Cleanse.. tone… moisture… we probably all know the skin care mantra. But what does toner actually do? Cleanser, well, cleanses and moisturiser, well, it moisturises. But toner?! At Jersey Beauty Company we get a lot of questions about how effective toners are, whether we need to use them at all and we also get quite a few concerned customers who are afraid to use a skin toner on sensitised skin.
We thought it was about time we researched skin toners, reviewed the ones we stock, and brought our findings to you all. Skin toner can be an important step in your skin care regime – there is a toner out there for your unique skin care needs, and we want you to understand why and how using a skin toner makes a difference to your skin health.
Do you really need a toner?
There isn’t a simple answer to this question… well there are three, actually.
You might need certain skin toners, depending on your unique skin concerns.
You might need certain skin toners, depending on age and hormones.
But you don’t need skin toners that strip your skin. Cleansers used to alter the pH of your skin, so a toner would be used to even up the pH balance again. The pH of your skin should be slightly acidic, and in the past cleansers would take away this so toners were alcohol based to put back a slight acidity into your skin.
Cleansers have changed. So the types of skin toners you need to use have also changed.
So in short, yes you might need a skin toner, depending on your unique skin concerns but there are some types of skin toner you need to steer clear of, regardless of your individual skin.
Where does a toner fit into your skin routine?
Straight after cleansing. Cleanse… then tone… but it’s important to remember you might not need a separate toner. Some cleansers have a built-in toner, which works just as well. When we talk about the six steps to happy skin, they don’t always have to be separate products for each step.
Six Steps to Your Skin Care Regime
A quick reminder for anyone new to the JBC Blog – the six steps are:
Can toners be stripping?
Old toners used to have a stripping effect. That was because old cleansers used to often leave a sticky, gloopy feel on your skin that a toner would take away. But cleansers have changed, thankfully! And so have toners. So if you haven’t used a toner for a long time and have an idea of them the strong alcohol based stripping element of skin care, maybe it’s time to try some new toners and see how much they’ve changed!
Why do some people have a negative perception of toners?
A lot of the negative perception of toners comes from bad experiences, or the wrong advice! It’s the same with any skin care product. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all skin care solution. Often in the past, people would be recommended to use a skin toner that was alcohol based and had a stripping effect that didn’t work for their sensitised skin. The result would be a reaction from your skin, soreness or discomfort and probably enough to put you off toners!
We understand this response but we’re asking you, if this was your experience, to give toners another try! The ingredients have changed and there are many more options available now – to suit your unique skin concerns. Whether it’s a separate toner or a toner as part of a cleanser, toning is an important part of the skin care regime.
Do you blot toner dry with a tissue after use?
There’s no need to blot toner dry. Actually, you can end up taking off the toner again doing this. It’s best to leave the product to sink into the skin, to get the most of all the great ingredients in it.
Can toners close your pores?
No. This is a total myth. And actually, you wouldn’t want it to be true! Pores are what makes it possible for the goodness under your skin to get out and provide moisture to the top layers, and vice versa. If your pores were totally closed, you’d actually end up with really dry, tired skin. Pores being open is a good thing. As we get older, our pores might naturally appear larger but this is because the structure of our skin changes. It is a natural part of the ageing process. We need good all-round skin care to help our skin as we age.
Can toners deep cleanse your skin?
Toners aren’t cleansers… unless they are a cleanser with a toner in! To deep cleanse your skin, you need to use a good cleanser, right for your unique skin needs. Toner has a different function and doesn’t get that far into your skin.
Do toners make you produce less oil?
The best thing for oily skin is a good facial wash cleanser. Toner doesn’t get deep enough into your skin to address issues with oily build up. A good facial wash will remove the oily build up and stop bacteria from getting stuck under the skin.
You can’t use a toner to change your skin type – if you have oily skin, using a toner won’t help you produce less oil.
Will you actually see results using a toner?
Yes! You might be sitting there reading this thinking, if a toner doesn’t do any of those things… what’s the point? Well, the answer is, there is a point!
If you have dry or sensitised skin, a toner can be a great alternative to a daily exfoliant.
If you are a smoker or are going through menopause, a toner is a great way to get that glow back to your skin.
Are 2 in 1 cleansers and toners better?
2 in 1 cleanser and toners should have exactly the same ingredients as their separate counterparts, so the only difference is speed. If you want to skip a step, you can use a combined cleanser and toner, which will make your skin care routine quicker.
It is important to look at the ingredients of any combined cleanser and toner to make sure you are getting the right toner for your skin type.
3 Types of Toner
So what types of skin toner are there? Well, to make it simpler, we have grouped toners into three types, based on scientific research.
Astringent - these are the older types of toners – they are the harsh toners, designed to take off that layer left behind by older types of cleansers. We recommend you avoid the astringent toners, as they are harsher for your skin.
Hydrating – cool and refreshing, great for dehydrated skin, to give you a beautiful glow! Most of the toners we stock are hydrating toners.
Acidic - not to be confused with astringent, there are quite a few of these kinds of toners new to the market. They work with almost an exfoliating element, smoothing and renewing the skin cells. They contain AHAs, like glycolic acid, which isn’t too harsh for your skin and helps to give it an amazing glow.
Trying Out Our Skin Toners
At JBC we love to road test products to give you the real lowdown on our products. We know that some of you might be reluctant to give toner a second chance, so we have tested our toners to help you choose the right skin toner for your unique skin.
AGE Smart® Antioxidant Hydramistrefreshing antioxidant shieldSkincare30ml Travel Size: £8.40
This is a hydrating toner and has hyaluronic acid in it – which is amazing for dehydrated skin, as it holds up to a thousand times its weight in water. It’s great for skin in your thirties and forties, as it is packed full of anti-oxidant goodness, so as well as hydrating your skin it will also fortify your skin with vitamins and goodness. The Vitamin C complex combined with active ingredients helps to encourage collagen production, helping your skin to retain its firmness.
Multi Active Tonerhydrating, refreshing spritzSkincare250ml: £24.50
This is another hydrating toner that is great for boosting the impact of your moisturiser. If you want a really lightweight toner this spritz is great and prepares your skin to absorb your moisturiser.
Lotion Hydra BeauteToning Lotion for Dry SkinSkincare200ml: £20.48
This toner has an ultra-hydrating, ultra-gentle formula and is a great choice if you want a toner for mature skin that is light and gives you a natural glow. You can also use this toner throughout the day to refresh skin affected by hot flushes.
Lotion Hydra FraicheurToner for All Skin TypesSkincare200ml: £20.48
Most of the toners we’ve looked at so far are mists or spritzes. This toner has more of a lightly foaming formula, so is ideal if you like the feeling of a skin care product that foams on the skin. It’s gentle and is packed full of great ingredients for mature skin, like aloe vera that helps with cellular regeneration.
Lotion MicrobioticMicrobiotic Shine Control TonerSkincare200ml: £20.25
This is a toner specifically formulated for oily skin that has concerns with breakouts. It is a medicated formula with antibacterial ingredients. It works to control shine. It is a lotion so can feel heavier than some of the mist toners.
So we saved the best until last. At JBC we were really taken with this toner in our testing of toners. Unlike a lot of the toners we tested, which fall under the hydrating toners category, this one is both a hydrating and acidic toner. It has been reformulated to contain a really high concentrate of hyaluronic acid, which as we said before, is great for hydration. It also has lactic acid, which is an AHA, so gently exfoliates your skin. The combined effect is great for your skin.
So Do I Need a Toner?
For your skin to be its healthiest, you need to tone. It’s an important part of the skin care steps. But… as we’ve discovered that doesn’t necessarily mean you need a separate toner, you may have a cleanser and toner in one that is working well for your skin. So we are not trying to advise you to get extra products you don’t need! What we are saying is… are you toning? And if not, you should be!
It can be confusing to find the right toner for your skin type. We’ve reviewed some of the choices on our website and told you our favourite.
If you still have questions, a great place to start is with our free skin profile tool. You can create your own skin profile here: