Skin toners take center stage
In the race for better skin

What is toner and is it really good for the skin?

These are two questions I am often asked by my clients.

I believe the reason for this, is that many still associate toners with the basic floral-infused rose waters of the past.

But the new generation of toners in the form of facial mists, are highly evolved forms of these and anything but simple.

They are designed to infuse your skin with peptides, humectants, lipids and antioxidants.

They also neutralize your skin’s pH balance after it has been cleansed; a well formulated toner will have a pH value of between 4.0 to 5.5.


Applied after cleansing, throughout the day and even over makeup, toners are fast becoming appealing for their one step method of hydration.

  • For oily, combination skin folks, toners help to open pores and balance lipids
  • For dehydrated, dry skin, toners help to normalise hydration levels

But probably the biggest role of a toner is to prepare the skin for nourishing goodies.

This it does by opening the skin’s receptor sites, so that the cells receive the full benefit of any serums or moisturisers that follow.


Between your skin cells is a form of mortar known as intercellular cement that is made up of natural lipids.

Skin identical ingredients such as lipids, humectants and hydrating agents, help to create our natural skin moisturiser, preserving water in the skins tissues, whilst also maintaining the skin’s barrier.

In order for you to know what ingredients and toner is right for your type, I recommend gaining a thorough understanding of the acid mantle and barrier function first, because most sensitive and dry skin conditions stem from an imbalance in these areas.

Fortunately science has been able to isolate certain specialised ingredients, which help to create synthetic versions of intracellular, cement lipids.

These include sphingolipids, cholesterol and fatty acids, these lipids can also be derived from plant sterols, such as Soya Lecithin and soy sterols.

Linoleic acid comes from various botanical sources, which you can read all about here.

For sensitive and dry skin guys and gals, toners can help to balance your skin through lipid replacement.

My toners are mixed at a ratio of four parts ceramides; I find this ratio helps to patch an impaired barrier.


dehydrated skin lacks water in the surface layer of the tissues.

To combat this problem I include humectants in my toners, humectants attract water to the epidermis locking moisture in the top layers, preventing the skin from drying out.

Humectants combined with lipids, bind water in the inter-cellular spaces between the cells, ingredients that work like tiny magnets to attract moisture to the skin.


Many commercial toners for an oily face are formulated with ingredients that are to astringent, this strips skin of its valuable oil.

The problem is, when skin loses its oil, it goes into overdrive to produce more.

The article on soap and how it affects the pH of the skin does a great job of explaining this topic in more detail.

If you do have an oily skin, opt for toners that are formulated with natural ingredients, that won’t strip valuable lipids from the surface.

I hope you enjoyed my comprehensive guide to what is toner, join me for the next step in your skincare routine, which is all about understanding moisturisers.

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