Toners were all the rage back in the 90s – Do you remember the cleanser slash toner from TEN-O-SIX?
I remember my sister and I using TEN-0-SIX cleansing lotions and the sachets masks ALL the time! I know they changed their packaging and came back for a while, but I will have to check in Priceline if they are still around… anyhoo, I just got distracted by the flashback but I’m back again to our topic of the day – toners! I think that as skincare products became more active and cleansers more varied and effective – toners became a not so essential product. I think that’s a shame, because they can really boost your skincare regime and speed up the results you want to see as a result of your skincare regime. Toners have really developed alongside other skincare products, so you now have toners that can help brighten, smooth, soothe, hydrate and protect you skin with anti-oxidants, while complementing your other active skincare products.
A toners first job should be to restore the ph of your skin after cleansing (if it was disturbed or changed) and make your skin feel ‘comfortable’ again. Because a toner dampens your skin slightly, whatever product you apply after a toner, will sink in deeper and trap in the moisture left over from the toner. Toners are usually about 90% water but the other 10% is enough to liven your skin up with added moisture or active ingredients. Just make sure that your toners ingredients are going to compliment the rest of your skin care products (e.g don’t use an exfoliating toner that contains BHAs or AHAs before using a retinol cream!). So what types of toners are out there these days?
Toners that fight pigmentation and exfoliate the skin gently.
Instead of inhibiting melatonin like creams which fight against pigmentation, brightening toners usually contain exfoliating ingredients which reduce the build up of dead skin tones on your skin, which would usually make pigmentation appear darker. Gentle exfoliating toners are great for both mature skins (a unified complexion works wonders in making your skin look youthful) and for combination/break out prone skin (getting rid of dead skin cells will help keep pores clear and will minimise blackheads). I would recommend using exfoliating toners at night, as AHAs and BHAs (chemical exfoliants) can make skin more sensitive to the the sun (which can make pigmentation even worse!). One of my recommendations? Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. This toner is a gel and is also soothing on the skin. It contains tarmarind extract which contains fruits acids (alpha hydroxy acid – even natural ingredients in their simplest forms are made up of chemical compounds!), salicylic acid, white nettle extract to soothe the skin and plenty of other floral/herbal extracts.
You can find the toner at Adore Beauty for $40.50 Aus monies (includes free shipping).
Balancing toners which soothe inflamed skin and regulate oil production.
These types of toners shouldn’t be very drying and rough on the skin. Drying out oily or acne prone skin is a big no no (your skin still needs moisture, just the right kind!) and you want to soothe inflammation so that your skin can begin to heal and regenerate effectively. Alcohols in skin care products aren’t always bad (some act as carriers and don’t dry the skin out – if you want to find out more about this, check out my post here) however, sometimes they are drying and stripping – especially when they are in skincare products designed for oily skins. So if you find a toner without alcohol (to be on the safe side) but with ingredients designed for oily skin, then you can be sure that you won’t be doing any more damage to your skin. One which I have heard great things about is the Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner. It contains alpine lavender oil and extract to soothe skin and restores the skin’s ph levels. Lavender can be irritating to the skin, but if you don’t have sensitive skin, you should be ok with this one. I know a couple of people who use this toner and love it! Oh – it’s also alcohol free!
You can find this toner at a few Australian stockists but the cheapest place to find it is at Look Fantastic for about $30 Aus monies (depending on the conversion rate on the day, but they also offer free world wide shipping!).
Like all toners, these should bring the skin back to it’s ideal ph level (in-between 5 and 5.5) and help rebuild the skins barrier so that moisture isn’t lost and skin isn’t damaged. Sounds relatively easy, but finding a toner which specifically states these two objectives is difficult! Hydrating toners are usually also perfect for sensitive skins, which also need to rebuild the protective hydro barrier our skin usually has (but which can be damaged due to environmental factors and everyday stress!). I found this Murad Hydrating Toner which sounds just beautiful. Not only does it restore the skins natural ph level, it contains lecithin and grape seed extract to help lock in moisture and restore suppleness, peach and cucumber extracts to help soothe and soften skin and osmolytes which help regulate water balance for optimal hydration levels. Oh and the biggest plus for me – apparently it smells like PEACHES!
You can find it at Fresh Fragrances and Cosmetics for $41 Aus monies (but if you sign up to be a member you can get it for cheaper and they also have free shipping!)
These are a little bit of a hybrid product, but they are first and foremost designed to protect your skin from environmental aggressors (so perfect for morning use). They also usually hydrate and soothe the skin. My all time favourite toner is Futurederm’s 7 wonders Antioxidant- Rich Water. The toner contains white, green and red tea antioxidants (powerful stuff!), grape seed extract which not only protects skin but also also contains vitamin C and E, avocado oil (fatty acid) and caprylic triglycerides which hydrate. The toner smells amazing – like the most delicious tea ever brewed – light and only slightly floral. Apparently they needed to add a fragrance to the toner because it didn’t smell so good without one lol but it isn’t to heavy or artificial smelling at all – I just love it!
This toner can be bought from Futurederm’s online shop for $29.00 US monies. Go on, treat yourself 😉 I think it’s worth every penny!
Another toner which caught my eye, is the Antipodes Ananda Antioxidant-Rich Gentle Toner. I’ve never tried any products from Antipodes before, even though they have a bit of a following. Antipodes is a brand from New Zealand and they are committed to using naturally pure ingredients. This toner uses mineral rich water (from New Zealand of course), omega and antioxidant rich raspberry seed which assists in increasing lipid content and decreasing moisture loss, aloe vera and marshmallow to soothe stressed skin, mamaku black fern which is high in antioxidants also and Bulgarian rose oil to make the toner feel luxurious!
You can find this toner and the rest of the Antipodes skin care range at Adore Beauty for $33 Aus monies!
So what is your opinion on toners beauty bees? It’s not an ESSENTIAL – but I think they are a pleasure to use and can really give your skin a boost considering that we are all busy and run down most of the time (and it all takes a toll on your complexion! Even if you use a toner every other day or once day, you should see and feel results.
Do you have any favourite toners beauty bees? I’m definitely on a toner kick lately!
Until next time!
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