At first, it seems tricky to know when to use toner – is it before the cleanser, but after an AHA? Or do I even need it? From exfoliation and treatments to the water-based and oil-based cleanser, it seems like there is an endless number of steps in a skincare routine these days.
Toner is one of the products that often gets neglected in a skincare routine, but it’s one you don’t want to skip. With the multitude of products available, it may be tricky to know when to use toner. Or whether to use it at all.
But a flawless complexion doesn’t just happen, it’s something that needs a few key items in your skincare routine. And toner is definitely one of them besides your cleansers.
If you are re-introducing them back into your routine, we’re going to break down exactly when you should use it for. After all, Korean skincare products and the new generation of toners on the market have changed what we thought of as toner forever.
With new hydrating or brightening capabilities, the old understanding of toners drying you out has long gone.
What On Earth Is Toner And Do I Even Need It?
To understand the benefits of toner, you first need to understand what it is. In simple terms, you toners can be either astringent or hydrating, depending on which you purchase, but either way, they are designed to balance the pH of your skin after cleansing. They also prep your skin for maximum absorption of the products you put on after.
Never heard of pH? Our skin is naturally acidic, ranging from 4.5-6 pH. pH stands for Potential of Hydrogen and refers to the measurement of how acidic or alkaline a substance is (ranging from 1 to 14). Read all about your delicate skin’s barrier here, especially if you’ve had unexpected breakouts lately as this guide might just help.
Which Type Of Toner Should I Use?
Astringents work best on oily or non-sensitive skin types. Because astringents contain alcohol or witch hazel – both of which can be drying to the skin – these should be used only on skin that has excess amounts of moisture.
If you have dry skin or normal skin (even normal skin-types require hydration), look for toners with hyaluronic acid and glycerin. But check out all the different types of toners listed here in detail.
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Moisturizer or Toner First?
You may be wondering, moisturizer or toner first? The answer is simple. Toner should always be applied after cleansing and before you apply your moisturizer.
Think of it this way. You wouldn’t paint your house without cleaning and prepping first. Otherwise, you’d end up with all sorts of bumps and blemishes in the paintwork.
Your moisturizer can work so much more effective when your skin is clean and clear. You will also have a beautifully smooth surface to work with when applying your makeup – this is what will give you the flawless complexion.
When To Use Toner In Your Routine
When it comes to your skincare routine, you could be doing any number of step combinations. We’ve outlined some easy guides for following 3-step, 5-step, 7-step and 10-step routines if you’re in the process of deciding which one works for you.
The most simple routine of the 3 will have you using an oil-based cleanser, a water-based cleanser, a toner, followed by a moisturizer. But you’ll notice that toner is always recommended no matter the length of the routine. That’s because it’s important after cleansing your face to restore the pH balance of your skin.
During the day, our skin is exposed to pollutants, dust and goodness knows what else, so a good cleanse, followed by a toner will do wonders.
Not only will a good toner complete the cleansing process by balancing your skin’s pH levels, but it will also hydrate your skin if they have the right ingredients (hyaluronic acid, for example).
When To Use Toner For Sensitive Skin
Even if you have sensitive skin, the same rule of using your toner before a moisturizer in your routine still applies. If you’re stuck on deciding which toner is right, look for a toner that has a calming effect on your skin. These would use mild botanical ingredients that won’t irritate.
Sensitive skin is often prone to redness so a good toner will soothe and moisturize at the same time. For really sensitive skin, you may want to seek the advice of a dermatologist for the best toner to use.
To apply – some people prefer to use a cotton pad, sweeping in an outward motion. Others simply use their hands to pat the product in. Your choice!
Final Thoughts On When To Use Toner
Depending on who you ask, using toners is either a waste of time or an absolute skincare necessity. Giving your skin a good cleansing is crucial, but knowing when to use toner is just as important.
Apply moisturizer after toner and then you can apply your makeup.
Be kind to your skin and don’t skip the toner. It may be a small step in your routine, but it’s a big deal in achieving beautiful looking, radiant skin.
If you’re stuck on applying it, here are some quick tips on how to use toner in your routine.