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Toners are probably the most misunderstood product in skincare, and because of this, many people do not use them. Toning is a vital step in an effective skin care routine. It always follows cleansing and is the first step in treatment (not the second step of cleansing). 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 dehydrating.

And finally, the best way to apply toner is either to spray directly on the face (if it is a spray pump), put a few drops on a cotton square or directly on clean hands. Whichever method you choose, use a press and release motion across your face, neck and décolleté. This allows the skin to grasp the product more effectively.

Some of our favorite toners include: