Toners are often misunderstood, and many people do not understand what they do and don’t use them. Toning is one of the most important steps in a skin care routine. Toners balance our skin's pH level. PH level determines how “acidic” or “basic” a substance is in comparison to distilled water (which has a “neutral” pH of 7.0). Anything below 7.0 is considered “acidic”, and anything above a pH of 7.0 is considered an “alkaline” or “basic.”
Our skin is naturally acidic, typically with a pH balance of between 5 - 6 (on a scale from 0 - 14). Pollutants, detergents, soaps, cleansers, and even water (among many other things) can disrupt those levels.
When we cleanse, our pH balance can get thrown off. Yes, our skin might be clean, but it is not at its ideal levels. When your skin produces excess oil, it becomes acidic. Facial cleansers have a “basic” pH level to combat this acidic, oily skin. These can make the skin a bit dry and if moisturizer is skipped, skin will become dehydrated. Toners will balance out the dryer, more alkaline skin.
Toning after cleansing restores skin to a state where moisturizers and serums can be absorbed efficiently and effectively. They can be repairing, hydrating, balancing, and smoothing on the skin’s surface, and can be used for every skin condition.
Depending on the brand, toners may be called lotions, essences, or mists, and the differences are usually consistency. The one thing to note when choosing one is to avoid alcohol-based products which can be very drying.
And the best way to apply toner is with either cotton or your hands using a press and release motion across your face, neck and décolleté.
Some of our favorite toners include: