Finding the Right Toner

When it comes to skin care, there’s one group of products that always seems to elicit a little controversary.


Some people swear by them, insisting that their skin doesn’t really feel clean until they’ve swiped or spritzed their face with one.  Others dismiss them as a bad idea, citing their tendency to dry out the skin as proof that they’re not a necessary part of a skin care routine.

Unfortunately, most people don’t really understand what a toner is meant to do, which is the cause of much of the debate. If you’re not sure what your toner is supposed to be doing for your skin, it’s impossible to know how to pick the right one for your skin type – and as with any product, if pick the right option for your skin type, you’re not going to see the results that you want.

Traditionally, when people think of a toner, they’re referring to a product used after washing the face to remove any lingering traces of dirt and makeup that your cleanser may have left behind.  If you use a good cleanser, though, it should remove all dirt and impurities, making a toner unnecessary.  However, toners can do more than just remove dirt. Understanding the different types of toner that are available can help you identify the right option for your skin type and leave with a clean, healthy complexion.

An astringent type toner can help remove oil and exfoliate the pores to prevent acne and clogs.  The gloTherapeutics Purifying Tonic is an ideal option for oily, acne-prone and congested skin because it contains salicylic acid to exfoliate the pores, as well as antibacterial ingredients like totarol and anti-inflammatories like bilberry fruit extract to treat and soothe breakouts.  To apply the toner, pour a little onto a cotton pad and gently swipe it over your face.  If you have combination skin, use the toner only where you’re prone to acne or oiliness.

Because they reduce oil, astringent toners can be very drying if you don’t have oily or acne prone skin. To avoid dehydration and irritation, you should avoid toners that contain alcohol if you have dry skin. Instead, opt for a toner with essential oils and botanical extracts that can actually help moisturize the skin. This type of product can also help prep the skin so your serums and moisturizer are better able to penetrate for more effective hydration. The Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner contains moisture-binding humectants that help get the skin ready to absorb moisturizer. The alcohol-free formula also contains cucumber and arnica to soothe and refresh dehydrated skin. The Multi-Active Toner also comes in a convenient spray bottle so you simply spritz your face after cleansing and allow the product to soak in before applying your serum or moisturizer.

If you have sensitive , irritated skin, an alcohol-free toner is also a must.  You should also choose a lightweight formula that doesn’t contain artificial colors or fragrances and uses ingredients  that can help soothe and hydrate the skin.  The Dermalogica UltraCalming Mist is a good option for sensitive, irritated skin because it contains soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe, oat kernel extract and ginger root extract. Like the Multi-Active Toner, it comes in a spray bottle so you can spritz it on your face after cleansing and let it absorb into the skin. However, if you want a more intense treatment, you can press it into the skin using clean fingers or a cotton pad before applying your treatments and moisturizer.

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