Should you use a toner? Is toner an important part of your cleansing routine or an unnecessary product?
Theory has it that one of the main reasons toner was created was to cleanse away the harsh residue of modern cleansers, usually the ingredients they contained such as alcohols. These days cleansers are said to be less harsh on the skin and therefore toner is no longer necessary.
I’m not sure what time period we’re talking about here because I’m fairly certain many of today’s cleansers still contain harsh ingredients that can strip away natural oils from your skin. Although they’re perhaps softer (containing less alcohol – due to public demand) than their fore-bearers.
Even though cleansers are (supposedly) less harsh they still leave residue on the surface of the skin and this needs to be cleansed away, along with residual dirt and grime.
So what do the experts say?
A vast number of beauticians still use toner and many beauty courses recommend and teach students to use toner, after cleansing, exfoliating and extracting.
Aside from cleansing away residue toners have a number of benefits on the skin. Some contain antibacterial ingredients that kill the germs that cause blemishes. Used under a moisturiser (applying the moisturiser while the toner is still wet on the skin) can have a hydrating affect on the skin, this is especially beneficial for those with dry skin.
It is said that toner also tones (firms) the skin and closes off pores. Again the opening and closing of pores debate continues among experts, some saying that pores cannot be opened or closed, shrunken or enlarged. If that is the case then pore refining products are a mere gimmick.
And yet the benefits of cold water on skin is common knowledge. It is said to refine skin and can seal pores (shut), preventing dirt from getting in. Hot water tends to strip skin of its natural oils and dry out skin whereas cold water is more hydrating. Much the same as going out in the cold weather, cold water on skin constricts skin for a little while, though skin will loosen again when warm. So any affects of cold water (toner) on skin might be temporary i.e. tightening of pores, yet still beneficial.
In short, when it comes to using toner there are many benefits, including removing cleansing product, potential antibacterial properties, and the tightening of pores after a cleanse, prior to applying a moisturiser (which acts as a barrier on the skin). So it makes sense to tighten and refine pores with toner prior to applying moisturiser because this will aid in keeping dirt and grime entering the pores to a minimum.