I nixed toner from my routine years ago. It’s not that I had some horrible reaction, and it definitely wasn't because I embarked on some journey to minimize the products in my medicine cabinet. Trust me: I have two, the doors barely close, and I prefer it that way. I cut out toner simply because nothing happened.
I didn't see a difference in my skin at all. My pores didn't shrink, I didn't see a decrease in random zits on my chin, and my radiance was skill nonexistent. My complexion was stagnant. So out it went, and I gained 60 more seconds to dedicate to my eyebrows.
Then, REN's new Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic ($35; sephora.com) landed on my desk, and the little orange bottle promising a smoother surface and a boosted radiance egged me on. Exfoliating and firming AHAs in the form of lactic acid gets the attention in the elixir's name, but the formula also has BHAs in the form of willow bark extract to work inside the pores to unclog and control sebum production and azelaic acid brightening agents from wheat, rye, and barely that fade dark spots. Together, the toner works to smooth, exfoliate dead skin cells and even out your skin's tone, resulting in a glow that you might have thought was nearly impossible to achieve in the dead of winter. The ingredients of the toner all work together to balance out your skin's pH, returning it to a level between 3.5-4, which is the point where the brand claims your skin triggers its natural exfoliation process.
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Incredibly gentle and designed for all skin types, it can be used every day, twice a day, but given my past trifled with skin sensitivities, I stuck it in-between my cleanser and serum in the morning. All you do is take a cotton pad and press it on the top of the bottle, saturating it with liquid, and sweep the pad over your entire face. I felt no tingles or stings and went right into my next step. After a few days, I felt like little rough patches on my chin and near my nose were smoothing out, and without foundation, my skin's dullness was transforming into a subtle dew.
Stagnant my skin is no longer, and toner now has a newfound spot in my daily routine.