Skin toners take centre stage in the race for better skin.
What is a toner, and is it perfect for the skin? These are two questions we are often asked.
We believe this is because many still associate toners with the basic, floral-infused rose waters of the past.
Still, the new generation of toners in facial mists is highly-evolved forms of these and anything but simple.
And like many questionable decisions of our past, when we used to apply the strong toners on our skin in a bid to make our skin glow, it’s easy to point an accusing finger at alcohol.
Our adolescent use of astringent toners that would strip our skin of vital moisture, which ultimately turned a generation against the vital post-cleansing step; but toning your skin is an important step, and fortunately, the tide is turning.
A good toner will also neutralise your skin’s pH balance after it has been cleansed, and return it to that pH of between 4.0 to 5.5, which is the key to skin health.
What exactly can a toner do?
Protect, hydrate, repair, exfoliate, brighten, and deeply cleanse all in the swipe of a cotton round.
A post-cleaning toner will prime your skin for the applications of your hydrators, serums, and moisturisers. Because the formula is light, the molecular structure is smaller in weight; therefore, the ingredients are more likely to penetrate the deeper layers of your skin without leaving any film or residue. Toners essentially prepare your skin for nourishing ingredients, which it does by opening the skin’s receptor sites so that the cells receive the full benefit of any serums or moisturisers that follow.
Ingredients used in toners for dry skin
For those with dry skin, toners help to nourish your skin and normalise hydration levels.
Between skin cells, there is a form of mortar known as intercellular cement, which is made up of natural lipids; skin-identical ingredients that include valuable lipids, humectants and hydrating agents within a toner formula help create our natural skin moisturiser; preserving water in your skin’s tissues, maintaining your skin’s barrier.
Fortunately, science has been able to isolate a number of these specialised ingredients, which help to create synthetic versions of intracellular cement lipids – these include sphingolipids, cholesterol, and linoleic acid, which comes from various botanical sources; these lipids can also be derived from plant sterols, such as Soya Lecithin.
Our toner has been specifically formulated to help balance the skin through lipid replacement; they are mixed at a ratio of four parts ceramides; We find this ratio helps patch an impaired barrier.
Toners for dehydrated skin types
Dehydrated skin lacks water in the surface layer of the tissues. To combat this problem, we include humectants in our toners that attract water to the epidermis, locking moisture in the top layers to prevent the skin from drying out.
Humectants, combined with lipids bind water in the spaces between the cells and work like tiny magnets to attract water, giving parched skin that all-important moisture.
Toners for daily shine
For oily, combination skin folks, toners help to open pores and balance lipids.
Many commercial toners for this skin type are formulated with too astringent ingredients; they strip the skin of its valuable oil, which is a double-edged sword because when skin loses its oil, it goes into overdrive to produce more oil. The article on soap and how it affects the skin’s pH does a great job of explaining this topic in more detail.
If you have an oily skin type, opt for toners formulated with gentle, natural ingredients that won’t strip valuable lipids from the surface.