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 skin is not at its proper pH level, it can become oily or tight, which why toning is crucial. 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.
Often times we forget that skin is the largest organ in the body. Just like our stomachs or livers after a long night out, it’s important to regenerate and restore the organ to its proper levels.
So, what exactly is toner?
When your skin produces excess oil, it becomes acidic. So, a lot of 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. This is why toner is so crucial. Most toners will have the optimal level to balance out the dryer, more alkaline skin after washing.
When it comes to picking the toner that is right for your skin, avoid alcohol based products as they can be very drying. My gold standard is Biologique Recherche’s P50 Toner. This multi-use speeds up the skin’s natural exfoliation process, purifies, regenerates, and maintains the pH level of the skin. It comes in several versions so every skin condition can use it.
Pro tip: When applying, don’t rub the skin. Saturate a cotton round with the product, or use your hands—press and release the toner on to your face, neck, and don’t forget about the décolletage.
Bottom line: Don’t skip toner. Your skin will thank you.