Why You Need a Toner
Why You Need a Toner
Adding a toner is a great way to take your skin care routine to the next level. While in the past they've been known for sucking moisture out of skin with alcohol or witch hazel, the truth is a good toner is loaded with antioxidants and skin-restoring and skin-replenishing ingredients that nourish skin.
What is a Toner?
These state-of-the-art liquid moisturizers actually enhance skin’s surface, giving skin what it needs to look fresher, smoother, and hydrated. For combination / oily skin toners can reduce enlarged pores and excess oil. For normal / dry / sensitive skin toners can lessen redness and flaking.
What is the Purpose of a Toner?
Provide Essential Ingredients
Hydrate & Replenish Skin
Provide Additional Cleansing
How to Choose a Toner
1. Skin Type
If you have dry skin, choose one with a host of hydrating ingredients, and if you have oilier skin, it's best to seek out those formulas that provide benefits in a lightweight formula.
2. Good Ingredients
- soothing ingredients
- skin-replenishing ingredients
- hyaluronic acid
- sea whip
- willow herb
3. Ingredients to Avoid
- SD or denatured alcohol
- witch hazel
- skin-aggravating ingredients
These ingredients deplete skin and work against the beneficial substances that keep skin healthy.
When to Use a Toner in Your Skin Care Routine?
After cleansing and removing makeup. Toners provide a healthy "base layer" for the rest of your skin care products.
A Great Toner is a Perfect Addition to Your Skin Care Routine
Beautifully formulated toners loaded with beneficial ingredients can transform the way your skin looks and feels after cleansing.
The purpose of toners is to replenish and nourish skin after removing makeup and cleansing, a step that can significantly, and visibly, help your skin. Even if you use the most gentle cleanser, your skin still needs to be replenished with what the cleanser removes. This is where a brilliant toner can really shine!
A toner can quickly and fundamentally provide skin with generous amounts of antioxidants, soothing agents, and vital hydrating ingredients. A state-of-the-art toner enhances skin’s surface, giving skin what it needs to look fresher, smoother, and hydrated. It also serves to remove those last traces of makeup you may have missed with your cleanser.
Once you start using a well-formulated toner, the results will be undeniable. As many of our staffers can attest, it no longer becomes an optional step—it’s a must-have!
What Ingredients Should You Avoid in a Toner?
We’d love it if all cosmetics companies offered toners with state-of-the-art formulas; unfortunately, that isn’t the reality in the world of skin care. Regrettably, many brands continue to offer toners (or astringents or fresheners) with dated formulas, either filled with problematic ingredients or just ineffective combinations of ingredients.
Avoid toners loaded with SD or denatured alcohol, menthol, witch hazel, or other skin-aggravating ingredients. These ingredients deplete skin and work against the beneficial substances that keep skin healthy.
Toners targeted at oily or combination skin almost always contain skin-aggravating types of ingredients, making them problematic. While these toners for oily and combination skin types are particularly egregious, those aimed at people with normal to dry skin typically aren’t much better. They might contain less of the problematic ingredients, but they often still include witch hazel or fragrant ingredients, or are otherwise poorly formulated.
Avoid toners with fragrant extracts such as rosewater, citrus fruits, or essential oils. These types of toners often are labeled “fresheners” or “clarifiers,” and are little more than eau de cologne for your face. Such overly fragrant toners are a common cause of reactions that have a negative impact on skin.
Avoid toners that are just plain lackluster. Although most of these are not bad for skin, they’re not helpful, either. Unfortunately, many toners just lack a robust nourishing formula, leaving your skin hungry for so much more. As you’ll learn, the best toners are filled to the brim with beneficial ingredients.
Remember: Bad toners take away, great toners give back!
Ingredients to Look for in a Toner
Now that the bad ingredients and poor formulas are out of your way, we can focus on how a toner with beneficial ingredients can significantly help skin. After cleansing, even with the gentlest cleanser, skin needs to be replenished with what cleansers rinse or wipe away. This is where a toner can play an important role.
A toner can quickly and efficiently provide skin with generous amounts of antioxidants, soothing agents, and hydrating ingredients. A state-of-the-art toner can enhance skin’s surface, giving skin what it needs to look fresher, smoother, and hydrated. It can also serve to remove any last traces of makeup your cleanser might not have gotten to.
Once you start using a well-formulated toner, the results are undeniable. As many of our staffers can attest, it no longer becomes an optional step—it’s a must-have!
Which Toner is Best for Me?
Although every Paula’s Choice Skincare toner contains a complete range of ingredients to provide multiple benefits for skin, each has distinctions that make them preferred for certain skin types and concerns:
Toners For Normal to Dry Skin:
- RESIST Advanced Replenishing Toner has a milky texture and is recommended for those concerned with minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and advanced signs of aging.
- SKIN RECOVERY Enriched Calming Toner has a hydrating formula designed to address dryness and sensitivity, while leaving very dry skin soft and smooth.
- CALM Redness Relief Toner for Normal to Dry Skin is specially formulated to soothe red, temperamental skin and replenish the outer layer for healthier, younger-looking skin.
Toners For Normal to Oily or Combination Skin:
- RESIST Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner is ideal for addressing wrinkles and post-breakout marks while improving the appearance of skin’s tone, pore size, and texture.
- SKIN BALANCING Pore-Reducing Toner minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores while recharging skin with replenishing substances for a fresh, youthful glow.
- CALM Redness Relief Toner for Normal to Oily Skin has a water-light formula that gently calms redness while providing skin-enriching, oil-free hydration.
Toners For All Skin Types:
- Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner has a unique, silky, liquid-gel texture suitable for revitalizing and hydrating all skin types—especially for those in search of an antioxidant-rich, natural-based formula.
The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here
The same type of research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! See Paula’s Choice Toners.
References for this information
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2015, issue 5, page 28; July 2014, pages 177-184; and November 2012, issue 5, pages 1,013-1,024
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 229-233 and Volume 17, Supplemental, 2004, pages 49-56
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821-832
British Journal of Dermatology, September 2008, pages 567-577
About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!