applied either directly with the fingertips or pressed into the skin on a cotton round.
Like selecting a cleanser or moisturiser, the toner you use should cater to your skin type and concerns. Below are my ingredient recommendations for each skin type.
Balanced to dry skin
Look for a toner with hydrating ingredients that help to bind moisture to the skin like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, rosewater and lactic acid.
Oily and acne-prone skin
Salicylic acid and glycolic acid are preferable for those with acne-prone skin. These gentle exfoliating acids kickstart skin cell turnover. Along with niacinamide to rebalance the pores.
If you have sensitive or sensitised skin and pay extra close attention to the ingredients in your toner. Avoid alcohol-based or acid-based toners and instead search for soothing, calming ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin K, squalane and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.