What is toner, anyway?

What is toner, anyway?

With a multitude of benefits from soothing irritated skin to fighting bacteria, this is a skincare step you don't want to skip

By Neelam Keswani
 Founder, Glamazle.com

Published: Thu 21 Feb 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 22 Feb 2019, 1:00 AM

I've been religiously applying toners since I started caring about my skin. My life would have continued that way too, until a curious friend asked a simple question: Why? And here is where my obsession with toners began. Some experts tout their deep-cleaning action, others talk about their moisturising properties, and still more use them to rebalance skin after using a cleanser.

Face toner is basically an in-between skincare step, used after washing your face but before moisturising it. These liquid moisturisers actually enhance the skin's surface, giving it what it needs to look fresher, smoother and hydrated. For combination to oily skin, toners can reduce enlarged pores and excess oil. For normal, dry or sensitive skin, toners can lessen redness and flaking.
What's in a toner?
Most toners are water-based liquids composed of specific active ingredients, including plant extracts and essential oils, tailored to address a variety of skin types. Mainly, there are hydrating toners, calming and soothing toners, and astringent toners. Some examples of ingredients to look out for are:
. Rosewater for hydration
. Chamomile for soothing skin
. Tea tree oil to fight oil and bacteria
. Aloe vera to calm inflammation and redness
. Plant stem cells for antioxidants and anti-ageing properties
What do toners do for your face?
A toner's function is to complete the cleansing of your skin - removing the dust, pollution and impurities or getting rid of excess oil and stubborn dirt or makeup that lingers after washing with a cleanser. Face toners prep the skin for moisturisers and serums. But that's not all they can do. Some additional benefits include:
. Shrinking pores
. Restoring your skin's pH balance
. Adding a layer of protection
. Acting like a moisturiser
. Refreshing skin
. Preventing ingrown hairs - toners containing glycolic acid or other alpha hydroxy acids can help to prevent ingrown hairs, so it also aids in grooming.
How to use a face toner?
Wet a cotton pad with toner, then swipe it over your entire face, neck, and chest. You should use toner after washing your face, and before using serum or moisturiser. (You can also wet your hands with toner and pat it gently on your skin.) Life is made easy with all the new spray-on toners: just spritz, wipe or let it dry and get on with your routine.
Some of my favorite toners are:
FarmHouse Fresh Vitamin Berry Facial Tonic - I spray this first thing in the morning. It is refreshing and alcohol-free, soothes the skin, boosts moisture content, and provides vital nourishment.
Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater - This is a cult favourite spray that can be used as a primer spray. I have also seen it being used as a setting spray on YouTube. I carry a travel-size edition in my bag and use it to cool my skin, if I am out in the sun for long.

Khadi Natural Rosewater Toner - An all-time favourite, rose fragranced toners or serums are always my first pick. This is a very inexpensive everyday toner.

Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner - An exfoliating, alcohol-free toner for smoother, brighter, and clearer skin, this is a beauty influencers' favourite. You will see radiance within a week of using it.
Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner - Thayers' remarkably soothing rose toner is made with rose-petal water and their proprietary witch hazel extract. I mix this lightweight product with a powder mask to activate the properties and get extra glow.

Cosrx Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner - I was gifted this by a customer and instantly fell in love. This highly-concentrated centella toner provides relief to irritated, stressed-out skin while replenishing lost moisture.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Lavender - I can never go to sleep without spraying this on. It calms and comforts my skin, and the spray - which is rich with aloe, chamomile and lavender - is Vitamin C-infused too.
Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner - A toner for oily complexions that leaves skin with a smooth, matte finish.

Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling (Lemon) - A chemical and manual exfoliator that uses natural ingredients and innovative triple-pad technology to promote visibly clear, smoother, and brighter skin.
Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner Toner - This is a total solution product that effectively cleans the inside and outside of pores with its special peppermint extract.

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