Toner, Toner, Everywhere Was All My Pores Could See
Though you’ve probably seen a bottle of facial toner at some point in your life, you might have no idea how it works or why you should use it. Facial toner isn’t for everyone, and should be used sparingly. However, if you have oily skin or problems with large pores and breakouts, toner could be the perfect new addition to your beauty treatment routine. Skin toner, usually used only on the face, is designed to cleanse the skin and reduce pore size. It can be applied to the skin using damp cotton wool, spraying, or in a gauze facial mask.
What is facial toner?
There are three types of facial toners – bracers/fresheners, skin tonics, and astringents. Bracers or fresheners are the gentlest toners. They have very little alcohol (less than 10%), and are composed mostly of water and a humectant such as glycerine. Humectants are substances which keep moisture from evaporating out of the upper layers of skin. Bracers should be used for dry, dehydrated, sensitive, and normal skin. Tonics are slightly stronger and contain up to 20% alcohol. They should be used on normal, combination, and oily skin. Astringents are the strongest form of facial toner and are composed of 20-60% alcohol plush antiseptic ingredients, water, and a humectant. Only people with extremely oily skin should use astringents – although even then they should be used with caution, since the skin often overcompensates for this extreme removal of moisture by producing even more oil. Astringents are ideally only applied to problem areas, not the whole face.
When should you use facial toner?
Toners are helpful for people who have oily or acne-prone skin or for people who want a little extra cleansing after removing makeup or wearing oily substances like sunscreen. Facial toner shrinks pores. When applied to a cotton swab and gently blotted across the face, it can give the appearance of smaller pores while at the same time removing oil. This, in turn, protects the pores from taking in more dirt. It also balances the pH level of your skin. Cleansing naturally disturbs the acidic balance of our skin, and toner helps to restore the balance (thus telling the face it doesn’t need to produce more oil to compensate). Additionally, toner helps bind moisture to the skin and refreshes it. Last but not least, skin toners containing glycolic or alpha hydroxyl acids may sometimes prevent ingrown hairs.
If you’re unsure of where to start in your search for the best facial toner, subscribe to GlossyBox, a monthly beauty box which selects luxury-sized samples of the best high-end brands of everything from facial toners to bubble bath to nail polishes and anti-aging creams and mails them to you once a month. GlossyBox is the best alternative to signing up for free samples in the UK or getting free makeup samples from a store, since the first puts you on a spamming list you don’t want to be on and the second doesn’t give you enough of a product to try.