Of all the skin care products out there, toner might be the most mysterious. Do you really need to you use one? What does it actually do? If these questions sound familiar, we’re here to clear up this often-debated topic.
The truth is, no, not everyone needs toner, but that doesn’t mean you should count this step out of your regimen. Highly beneficial for those with oily or acne-prone complexions, toners tighten the pores while removing any traces of dirt, oil, or residue your cleanser may have left behind. In addition to a comfortably clean feeling, the product (if you choose the right one for your complexion, that is) can calm irritated skin and provide a layer of hydration. That's much unlike the drying alcohol-based versions of the past (when using toners that do contain alcohol, make sure it’s only a small percentage).
Incorporating the product into your routine is pretty simple (remember those Clinique 3-step days?). Pour the formula on a cotton pad and gently sweep it across your skin after cleansing. Follow up with a serum and a moisturizer. For night, it also serves as extra cleansing insurance—use it to whisk away excess grime before you go to bed.
But if you aren't battling oil or breakouts, consider a toning mist that you can spritz over your face on a hot day or after a workout—it’ll instantly freshen up your complexion (without ruining your makeup). How's that for fresh?
Shop the toners (above, from left): Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner ($28; sephora.com). La Mer The Oil Absorbing Tonic ($85; nordstrom.com). Korres Pomegranate Toner ($22; sephora.com). Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist ($35; sephora.com). Lancôme Tonique Radiance Clarifying Exfoliating Toner ($25; sephora.com).
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