I cleanse, I exfoliate, I moisturise and I treat my skin regularly with a facial mask. That should be enough to keep my skin in optimal shape, right? So why do I need to spend more money and time on a facial toner?
Before giving an answer to this question, we need to first understand the purpose of using a facial toner and find out exactly what it does for your skin.
And you’re right! For some of you, a toner may be a waste of money and time and skipping the toning stage during your beauty routine would be perfectly fine.
So lets find out whether a toner is suitable and necessary for you.
Firstly, lets discover what a toner does for your skin.
The most important job of a toner is to restore your skin’s natural pH balance. A pH scale is measured from 1 to 14 where 7 is neutral, 1 – 6.9 is acidic and 7.1 – 14 is alkaline. The optimum pH level for your skin is 5.5. So you want to aim for a pH of between 4.5 – 6.0 to achieve a healthy skin mantle to resist and fight bacteria.
This is where the toner comes in. Most cleansers have a higher pH value between 6.5 and 8.0, and while it can cut through the oil on the skin, this can also rob the skin of moisture. After cleansing, your skin’s pH balance normally becomes too high and your skin has to work vigorously to restore the balance back. By using the right toner, your skin’s pH level is immediately restored to it’s optimum range providing the perfect condition to apply your moisturiser.
Other benefits of using a toner includes:
* Removing dirt, impurities, dead skin cells and toxins
* Refine and tighten pores
* Refreshing skin complexion
* Removing excess sebum from the skin
* Reduce the appearance of fine lines
* Reducing excess oil secretion by creating an optimal pH level
* Speed up cell turnover
Now that we’ve established the purpose and benefits of using a toner, the next step is to find the right toner for your skin type.
There is toner available for all types of skin types. For those with oily acne prone skin, a clarifying and exfoliating toner may help to leave your skin free from excess sebum, impurities and dead skin cells. Such toners are strong and tend to contain alcohol which may be too harsh and over drying for other skin types. I personally would not recommend anyone to use a toner with high alcohol content (even if you have oily skin), as the over drying effect of such toners can cause an imbalance in your skin’s pH leading to an excess in sebum production. Remember that you want to achieve a pH range of between 4.5 – 6.0.
If you have dry to normal skin, avoid toners targeted for oily skin. Look for moisturising toners with soothing ingredients such as chamomile or azulene.
For a quality toner, look for one that is natural and organic. These toners do not contain any harmful impurities such as chemicals and additives. They combat free radicals and contain essential vitamins and minerals that help repair damaged skin and maintain soft and younger looking skin.
There are a number of different types of toners for such conditions as normal skin, sensitive skin, dry skin, and oily skin. Organic toners contain revitalizing natural essential oils or natural extracts.
You now know what a facial toner does. You’ve also uncovered the right toner for your skin type. Finally you need to find out the correct way of applying the toner.
There is really no magical way to apply a toner, but for the most economically way, using a cotton ball or pad will help your bottle of toner last longer. Gently apply the toner to your face and neck in a light sweeping motion. Never rub or scrub your skin with the toner.
So do I need a toner or not?
If you have normal healthy skin I have to say “No”. In general, after you cleanse, your skin’s pH level will be a little bit higher than usually say in the 7 – 7.5 range. But that’s quite normal. Your skin should automatically adjust the level back to around the pH 5.5 in due time. For those that are struggling with oily skin conditions, a toner will definitely have a beneficial effect.
Keep in mind that your toner should never be used to remove excess makeup or dirt that your cleanser didn’t get – if that’s the case, maybe it’s time to find a better cleanser.
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