Toners aren't the most straightforward skincare products. Choosing one for your skin type may prove confusing. Fortunately, you just need to answer 2 questions to understand which toner is right for you.
Everyone's been there, standing in the skincare aisles—real-life or virtual—realising they're really not sure about the differences among toners. The products all look beautiful on the shelf, and you imagine how refreshing they'll feel. But once you've purchased an item, will it show you a high return on investment?
In other words, do the benefits of toners justify their price? To be sure a toner is valuable to your unique complexion, you need to pick a product that:
- Is formulated for your skin type
- Offers additional benefits for skincare concerns such as ageing or spots
What do toners do for your skin?
Incorporate an effective toner into your skincare routine, and you can expect it to offer one or more of these four major benefits:
- Removing leftover traces of makeup (although this often isn't needed after appropriate cleansing)
- Hydrating skin after cleansing
- Balancing your skin's pH
Whilst most toners do remove makeup and cleanser residue, the last three benefits are provided by unique formulas—perhaps with a small amount of overlap. For example:
- Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner is formulated with moisture-binding sodium PCA and natural aloe extracts to help calm and hydrate skin after cleansing.
- SkinCeuticals Equalizing Toner is formulated to balance your skin's pH, which, when unbalanced, can promote dryness or even pimples.
- SkinCeuticals LHA Solution Priming Toner combines gentle yet powerful skincare acids to exfoliate skin while also providing an anti-ageing benefit.
Now, to address those first two questions:
1. What's your skin type, and how do you choose a toner to match it?
Most skin types are predominantly either dry or oily. If you're lucky, your complexion might also sit nicely in the middle at 'normal'.
If different areas of your skin display different degrees of dryness and oiliness, this is also quite 'normal'. In this case, it's best to treat each area differently too. That means spot-applying different skincare products. It makes sense when you think about it, but it's not something many people do.
How does this relate to toner selection? You'll need to select one or more products to suit each skin type found on your face.
- Dry skin responds best to an exfoliating or pH-balancing toner.
- Normal and oily skin calls for a hydrating toner.
However, before you invest, we need to investigate your answer to the second question.
2. What are your primary skin concerns, and how do you choose a toner to match them?
Some skin concerns are best treated with additional steps in your skincare routine, but it's always best to try to match your concerns to every product that you integrate. In the case of toners:
- Rehydrating toners are best for treating temporarily dehydrated areas of skin.
- pH-balancing toners are best for treating temporary sensitivity or irritation.
- Exfoliating toners are best for addressing ageing and acne.
Your skin concerns may be chronic or short-lived. Whatever the case, adjust your toner choice accordingly.
As we mentioned, you might be getting the same benefits from other steps in your skincare routine. If so, you might be wondering if you can skip toner all together. Head on over to our Ultimate Guide article, 'Can I Skip Toner?', to find out.