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How To Use Toners for Healthy, Clear Skin

It’s likely someone has raved to you about skin toner, calling it the holy grail for healthy skin and a glowing complexion. But toner isn’t as common as skincare products like face wash and moisturizer, so knowing what toner is, what it does for your skin, and how to apply toner to your face might not be clear to you 

Don’t worry — we’re here to answer all your toner-related questions, including how to use toner and how it benefits your skin.

October 13, 2022
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What’s skin toner?

This water-based product’s primary purpose is to help restore your skin’s pH levels after washing and prepare it to absorb the active ingredients in the next step of your beauty regime. Toner is applied after cleansing and before moisturizer. It often includes additional ingredients to boost hydration, clarify skin, or address other beauty concerns. 

Originally, skin toners had a bad reputation for being overly harsh. Marketed as astringents, they were alcohol-based and stripped away natural oils, leaving skin feeling dry, flaky, and irritated. 

Thankfully, manufacturer’s have refined the beauty product, replacing harsh chemicals with gentler ingredients and formulations for various skin types. They’re now recommended by most beauty experts and dermatologists as part of a healthy skincare routine to replenish moisture and other nutrients. 

What does a facial toner do?

While a toner’s chief purpose is to restore skin’s pH balance, the benefits go beyond rebalancing to improve a variety of common skincare challenges. Depending on the type of toner you choose, here’s what your toner could do for your skin:

  1. Shrinks pores. Regular toner use tightens pores, reducing their size so dirt, bacteria, and other impurities can’t clog them. The result is smoother-looking skin that’s less prone to blackheads and pimples.
  2. Brighten skin. Toners can wash away dead cells, makeup residue, and excess oil by lightly exfoliating the skin. This action removes build-up and reduces the chance of acne breakouts.
  3. Hydrates and nourishes. The best facial oils, moisturizers, and serums aren’t helpful if your skin  can’t absorb them. Toner is applied after cleansing to moisten the skin and boost hydration so nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide penetrate deeper.
  4. Completes cleansing. Even the best face wash may leave behind dirt, grime, and other impurities. Think of your toner as a backup cleaner, removing anything your regular cleanser missed. 

How do you use toner?

Using toner is simple. Here’s how to add this product to your beauty routine.

  1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser designed for your skin tone.
  2. Soak a cotton ball or reusable cotton pad with toner.
  3. Lightly wipe the saturated cotton outward from your T-zone. You can also run the moistened pad over your neck and décolletage.
  4. Give your toner a minute or two to dry.
  5. Apply the next step in your beauty routine: facial serum or moisturizer

When should I use a toner?

Experts recommend using face toner as part of your morning and nighttime beauty routine, but check your product’s ingredients first. If it contains stronger ingredients like AHA or BHA, limit use to once a day or every other day, and alternate with a gentler product. If you have sensitive skin, dilute your toner’s strength by moistening the cotton ball with warm water first.

Remember: Stop using your toner immediately if you experience redness and irritation. If symptoms persist, consult a dermatologist for help.

What should I look for in my facial toner?

Facial toners often include ingredients that target specific skin concerns. Before rushing out to the pharmacy to purchase a bottle, evaluate your skin type and needs.

Oily skin

If you experience excess oil production or have acne-prone skin, a toner that helps clear away dirt, oil, and residue is best. Look for soothing ingredients and components that help shrink pores, like lavender water, tea tree oil, and vitamin A. 

Some toners also include acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and witch hazel to reduce redness and inflammation, which can control oil production.

Dry skin

If you’re prone to dry, flaky skin, look for a toner that offers an extra boost of hydration. Check for ingredients that hydrate skin and help lock in moisture, such as glycerin, rosewater, and vitamin E, and avoid alcohol-based products. 

Sensitive skin

Scent-free toners with ingredients that calm and soothe skin should be high on your list of must-haves. Avoid products with harsh chemicals and look for gentle ingredients like chamomile, aloe vera, and jasmine flowers. 

Starting the search

Adding toner to your beauty routine is a great way to ramp up the benefits of all of your facial products. There are toner types for everyone, including products that mitigate fine lines and wrinkles and facial care sets that work seamlessly together. 

If you’re having difficulty choosing the right product, don’t stress. Put some of your favorite essential oil in the diffuser and consult the Flip community for help. They provide real-time product reviews and recommendations so you can shop confidently.

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