Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Skin Toner Cheat Sheet

Skin Toner Cheat Sheet

Three-step skincare routines have been all the rage for decades, and it seems like the “toner” part has often been overlooked as unimportant. The classic toner is usually alcohol based and removes all dirt and oil in attempts to clear breakouts. But what should toner really do?


First of all, facial toner should not contain alcohol (denat. ethyl, etc.) since it will completely disrupt your skin's "acid mantle", aka it's natural barrier against bacteria, viruses and other contaminants. Toner should be a gentle, calming step in your beauty routine, since cleansers often leave the skin unbalanced (alkaline) and lacking moisture.

Read more here: Skin Spa Girl

My favourite morning toner is something like the Thayer’s Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel in either cucumber or rose. I like to pour it into a spray bottle and use it as a rejuvenating, moisturizing mist after cleansing, or to set my makeup if it's looking powdery.

Anything with rosewater, glycerin, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, or witch hazel is my favourite, since I find these ingredients to leave my skin looking radiant and free from all irritation. My skin has been hella oily recently, so in the morning I'll rinse my face with warm water then spray with a bit of the L'Occitane Peony spray toner listed below. C'est tout ! 

ACID TONER

At night, I always cleanse (CeraVe, Cetaphil or AmorePacific Enzyme Peel), tone, then moisturize. I often go for a more active toner to help speed up cell turnover and prevent breakouts. My Holy Grail product is Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid, which I will sweep over my t-zone and cheeks with a cotton pad. The Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion is easier to find, but only contains 0.5% salicylic acid. These acid toners should only be applied with a cotton pad, since you don’t want any of the acid ingredients getting in or around the delicate eye area.


When it comes to toners, you can find great options at both high and low price points. I love my Thayer’s Witch Hazel just as much as my Paula’s Choice BHA liquid (I prefer the blue flip-top packaging  in the CLEAR line featured below), but they definitely serve different purposes. Always get expert advice when choosing a skincare treatment, but don’t hesitate to take your routine up a notch with this third step. I will never omit my toners now that I can see the difference they make.

Product Recommendations:



SPRAY TONERS




ACID TONERS
xx

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9 comments

  1. I LOVE the PC BHA 2% toner. It has cleared up so much mess on my face. Great post!!!

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  2. Thanks Julie! So happy to hear positive things from other PC fans, they truly are wonderful products. x

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  3. Not gonna lie, for years I've never been impressed with toners as I didn't think they did much for the skin. The first toner I tried was Thayer's (probably the 'original' one without alcohol) and I didn't think it did anything much :(
    So I ended up trying Clinique's Mild Clarifying Lotion and that broke me out. I'm really glad third time's the charm because I've recently started using s Pai toner/"tonic" (wow so pretentious)(jks) and it's really made a difference to my skin!

    (While on the topic of acids, NGL, ever since we had that convo about acids/Paula Choice's acid toners, I've been on a bit of an acid purchasing kick [Though I didn't end up buying PC's toner because I was like, "BUT, IF I DON'T LIKE IT, I'LL BE TOO LAZY TO RETURN IT"]. Bought a tub of exfoliating pads from another brand and an acid mask, and I have to say, the former has really made a difference to my skin. MANY THANKS)

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    1. I seriously appreciate these comments soo so much! That's why it's impossible to truly "recommend" products to people, since you never know how one thing will work on someone else. (I absolutely cannot use glycolic acid, for example.) Awesome that you ended up finding a match. Let me know what it is! x

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    2. No problem--WE LEARN FROM OTHERS, RIGHT? I ended up getting Radical Skincare's exfoliating pads and Skyn Iceland's Fresh Start mask--both are formulated with AHA and they seem to be good for my skin so far!

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    3. those sound faaaaaaaab! thanks for letting me know! I've been eyeing Skyn, gotta look into that :) x

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  4. Ugh toners are my babies, my skin can't live without them! I recently tried the Paula's Choice one and I FELL IN LOVE. And now I've run out and I cry because I can't afford another. And now my skin is suffering... HEELLLPPP. But yes, chemical exfoliating toners are the best <3

    Sheri | Behind The Frames

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    1. YAY! It's amazing stuff eh. Always a pain to fork over like $100 CAD for an order, but now my family is hooked too so there's no turning back. I'm hoping to see the brand in Canada in the near future, either with a better exchange rate or in a store! (I'm looking at you, Nordstrom.) Love your blog btw. x

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    2. JUST realized that you're in Australia! I can't complain, things must be like double $ for you guys. Booo

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