Are toners a beauty must-have or a cosmetic throwaway?

The age-old facial skincare routine goes as follows: cleanse, tone and moisturise. We know that cleansing removes makeup and impurities. Moisturising restores lost moisture post wash, prevents excess oil secretion and, in some cases, provides a barrier between your skin and the harmful UV rays from the sun. But what’s the function of toner and is it a necessary step in any skincare regime?

African Extracts, Rooibos Refreshing Toner, R56.99 Clicks.

The Toning Debate

There are two sides to the toner debate.

  1. A waste of time?

Some dermatologists insist that a toner is a complete waste of time and money, and claim that the tingling sensation after you have toned is actually a sign of over-drying. This is counterproductive, as the skin will overcompensate for over-drying by increasing sebum production. A good cleanser will remove all dirt and impurities that have settled on the skin. Modern cleansers also no longer pose the soapy film issue and are formulated to respect and maintain a healthy pH balance. Properly cleansing, massaging and rinsing your skin should dismiss the need to tone.

  1. A necessary step?

The pro-toner argument states that toners were invented to remove the soapy film cleansers used to leave behind. Toners also help restore your skin’s pH balance post cleanse and help the pores to close prior to applying moisturiser. They can even protect the skin from chemicals that exist in tap water and remove any residual makeup that may remain on the skin post wash.

There are certain makeup removing wipes and solutions for dry skin with added moisturising benefits that do in fact leave a layer of oil on the skin, which toner assists in alleviating. Those who are prone to naturally oily skin tend to be the most loyal toner supporters arguing that toner helps their skin feel cleaner. If you have oily-skinned, opt for a toner that does not contain alcohol to provide that overall “cleansed” feeling without any negative consequences. 

Purete Thermale Refreshing Toner 200ml, R252.95, Clicks.

DIY toners

Choosing whether or not to tone comes down to personal preference. Many experts agree that toner is mainly just a blend of purified water and witch-hazel, which is easy to emulate at home. DIY versions may possibly save your skin and will definitely save you money. Try the following:

  • Mix one cup of green tea with a teaspoon of honey. Once the solution has cooled, add three drops of jasmine essential oil and pour into an airtight bottle (for drier skins).
  • For oily to combination skin, mix apple cider vinegar, mineral water and the juice of one lemon.

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