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Toner has always been part of the 3-step must-have skincare products: cleanser, toner, moisturizer. But, is toner really necessary? Some people swear by toners and others have never used a toner in their life. It’s often debated whether or not toners are really necessary and if you should one in your skincare routine.
Many people wonder “is it okay to skip toner?” or “do I have to use a toner?” I, too, was one of those people once! But after doing lots of research, I’ve learned so much about toners. And, luckily, many toners are formulated well these days, so they can have tons of benefits for the skin and target multiple skin concerns.
So, do you really need a toner or is it okay to skip toner? Let’s find out!
What Is Toner?
Toners used to be wildly popular back in the day, but that was when toners were more astringent and very bad for your skin. Modern day toners have changed and are well-formulated and beneficial for skin. So what exactly is a toner?
A toner is a water-y liquid that is used after cleansing to remove any last traces of cleanser, dirt, makeup, bacteria or oil that could be lurking on your skin. Toners can also have other benefits depending on their ingredients.
For example, toners can have exfoliating ingredients to help fight acne, soothing ingredients to calm skin or hydrating ingredients to help with dry skin.
What Does Toner Do For Your Face?
With all the different types of facial toners out there, you may wonder what is the point of toner? What does toner do exactly?
A toner is a catch-all word for skincare products that have a watery consistency. Toners were initially meant to be applied on a cotton pad to help remove any leftover makeup, dirt and oil that your cleanser may have missed. Back then, they were also meant for oily skin and treating acne. However, they were also incredibly drying and irritating and earned a bad reputation because of this.
Modern day toners are much more gentle and can have a wide range of benefits. Now a days you can find toners for acne, exfoliating, moisturizing, brightening, etc. with good ingredients for every skin type.
Toners can have many different benefits for skin, but here are the main benefits of using a toner:
- Cleansing – remove any leftover makeup, dirt and oil left on your skin
- pH balance – toners bring the skin back closer to its optimal pH
- Product absorption – helps your products absorb and work better
- Hydrates – toners infuse your skin with hydration that can be lost after cleansing
Plus, each toner will have added ingredients depending on what the product is targeting. For example a toner for acne might have salicylic acid to help unclog pores, while a toner for dry skin will have glycerin to help hydrate the skin.
Toners can help with acne, blackheads, dry skin, pigmentation, and a variety of other skincare issues you may have. Is toner necessary for acne? Will toner get rid of acne or dry skin? No. But, they can be a great addition to a routine, as long as you have the right toner.
Is Toner Necessary?
Now that we know what toners do for are skin, it’s time to answer the question “are toners necessary?” So let’s look at the different benefits of toners and see if they are really necessary in our skincare routines. With so many toners on the market, many people wonder is facial toner necessary in my routine?
Is Toner Necessary To Cleanse?
Ideally, you want your cleanser to do all the work and not have to rely on a toner to ensure your face is properly cleaned. If you use toners and find that you always have makeup or dirt come off on your cotton ball, you should either get a new cleanser or change the way you are cleansing your face because it is not getting properly cleaned.
Skip the toners for cleansing your skin and leave that up to your face wash.
Is Toner Necessary For pH Balance?
Well formulated cleansers are at a slightly higher pH that your skin, so when you wash your face, you are raising the pH of your skin. This can affect the way your products work, particularly if you use chemical exfoliants that require a lower pH.
Toners have a pH that is closer to that of our natural skin, so by using a toner right after cleansing you are lowering the pH of your skin back down to it’s normal level.
However, your skin will naturally return to its optimal pH with time. So, toners are not necessary in order to ensure your skin is at the right pH. But, toners can save time! Instead of waiting for your skin to return to the right pH, toners can make it happen quicker. This is great who like a super quick and simple routine (which who wouldn’t, right?).
Is Toner Necessary For Product Absorption?
Toners can help your products absorb better by ensuring your face is free from any impurities, dirt, oil or makeup that may be lingering. However, like we talked about above, your cleanser should be doing all the work and getting your face clean. If you need to remove heavy makeup or sunscreen, use the double cleansing method or an oil cleanser and don’t rely on toners to properly cleanse your skin.
Is Toner Necessary For Hydration?
Most well formulated toners have some sort of ingredients that add hydrating back into the skin. Many toners are also specialized for a particular skin concern like anti-aging, soothing or dryness. These have added benefits and targeting ingredients to treat those skin concerns.
In this case, toners are a great way to add vital ingredients and nutrients back into the skin after cleansing. These can be hydrating like hyaluronic acid, brightening like vitamin c or soothing like green tea.
Toners are much like serums in that they can be packed full of ingredients that are good for your skin and can restore your skin and keep it healthy.
Disadvantages Of Skin Toner
You may have heard that toners are bad for your skin, and thought why is toner bad for your skin? Well, they definitely can be. It’s not the toner itself, because toning can be a great way to add moisture back into your skin and target any skin concerns. The problem is that many toners are formulated with harsh, drying and irritating ingredients. And those toners are bad.
So, one of the disadvantages of skin toner is that you have to be very careful when picking out a toner for your skin.
Here’s a quick list of things you should avoid in toners:
- essential oils
- witch hazel
Those are the most common ingredients in skin toners that make them really bad for your skin. Unfortunately, with so many poorly formulated toners on the market, it can be really easy to pick something out that is going to ruin your skin.
How To Use Toner
Since we have now learned all about toners, let’s talk about how to use toner properly. There are a couple different ways you can use toner, and there’s no right or wrong way – it’s just whatever method you prefer doing.
Typically, you want to use toners right after cleansing.
So, your routine would be Cleanser > Toner > The rest of your routine.
In general, there are 2 ways you can use toner:
- Apply toner to cotton ball and swipe across your face
- Pour a few drops on the palms of your hands an gently press into your skin
Again, there’s no right or wrong way to do them. Some people prefer using them on a cotton ball, while others like to just use their hands for less waste. You do not wash off toners. Think of them like serum. You leave them on.
How you use toners may also depend on the consistency of the toner. Toners are all very liquidy- like water. But some can be thicker than others. If it’s too watery it might be hard to apply it with your hands without it going everywhere. And if it’s too thick, it could be much easier to apply it without a cotton ball.
Is It Okay To Skip Toner?
It is absolutely okay to skip toner in your skincare routine. You can get the same benefits of a toner in serums, moisturizers, etc. However, some people prefer using lighter layers of hydration and toners are a great way to lightly hydrate skin. This means that toners are great for oily skin types.
Additionally, toners can have exfoliants in them such as BHA or AHA that can help treat acne. If you prefer using a toner as your exfoliant, then that’s great!
The bottom line is that is just depends! Some people prefer to skip toners, while others can’t live without them. If you’ve wanted to try out a toner, then go for it and see how it works for your skin!
I personally love using toners because they help hydrate my skin without making it greasy and heavy. But, a toner is not a necessary step in your routine. So, if you already have a great routine, you don’t need to go out of your way to add that extra step.
Do I Need A Toner If I Don’t Wear Makeup?
In short, no. No one needs a toner in their skincare routine. Think of toner as an extra step in your routine that can help target any specific skin concerns. Toners can sooth sensitive skin, exfoliate acne prone skin and hydrate dry skin. They can do so many different things!
But, toners should not be used for cleansing. Many people think of toners as something to help cleanse your skin, but toners do not have any cleansing agents in them, so they’re not actually doing any cleansing.
If you don’t wear makeup, a simple, gentle cleanser will do. Of course, you can always add a toner into your skincare routine if you have certain skin concerns you want to target.
Should You Use Toner Everyday?
To get the most benefit out of your skincare routine, you should use toners everyday in your routine. Toners are like serums, so you need to use them regularly for maximum benefit.
However, if your toner has exfoliants in it to help treat acne or for anti-aging, you may not need to use toner everyday. Some people do not need to exfoliate each day, so you may be able to use exfoliating toners every few days or even just a couple times a week.
If your toner is purely for moisturizing or replenishing, then you should use it everyday.
Depending on your toner formulation, you can use toners everyday or even just once or twice a week!
What About Spray Toners?
Some toners come in a spray bottle that you just spray on your face. You should still use these right after cleansing and you don’t necessarily need to rub them around. If the spray toner has a fine mist, you should be good with just spraying an even coat onto your face and letting it absorb.
Spray toners can also be used to refresh your skin throughout the day, which can be particular helpful for those with dry or dehydrated skin. I also like to use them sometimes after I apply makeup. It helps give my skin a dewy and glowy look.
The Bottom Line
Toners may or may not be necessary, depending on your routine and skin care goals. In general, toners are not necessary for your skin if you are using them to treat acne or exfoliate, as there are better and more effective products out there for those things.
However, I do think toners are necessary if you have drier or dehydrated skin types that need an extra boost of hydration. My skin personally likes toners and my skin always looks more radiant and feels more hydrated when I use well-formulated toners.
Bottom line: are facial toners really necessary? In my opinion, no. But if you use a toner and love it, that’s great! You don’t have to stop using it. Toners are a great addition to your skincare routine, especially when dealing with specific skin concerns like acne or dry skin. But if you want the most simple routine possible, toners are absolutely okay to skip out on.
The Best Toners
Here are my top picks for toners. If you’re in the market for a new toner or are just curious and want to try one out, then take a pick out of these well-formulated toners.
I’ve included the best toner for oily skin, toners for acne, and of course toners for all skin types!
Do You Really Need A Toner In Your Routine? Are Toners Necessary For You?
Is a toner necessary for you? What toners do you love using in your routine?
I used to always use a toner. Without fail, day and night. But then for some reason I stopped using toner and nothing really happened to my skin. I didn’t notice a difference at all. In all honestly, it’s probably because I wasn’t using the best toner suited for my skin. That’s why it’s important to target your skincare products according to your skin type and skin concerns.
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