A few weeks ago posted about my morning and evening skincare routine on Instagram. And some of the questions people asked were the toners I use and how I'm using them, so I thought this could be helpful.
First of, what is a toner?
Let's start with the basics, I think everyone over 20-25 probably remembers the old fashioned tonics that did very in the big scheme of things. Most of them were, fortunately, improved and even if some still are called tonics, they are indeed toners. And their job is very clear, they come after cleansing the skin and are used to remove all traces of cleansers. These cleansers can be stripping and unbalance the skin, so the toner helps to regulate the skin's PH.
How to pick the right toner?
Like any other skincare product, there's no universal toner fit for every skin type/need. And this is when things become a little confusing with the hundreds of options available nowadays. What you need to remember is the main function of the toner, regulate the skin. So you should look for a products specific for your skin type, that will give you what your skin needs after cleansing, for example if your skin gets dry with cleansers, you should look for a hydrating toner. If your skin is still oily even after washing, then you should look for a toner to control the excessive oils. If you're graced with the worst case of combination skin like me, who never knows what to expect, well, use the toner according to whatever your skin needs at the moment and look for ingredients that will help with that. And your skin can need different things in different moments so don't hesitate to have different toners for morning and evening. Even for different days. I do. And my skin improved a lot since I started.
What you need to remember is that this is a toner, not a serum or even a cream. This means that whatever the most appealing ingredient is (hyaluronic acid, retinol, vitamin c, niacinamide, glycolic acid, etc, etc, etc), is nowhere near as strong as it would be in a serum. But, that being said, it's a good way to get you introduced to those ingredients. And they do get some results!
So, what is my toner routine?
At the moment I have five different toners in rotation. Yes, five! Why? Because my skin hates me and tries to be as difficult as possible every single day! I have combination skin that can be extremely dry in the mornings only to become oily in the evening or vice-versa. And I can have extremely dry cheeks and forehead with very oily nose and chin... or any other possible combination! So at the moment I'm using:
Pixi Vitamin C
It's my usual toner in the morning. I love that it actually brightens the skin and contains Aloe Extract that soothes and hydrates while the Willow Bark provides some gentle exfoliation . It's perfect for mornings when my skin is feeling normal or even a little dry, so I admit it's the one I use the most.
Laneige Essential Power
My other morning toner, this is for combination to oily skin, so this is what I use in those days that I wakeup with extra oiliness or some acne. It contains niacinamide, which is great to all these problems, but what makes it so good is how well it balances other hydrating ingredients like Quinoa Seed Extract. It contains alcohol as a second ingredient, so if you have sensitive skin, you should probably stay away from it.
Fresh Rose Toner
This is the really good stuff! I both use it in the mornings or evenings, sometimes both, but I actually use it more like an essence than a toner. Meaning, I use whatever I need as a toner and then, when my skin is feeling too dry or irritated, even when it has some nasty acne, this is what I apply to sooth is. I make sure there's a petal in the cotton pad and then I press it into the skin, leaving it for a few seconds. It's full of soothing and hydrating ingredients.
Pixi Glow Tonic
I think this is the most famous toner in history! It's an exfoliating toner, containing Glycolic Acid (that's why I think it's a bad idea to use it in the morning, even with sunscreen), but it's not harsh at all, maybe because of the Aloe Vera. It's a good way to introduce you to AHA's. I don't use it every night because I alternate it with the Retinol Tonic, but to be very honest, I like this one a little bit better, especially when it comes to control my breakouts.
Pixi Retinol Tonic
My other night toner. It's another one that I'm really not comfortable to use in the morning even with sunscreen. The retinol helps to reduce fine lines and smooth the skin. While I don't think this toner does much about fine lines it does smooth the skin and the Jasmine is a really good anti-inflammatory, it soothes my hyperpigmentation and even active acne and helps the acne scars.
These are the toners that I use more often and as you can see, I always try to pick them according with whatever my skin needs at the moment.
What's your favourite toner?
Have you used any of these?