One of the reader had expressed interest in knowing more about toners, how exactly to use them and how useful they really are. So, I decided to do a post where I put in everything I know about toners since the beginning of my blogging and then I go on to say whether you should use a toner or not?
Toners have long been under debate for their efficacy but now they have finally found place in the skin care routine as the hydrators. Earlier, it was just astringents and rose water but not toners are coming as exfoliants as well. Toners were actually the part of the 10 step Korean skin care routine which have slowly been accepted world wide.
What are different types of Toners?
Astringent toners were recommended for oily or acne prone skin to calm or soothe it and help heal the breakouts. Usually, the active ingredient would be witch hazel.
Rose water is still recommended for all skin types thanks to its soothing and cooling properties. This is more of a traditional toner which has been recommended in India for centuries now.
Alcohol based toners have been in the market for long as they are good at drying out the spots and pimples and improve skin tone. Though, regular and prolonged usage would result in dehydration of the skin due to the excess usage of alcohol. They have over the years lost their appeal to consumers. I have tried the toner from Clean and Clear which was amazing but beware that it has alcohol.
Face Mists are yet another category of toners (though now they are a different category altogether) popularized by the concept of hydrating the skin with mineral water. Evian, vichy, avene have all thermal waters which are rich in minerals and vitamins essential for skin. More expensive products in this category are water of hungary and the likes. They are called mists because their nozzle leaves a fine spray of product on face as opposed to the pumping action of the toners.
Floral Waters have been popularized based on the same concept of rose water, just that these are distillates of different flowers like calendula, jasmine, vetiver, lavender and even fruits like grapefruit.
Another category of toners popular these days are exfoliating toners or acid toners. They have alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids as their active ingredient and help in exfoliating the skin. The current skin care routine trend has popularized the use of an exfoliating toner followed by a hydrating toner before commencing the rest of the skin care routine. The combination of these two toners have taken on the role of astringents and alcohol based toners with the promise of being gentle on the skin.
What toners and face mists have I used till date?
Rose Water – It is funny but I am not a fan of this. But, then, all the rose waters I have used till date are from inferior brands. Also, one of the brand I used would mix distilled water with rose damascena essential oil. I have to mention that this is not equivalent to a rose water. Any floral water is effective only if it is the concentrated distillate of the flower which carries the essence of the flower and its properties. Diluted essential oils, however expensive, are not the same.
Kama Vetiver Water – I loved this. It smells soothing and is very Earthy. It would calm down the skin and keep it hydrated.
Kama Lavender Water – This is something I am using currently and I have to say I am not a fan of lavender. I do not find it soothing or even sleep inducing. But, I like how hydrating it is.
Vichy Thermal Water – I think I have used other face mists as well and the only thing I liked was the spray action. The fine mist which gets splashed on the face feels really nice and cool. But, that is about it and I do feel this is a waste of money.
However, I have to mention that I am not sure if any of the products above have really helped with my skin quality. I like to mist my face before massaging in the facial oil and it does stay supple and hydrated and the water helps in absorption of the oil as well. So, I use the toner. But, if you ask me how much it has helped my skin, I would not be able to say that it has removed my spots or anything. Yes, it probably does help in hydration but if my serum is not enough, it is not enough. Extra toner or mist is not going to help there.
Should You Use a Toner?
When I am following my skin care routine, I spray my face generously with toner and follow up with a facial oil. If I am going to put on a serum, I prefer to use toner to make my skin damp and ready for absorption. But, does it really help? I can not say for sure.
A thumb rule in skin care is that damp skin is better at absorbing products so if you would like to use a toner instead of plain water, you may use them. Will your skin not absorb the product without the aid of a toner? I honestly can not say and I would not even hazard saying a no.
The last say is yours so give it a try and see how it really works out for you.
Have I tried acid toning?
Very recently, I splurged on Pixi glow tonic though I would mention I have used it only twice since I got it in May. First it felt really sticky and I hated it. And, then, I am not using sunscreen everyday which discourages me to use an acid on my face. If you are going to give acid toning a try, make sure you are using a sunscreen diligently in the morning to prevent any harm to the skin due to excess sensitivity.
Till then, ciao.