Skin toners got a deserved bad rep years ago for their high alcohol content and overdrying tendencies when used for their original purpose of treating oily skin and blemishes.
Since then, toner has been refined into hydrating liquids that remove the last of the grime and cosmetics left behind by cleansers.
Some skin care experts still regard toners as an optional step in the overall process, while others are coming to see it as an essential link in the journey to youthful, radiant skin, between cleansing and moisturizing.
Like any other skin care product worth its price, most toners have ingredients to address a constellation of concerns, usually focusing on a specific category of skin characteristics. Here are some of the properties everyone should be looking for based on the skin they’re in.
Say no to excessive alcohol
This is a rule for all skin types. Many toners are alcohol-free, and any that list it among their top five ingredients can lead to excessive drying, even in oily skin.
Fermented yeasts and amino acids lead to deep hydration while aloe vera, vitamin E, grapeseed extract and witch hazel soothe the dryness, and ceramides restore lost moisture.
Salicylic acid, which works deep into clogged pores and hair follicles after penetrating the skin’s lipid layer, is a key. Witch hazel can clean up excess moisture without dehydrating your skin.
You need soothing, natural ingredients and to stick to alcohol-free toners. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin work well along with chamomile, rose water and other gentle botanicals.
You can concentrate on simply finding the healthiest ingredients that boost any type of skin, including antioxidants like vitamins A, C, D and B3, green tea and curcumin to fight aging and damage from free radicals.
Look for toners with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and don’t have any parabens, artificial fragrances or alcohol, as these irritate your skin as it naturally becomes drier.