Face

Face: “Toner” Your Way Into Better Tomorrow

As a skincare product category, toners are classified as part of skin-type skincare together with cleansers and moisturizers. Even though toners are able to address many conditions of the skin, your skin type is the major guiding principle when choosing a toner.
Primary purpose of “Toners”

Due to contact of the skin with tap water, skin’s pH will be higher than its optimal 5.5 level following facial cleansing procedure. This is where facial toners serve their basic function of balancing skin’s pH by recalibrating the skin to its optimal level.

Basic toner formulationMost toners are at the optimal pH level or ever so slightly acidic pH in order to balance probably slightly alkaline skin after washing.

No matter your skin type or condition, it is best to avoid toners that contain preservatives, alcohol, fragrances, coloring and / or other similar ingredients as they can make skin irritated and even chronically sensitive.

Toner formulations to address some skin conditions:

–          Dry / dehydrated skin: Some toners might also contain humectants (nano-particles that draw in larger particles of water and moisturizer) which will essentially make moisturizers more effective

–          Acne: Toners containing AHAs and BHAs will remove dead skin cells and pore buildup

If you want to your skin to be most receptive of facial acids and vitamins, you could consider pH adjusting your face with toner. After cleansing, skin might be at pH level of 7 or even 8 while pH dependent products (glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, Vitamin C, etc) are formulated / work best at pH level of around 3 or 4.

 

Skincare products included in the “Toner” category

Hydrolates

Toner

Mist

Thermal Water

Objective:

Natural alternative to a toner

Perfect as a base for DIY clay masks or facial creams

Great to address puffiness around the eyes

Restore pH balance of the skin after cleansing and prep the skin for the treatment products and creams

Restores pH balance of the skin

Help to keep your skin hydrated and nourished throughout the day

Hydrate and help to relieve the skin of certain afflictions (eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, etc. ) due to its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties

How to choose:

Based on your skin type

Based on your skin type

Based on your skin type

The company producing the product will indicate the place of origin  of the thermal water

Application etiquette:

Apply after cleansing and before moisturizing as part of morning and evening skincare routine

Apply after cleansing and before moisturizing as part of morning and evening skincare routine

Facial mists can be used alone to hydrate and nurture the skin.

Some people use mists in place of toners

Mists can be used to set makeup and lend skin a dewy look

Thermal water will penetrate into the skin so it is best if you apply moisturizer after. You can spray thermal water to kill bacteria on the skin before reapplying your sunscreen.

Some use it instead of the toner since it is very rich in minerals

Be aware:

Do not mix hydrolates and floral water!!!!

Hydrolate is the water collected as a result of steaming the plants to get the essential oils. That said, hydrolates do not smell like the essential oil. They have earthy and a bit pungent smell.

Floral water does not have the therapeutic value of hydrolate since it contains essential oil and alcohol to dissolve oil in water

Thermal water is a facial mist.

Spraying thermal water will kill bacteria on your skin and hydrate your face. That said, if you spray too often, you will notice that your skin becomes dry

Alternative use:

Hydrolates are much gentler then essential oils. You can add few drops when bathing babies

 

Toners and alcohol content

Fresheners

Tonics

Astringents

What is it:

The mildest form of toner

Toners that are mostly suitable for

The most harsh formulation of toner that also contain antiseptic ingredients

Alcohol content:

0 – 10%

Up to 20%

20 – 60%

Depending on the brand, the alcohol is either the harsher synthetic or isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) or gentler natural alcohol from botanical sources

Suitable for:

Any skin type

Normal, combination and oily skin types

Oily skin

Be aware:

If you use astringent to address your oily skin, then you have to be careful with frequency of use. In case you use too much astringent, your oily skin will produce even more oil to protect itself from becoming dehydrated

Even though, general understanding is that you cannot overuse fresheners and tonics, it is best that you read the ingredient list of the product you want to purchase.

 

pH balancing with “Toners”

If you want your skin to be most receptive of facial acids and vitamins, you could consider pH adjusting your face with toner. After cleansing, skin might be at pH level of 7 or even 8 while pH dependent products (glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, Vitamin C, etc) are formulated / work best at pH level of around 3 or 4.

No pH adjustment with toner

pH adjustment with toner

Central point of pH adjustment dilemma

Facial acids and vitamins are supposed to go onto bare skin

Skin’s pH after cleansing has much higher pH than the pH most optimal for efficiency facial acids and vitamins

Pros

More gentle way of using facial acids on the skin since skin is less reactive

–          Skin is very receptive

–          Facial acids and vitamins are said to work best

Cons

Midler efficacy of facial acids

–          Skin is prone to dryness and irritation

–          Only limited number of pH adjusting toners have simple and non – interfering formulas

How it works

1)      Use low – pH / acidic cleanser then use facial acids and vitamins directly

2)      Use low – pH / acidic cleanser, follow up with hydrating toner of around pH 5 and then apply facial acids

3)      Use low – pH cleanser, wait 20 minutes to 1 h for acid mantle to restore naturally and then apply facial acids

As such, upon application of facial acids,

the product will need to further adjust the skin’s pH before starting to do the work it was  designed to do

Use acidic cleanser and follow up with low – pH toner

If you use pH adjusting toner, you will be able to bring pH level of the skin to 3 or 4 so acids are able to get straight to work upon application

If you decide to use pH adjusting toners as a way to increase efficiency of your facial acids, please do educate yourself on the matter first!

 

Thanks for reading,

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