Toners - Benefits, Uses and Types

Toners - Benefits, Uses, and Types

We know that you've got your skincare routine down – cleanser, moisturizer, serum, and eye cream. But what about a toner? A toner often gets overlooked or skipped, but do you know it goes beyond mere cleansing? While its primary role is to sweep away debris post-cleansing, toner does more than you might think. 

What are toner's added benefits? What are the secret ingredients that make it such a powerhouse in skincare routines? Let's find out together!

What is the Role of a Toner? How It Got Evolved? 

Back in the 1960s, skincare routines were completely different. Women scrubbed their faces with harsh cleansers and then used toners to fix the pH balance after the damage. But fast forward to now, and toners have had a serious transformation. No more harsh stuff! 

Today, you've got a variety of toners, from hydrating and pH-balancing toners to even brightening alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) products. These new toners are lightweight but pack a punch with calming ingredients and gentle AHAs.

Now, even though toners have changed a lot, some still doubt them. They see toners as old-fashioned and not needed anymore. But are they? Not at all! These days, with climate changes, busy schedules, and environmental concerns, your skin faces lots of challenges. That's why you need toners now more than ever to make sure your skin stays healthy and glowing no matter what issues it faces. 

The bottom line? Toners aren't just a thing of the past—they're constantly evolving, adapting, and staying relevant in today's skincare scene. 

What are The Types of Toners? 

Whether you're dealing with oily, combination, normal skin, or skin concerns, there's a toner for your skincare routine. Here's all you need to know!

Clarifying Toners 

If you're dealing with oily, acne-prone skin and it's been a daily battle, clarifying toners are specially designed to tackle excess oils on your skin's surface and deep within your pores. How do they do it? 

Clarifying Toner

Well, ingredients like Rose Fruit Extract unclog pores, prevent breakouts, and give you clearer, more radiant skin. Meanwhile, hero ingredients like the Japanese Sakura Extract help repair damaged skin and correct hyperpigmentation. 

Balancing Toners

On the other hand, if your skin is feeling a bit off, especially if it's on the dry side, a calming and hydrating toner can save the day. These toners have soothing ingredients in them, like moisturising glycerin. It helps kick out the dryness, bringing back the right amount of moisture. They can make your dry skin feel better. So, when you use one, your skin feels refreshed and healthy again. 

balancing toner

ILEM JAPAN's Balancing Toner distils the power of heritage Japanese ingredients in a slightly gel-like moisturizing formula. The Japanese Yuzu Extract strengthens the outer barrier, which is important for skin health, while Raspberry Fruit Extract eases any inflammation on the skin. 

Smoothing Toner

Now, what if you want to refine your skin texture and appearance? A smoothing toner is what you need. It purifies pores, kicks out dead skin cells, and shrinks enlarged pores.

soothing toner

And guess what? They're ideal for almost all skin types. Thanks to ingredients like AHAs or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), your skin gets an effective exfoliation treatment. The result? Smoother, radiant skin! 

Alcohol or No Alcohol?

Now that you know the different kinds, tell us, "Should your toner contain alcohol?" if your answer is a NO, well done! You've got it right! 

Alcohol-infused toners may dry your skin out instead of hydrating it. Plus, alcohol is harsh on your skin and may cause irritation, leading to redness, stinging or burning sensations. Unfortunately, that's not all. Alcohol can break down collagen and elastin, two proteins essential for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. As a result, prolonged use of alcohol-infused toners may lead to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin over time.

Hold on! We have good news – there are tons of alcohol-free toners available, and they're super effective! So, if you're looking for hydration, balance, and all-around gentleness, these no-alcohol toners come with calming extracts like the following:

Mind you, these ingredients are carefully picked so that they are suitable for all skin types, even sensitive ones! 

Why Add Toner to Your Routine? 

Before you even consider using toners for your skin care, you must know exactly why they're non-negotiable for your skin. Let's take a deeper look! 

Balance and Harmony

Did you know that your cleanser could be a bit on the alkaline side? If so, it might cause dryness and sensitivity. Moreover, environmental problems, like pollution, can easily make it worse. Now, here's where toners step in. With a slightly acidic pH, they can restore that natural balance your skin craves, bringing it back to its happy place.

Goodbye Residue

Makeup and dirt can be pesky at times. No matter how well you cleanse, some of it may still be present on your skin. Toners can get rid of leftover makeup and impurities, leaving your skin feeling all fresh and ready. So, if you want a clear complexion and to dodge skin issues, toners are what you need.

Minimizing Pores

Toners give your skin a smooth, refined makeover. They not only minimise pores but also keep dirt and impurities at bay, reducing the chances of surprise breakouts. But can harsh toners be a bit too much for sensitive skin? The answer is yes. They might strip natural oils, causing dryness and sensitivity. So, make sure you are choosing a gentle, non-alcoholic toner. 

Oil Control and Shine Reduction

Keeping your skin in check is key to that sweet spot between not too oily and not too dry. How do you keep excess oiliness or dryness at bay? Toners. With ingredients like witch hazel or salicylic acid, it can control sebum production without overdrying your skin. 

Soothing and Calming

Have your skin ever felt a bit irritated? Perhaps a mild stinging sensation after cleansing. A hydrating toner with moisturizing glycerin and calming agents can help you out. It can offer instant relief from sensitivity, irritation, and redness in minutes, perhaps. Bonus? These toners also replenish moisture, leaving your complexion soothed and revitalized. 

Skin Type Spotlight: Tailoring Toners to Your Needs 

Only some toners would work the best for you. You must choose a toner that's just right for your skin. But don't forget to patch-test any new products first. Just a small spot behind your ear or on your wrist can tell you if your skin's fine with it.   

  • Dry Skin: Look for ones loaded with goodies like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and chamomile. A top-notch choice? The "Balancing Toner."
  • Oily Skin: Check out toners with ingredients like salicylic acid, witch hazel, or tea tree oil. One awesome option is "Clarifying Toner." It is infused with Japanese Sakura extract and Rose fruit extract to clear your clogged pores. 
  • Sensitive Skin: Choose alcohol-free, fragrance-free toners, just like the "Soothing Toner." Why? Because it not only prevents irritation but also keeps your skin's integrity intact. 
  • Acne-Prone Skin: Go for toners with BHAs or AHAs. Additionally, you can look at other ingredients like tea tree oil and witch hazel. 
  • Combination Skin: Combination skin? Go for multi-tasking toners with ingredients like witch hazel, seaweed oil, or niacinamide.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Toner Application 

Now that you know all about toners, it's time to apply your knowledge. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to include a toner in your routine. 

  1. Cleanse your face with a gentle natural cleanser, making sure to massage it in to get rid of all that makeup and dirt. 
  2. Once your face is perfectly clean, pat your face dry gently. 
  3. Get a cotton pad, or just use your hands and pour some toner on. 
  4. Make sure it's damp but not dripping wet. 
  5. Pat it all over your face and neck to wipe away any leftover impurities. 
  6. Your skin's all prepped and primed for the next steps: serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

Layering Toners with Other Products for Better Skin

The good thing about skincare is that you can mix and match. Toners get along with everyone. So, layer it up with your other skincare faves for an ultimate skin-boosting skincare.

  • If you have dry skin, you can layer hydrating toners with lightweight hyaluronic acid serums and a rich moisturizer to seal in hydration. You can add facial oil for nourishment, especially at night.
  • For oily skin, start with a clarifying toner, follow with a lightweight, oil-free, niacinamide or salicylic acid serum to control oil production, and finish with a non-comedogenic moisturizer to hydrate without clogging pores. 
  • If you have a combination skin, layer a balancing toner with a serum for specific concerns in different areas of the face and a lightweight moisturizer or gel-based cream.
  • When your skin is sensitive, go for alcohol-free and fragrance-free toners, layer with gentle, soothing serums and finish with a hypoallergenic moisturizer.
  • To get rid of acne, use a toner with BHAs or AHAs and follow with a benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil acne treatment. Finish with an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer to prevent further breakouts.
  • If you're facing ageing issues, layer a vitamin C or peptides toner with a retinol or collagen-boosting peptides serum. Finish with a moisturizer that provides both hydration and anti-ageing benefits.
  • If you have large pores, use a niacinamide or witch hazel toner with a pore-refining serum containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid. Finish with a mattifying moisturizer to control excess oil and reduce the appearance of pores.
  • If you want to eliminate dark spots, layer a brightening vitamin C or Kojic acid toner with a brightening alpha arbutin or liquorice extract serum. Finish with sunscreen to protect the skin from further sun damage, which can worsen dark spots.

Fact vs. Fiction: Clearing Up Doubts About Toners 

You must have heard individuals saying toners are drying, right? Or you must have experienced a tingling and tight feeling after applying a toner? Well, that's often the result of alcohol going a bit too harsh on your skin, taking away your skin's natural oils. Here's what you should know: choose toners without alcohol, and you'll be fine.

Hydration for All Skin Types

Alcohol-based toners with high concentrations can strip your skin's protective layer, leaving you all dry and itchy. Not good! But here's the good news: alcohol-free toners are there for everyone, especially if your skin is on the dry or combination side. No pain, just relief. They keep your skin happy, hydrated, and balanced without hypersensitivity.

Pore Refinement without the Risks

Do you know what frequent use of alcohol does to your skin? It messes with your cell membranes. But alcohol-free toners pose no risks; they're packed with ingredients that help shrink pores. So, you get a refreshed and rejuvenated feeling, all while keeping your skin healthy.

Doing Good for the Planet 

Looking for toners that do good for humans and the environment? That means you care about what goes into your skincare products and how they're made. And that's why you should choose sustainably produced toners, as they're kinder to the planet and safe for humans, too.  

But remember, if you have sensitive skin or face-specific skin concerns, you must get personalised product recommendations from a dermatologist. You shouldn't skip their lowdown on the most effective and gentle solutions. Your skin's unique issues deserve some professional attention.

How To Include Toners In Your Skincare Routine? 

Choosing the right toner for your skin is part of making a personalized skincare routine. The one that can make your skin look super healthy and glowy, just like you've always wanted. But besides just looking good on the outside, you must feel good on the inside, too, right? So, you should take care of yourself. 


Plus, choose toners that speak to your skin's needs. You just have to find that perfect balance and let your skincare routine be a celebration of both your inner and outer beauty.

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