For someone who has access to powerful serums, luxurious cleansers, and
rich moisturizers, you’d be surprised by how simple my skin-care
routine is: cleanser, moisturizer (and SPF), and the occasional mask or
eye cream. It wasn’t until recently, when my aesthetician recommended
incorporating a toner to balance my slightly oily/slightly dry T-zone,
that a new product took a spot in my starting lineup. It turns out toners
have come a long way since their association with acne-plagued teenagers
and the distinct astringent scent of Sea Breeze. While I love the refreshing
aspect of a toner, I was less sure about its other benefits. So I spoke
to Erin Gilbert, a New York City dermatologist, and Ruthie Harper, of
the Laser and Skincare Clinic in Austin and founder of SkinShift Skin
Care, to find out more.
What’s the story with toners? They seem misunderstood. "The old story on toners was one of pH balancing and removing the
stuff from your face that your cleanser didn’t, to achieve a squeaky
clean," says Harper. "But now, toners are actually quite hydrating
and packed with active ingredients to treat and soothe skin."
Who should use them? "There is an ideal toner for every skin type," says Gilbert.
"It’s just a matter of finding the perfect match. Toners containing
alcohols remove excess oil from the skin and can actually help prevent
breakouts for those with acne-prone skin. Toners with glycerin and hyaluronic
acid can help hydrate the skin and prevent dryness."
Any special ingredients to look for? "I really like those with brightening agents like orange extract,
and antioxidants like tomato extract, bergamot, and vitamins E and A,"
says Harper. "They deliver immediate hydration and keep skin looking
youthful." "Chamomile and other plant-based extracts can also
be very calming, especially for those with redness and any inflammation,"
When should we use them? "As the weather warms up, even combination skin tends to break out,
so toners with salicylic acid can be really helpful for gently unclogging
your pores and preventing summer breakouts. They are even great in the
winter, when the ambient air is dry," says Gilbert. "I like
to recommend toning while traveling," says Harper. "The air
in-flight is so drying, and a toner will cleanse, hydrate, and leave you
Can a toner be hydrating enough to replace your daily moisturizer? "They are not exactly a replacement," says Harper. "I tell
my patients with extremely oily skin that they can sometimes get away
with skipping a moisturizer in the summertime if they use a toner instead,"
adds Gilbert. "A toner can be hydrating enough, but don’t forget
Originally featured at Allure.com