Okay, time for Part 2 of How To Take Care Of Your Skin: Toner edition!

Tbh, before I started formulating skincare, I never used a toner. I assumed it was another one of those products the industry made up to sell you more stuff. Plus, I was a teen with dryyyyyyy skin during the Sea Breeze toner era, and that was pretty dramatic. Dry skin + astringent AF toner = misery. Anyway, now that I have educated myself on skin and how to care for it, I have come to realize that it’s a vital step in your routine.

Before I talk about different skin types and their toner needs, I want to speak more generally about toner’s function in your routine. Toner is an important part of your skincare routine because it both hydrates your skin and restores it to its slightly acidic resting pH. Everyone wants to skip the toner step for some reason. This is a terrible idea, and here is why: when you wash your face, no matter what you use, you are changing your skin’s pH to a higher one than normal. Toner will bring it back down to resting pH. Why do you care about that? Because your moisturizer is full of actives that will only be delivered in the right concentration to skin if skin is at resting pH. There is a steep drop-off of active delivery as you move away from skin’s acidic pH. If you skip toner, your moisturizer turns into a pumpkin spice latte-basic. 😜

Personally, I feel the toner step should not contain actives other than anti-inflammatory ones. There are toners out there with glycolic acid, witch hazel, 87 plant extracts, all kinds of ‘anti-aging’ actives, etc. I personally think this is a bad idea, because the toner step is like a palate cleanser before the moisturizer, and doesn’t need to do anything extra. Additionally, there is the tendency to go WAY overboard with actives, to the point that you damage your skin. For example, I had a client who was washing with a salicylic acid cleanser, using a glycolic acid toner, and a moisturizer with benzoyl peroxide. Needless to say, their face was pretty angry. The reason I advise against witch hazel or other astringent toners is because I know that if you’re using one, you are most likely also using other oil control products. Your skin doesn’t need that much stripping, it’s going to make the oiliness worse. On the flip side, if your skin is dry and you use an astringent toner, it will dry your skin out even more. Dry skin is damaged skin, and is not functioning as a proper barrier anymore. Also, using toners with glycolic acid may irritate your dey skin. Folks with sensitive skin should definitely stick to anti-inflammatory toners, so as not to irritate their skin.

So you see, by using a non-irritating, anti-inflammatory toner, all skin types stay happy, and are primed to absorb the moisturizer you apply next. #themoreyouknow Next up: MOISTURIZERS!

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